Hermes Kelly Caleche ~ fragrance review

Kelly Caleche perfume by HermesHermes Kelly Caleche fragrance advert

Kelly Calèche, which launched recently at the new Hermès boutique on Wall Street, is the brand's first major feminine fragrance since Jean Claude Ellena took over as house perfumer. I adore Hermès, and I adore the work of Jean Claude Ellena, and I thought last year's Terre d'Hermès was brilliant. Kelly Calèche was the perfume release I was awaiting most eagerly this year.

Kelly Calèche was named for the Kelly handbag and the original Calèche perfume. Jean Claude Ellena, who frequently cites a book as inspiration for his fragrances, mentioned for this one Jean Giono's Jean le Bleu, about a village cobbler and his son (Giono was also named as an inspiration for Terre d'Hermès), and particularly a passage about "making soles in angel leather". The notes for the floral leather scent include iris, lily of the valley, mimosa, tuberose and climbing rose. (quote and notes via Women's Wear Daily, 5/11/2007)

Kelly Calèche starts off with sparkling citrus. For a few moments, it calls to mind the bright, grapefruit-y effervescence of Rose Ikebana, then it gets a teensy bit darker, with the lightest possible touch of something smoky and dry, and this stage reminds me vaguely of Osmanthe Yunnan. There is a smidgen of something fruity, almost like peach or apricot, and it seems to fade away and then reassert itself repeatedly over the next few hours. The heart is a blended floral, muted but not quite sheer. Everything about it is soft: the mimosa, the iris, the rose, and I can't smell the tuberose or lily of the valley at all. There is another floral note that I recognize but can't seem to call to mind, and I've been waiting in vain all week for the name to pop into my head.

If you didn't know there was leather, you might not notice it, but it is there if you go looking for it: as velvety-soft and mild as leather can be and still be leather. It does intensify slightly after an hour or so, but trust me, you'd needn't be a leather fiend to like Kelly Calèche, and leather fiends may find it too civilized for their liking.

It is not at all the girly-silly scent I feared it might be when I first heard the name and saw the picture of the bottle with its pink juice (you can see a closeup here), but nor is it anything like the the bold sort of fragrance implied by the woman with the boots and whip in the ad. The ad might more appropriately show a young lady in a tasteful summer dress at a garden party, with a sparkle in her eye, perhaps, but still, well-mannered.

I talk frequently about perfumes that I find pretty but essentially dull — scents that have nothing much to distinguish them from the zillions of other pretty but essentially dull fragrances on the market. When I first started keeping notes on the fragrances I tested, I often used the shorthand "generic department store scent", and I'm sure many of you perfumistas know exactly what I mean.

Kelly Calèche is not that sort of scent. First off, it isn't merely pretty. Jean Claude Ellena knows what he is about, and Kelly Calèche is beautiful. I was disappointed with it the first few times I wore it — it wasn't quite what I had expected — but it won me over eventually, and more than once I had that lovely feeling of forgetting I was wearing perfume at all and then suddenly noticing that something smelled really good. So on the one hand, I'd take it over any of the mainstream fragrances released so far this year, and it is most definitely full bottle worthy. Still and yet...I can't help but wish it were just a little more daring and a little less well-behaved, and for no good reason, I've convinced myself that more compelling variations were discarded over the course of its development.

Hermès Kelly Caleche is an Eau de Toilette, and is available in 50 and 100 ml. It is currently exclusive to the Wall Street Hermès boutique; it goes into wider distribution in August.

Update: Anyone who was hoping for something bolder from Kelly Caleche would do well to try the Eau de Parfum version, which launched in 2009. It isn't radically different from the Eau de Toilette, but it's a deeper scent, with more oomph. The dry, smoky notes in the opening are stronger, and it's fruitier and sweeter — in the early stages, it's now much closer to Osmanthe Yunnan's tea and apricots than Rose Ikebana's crisp citrus rose. The florals in the heart are richer and fuller, and while it's still quite rose-y, the mimosa and iris seem amplified. The faint touch of something like hay in the Eau de Toilette is much stronger in the Eau de Parfum version.

The leather aspect is not really any more noticeable to me, but the dry down is deeper and woodier. It's still not quite the girl with the whip, but nor is it the well-behaved young lady in the tasteful summer dress — it's somewhere in between.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Leather fiend here. Weeping in disappointment. :-(

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anything created by JCE is worth the time spent on sniffing it and so I will still be queuing up at my local Hermes store once it hits the UK in August despite disappointing reviews (although beautifully written of course!)

  3. Anonymous says:

    They ought to do a KC Extreme as a flanker for the leather fans, really.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'm going to buy it, so it is only somewhat of a disappointment for me — not what I expected, but really lovely.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hey Robin,

    I was waiting impatiently for you review…. ;-)

    Question: is it very feminine?

    I love Hermes and I'm really intrigued by it….

    Great review, as always…



  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the review – I think I see JC Ellena in the same way you do and I wanted to hear your thoughts on KC before I smelled it.

    Kind of what I expected: A fragrance to respect and admire – not for its powerful and complex sillage (or it's leather) but simply as a beautiful strange personality that will take more than a couple of wearings, to warm up to.

