Monday, January 11, 2010

Hermes- Terre d'Hermes (EDT)

I'm not a morning person. It has become even more evident in the last couple of years as I'm finding it hard to function in the morning and require strong tea and silence before I can even make the bed. While the husband and felines are mostly understanding of this, sometimes the rest of the world requires my involvement and engagement. This means even more tea. And a perfume to get me going.

These are the times I reach for the masculine scents. My husband's collection of vetiver fragrances are always good for this purpose, but the one that always delivers and makes me feel energized and ready to go is Terre d'Hermes. The funny thing is that despite  its "pour homme" label,  the Terre d'Hermes  bottle is mine and the husband never wears it.

I got him a sample three years ago and neither one of us was impressed with the way the scent connected with his skin. It was a sharp, bitter orange that dried down into a flat artificial ceder with too much pepper. I considered it another proof that the minimalistic style of Jean-Claude Elena was not something I enjoyed. no matter how much Macgyvering he did with his ingredients, I could still smell the paperclips and wires, or in this case, the Iso E Super. Fast forward a year or two. I was out smelling and testing men's colognes in search of something for my father. My dad and I both have a very dry skin and perfumes smell on us pretty much the same (growing up I avoided my mother's Chloe like the plague while I always liked to try his colognes on myself). The SA at Saks desperately tried to convince me I was at the wrong counter and should try the lovely this or that from Annick Goutal. She had a hard time accepting I was testing something for a man on my own skin. I ignored her.

I was thinking about Hermes' Bel Ami but they didn't have it. Half distracted I sprayed one wrist with Eau d'Orange Verte that evaporated right under my nose, and for comparison- I applied Terre d'Hermes to my other wrist. Cue the violins.

I bought a large bottle for my father, who is a perfume serial monogamist and sprays with joy and abandon, and a small one for myself. I've been wearing it since then. I could tell immediately that it was significantly different than the way it smelled on my husband. Yes, there's orange in the opening, mostly the peel, both fresh and charred. And some grapefruit. But it was not the average citrus scent. It's not trying for  a lightweight freshness and is not something a person would wear if his or her goal is to not be noticed. Terre d'Hermes has a strong presence, even if it evokes the natural elements (the perfume's tag line has always been "the essence of earth and sky").

Terre d'Hermes moves between flavors. The wood is peppery and dry, the earth is salty and rich in minerals. It's warm and sun-baked, with bits that shine in the light and others that are smooth like a piece of wood that had weathered wind and water. I like to think of it as shortcut for twelve rounds of sun salutations in the morning. My old yoga teacher would probably beg to differ, but he's not the one who needs to deal with me when I first wake up.

In scenthead's popular culture there's a long-standing disagreement about Terre d'Hermes that has lead to countless notorious debates on the Basenotes forums. It enjoys the same status as Mugler's A*Men- some think it's made of awesome, others think it's overrated dreck. The funny thing is that I accidentally discovered that they layer well together, which I know sound utterly sick, but at least on me it works. Of course, you'll never be able to get rid of the smell-  they are extremely long-lasting, and Terre d'Hermes even survives a shower the next day.

Terre d'Hermes in EDT form (there's also a pure parfum version that was launched last year and is beautiful but somewhat different)  officially retails for $75 (1.6 oz) at Hermes boutiques and most decent department stores, but an online search would show you some discounters sell it for less.


1 comment:

  1. I picked up a sample last week, and found that except for the opening notes (which I find incredibly beautiful), and occasionally recurring citrus peel notes, I am anosmic when it comes to the rest. I find that occasionally with J.C.Ellena's work. For example even though I love Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, I frequently can't smell it; I can never wear it 2 days in a row, and there have to be long gaps between wearings.

    I wonder if it is his embrace of man-made scent molecules?

    I have the same sensation in my nose when I try to smell Terre d'Hermésas when I try to smell La Chasse Aux Papillions now... it used to be one of my favourite perfumes, but I can't smell what is in recent bottles (although I can older ones). I now suspect they have reformulated, and have substituted a natural material with a man-made one. I am heartbroken.



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