Perfume Review: Hermes Terre d'Hermes
Experience taught me that it is better not to have high hopes for new perfume releases, no matter how exciting their descriptions. I also know the danger of trying to foresee (foresmell?) the way an upcoming fragrance would actually smell. In reality, many new launches either can’t live up to one’s high expectations or are completely different from what one envisaged them to be. Terre d’Hermes turned out to be an exception to this Rule of Low Expectations in that it was as good as I hoped it would be and smelled more or less exactly as I imagined it would smell. I must add that, although marketed by Hermes as a masculine scent, Terre d’Hermes is most decidedly and delightfully unisex.
Described as a “vegetable and mineral” fragrance, “made without animal by-products or musk”, Terre d’Hermes has a simple, uncluttered composition. On my skin all notes are apparent at once and stay that way from start to finish, and yet this lack of development does not make the scent seem uninteresting. I must also add that when I say “all notes”, I really mean the four that are most evident on my skin: grapefruit, vetiver, pepper and what I call an “earth” accord. The latter is a raw, rooty combination of cedar, benzoin and patchouli, but the blend is so smooth, it is hard to tell where the cedar ends and the patchouli begins; I perceive this combination as a single note evoking moist, clean, black soil and grey rounded stones that are cool to the touch. I have never been a big fan of grapefruit, especially in combination with pepper, but here it somehow works absolutely wonderfully. Grapefruit, vetiver and pepper balance and compliment each other, they are sparkly, spicy, they have a kick, they have a bite and yet they are also remarkably calm and serene. Chandler Burr assessed Terre d’Hermes perfectly when he called it “quietly remarkable”. The fragrance is simple and elegant, light yet somehow satisfyingly “substantial” all at the same time. Terre d’Hermes is the proof that, when done right, with subtlety and style, in other words, when done by Jean-Claude Ellena, less definitely becomes more.
Says Pablo Neruda:
“When I lived among the roots,
They pleased me more than flowers did,
And when I spoke to a stone,
It rang like a bell.”
Terre d’Hermes is available at Hermes.com, $90.00 for 3.3oz.
*The first image is from Hermes.com, the second from istockphoto.com.
An afterthought and further proof of the wonderfullness of Terre d'Hermes: seldom do we all agree so much on a perfume; for other very positive reviews of this scent, please read Bois de Jasmin, Now Smell This, Peppermint Patty and Scentzilla.