    One thing that concerns me: is it powdery?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Props on the fab review, but I can't help being dissapointed about the actual juice: I was hoping for someting scary-beautiful (as someother writer so brilliantly put it — a combo of Fracas AND Bandit). I want something new and DARING, @#%$%$ it!


  8. Anonymous says:

    G, hmmm — well, it is much closer to feminine than unisex, conventionally speaking. But once the top notes wear off, it isn't quite as feminine as Rose Ikebana, does that help? I think whether a male would wear it depends entirely on the male. It might layer nicely with the Terre d'Hermes, actually — I'll have to try that.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You liked it more than I did, although I too would take it over any number of new mainstream releases.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I wanted something daring too — but have to say that I somehow can't picture JCE doing a combo of Fracas & Bandit, can you? It wouldn't seem in keeping with his style.

    KC really is lovely though, and glad I put it away for a few days to get over the disconnect between my expectations & the reality. That never did work for me with Paprika Brazil, which I just don't like, but it did with Kelly Caleche.

    And perhaps it is daring in its own quiet way — I mean, it does smell very much like the work of JCE, and there is nothing silly or “sell out” about it. That Hermes is letting him do his thing is a kind of daring, isn't it? I mean, put it on and take it to Macys — you won't find anything recent to match it, IMHO.

    But still want a KC Cuir Extreme flanker :-)

  11. Anonymous says:

    I often find that what I call powdery isn't necessarily what others do — but I'd say no more than a smidge powdery. It is sort of velvety-irisy, and there is a bit of the dusty thing that I also smell in Sur Le Nil & Terre d'Hermes.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I bet it was bolder in the earlier stages, R. Dern it!

    And yes, how about a KC Extreme version? Sounds good to me.

    I love your review, and thanks to it, I will not rush out to try this, but I know I will eventually, ha, ha!

    Hugs and love!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ok then….

    haven't smelled Rose Ikebana yet…

    I guess I'll have to wait to test it myself and then decide… ;-) coz I wear whatever I like anyway.. not caring about male-female boundaries in perfumes…

    I own Terre d'Hermes though… so let me know about the layering…

    I actually think about trying to layer it with Eau d'Hermes…. when and if I will buy it…


  14. Anonymous says:

    Put them on together and it is quite interesting…makes the KC more dusty-dry and woody. Will obviously have to give it more time to see if I like it this way, but a worthy experiment.

    Eau d'Hermes might beat poor KC to smithereens, LOL — but that is worth a try too!

  15. Anonymous says:

    M, thank you again for saving me from buying it unsniffed. It would have been a shock, and then I'd have to wonder if I was forced into liking it! But I think I will end up buying it eventually.

  16. Anonymous says:

    That was fast… good to hear it is a nice combo…

    Not a fan of EdH eh? ;-(

    I love it… poshy skanky… but not that strong… I find it more a skin scent on me rather than a super letah beast… but certainly more butch than KC…


  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh, didn't mean that I didn't like EdH (although admittedly it isn't my favorite), just that it is so much bolder than KC that it might drown it out! TdH & KC are about the same in terms of strength so they layer well.

  18. Anonymous says:

    R, I don't know why it comforts me to think that there were bolder variations, but it does! Hermes did several flankers for Merveilles, so maybe we'll get some for KC too. Will keep my fingers crossed :-)

  19. Anonymous says:


    you like Eau d'Hermes then… ;-)

    I admit it is weird… sometimes I think twice b4 putting it on…

    All Hermes are great… best mainstream collection…

    I'd love to have them all…. but gotta be a good boy and buy carefully… no impulsive shopping is allowed… ;-(

  20. Anonymous says:

    Adding this to the list of daily perfume prayers.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Love UJsLn and TdH…and I've heard that 'dusty' quality described as gunpowder / flint by others, so I think I understand the velverty-iris. It's just that the iris in Hiris (or better yet Dior Homme) comes off just a tad too powdery for my nose.

    WIll sniff for myself and let you know.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I'll try it, but I am scared of Hermes interpretation of Iris. I have Hiris, which I have given a good three tries and it is simply awful on me. What should be a great iris is the perfume equivalent of red-velvet on metallic brass flocked wallpaper–just repellent. Umm, no, that's not scary enough. Aluminum siding. Pink aluminum siding. That's it. In any case, I'll give it a try just because of your amazing description.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Oh, nowhere near as powdery as Hiris or Dior Homme, I don't think.

  24. Anonymous says:

    LOL at the pink aluminum siding! The iris here is much more subdued, doesn't remind me of Hiris at all.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I see we agree in our respective reviews of this one: pretty, not daring, not much leather, very wearable.

    It's commentable IMO that JCE made a very pretty, sparse and delicate scent for a house which is immersed in luxury and old money. I think it adds a youthful approach to the house without it sounding “silly” or teeny-bobber at all. And that's something in today's market, I guess.

    I can see lots of women wearing this admirably: it's just so soft and iris-rich lovely…

  26. Anonymous says:

    I'm an Ellena fan – he does that understated thing better than anyone else out there. There's such refinement and purity to his blending – that transparent, clean-edged quality is remarkable. I'll definitely sniff this one, even if it's underwhelming (but obviously beautiful for different reasons).

