Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sniffing At Hermès- Vanille Galante And More

It's probably not the best idea to sniff anything by Jean Claude Ellena while wearing Robert Piguet Visa (take a minute and let that sink in). Especially when one is not the greatest Ellena fan to begin with. But today's visit to the Hermès boutique was a spur of the moment thing and I was too curious to smell Vanille Galante, the new release from the Hermèssence collection.

I was cautious and started by spraying a card. After all, the last time I tried a new Ellena I was assaulted by the infamous rotting melon juice. But Vanille Galante seemed harmless enough and quite nice, so my wrist was next. It was quite obvious that this was not a Lutenesque vanilla. There's nothing gourmand, thick or yummy about this fragrance. As expected, it was airy, watercolor-like, and the vanilla is only a whisper. Right from the start there were two distinct layers: a pale pink floral and a beautiful smoky, ashy undertone. The flower is a cross between that orchid I get from some vanilla scents and a big lily that smells like my wedding bouquet.

The problem, of course, is the lily. It takes over the scent, and as elegant and fascinating as the initial combination may be, I can't do lily. I get the idea behind this and I wish I could like it, but I just can't. I have a similar issue with L'Artisan Vanillia. The opening always makes me consider buying a bottle, even though I know well what's to follow. Then come the big orchid and gnaws at my wrist until I break down and run ascrubbing. Vanille Galante is at least not a scrubber and I know I will try it again and again, but it is just not meant to be.

Since I was already there, I gave the other Hermèssence a good sniff, just to remind myself why I don't own any. Ambre Narguilé is still a baked apple, Paprika Brasil is as vile as it ever was and Vetiver Tonka is lovely on my husband. I actually wish he liked it better, because I could have lived with sharing a bottle.

After spraying the Blond with Vetiver Tonka, I directed his attention towards the regular line. It's been a while since I've smelled the classic masculines and I wanted to see if he liked any. I had fond memories of Bel Ami, and now I'm kicking myself for not hoarding some of the pre-reformulated juice, because the new stuff, at least on my husband, is extremely cuminy and he does not wear it well. At all. For hours. Until the vile element disappears and it dries down reasonably enough (my opinion. He can't stand it).There was no enthusiasm on his part for any of the other classic Hermès scents, but then again, he was wearing Tom Ford Oud Wood, so it's not really surprising.

One parting thought: Hiris should be released as a parfum. I'm not buying until then.

Image: Bag Snob


  1. Hmm... Bummer.

    I do have an affection for Eau de Hermes, even though it's a Cumin-fest on us both (I'm assuming on the scent-twin thing) I like it on an onanistic way. That and the Orange Vert one that formerly didn't have a name which is a fave from my yoof. That, and it's sitting in eyeshot. Can't think of much else from the house that interesting. Certainly not "Attack of the Melons", at least on me.

  2. I am also a huge Visa fan and recommend the new kelly caleche pure perfume. I think you will love it.


  3. Thx for this post, you just saved me a trip to Hermes (as if that's ever a bad time!).

    Has anyone been able to get a whiff of Brooklyn or Astor Place (Bond No. 9's upcoming launches)?

    I am so curious...and so ready to something new and fabu...

  4. I got a lot of ylang ylang out of VG. Not necessarily my favorite note. I love what JCE did w/ the vanilla, wish it had a stronger presence.

  5. I realize I'm commenting way late-but had to remark that the opening to VG reminds me of the original (not the reformulated) Amazone.


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