There is no scent that is luxurious

There is no scent that is luxurious. It’s what we do with it that makes it luxurious. Otherwise, how will we know when something is luxurious? The supreme luxury is to take time, and we have time at Hermès. When we develop perfume at Hermès, we can take two to three to four years to do it. It’s unique. What we are creating together is for 2015 or 2017.

— Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, from Q&A: Hermès’s Perfumers on Luxury, Perfume Bloggers, and Nighttime Scents at NY Mag.

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Hermes Jour d’Hermes Absolu ~ perfume review

Jour D'Hermès Absolu visuals

So how much do you care about a perfume’s lasting power? If it’s an important issue to you, you probably weren’t impressed with Jour d’Hermès, the 2012 release from French luxury brand Hermès. I’ve seen it described as radiant, and translucent, and luminous (all fitting adjectives for a scent from from perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena), but nobody claimed it was a powerhouse. Personally, lasting power is only rarely a concern of mine. I’m disappointed if a perfume fizzles out in 45 minutes, but I’m not at all concerned if a perfume doesn’t make it through the day — ideally, I’d like a perfume to smell lovely for about 4 hours and then disappear altogether. I’m not sure if Jour D’Hermès actually manages a full 4 hours, but it comes close enough for my purposes.

Still, a slightly more full-bodied version would be appealing, and the new Jour D’Hermès Absolu sounded like it would fit the bill, and might also provide an interesting variation on the original — sort of like the Eau de Parfum version of the original Kelly Caleche Eau de Toilette. And that’s about how it works out…

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Hermes Terre d’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche ~ fragrance review

Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche

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…

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Hermes Bel Ami Vetiver ~ fragrance review

Hermes Bel Ami Vetiver visual

One of my most memorable introductions to a perfume happened in Mexico, when a child-shopkeeper handed me, with grace and a touch of theatricality, a bottle of original Bel Ami by Hermès. It was not love at first sniff (even though I bought a bottle immediately) but now, if some evil genie commanded I use only five perfumes for the rest of my life, Bel Ami would be one of the five…even one of three (if the genie were especially nasty and restrictive).

I was excited to try the tweaked Bel Ami — Bel Ami Vétiver — but was wondering if the light touch of perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena would make the perfume too contemporary for me. With a bottle of original Bel Ami in one hand, and a sample of new Bel Ami Vétiver in the other…here goes…

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