    I'm actually about to splurge on a bottle of Osmanthe Yunnan, a scent that I've grwon to crave after first thinking… hmmm… so what? A bit of tea, a bit of apricot, not much else. That JCE makes some addictive jices…

  27. Anonymous says:

    A lovely friend passed on a decant of this–and the only reason I wasn't disappointed was that I had already read reviews. I thought it was pleasant, but, so far, not much more. After reading your review, I will give it some more chances, but. . . I WANT the perfume in the ad!!:)

  28. Anonymous says:

    I would completely agree — best mainstream collection at the moment.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Helg, all true.

  30. Anonymous says:

    So agree on Osmanthe Yunnan. I liked it very much when it first came out, but it was another I was a bit less enthralled with than I expected. But I reach for it constantly now — it is a really great scent.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The more I look at the ad, the more puzzling I find it. It really makes a statement that the scent can't live up to at all.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I don't know why anything from Hermes as of the past few years hasn't “wowed” me here. I didn't care for Terre d'Hermes at all for me. To me it was ho-hum. I don't care too much for their artisanal series of scents like Ambre Narguile. I know lots of folks love this one. But I thought it smelled like Pink Sugar Aquolina more. Which I dislike. So I coudn't see what all the fuss was about. I much prefer one of their older, more conservative classic scents: Bel Ami (a gorgeous spicey leather scent). I find that one way more distinctive than all this new stuff.
    As for Kelly Caleche, sounds more like a friend of Paris Hilton's than a fragrance to me!

  33. Anonymous says:

    I agree for the floral notes. I think the missing one can be narcissus.

    For me, the opening is not really citrus, sparkling yes, but green like blackcurrant / bucchu. A wink to Amazone !


  34. Anonymous says:

    I don't like the name Kelly Caleche either, but sounds like I like the Hermes fragrances much better than you do :-)

  35. Anonymous says:

    I wondered about narcissus, as JCE mentioned it is one of the floral notes he can smell in leather. But I still think I'm smelling something else, not sure what! Interesting on the blackcurrant, maybe a wink to YSL In Love Again as well? Actually, Rose Ikebana seemed like a reworked In Love Again in some ways.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I wasnt expecting much really. JC has been off his game for a long time – he perfected the formula for creating mineralic smelling simple fragrances and has been living off them for a long time (with a few rare exceptions). FM Angeliques sous ploughie smells like Terre D'Hermes which smells like the Jardin series which smells like Elixir merveilles which smells like Declaration which smells like the original Hermes smash Eau de merveilles (which suprisingly wasnt authored by JC). Where is the JC of VC First and au The Verte? Hes still one of the most respected in the business, and as much as I liked Terre D'Hermes, I believe the man can do much better.

  37. Anonymous says:

    We shall have to agree to disagree, again :-)

  38. Anonymous says:

    I would rather that stores like Sephora and Ulta would push scents like this than the sickly-sweet floral/sugar mismash that dominates most of the mainstream fragrance world.

    This scent is classy, sophisticated, understated, and refined. I see a 30's something lady in classy business attire wearing this. She just had hair done and she is full of confidence! She does not have to scream “look at me.” She knows how intelligent and special she is. Those that take the time to know her are glad they did.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I am assuming it will be at Sephora eventually, but maybe not til nearer the end of the year. Totally agree, it is a great scent.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Robin, I just sniffed this. Might that elusive flower whose name escaped you be. . .heliotrope? My imagination, perhaps, but I seem to detect a whiff. . .

  41. Anonymous says:

    You could be right, but don't think it was what I was thinking of. Still perplexed :-)

  42. Anonymous says:

    Well, I picked up a little sample downtown so will apply my nostrils and analytical powers and see if anything turns up. I'm sure you'll think of that gosh-darn elusive note long before the lightbulb goes on over MY head!

  43. Anonymous says:

    Okay, now, I think I've got it. Lotus????? When I first put nose to wrist, I got just a fleeting shadow of Un Jardin sur le Nil crossing my memory banks, and thought the lotus might be the thing. But, you know, sometimes that peppery metallic floral thing is just the sheerest whisper of a very modern tuberose. Just grasping at fog. . .

    In any case, I do think Kelly is beautiful, in its extremely refined way — the kind of polished, well-behaved scent I admire but don't go running out to purchase. It gets my head, for sure, but not my heart.

  44. Anonymous says:

    You will get the note long before me — I'm not even looking at the moment — too much new to smell! Will have to give it a go over the weekend and see if I can smell lotus.

    I ended up buying it :-)

  45. Anonymous says:

    You know, I've been wearing it all morning — skip the lotus idea, Robin, I was out in left field somewhere, pre-second-coffee — and my heart is following my head. Isn't it LOVELY??? I had thought it a bit too quiet for me, but it kept beckoning from my wrist. It's just this perfectly-calibrated scent (with remarkable sillage for all its understated elegance, actually) that gently creates a subtly beautiful mood. I'm in Kelly world!!!!! Verrrry tempted to buy. . .

    P.S. I've tried to move my comment over a smidge by removing some Re: Re:s in the subject, but don't know if that's how it's done. . .?

  46. Anonymous says:

    The comments nest themselves — nothing you can do but start all over again w/ a new comment instead of using reply.

