Monday, March 31, 2014

Hermès- Epice Marine Hermèssence


Hermèssence  Epice Marine is for those who want to be repulsed and fascinated by their perfumes at the same time. The marriage of aquatic notes and cumin can be as nightmarish as they come, depending on how you feel about either (or both). Yest, there's something about the way  Epice Marine sits on the skin and interacts with it that makes me unable to detach my nose from my wrist, even as I observe, almost from afar,  that my stomach is flipping.

The "epice" in Epice Marine is straight up cumin. Supposedly there's also cardamom, cinnamon, and even sesame, but I smell none of that. The cumin burns through everything else. It's not a dense cumin, and I don't smell the Arab spice market of Serge Lutens, but it is cumin: warm and pungent-- up to a point. The first twist in Jean-Claude Ellena's vision is that the cumin becomes cumin water, and makes me think of a cumin shower gel, sort of like Declaration (Cartier), another Ellena creation.

The watery element is, indeed, marine. Unfortunately, I don't smell the actual ocean as much as every aquatic men's cologne from the 1990s and 2000s. I didn't like them then, and I don't like them now, even in an overpriced Hermès Hermèssence bottle.I smell with interest as the waves of cool water are being drown with even cooler water: frozen vodka on ice, with a slice of lemon. I don't like this either, but it is a fascinating transformation, and it does wash away most of the cumin, leaving it as a mildly spiced sort-of vetiver.

Do I want to wear it and smell like Epice Marine? Not particularly. I don't even want to be around someone else who wears it if he or she smells the way I do. But I enjoy the ride and the thought behind it. That has to be something, right?

Notes: cumin, hazelnut, sesame, cinnamon, cardamom, bergamot, sea notes, whiskey, vetiver and oakmoss.

Hermès- Epice Marine Hermèssence ($245.00 100 ml EDT) is available from Hermes boutiques and hermes.com.

9 comments:

  1. Ick! I despise cumin. This would have to be the raunchiest smelling stuff out there.

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  2. Hee! I actually LOVE the smell of cumin. Are there any perfumes with strong cumin notes that you would recommend?

    Thanks, and thanks for your wonderful blog!

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    Replies
    1. Squirrely's suggestions below are great. I'll also add Lutens' Arabie and Amouage Fate Man.

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  3. I'm going to stay away from this one, but I just wanted to say I really love that picture of the Seahorse.

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  4. Jennifer, Serge Lutens Fleur d'Oranger is orange blossoms and a heavy dose of cumin, and Santal de Mysore also has a noticeable dose.

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  5. For a brief moment I thought this might be an April Fool's day post. Watery notes and cumin. Then I realized that, no, it wasn't. Hermes did indeed release this. But I haven't been able to bring myself to try it yet. I love cumin. I love vetiver, whiskey and the other spice notes listed. But mixed with aquatic notes? Aquatic notes are a very hard sell for me under the best of circumstances, but...with cumin? Nice, warm, earthy cumin? Yikes! Can't help the recoil reflex from kicking in. Still, your post has me intrigued enough that I'm going to order a sample. Curiosity wins the day.
    Anna

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  6. I like and even adore several of the Hermèssances. I wanted to at least like Epice Marine, but the toasted/roasted cumin/hazelnut/sesame note(s) with the salt water note, made my stomach turn... Hadn´t read anyone else mentioning that, so I thought I was alone with this "visceral" reaction. The toasted/roasted spice gourmandish spice notes together with that salt water was not my thing - at all. But, yeah, still interesting. Haven´t smelled anything quite like it... :-)

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  7. Your review makes this sound very intriguing and challenging and not in an in your face way. Or maybe it's my love of sea horses?? Something to wear to the Cod Fish Ball?

    Kathy

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    Replies
    1. Should have made clear, "Cod Fish Ball" is a song, and lovers of mid-20th Century cartoons should go to YouTube and check out the wacky fun "Cod Fish Ball" one.

      Kathy

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