All my adult life, I've been employed in offices where perfume was adored by my co-workers. (Yes, my passion for fragrance sometimes fueled this interest.) As I wore new perfumes each day, stocked up on samples of rare and unusual and hard-to-find colognes, almost everyone in my office wanted to smell what I was wearing, give me their on-the-spot reviews, serve as “second-skin” guinea pigs, and enjoy all the samples I gave them.
That atmosphere vanished last winter when I began working in a place where few people wore perfume (and nobody had any interest in it). Though there was not a "no-perfume" office policy, I immediately started wearing light, citrus-y perfumes at work, perfumes that didn't extend their reach far beyond my person. I've been preparing for summer by making a list of possible new perfume candidates for office-friendly wear. Hermès Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche shot to the top of my list.
I like original Terre d'Hermès (2006), but I've never bought a bottle…though I've come pretty close. Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche, a new version of Terre d'Hermès, was developed by perfumer Jean Claude Ellena and it just hit the stores. Described by Hermès as “a dialogue between bitter orange and woody notes and a clash between the solidity of earth and the freedom of citrus” I immediately got a visual image: an orange tree, dust swirling around its trunk, leaves and ripe fruit fluttering and jiggling in a strong wind; a scent blend of earthy and fruity notes.
Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche and Terre d'Hermès share a similarity in their base notes (a smooth, sheer blend of residual bitter orange, cedar, and, perhaps, some vetiver) but their openings differ: Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche has a more vibrant start — a gust of bitter orange peel, with a definite “sweaty” vibe. (Terre d'Hermès' opening also has orange, but it’s more opaque and milder).
Unfortunately, what came to mind immediately when I sniffed Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche were two perfumes, similar in character, that I like better: the powerhouse citrus Parfum d’Empire Yuzu Fou and the delicious, spicy, funky (used to hate it, now love it) Frédéric Malle Cologne Bigarade / Bigarade Concentrée (also by Ellena) — both these perfumes have more oomph and personality and lasting power than Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche. Of course, if your hope is to tone down the "personality" of those type citrus fragrances, to make them more well-mannered, then Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche may make you smile…and buy. Me? I like Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche, but I prefer jagged-edged citrus.
Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche has good (close-to-the-skin) lasting power, and minor sillage (and would be perfect for office, airplane, theater settings). If you own original Terre d'Hermès, I don’t see why you'd need or want Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche (unless you desire a lighter version).
As for my office perfume predicament: I've bid adieu to the (almost) scentless company. At my next gig, if they're interested, I'm ready for the “training and development” of a whole new bunch of office mates in the pleasures of fragrance.
Hermès Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche is available in 125 ml Eau de Toilette, $115.