    You know, it will be at the discounters soon enough, so I'd wait. I just was in the mood for an impulse purchase!

  47. Anonymous says:

    Impulse purchases can be a LOT of fun, can't they? Now I've worn Kelly for a couple of hours, I can see why it's very “you.” It's that gorgeous iris! And I wonder about that note still; I'm not really familiar with mimosa — could that be the thing??

  48. Anonymous says:

    There is definitely mimosa, but I'm smelling something else :-)

  49. Anonymous says:

    How about sycamore?? Light, sweet/dry, woody, soft/sharp? Maybe that's why I keep thinking about Sur le Nil. . .? Gawd, I'm probably beyond left field now and way out in the parking lot. Oh, well. I'm all excited because I've spent a little time re-reading all the comments and I've found myself nodding my head in agreement on all sorts of things. The flinty/iris/gunpowder/powder connection, for example — my nose actually GOT that, and I also made those connections with his other creations: it is probably — no, certainly — the very first time I've actually felt as thought I can sort of, kind of discern a Nose's “style.” Yippee. This is fun.

  50. Anonymous says:

    It does definitely have something in common w/ Terre d'Hermes. Now you have to go try everything else by JCE!

  51. Anonymous says:

    I love your site, R., because I can go to Noses and find out exactly what scents to track down. I've learned so much. SO much more to learn. Thanks. Interesting that the guys seem to be interested in Kelly, too; it just occured to me that, while the ad campaign is clearly geared to women of the horsey set, the juice is quite androgynous. Come to think of it, that's one common thread I've noticed all along, on some subliminal level, with the creations of JCE. They're fine-boned, but also quite firm, dry and linear, if that makes sense.

  52. Anonymous says:

    I would say it's quite typical Ellena's fragrance. First notes are very similar to his Bulgari Extreme. Green and citrus and fresh. Although I always enjoyed Bulgari Extreme now I've got it was never complete. Kelly Caleche is over and done with its notes of iris and rose that soften the aroma. Leather that is declared in the discription is subtle. Notes of high-quality suede have flashed by and disappeared. As for me, Kelly's leather resembles leather of Ellipse (by Fath), which was popular in 80-s. But this is my impression only. And then the perfume openes with grapefruit that reminded me Un Jardin sur le Nil (Ellena's again). Base of the perfume is floral chord with dominating clear rose.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Finally I could smell it!!!

    I spritzed it and weird… I got a lot of fruit… ????

    maybe some grapefruit at the very beginning but afterwards a fruity fiesta… ;-)

    i don't hate it… but i don't adore it either…and reminded me of some men's perfume… for sure some similarities with Terre d'H…

    very Ellena for sure… but not what I was expecting…

    I think I will get myself a bottle of Eau de Merveilles… which I think is much nicer for the colder seasons.

    Gotta have another Hermes!


  54. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that fruity? It is fruity on me, but not overwhelming, and the dry smoke/rock/flint stuff (which to me is the link to Terre d'Hermes) tempers it. Still, not what I was expecting either. It grew on me though, and have bought a bottle now.

    But can't argue with Eau de Merveilles — everyone should have a bottle!

  55. Anonymous says:

    Nice description, thanks!

  56. Anonymous says:

    I will test it again soon, I could manage to get my hands on a large sample of it… so I will give it several tries, most of the time I can have a true opinion on a scent only after trying it out in different occasions.

    Funny how fruity it turned on me, maybe it was one of those crazy skin chemistry days…


  57. Anonymous says:

    >There is another floral note that I recognize but can't seem to call to mind,

    Could it be basil? I finally tried this out yesterday, very nice after it settled but I was on the edge of hating it first. And then that feeling of “where have I smelled this before” bugged me like crazy! I finally had it, the dry-down reminds me of Jo Malone Lime Mandarin Basil. Does it seem so to you?

    Like you, this took a bit to grow on me. On first whiff I was like, “interesting, but so not me”, and now I think I may buy a whole bottle, which I love the look of, BTW.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Seriously?? The JM is not a favorite of mine. Covered w/ scent at the moment but will try them together later.

    The bottle is even nicer in person, I think. Love the cap design.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Compare the dry-down, though, because I don't think the opening had anything in common.

  60. Anonymous says:

    This is beautiful elegant subtle scent.My favorite,my long dreamt of.!

    because this is caleche because this is the bag on the carriage,like this picture :)

  61. Anonymous says:

    And I love Ellena fragrance: osmantus yunnan, and rose, and osmantus Different Company :)) Hurraaaa

  62. Anonymous says:

    I love JCE's fragrances too :-)

  63. Anonymous says:

    Lately found out just from your side that scents which instinctively I choose , very I worship it

    in the most to orginate from Ellena :)) , I was glad.

    And today I smell Kelly , and washable the link with Nesti Dante with the soap special edition 24K, super the scent,

    Then I like myself:roll:

  64. Anonymous says:

    I had the same discovery a few years ago…that lots of the scents I liked were by Ellena. Luckily he has a long list of creations to explore!

