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Monday, January 16, 2006

Perfume Review: Hermes Osmanthe Yunnan

Osmanthe Yunnan, “inspired by a stroll through Beijing's Forbidden City”, is the fifth and newest scent in the Hermèssence Collection, created for Hermès by Jean-Claude Ellena. With notes of yunnan tea, orange, osmanthus, freesia, and apricot, this is a gentle scent of tea subtly infused with osmanthus and fruits. Having seen both apricot and osmanthus (which has a fruity-floral apricot-like aroma) among the notes, I was a little worried that Osmanthe Yunnan would be a little too heavy on apricot, a little too fruity. It is not. It is a tea scent first and foremost, to my nose, with fruity and floral notes only serving as a delicate, gauzy, summery background.

Yunnan tea has an intense, thick taste; in Osmanthe Yunnan this almost-spicy richness of Yunnan tea is toned down; in its turn Yunnan tea accord lessens the potential sweetness of fruits and freesia. All that makes Osmanthe Yunnan one of the most understated, light and neutral fragrances I have ever tried. The only bright accord here is the freesia note that, on my skin, is among the top notes. It subsides very quickly however, and from then on the scent is a rather dry, transparent aroma of (mostly) tea and (to a much lesser extent) fruits. As the scent dries down, I can finally smell the orange note, but it is very quiet and muted.

Osmanthe Yunnan would be great worn on very hot summer days or in situations and surroundings where scents with more oomph are frowned upon. I am not sure, however, that I am prepared to pay the price ($180.00 for 100ml) for the perfume that has this little presence. Perhaps I will finally purchase a Discovery Set of four 15ml Hermèssences and then I will include Osmanthe Yunnan as one of the choices ($125.00 for four 15ml bottles). Both full bottles and Discovery Sets are available exclusively in selected Hermès stores.

*The photo of Golden Osmanthus is from

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Blogger Marina said...

Maybe wait till summer to try it? I thnk that I if I tried it in hot weather I probably would have liked it more. Right now it is just too...pale and cold. :-)

10:13 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am going to give this another try when the weather is warmer. I think it would just the thing for hot summer days. Right now sweeter, thicker scents seem more appealing, Peach LOL

11:51 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, is that what they are going to do with the discovery sets -- let you choose any 4? That would be wonderful news, I had assumed they would up the price and give you all 5.

2:01 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Now that you said it, I am not sure...if it's 4 or 5 and whether you can choose your own scents. I thought you could. Hmmm...

2:16 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

*agog* You despise Nazgul...erm..narguile??? I can't be your scent-sister then, Patty. Ambre Narguile is an integral part of my Top 5 list. Oh well...more for me! LOL

4:17 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Aww, sorry about that...oh well, plenty more scents out there for us to enjoy, right? :-)

10:09 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

After reading your comment, I have such a craving for a nice cuppa. :-) I am to go brew some tea.

4:58 PM EDT  
Blogger IndomitableSabrin said...

Hi, I've just by chance read your review of this lovely perfume. What a beautiful essay. Many thanks.I confess, I am totally hooked by this one. However, I just have 2 bottle of 5ml one. I desperatelly need 100ml one. But I can't find where I can buy it although I've searched lots of websites. Would you like introduce me from which website I could get it please? I am living in Belfast where I can't find Hermas shop. Desperately waiting for your answer.

Best whishes to you

3:19 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tea is beautiful but that tart fruity note totally ruins it for me.

11:06 PM EDT  

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