Editor’s Note: I want to welcome Michael today. He is an Australian, living in Sydney and I met him in person last January when he and the inimitable Portia of Australian PerfumeJunkies visited Vienna. Michael has a great nose and an equally great passion for perfume. He also is a charmer, because he knew that to win me over a review by Hermès is definitely the way to go. ;) So enjoy with me Michael’s take on Paprika Brasil and let’s hope for many more of his charming reviews in the future.
My name is Michael and I’m a fragaholic…
It all started a few years ago when I sniffed Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles.
Instantly it transported me back to a place in my childhood. It was all orthodox masses and sacramental wine.
Many hundreds of fragrances later and here I am indulging myself with fragrant musings.
I hope you don’t mind.
I’m delighted to be writing on occasion for Madame Olfactoria and what better place to start than with one of her favourite houses, Hermès.
I was never a Hermès fragrance fan.
Well, not until recently.
A few years ago I tried Terre d’Hermès and sure, it was nice.
I then tried Voyage d’Hermès and liked that one a little more.
Based on these, and a few others I can’t recall, I thought “meh, Hermès just isn’t for me”. Moreover Jean-Claude Ellena’s minimalist style just wasn’t to my taste.
Fast forward to February this year and a bored jet-lagged wait at Bangkok airport had me searching for some retail therapy.
I settled on a set of four 15ml Hermès travel bottles – a fantastic size for those of us with far too many fragrances.
Little did I know I would discover my Hermès gateway: Paprika Brasil.
“A tinctorial wood to colour fabrics red, ‘brasil wood’ gave its name to the country. With its power of suggestion, “bois de braise” sparked my imagination and I chose paprika to illustrate it. By mixing and matching, I recreated its scent, which is more secretive and discreet than its taste.”
Paprika Brasil is part of the Hermèssence line and contains notes of Pimento, Paprika, Cloves, Iris, Green Leaves, Mignonette, Precious Woods and Brazilian Redwood and was created by Jean-Claude Ellena in 2004.
Paprika Brasil contains iris and lots of it. To my nose it is the dominant note which is fantastic because I love iris.
Here it feels like the iris bedded on soft woods and highlighted with a healthy dose of red peppers.
It’s such a clever and unique idea.
The red peppers are fresh. Like a freshly cut chilli but with only a hint of heat. There’s little in the way of dried or stuffy powdered chilli.
I find the red pepper notes to be a little abstract. They are identifiable but not so literal and strong that spicy foods or food like smells ever come to mind.
The iris is neither heavy and buttery nor too light and powdery. It’s just floats along in a soft middle ground being brought a back to earth with the smooth combination of soft woody notes.
As the fragrance dries down some green notes appear and blend seamlessly into the woody iris. Sometimes, I’m sure I smell hints of leather through the sleeve of my shirt.
Applied liberally I get soft to moderate projection and enough longevity to last the working day.
While I enjoy wearing Paprika Brasil, I’d also love to smell it on a partner. After the first few hours it has a lovely soft skin like quality that I would love bury my nose into after a long day at the office.
Personally I have very few easy to wear fragrances. Inevitably easy to wear equals boring and I have far too many fragrances to try. Paprika Brasil however is one of the few fragrances that I can easily reach for every day and still enjoy.
I hope everyone tries Paprika Brasil especially lovers of iris notes. Paprika Brasil is definitely one to add to an iris lover’s wardrobe if you don’t find it too spicy.
Do you have other Hermès or iris loves? Please tell me about them below. I‘d love to add them to my list of fragrances to try.