  65. Anonymous says:

    Oh, still haven't had the chance to try it out yet, but it sounds like something that I'd be interested in. Just wonder how you would compare this to Jardin sur le nil? I absolutely love Jardin sur le Nil (but not so much for the Mediterranian one), and am considering getting a new bottle of it or this one…thx

  66. Anonymous says:

    Really, not much comparison to JSlN. Closer to other JCE scents, maybe like a cross between Hermes Rose Ikebana & YSL In Love Again w/ some Terre d'Hermes thrown in?

  67. Anonymous says:

    I think that is not similar to Nile Hermes :( ,, dominate is the rose and the leather ,ittle patchuli.Can You try Hiris for a winter:))

  68. Anonymous says:

    to bittergrass: and for a change I propose CARTIER EAU DE CARTIER and cologne thierry Mugler .Really try :)))

  69. Anonymous says:

    to day I have Kelly and one drop of Angel TM , super….:)

  70. Anonymous says:

    Thanks all!

    To TakaBeata: thanks a lot, which do you like best? which has the best staying power?

  71. Anonymous says:

    to Bittergrass : Both are very nice.I think that cartier is more man′s (in spite that it is unisex) than cologne thierry mugler.Cartier has however different concentrations of the water , an extract,concetrat, cologne. But Cologne T M of arguments is very permanent the scent and perhaps more notes will be nearing to Nile :))

  72. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much! I found and tried thierry mugler's today. I does smell like Nile, only that the bottle is not as pretty :P. Have to try Cartier's soon.

    I got to try Kelly as well. Have to say I find it not as exceptional as Nile, it doesn't give me that “wow, I love this smell and I have not smelled anything like this before” feeling. But it does smell very elegant and not overpowering…

  73. Anonymous says:

    to bittergrass. I think as you love Nile then you remain at this scent . Do not seek similar .And for change so that the nose do not be bored ,choose other scent from other a little the line , for example cartier or something with Bvgari au the Blanc, the vert or au the rouge…..and have beautiful bottles. :))

  74. Anonymous says:

    Just bought myself a bottle. Because you had, Robin, that had quite an impact on my decision to keep going back to see what my nose could appreciate. I am really starting to understand JCE and I admire his work greatly. I have grown to love KC and finally took the plunge. It is beautiful — now my favorite JCE.

  75. Anonymous says:

    Hey — now you'll make me feel guilty — don't buy anything because I do, LOL! But am very glad you like it :-)

  76. Anonymous says:

    You just inspired me, that's all! xoxo

  77. Anonymous says:

    Alright then :-)

  78. Anonymous says:

    Just tried Kelly Caleche for the very first time this morning and I LOVE IT !!!

    This is the kind of fragrance I have been looking for for a very long time. Finally something not sweet but classic and sporty and outdoorlike. LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT.

  79. Anonymous says:

    So glad it's found another fan!

  80. Anonymous says:

    Nothing to do with Kelly Caleche , but I am new to this blog and I cannot find my way round to ask a question:

    I really like Un Jardin En Mediterranee by Hermes but i think the scent would really work as my home fragrance…

    Any tips on how to use a body fragrance for home?

    Thank you!

  81. Anonymous says:

    Smelled Jardin en Mediterranee today for the very first time. Do you like the red cedarwood in the basenotes? Makes somehow sense to me to want it for a room but then I would suggest to buy something made of cedarwood, without any laquer or paint and you will have the smell in your room most certainly. You could always spray JeM on cussions, your sofa, your bedlinnen, but I wonder how long that will stay or if it will have the desired effect for you. Interesting question. Am just discovering Hermes myself and really appreciate their fragrances a whole lot!

  82. Anonymous says:

    Hi Monts, I don't see why you couldn't just use it as you would any room spray — just as some of us use room sprays on the body!

  83. Anonymous says:

    Hi Marianne,

    Thank you for your reply. I currenty live in the UK but I was born and grew up by the Mediterranean, I really think Jean Claude Ellena has captured the essence of a mediterranean garden ( a fresh summer morning!)hence the reason I'd love to make my home smell like it.

    Yes, that was my original idea, but I haven't tried it yet and I wasn't sure if that was the only way or if there could be a more lasting method of doing it .


  84. Anonymous says:

    Hi Monts, I have been thinking about that last night but cannot come up with anything better than adding some of the ingredients of Un Jardin en Mediterranee to some fresh found cedarwood together in a room. You know, I have lived around this world quite a bit, but the wonderful scents of so many places will just remain where they are in free nature. They are in my heart and my mind but living in Central Europe now for some time means that what can be found in a precious bottle will have to be enough for the time being. Spraying it all in your rooms is not really an honest option. Treasure the memory of the scents in your heart and someday you will smell it again when you are back. Buy the bottle of Hermes and simply enjoy it on your skin.

  85. Anonymous says:

    true…perhaps I ought to go back home more often… still, it's the effect of that lovely blending what I am chasing and I like the idea of using the right ingredients on found cedarwood, I shall try that.

  86. Anonymous says:

    Tried it again today and am very glad i gave it another go. What was I smelling before?? The initial scent, to me, was rather bland but like the citris note in the Nile one, it fades quickly leaving a soft, light but lingering scent that is slightly sweet but not overpowering. I notice the leather note too, which smells elegant, expensive but young. And yes, you are right, I have hopelessly fallen in love with it.

