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Friday, June 04, 2010

Amazone by Hermes

By Marina

Amazone, originally created in 1974, is said to have been reformulated in the late 80s. Since I have only "discovered" the scent this year, it would be realistic of me to assume that I am only familiar with the later version, and, for my own piece of mind, I choose not too look for the original. I like to imagine that the older version would have been stinkier, skankier just like a "real" amazone, whereas the new one is the urban amazone, as striking and forceful as its mythical counterpart but, shall we say, cleaner.

I love it. Love the classic severity of its structure, the traditional transition from (dry) citrus top to (dry) floral heart, to (softer but still not remotely cuddly) woody, earthy drydown. I find it hard to classify this scent, the citrus characteristic is certainly quite strong, but so is the green floral and the austere chypre vibe. It's sharp, verdant, woody elegance puts it for me in the same category as the original Private Collection, Futur and Anais Anais. Of the four mentioned, Amazone might be the most unsmiling. I wouldn't call it a "bitchy" scent or combatant in feeling, but the somber green of its narcissus, the stringency of its vetiver, the leathery nuance of labdanum lend it a definite noli me tangere quality. One would be hesitant to attempt to get too close to Amazone, but if she allows somebody to get close, they might sense a certain warmth and even a hint of sweetness...something peachy in the heart, a delicate caress of orris in the base...Not that she lets anyone to get close often.

I wear this fragrance as armour, when I need armour, and I imagine that no one and nothing can touch me. With Amazone, "I am intact and I don't give a damn".

Available at Hermes and at various online retailers, for a variety of prices.

Image by Helmut Newton.



Blogger Flora said...

I have tried the original but it's been a long time, so I don't know what the difference is now. I always admired it, but you are right, it is not "warm and fuzzy," it has an austerity about it. I don't think it was ever anything but dry and imposing.

Years ago that is what prevented me from ever buying it; I bet I would feel very differently now that I have discovered my love for Chypres and "grown-up" perfumes!

12:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

How tastes change, right? Years ago, I wouldn't come close to liking it.

6:50 AM EDT  
Anonymous Arlene said...

Ah the memories...Amazone was my first grown up perfume, a gift from my father when he returned from a trip to Paris. My aunt, living in Paris at the time, insisted he buy it for me. It was unlike anything I had smelled and I was smitten -- even from the beginning I was never a fan of overly-florals, so this was definitely ME. I don't recall much else about the original, only how it made me feel walking through the halls of high school, leaving wafts of something other than Love's Baby Soft in my wake. I felt exotic and extraordinary -- and for me, that's what perfume is all about.

11:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Wow, that sounds glorious. I really love Anais Anais... it was my first "grown-up" perfume and has always struck me as very striking. Haven't worn it in years, but should give it a whirl again.

12:42 PM EDT  
Anonymous HemlockSillage said...

There you go, sending me off to find another fierce green chypre! I love Private Collection and Futur now, and loved Anais Anais back in my youth. . .Amazone sounds fun. Anais Anais was my grown up lady perfume. I haven't smelled it in years, so I'll have to find that again, as well.

Strange how our tastes change, and yet certain combinations of notes hold a fascination that lasts lifelong. I was the only person in my tiny town who loved Dior's Dune when it came out, and my mother thought it was terribly odd. Should have known then I'd become a perfumista.

Thanks for reminding me of things I loved, and guiding me to things to try! Be well.

9:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

dear marina, I'm glad for you that you've discovered this somber sun that Amazone is. I had my first bottle at...seventeen, late seventies, and therefore it was what we call now 'vintage'. It was perfect. For the same reasons Flora states, I wanted to be a grown-up. I liked the contradiction then. It shares with Futur the disdainful, almost arrogant gesture towards seductive seduction, but has a twist of gentleness to it, a wink visible through the armor

4:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

mm...yet, scared of reformulations, i didn't even dare spray it onto a card, for ages, even when I bought my other dear Hermes - Eau d', Vanille G and Orange V.
I'll have to try it

5:03 AM EDT  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Enjoying the review, but of course...and finding myself struck by the inhabitants of your "category" round up. PC, Futur, Anais Anais? That's the first time they've shared overlap in a Venn diagram in my head.'ve really got me thinking...and I love what that does to me imagining what Amazone is about.

I really think some scents get unfairly labelled "bitchy"...esp. No. 19...and I am torn between simply respecting the fact that different scents affect people in different ways, and just what scares people.

Obviously, you've prompted me to amend my "try" list to include Amazone. :)

10:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Wow--I can't get my head around the Anais Anais connection, I think of it as so flowery, though it's true I haven't smelled since I was a short, rather brown fourteen-year-old girl surrounded by the A-A sillage of tall blonde tennis players...

That aside, just want to say--so glad to see your reviews up here! I hope the trend will continue!

7:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It's certainly extraordinary! :) Love's Baby Soft weeps in the corner.

12:16 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It seems like it will be one of those "first grown up" perfumes!

12:16 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Definitely the sign of a budding perfumista :)

12:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Love how you put it: "It shares with Futur the disdainful, almost arrogant gesture towards seductive seduction, but has a twist of gentleness to it, a wink visible through the armor"!

12:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Shelley, Alyssa,
You two are making me doubt my um...the objectivity of my perception. It's not like they smell alike, the scents listed, but they have the same ...ethos. OK? :)

12:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

marina, what a joy to read you, and how gentle your feedback. :-)

12:46 PM EDT  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Ethos = OK. :)
For that matter, if you say so = OK. :)

'Twas just an interesting view from an angle I hadn't been at before...

4:48 PM EDT  

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