Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rouge Hermes And Parfum d'Hermes- Who's Afraid of Powdery Scents?


Five or six years ago I got a mini of Rouge because the little red bottle was irresistible and I thought that an oriental was a safe bet. But I was so overwhelmed by the powderiness and less-than-contemporary feel (said the woman who wears Caleche and most of the classic Guerlains), and ended up giving it away. I stayed away from Rouge until a few months ago, when a quick sniff at my local Hermès boutique showed me why when it comes to perfume, never say never.

I started wearing it again, first from another mini and later a full bottle and all of a sudden it clicks. Yes, Rouge is still powdery and sweet in a non-gourmand way, it's a rose-amber scent with a spicy resinous core that smells like it belongs in another decade. It's one of those scents that some discounters site would say "recommended for evening wear", but I don't really care and wear it whenever I'm in the mood, just because. Then again, I'm not exactly the jeans and t-shirt type, even when going for groceries, so I guess Rouge goes with my shoes.

Rouge is actually an updated version of the 1986 Parfum d'Hermes, which is still available (but only in EDT). My bottle is of an older (though not the 80s original) parfum extrait, which is a bit darker and richer than the current version. It starts with a vicious and malicious burst of aldehydes which make me question my sanity in buying and wearing the thing, but quickly moves past it, into a thick, sweet, playdough-ish and very perfumy realms. I find Parfum d'Hermes to be less powdery than Rouge with quite a bit of sparkle. They both feel retro, like polka dot accessories and have a plastic doll note somewhere in the drydown, but I find them pleasant and pleasing.

Both Rouge and Parfum d'Hermes smell loud on top but settle rapidly into a very manageable respectable sillage. They rarely last more than 4-6 hours and don't project too much (I tested them while working out. Everyone survived). My guess is that with the wrong skin chemistry it can be disastrous, but lovers of proper florientals have a good chance of loving both PdH and Rouge with their lack of fresh or fruity notes. The bald guy running after you, muttering that this is "an embarrassing mess" and "heavy on the stomach" is Luca Turin. Just sniff your wrist and ignore him.

Both Rouge and Parfum d'Hermès are available from Hermès stores and online, $140 for 100 ml, but at least Rouge can be found found at discounters in the discontinued 1.7 oz bottle (not to mention the mini) for significantly less. I'm talking under $40, which raises the question of Hermès involvement in the gray market, but that's a whole separate discussion.

9 comments:

  1. I've learned to ignore Luca.

    While we're scent twins I don't think this is quite me. I would however love to smell it on you...

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  2. Tom, I fully agree- both about ignorng Luca (he hated Musc Maori!), and that you really shouldn't wear Rouge. Scent twins as we are, this is just too much on the femme side. You'd smell good, but it'd be a little like wearing drag.

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  3. I fell in love with Rouge at first sniff, although I only wear it occasionally.

    I wonder if the formula for Parfum d'Hermes has been changed? I recently swapped for this (in the new bottle), and it doesn't smell as nice as Rouge; it's less powdery, yes, but it doesn't have that gorgeous va-va-voom hiding beneath the powder that Rouge does. Hmm, I expected to like it more than I like Rouge, since it was the precursor. What do you think?

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  4. Poodlegirl, while I don't know for sure (wouldn't it be good if companies were forced to list formula dates on the bottle?), since the current Parfum d'Hermes is a re-issue, I'd bet money on a reformulation. I also wouldn't be surprised to learn there was another formula change after they discontinued the parfum and left us with the current EDT.

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  5. Ha! I only just read this post of yours today, after writing my own "ignore him" comment re: Turin yesterday.

    We may not like the same fragrances, but we do agree on the important things. ;)

    BTW: I think if we were ever in the same room, our respective SOTD's would engage in a dramatic cage match.

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  6. Nathan, I love the image of our SOTD fighting for dominance. So funny! I guess I'll just have to bring my scent twin and together with him unleash our MKK on you ;)

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  7. *pops in the pop-corn and waits for Luca to get alerted by his own name feeds to come and smack you down in familiar intervening mode*

    (NB: Not that I disagree with you both concerning your having a pretty good point, because I don't!)

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  8. E., Luca is welcome to try ;) I'll spray him with a Mona do Orio perfume until he begs for mercy.

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  9. almost a year late but not sorry!

    love this post. I had a similar experience with Rouge - initially gagged and now I love/like it.

    I need to try PdH again. Since I love Caleche and 24 Faubourg I don't imagine I wouldn't like PdH...

    your last line about LT is a riot.

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