    I would say it's more feminine than the Nil one, I am comparing them cos Nil is my other favourite. …

  87. Anonymous says:

    Glad you gave it another chance! Worth having this AND Sur Le Nil, I should think :-)

  88. Anonymous says:

    it's funny just how much our expectations project on perception of things. i was really looking forward to kelly caleche and when it finally came out, i was disappointed too. i expected something more raw, leather-wise, less floral. still, after about 20 minutes of wearing it, i though it was not really bad and it was still recognizable as a variation on the original caleche. however, after getting my sample of KC i sniffed and sniffed and came to the conclusion that i actually like it very much. on me it's the rose and mimosa and nice leather, a bit shy, but nice – not like heavy black leather boots but rather subtle like purple sued gloves. like all hermes frangrances, this is a keeper for me

  89. Anonymous says:

    Hi Zara, which other fragrances by Hermes do you really like?

    Recently I bought Kelly Caleche and it's my FAVORITE and maybe I will buy Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, but I'm not yet so familiar with the other ones by Hermes. Is Caleche a good one to try and is it somehow related to Kelly Caleche?

  90. Anonymous says:

    Hi Zara, seriously, they would have done better never to have mentioned the leather at all. They got the leather fiends all excited :-)

    Agree it is a great scent. Doesn't remind me of Caleche though.

  91. Anonymous says:

    I've taken the opportunity to sample other Hermes perfume when I bought Kelly Caleche today (stupid me didn't try Caleche cos the saleslady insisted it's for mature women).

    Eau des Merveilles: fruity sweet but not sickly, more conspicuous and high-pitched than KC

    Sur Le Meditarranee: personally i find it more masculine than Sur Le Nil, i may be wrong cos my nose isn't good, but I detected some woody notes, almost smokey to me, which I don't like

    comparatively, KC is a lot softer and more feminine…. guess Sur le Nil and KC are my fave among this 4….

    Oh and did anyone mention the opening? I love how the spritz thing screwed down with a click!

  92. Anonymous says:

    Exactly, Mediterranee smells somehow smokey/woody. Smokers would like Mediterranee I guess.

    Couldn'f find Caleche, only eau de Ca;eche and wasn't so fond of that one.

    I go for fine leather, not socalled Russian black leather.

  93. Anonymous says:

    The smell is amazing and that's what should be what consumers base their buy on;not the colour,style of bottle,OR the name!One is going to be wearing what's in the bottle and not taping it to their chest and hoping people like how it looks! Most perfumes coming out today have amazing bottles(and clear liquid!) but the smell falters and if more money can be put into making the scent smell as best as it can then that's where the money should be going first!

  94. Anonymous says:

    Agree in principle, but as long as I'm paying ludicrous prices for perfume, I'd just as soon have it in an attractive bottle.

  95. Anonymous says:

    Hermes uses the same design bottle over and over again and I think that is very classy..

  96. Anonymous says:

    true..but have to admit that the bottle meant a lot to me. in fact, i wouldn't even test a perfume if the bottle is horrendous…there are loads of perfumes out there in bottles that I find kind of put-offish, which is handy in a way (narrowing down the choices).

  97. Anonymous says:

    I skip celeb fragrances, that helps too. Some bottles can be hidious indeed but well.. The only bottle that really put me off was the one of Cacharel's Liberte…it was a plastic bottle!! Didn't even bother to try the scent anymore.

  98. Anonymous says:

    Great review! Just bought this as a present for an Aunt I was visiting, and had no idea it existed before I saw it on the shelf. I wanted something classy, subdued, and modern but not girlish, and was debating between this and Provocative Woman. I ended up buying this one, as it seemed a bit more special.

    Agree that it's fresh and fruity in the opening, but the youthfulness of that is toned down pretty quickly (looking at the box, one fears it'd be too young for a 40-year old, but it's really quite sophisticated). The heart reminds me SO much of Bulgari's Red Tea. Not quite as tea-like, but very similar. Like you said, it's definitely one of those “What's that lovely smell? Oh wait, it's ME!” perfumes. The base in particular is very much like the YSL In Love Again base — musk and something else (grapefruit?).

    I am shocked to see the ad for it. It is in no way representative of the perfume. I also don't get any leather at all, just that sort of vegetal, tea-ish note.

    Anyway, thanks again for the review… just hopped on here to see what other people think of the juice! Hopefully my aunt likes it.

  99. Anonymous says:

    Hope your aunt will love it, and that if she doesn't, she'll give it back to you! It really is lovely, and agree the ad is not a good fit.

  100. Anonymous says:

    Kelly Caleche is such a trickster on me! About half the time I get that great “wow, something smells terrific, oh it's me!” effect, and the other half it turned sharp and nostril-wateringly shrewish on me. I accidentally spilled the last drops of my sample in the bathroom sink on vacation in early January, and since I ended on a sharp day I wasn't feeling the loss too badly.
    But but but, I keep finding the scent memories of the good times drifting across my mind and today I put on a sweater I had worn on vacation and not yet drycleaned (probably more than anyone needs to know about the state of my laundry, ha) and I had again the experience of “wow, smells great!”
    So now I am thinking of another tester, or decant, or even bottle…

  101. Anonymous says:

    Love “sharp and nostril-wateringly shrewish”, LOL — great phrase. Sounds like you need another decant :-)

  102. Anonymous says:

    Love the bottle, love the juice. Very clean, sophisticated, very Hermes.

