It would not really be accurate to say I was worried about what perfumer Christine Nagel would do when she took over as house perfumer at Hermès. Plenty of other things keep me up at night, but not that. But certainly I wondered if Hermès would continue to take the bulk of my perfume-spending dollars, or if I’d have to find a new BFF brand to empty my wallet every so often. What I think of as the transitional fragrance duo — Eau de Rhubarbe Écarlate and Eau de Néroli Doré — that marked the passing of the baton from perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena,1 added to the uncertainty, given that I lost interest in Nagel’s Rhubarbe Écarlate within 30 minutes but fairly quickly bought a small bottle of Ellena’s Néroli Doré (and I’m still sorely tempted by the matching body products).
But perhaps I was too quick to judge. Nagel’s first pillar outing, Galop d’Hermès, is darned good, and while it makes its own way, it also eases comfortably into the brand’s existing line up…
A new Sephora just opened directly on the route of my daily commute, so I stopped in last week to check it out and try a few new fall fragrances. My eye was caught by the sleek black bottle of Giorgio Armani Sì Intense, a flanker to 2013’s Armani Sì. It was released elsewhere in 2014, but it just arrived in the United States this month.
The promotional boilerplate for this perfume reads, “The new version of Sì is designed for a strong and passionate woman who is brave and not afraid to take risks. Such a woman is conceived as very charismatic, confident, independent and sophisticated.” It was developed by perfumers Christine Nagel and Julie Massé, and its composition includes notes of black currant, mandarin, bergamot and freesia; rose de mai, neroli, davana and osmanthus; patchouli, vanilla, ambroxan and woods.
When I sprayed Sì Intense on my wrists at Sephora, I swooned with pleasure and momentarily considered purchasing a bottle then and there…
What I wanted was, when someone wears Galop, for you to say 'oh, you're wearing Galop’. I wanted to create this memorable thing, this signature, this hallmark that you recognise perfectly.
— Perfumer Christine Nagel, on the new Galop d’Hermès. Read more at Introducing Galop d'Hermès: The Scent of Modern Luxury at AnotherMag.