Hermes Cuir d’Ange ~ fragrance review & quick poll

Hermès Sac à Dépêches

I said when I reviewed Épice Marine that a new fragrance in the upscale Hermessence range from French house Hermès always makes me happy, even when I don’t love the juice. Part of the reason is that they rarely bore me, and another factor is that the relatively easy availability of the 15 ml bottles means I can get some if I want it.1 So the news of the latest (and the 12th in the series), Cuir d’Ange, was welcome, although I find now that every new fragrance from Hermès brings with it a little twinge of anxiety: will it be the last from house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena? (Please, Mr. Ellena, don’t retire just yet.)

I tend to divide the Hermessences into three categories: the few I don’t care about at all (sorry, Paprika Brasil), the few that I need in 100 ml (Osmanthe Yunnan!), and the rest, which I generally need in 15 ml (Vanille Galante, for instance). Sometimes I’m wrong, of course; I think I’m now on my third 15 ml bottle of Vetiver Tonka and my second of Rose Ikebana, and I’m heading fast towards another bottle of Brin de Réglisse. Cuir d’Ange, for now, is going in the 15 ml category — I’d like to own some but I’m not at all sure I’d run through 100 ml…

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Pinaud Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum & Providence Perfume Co Bay Rum ~ fragrance review

Pinaud Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum & Providence Perfume Co Bay Rum

Until a sample of Providence Perfume Co Bay Rum cologne showed up in my mailbox, I’d been vaguely curious about Bay Rum colognes, but not enough to track one down. I’d seen darling straw-thatched bottles of Bay Rum in hat stores by the cash register and the odd retro-looking bottle at a family-owned drugstore. But I couldn’t tell you what Bay Rum smelled like. Well, now I can. And I like it.

According to Wikipedia, Bay Rum cologne is a West Indies cologne, probably originating in Saint Thomas, made from rum, the leaves and berries of the West Indian bay tree (not the culinary bay you might be more familiar with), and spices such as clove and cinnamon. In short, it’s a warm, spicy scent that lovers of linear, spicy fragrances along the lines of L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two and Laura Mercier Minuit Enchanté might want to investigate…

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Histoires d’Eaux Ete Indien ~ fragrance review

Histoires d'Eaux Été Indien

It seems like an appropriate time of year to try a fragrance named for “Indian summer,” so I was pleased when a sample of Histoires d’Eaux Été Indien recently came my way. Histoires d’Eaux is an Italian niche perfume house with French names and a collection inspired by an imaginary “chansonnier” of the 1950s who tells his life story through his song lyrics. (I think I got that correct.) Été Indien was developed by perfumer Dominique Gindre and includes notes of elemi, bergamot, clary sage, geranium, patchouli, vanilla, tolu balsam, styrax and labdanum.

As you can guess by that list, Été Indien is an oriental composition with an amber theme…

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Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu ~ fragrance review

Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu, Catherine Deneuve and a Neanderthal

How many people know what REAL patchouli smells like? It seems fewer and fewer perfumistas have smelled “dirty” natural patchouli. The patchouli most used in perfumes these days is clean and crease-less, its damp/dank, earthy/root-y character has been dimmed or eliminated. Brutish, chest-thumping patchouli has been replaced in designer fragrances with patchouli that could be characterized as either an elegant lady or a freshly laundered, cuddly teddy bear who has cocoa-scented breath, with a dab of vanilla extract behind each ear.

Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu doesn’t go the ladylike or gourmand routes; its patchouli retains a natural “edge.” If real patchouli is Homo neanderthalensis and contemporary patchouli is Homo Catherine Deneuve, Tom Ford Patchouli (Absolu) is…Tom Ford himself…

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Comme des Garcons + Pharrell Williams Girl ~ fragrance review

Comme des Garcons + Pharrell Williams Girl

Regular readers can probably already guess that I was barely aware of Pharrell Williams’ existence before he announced his debut fragrance with Comme des Garçons, Girl — he’s not the first celebrity that entered my radar via perfume, and he won’t be the last. In the interest of research, I did listen to a couple of songs while writing this review (Happy got stuck in my head for several hours, thank you) but other than that, I still know little enough. He’s won some Grammys, and everyone but me knows who he is.

With any luck, Happy will not be an ongoing earworm, but Girl will almost certainly take my vote for celebrity fragrance of the year. Of course, it hasn’t all that much competition in that category, and perspective does matter. If you adore Pharrell Williams but have never tried anything from the Comme des Garçons brand or the perfumer (Antoine Lie), Girl might be a surprise, and if the reviews on Sephora are to be believed, it may or may not be a good surprise. If you’re a big fan of celebrity perfumes and want something a little more sophisticated than the usual fare on offer — and you don’t mind paying more — Girl could be just what you’ve been waiting for. If you’re a perfumista and a longtime Comme des Garçons fan, Girl might strike you, as it did me, as hardly the best they can do, but an awful lot better than it might have been…

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