  103. Anonymous says:


  104. Anonymous says:

    I wasn't even going to try this one because of the pink bottle. I hadn't paid too much attention to the release so I assumed it would be a fruity floral, but my fragrance lady had me try it and I was pleasantly surprised. She told me to imagine wearing it while I was traveling in style through Europe in 1946. Usually I don't take that kind of thing seriously, but it totally worked for this one. I'm running through my sample and I think I might have to get a full bottle pretty soon…

  105. Anonymous says:

    LOL — it doesn't call up “traveling in style through Europe in 1946” for me AT ALL, but I love KC & have worn it quite a bit this spring. It's both cheerful & versatile, and worth owning :-)

  106. Anonymous says:

    Hi, do you by any chance have an idea what's the difference between the Kelly Caleche and KC Special edition???

    I encountered it on imagination perfumery… same price, different box, but is it different the scent also? I'm wondering why there's nothing about this special edition in the web… Should I take the risk to order it, or the regular edition…

  107. Anonymous says:

    The only difference is in the packaging, as I understand it. I'd get whatever is cheapest.

  108. Anonymous says:

    Robin, in your expert opinion, would a man be able to wear this? I've tried this out several times now and really like the scent, and don't think it's really all that (traditionally) feminine or girly or pretty or pink?

  109. Anonymous says:

    I think for an expert opinion, you're going to have to ask a man. I think it's very feminine (but not really girly), that said, there are tons of perfumes that strike me as feminine but that a man could pull off, and perhaps it all depends upon the man?

  110. Anonymous says:

    I'm a man and wear it a lot…

    to me seems more masculine than feminine fragrance..

    so you see?

    it really depends on what you get from it rather than just sticking to what the label says..


  111. Anonymous says:

    Perfect, thanks for weighing in on the subject!

  112. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the input! Have ordered a travel-sized bottle. I reckon I'll just have to apply sparingly as too much makes it smell quite sweet and heady on me.

  113. Anonymous says:

    I love it.

    Lord how I love it.

    To me, virtually every time I go to a perfume department (and the girls know me on sight) and am presented with a “this one has just been released!” I am invariably disappointed, as they all have that basic reek of… sameness (I can even place them into sameness subcategories!).

    I am something of a fragrance fanatic, perhaps because I have such a hard time finding a standout. Most are, as you say, “generic department store scents”, and I find it extremely difficult to find something I still like after wearing it for a week. There seems to be a particular note in a great many perfumes that actually makes me feel sick, and most, once on my skin, smell nothing like what they do in the bottle. I also loathe perfumes that change too much as they deepen – some are nice until the base notes show up, and vice versa. So up until now, while there have been a few that come close to being on my “love” list, they have only gone as far as “really like” (made even more difficult by the fact that most of them aren't in the same “category” of scent).

    And then along comes this glorious darling. With the exception of getting a bit warmer, it stays the same on me as when it leaves the bottle. It smells nothing like anything else. There is NOTHING in it that could be found in the latest mass-release, that every second person seems to have marinated themselves in. There are flowers, but very warm, well-bred ones that don't form themselves into a bunch and beat you around the head. There is richness and a certain exoticism – but not stemming from twelve tonnes of amber or musk that will suffocate everyone in close quarters. There's more of an even, gentle allusion to leather rather than an actual strong note – which is good, because, while I do love the smell, I don't particularly want to smell just like my handbag. All of the notes are beautifully blended together so that no one in particular stands out – it's just perfect.

    I really can only sum it up by saying again, that it doesn't remind me of a single, solitary other fragrance in any way AT ALL, and believe me, of the myriad of perfumes I have smelled, this is a very strong statement.

    Hermès, I already adored you for your leather and silk. Jean Claude Ellena, I adore you for this.

  114. Anonymous says:

    Have just heard they're coming out with an EdP version later this year — I'm very excited. Did not get to try the Extrait they released last year, and just as well since I couldn't afford it.

  115. Anonymous says:

    All the time this the best which scent on my body is developed .

    I am interested whether in new scents Hermes also such I will find?

  116. Anonymous says:

    They have a couple new ones coming out:

  117. Anonymous says:

    I was wondering witch concentration of this beauty has more iris?
    I own only Eau des Merveilles and decided to add smth else from Hermes to my collection.

  118. Anonymous says:

    I'm sorry but I've still only tried the original! My local Hermes boutique did not have a tester of the extrait, and last I was there the EdP was not released yet.

  119. Anonymous says:

    I ended up with EdT in the collector box and limited edition of Eau des Merveilles (Head in the stars). And I could not be happier. Actually I think I could easily go only Hermes this year because I already need Hiris, Amazone and every single one of the Jardins.

  120. Anonymous says:

    Did you get to try the other 2 concentrations though, & if so, how were they?

  121. There’s something about all the subtleties in Kelly Caleche that together, create something very original, yet still classic and refined. I love the leather scent- if you don’t know you’re smelling it, you can’t quite out your finger on it. I’m very picky about florals, but every note in KC seems quite balance and it manages to be extremely feminine without smelling sweet or powdery.

