Perfume Review: Hermes Ambre Narguile
Ambre Narguile is a part of Hermèssence collection, an exclusive line of fragrances created for Hermès by Jean-Claude Ellena. Meant to evoke cashmere, it does indeed envelope the wearer in a warm, soft, luxurious embrace. The Narguile part of the name refers to a traditional Middle Eastern device for smoking, also known as a water pipe, narghile/arghileh, shisha, hookah, hubble-bubble, or kalian. It is a pipe with a long flexible tube connected to a container where the smoke is cooled by passing through water. The sweet, fruity and smoky shisha tobacco accord of Ambre Narguile is my favorite part of this wonderful scent.
Apart from shisha tobacco, there are so many facets to Ambre Narguile. It is a fragrance that never stops developing. Never abrupt, the changes it undergoes are constant; because they are so subtle and nuanced, the changes are also very hard to describe. To depict the development of Ambre Narguile briefly and simplistically, it starts as a sweet, honeyed amber, acquires a deliciously smoky and at the same time caramel-like accord, attains a somewhat drier woody note, gets sweeter yet again, smelling amazingly like the Gerber Dutch Apple dessert consisting of apples and cinnamon that both my three year old and I like so much… Finally, the scent reaches that incredible, almost edible (and smokeable) stage of shisha tobacco that I find absolutely irresistible. It is a mouthwatering accord of amber, apples and tobacco, still sprinkled with a little bit of cinnamon.
I absolutely agree with Chandler Burr in his assessment of this scent when he says that ”it is not merely the best; there is simply nothing like it on the market, period. And no one will ever do it as well again.” Ambre Narguile is one of the most delicious fragrances ever created, it is gourmand but not foody, sweet but not cloying, smoky but not overly so, centered around amber but much more complex then simply an amber-based scent. To quote Mr. Burr yet again, Ambre Narguile “warms the air. It renders you mouthwatering.”
This delicious concoction can be purchased at Hermes boutiques either as a 100ml bottle (for, I believe, approximately $185.00), or as a part of a Discovery Set of four 15ml bottles (you can choose between Ambre Narguile, Poivre Samarcande, Vetiver Tonka, Rose Ikebana and Osmanthe Yunnan; the set costs about $125.00; correct me if I am wrong).
*The painting is Narguile by Alberto Vargas. I will leave you with some more paintings featuring water-pipes.
Caterpillar Smoking a Narguile by John Tenniel