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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

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, $90.00 for 3.3oz.

*The first image is from, the second from
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.

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Blogger Trina said...

Wow! I swear, you need to stop sending lemmings my way! It's just not fair.

4:20 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, I just returned from a trip to find--new lemmings! Actually, I was already lemming this--but you made it sound even more desirable. And your post yesterday on Ciste18 really intrigued me. But I am trying to be restrained for a little while, so. . .we shall see.

9:03 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

What can I say...I need this one, you need this one, we all need this one for spring and summer! :-D

9:38 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Welcome back! I hope you had a nice trip.
I am very excited about that new Le Labo line. It is a shame they don't have a site and a sample program yet. :-(

9:39 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

The end of the world is upon us, that's for sure. I don't think this has ever happened with any other scent.

PS. The Mystery Packs were sent yesterday. :-)

10:29 AM EST  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

hey, you've changed things since I was last here. Love the lady at the top of the page!

This doesn't sound like one for me but a great review as always. :-)

11:09 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! All the gorgeousness you see here is the work of Katie (Scentzilla, Seldom Nice Nowadays)!!

12:02 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Definitely a remarkable thing! Now let's see what we all think of the Le Labo scents :-)

12:06 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

What, no Baudelaire?!?! I'm not sure you REALLY loved it.... (kidding, kidding) Okay you guys win I have to try this one.

PS Wearing your Cologne Blanche today.

1:17 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I love Neruda as much as Baudelaire, so if I start quoting either, it is a sure sign I like the perfume quite a bit :-)

PS So how is Cologne Blanche?

1:21 PM EST  
Blogger katiedid said...

Ach, the Neruda was *perfect* clever girl, you!

I'm secretly a little scared that we all agree - and even our impressions seem to all fit together evenly. It's almost too good to be true, heh. And even all our collective impressions fit the marketing/ad copy, too. This is one remarkable scent (to say the absolute minimum least!)

I don't particularly get pepper from it though - on me every other note feeds into that big trunk of atlas cedar shooting upwarads. Hmm, I will need to go look for the pepper in it now, just 'cause!

1:31 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It is scary. As Patty pointed out, we should be on the lookout for the four horsemen coming any time now :-)
You know, I don't get much cedar, or rather I don't get much straight cedar, everything is kind of very well blended together, so I am not sure where one note begins and another ends here. But I do get quite a lot of peppery kind of spiciness here, and I am sure that both geranium and grapefruit (which to me always smells kind of "pepery-citrusy") contribute to that.

1:45 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!!
I believe someone on MUA posted that Imagination Perfumery si going to have Terre d'Hermes very soon.

3:30 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

The Blanche is beautiful. I especially love the first 15 minutes. I wish it lasted longer on me, but I guess that's why it comes in those two-quart bottles ;-)

I still can't believe you ALL liked this one.

7:21 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

What do you mean "you all"? Don't *you* like Terre d'Herems? *gasp* A voice of dissent? We can't have that! LOL

7:38 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

M, LOL as they say -- I guess my tween was still logged in, my previous comment showed up as Chix1234!

9:05 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

When my bottle arrives, I would love to send you some terre to try! ...and to Chix1234 too, if she'd like some :-)

10:33 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I tried this new scent 2 times and both times, I found it to be very underwhelming and overall, insignificant compared to the many decidedly better scents out there. It is an improvement from the other Hermes scents in that at least it is not linear since it does evolve and change over time. But that's not really a compliment in my book since I find all Hermes scents (both men and women) to be inferior. Save your money and get something that is memorable and yes, smells amazing. Definitely a "NO" to my nose.

12:01 PM EDT  

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