    • Robin says:

      It really does have the feeling of a classic scent, yes…and I’ve grown to love it more w/ time.

  122. gabby says:

    I was given a several small testers in February. I wore the EDT for several days and loved it. I got the grapefruit right from the start. Didn’t care too much for the fragrance for the first hour or so, but loved the way it developed after that. Subtle, refined, different. I ended up buying the EDP in March & didn’t like it as much. Too leathery on my skin. Not feminine enough. I wonder if it might smell better on my husband?

    • Robin says:

      Interesting, I don’t think of it as masculine in the least…but perhaps your husband will like it!

  123. I got this for my birthday (definitely unexpected and NOT on my wishlist). Along with a tester of EdP.
    These are two different scents, so if you want Kelly Caleche stick to the EdT. It is exactly like described, and it is very feminine, yet not grily at all, not too much leaher (though sometimes it turns to an old leather book) and very “grown-up”.
    It changes over the hours and stays quietly on your skin.
    It’s the first perfume who somebody picked up for me and it’s perfect. Just me. Should I marry this guy?

    • Robin says:

      Not *quite* enough evidence for marriage, I think ;-)

      • Robin, his name is Robin *lol* and he is a really handsome, intelligent and funny and attractive guy.
        Will wear the scent and wait for a proposal :-)

  124. ..sorry, I mean it is not girly.

  125. jenrab says:

    This has been an interesting read, old though the thread is. I recently got a sample of Kelly Caleche EDT and decided to try it out today.

    Wow–to my nose the leather just jumps out first thing,but not obnoxiously. The citrus and florals are way underneath. It does develop very interestingly as time goes on, and the florals become more prominent, but not particularly rose-y.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a Hermes fan, particularly Eau des Merveilles and Fauborg 24, so my tastes may be skewed in that way.

    This one is a keeper for me.

    • Robin says:

      So glad you love it! Do try the EdP too if you can, it’s lovely.

  126. annunziata says:

    I was in NYC today and while I hoped to try 31, rue Cambon (I have a tiny, beloved decant, and I have wondered if a bigger blast of it would help me to actually smell it for more than a few minutes) I couldn’t find it (I was rushing to an appointment) and impulsively spritzed on some Kelly Caleche. My first impression was of lemon tea and leather; this passed very quickly. Then there were soft florals, and a sort of pulsating fruit note — apricot? I loved the way the fruit came and went. I’ll have to try it again; I don’t always do justice to a perfume when I am tearing around the city. I think I might love it, but am not sure yet.

    • Robin says:

      Try both versions (EdT & EdP) if you can! They’re only slightly different but you might like one more than the other.

  127. Iris says:

    Kelly Caleche finally won me over. The fragrance is complex and needs time to develop. The first few minutes, all I could smell was grapefruit, and I’m so OVER grapefruit in fragrance. It’s everywhere, like cranberries in juice! A few minutes in, the other florals start to amp up, and as it settles down a bit, the leather comes on. Then it smells like where your soft buttery glove meets your dusky floral perfume on your wrist. Refined, unique. Love it for early spring.

    • Robin says:

      So glad you like it.

  128. So, have the EdP which is more grapefruit and more YSL In LOve Again, more *fun* then elegant.

    Someone tried the perfume? This will be different again, but I do not know if more for the Rose (direction Ikebana) oder “thicker” (direction Eau De Merveilles). I would love to add it to my range, but unsniffed it is too much of a pricey risk.

    • Robin says:

      I’ve only tried the EdT & EdP, sorry!

  129. Brigitte says:

    I usually know I won’t like a fragrance if: a) the design department decided pink was the right color for it b) the list of notes includes sweet fruits and/or florals BUT, I love Kelly Caleche and think anyone who might pass it up for these reasons should give it a chance. There’s is something gently unique about this scent, and the leather note is possibly the best leather note I’ve smelled in a fragrance.

    • Robin says:

      It’s a great scent.

    • Pearlymusk says:

      Totally agree. The pink color absolutely did not reflect the real essence of this perfume. Perhaps that could also make it unique! It is pink but doesn’t smell like pink at all! :)

  130. Pearlymusk says:

    This is one great scent, and very affordable too comparing to my three favorites from Dyptique (philosykos) and Lorenzo Villoresi – Teint de Neige, and Creed Love in White… It lingers very well on the skin, and it is a perfect combination, not too flowery, not too leathery, not too musky, it is a perfect mix.. and many people asked me what I was wearing, because it has this interesting combination that no one could really tell, because you can’t tell whether it is mimosa or leather or rose, I could go on and on about this perfume.. another thing is that it has a good staying power. I wore a black lace shirt back in April for a dinner, and was smelling it a few days ago and it still had the scent of Kelly Caleche and I was stunned!! I think women should never have a scent that is over whelming and could be smelled from a far distance, this perfume has it all, very subtle, very chic and quite affordable! Great Post as always Robin, and I am so glad you liked this scent!! :))) the only perfume I am contemplating to stop using is Love in White from Creed, have you smelled it?

    • Robin says:

      Sorry for the very late reply! And sorry to say I am not a fan of Love in White, and Teint de Neige is too much powder for me. I adore Philosykos though!

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