Spice Up Your Life! – Review: Hermessence Poivre Samarcande

Poivre Samarcande, one of the four originally released Hermessences, is consistently described as masculine, which is why a sample has been languishing in my sample box for the longest time, unsniffed and ignored.

I am so glad I finally got around to trying it. A dry, peppery, but also sweet and lovely wood fragrance, Poivre Samarcande quickly advanced to one of my favorite Hermessences.

Created in 2004 by Jean-Claude Ellena, Poivre Samarkande features notes of pepper, chili pepper, oak, cedar, Chinese moss, and musk.

Poivre Samarkande opens with a blast of chili and pepper, but is instantly soft and sweet too. It is hard to describe, but pepper often tends to have a sharp, harsh almost animalic tone to it, which is totally lacking here, and which makes this very feminine to my nose, although it is surely perfectly wearable for both genders.

The dry spices are bolstered by woody notes (a good dose of Iso E Super too) and aside from a slight mellowing of the spicy pepper, the fragrance is linear and seems to fade out of being over the course of three to four hours.

Poivre Samarcande is a scent I’d like to have a shower in, if possible. Since that is quite obviously not the case, I indulge in drenching myself from top to toe in a Dee-inspired full immersion technique. That approach sadly depletes my (although generous) sample quickly of course, but I just cannot resist…

Some Hermessences seem ideal for layering, and like in the kitchen, the combination of roses, rhubarb and peppery spices is a great one – Rose Ikebana layers brilliantly with Poivre Samarcande, bringing the gourmand aspect of both scents to the foreground.

This spicy delight has drawn out my appetite for pepper, so I’ll be taking a sniff of my new favorite perfumer since Frapin 1697, Bertrand Duchaufour’s Poivre Piquant, that he created for L’Artisan Parfumeur, soon. Marc Jacobs Bang will be on my pepper list as well, and I am hoping for your suggestions!

What is your favorite pepper fragrance? What spicy composition do you love?


Other Hermessence reviews:

Ambre Narguilé

Iris Ukiyoé

Osmanthe Yunnan

Rose Ikebana

Vanille Galante

Vetiver Tonka

Brin de Règlisse

Santal Massoia

Image source: hermes.com, wikimedia.commons

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in Fragrance Reviews, Hermès, Spicy, Woods and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Spice Up Your Life! – Review: Hermessence Poivre Samarcande

  1. Sandra says:

    I find pepper to be sharp on my skin. But my favorite perfume where pepper is in the background is Paestum Rose by Eau d’Italie. It is not sharp at all. The spices spruce up the rose so it is not so sweet. It was one of my first Bertrand Duchaufour purchases and I have been transported to a new level of perfume enjoyment since.

  2. karin says:

    The new Bois Blond by Atelier Cologne has quite a bit of pepper in it!

  3. Tara says:

    I adore the pepper in Ta’if and would love a pepper-heavy scent that isn’t too bitter. The two you mention sound great and are at the top of my list. Look forward to reading others’ recommendations.

    Incidently, I noticed on Amazon that Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez have a new book coming out later this year entitled “Little Book of Perfumes: The 100 Greatest Scents”. After hearing they won’t be updating “The Guide” anymore, I’m very happy about this!

    • karin says:

      Oooh, really? I wonder if it’s just a compilation of all of their 5-star rated scents…or did they write/add additional info? Love Perfumes: The Guide, and often wonder what LT and TS’s take would be on some of the new fragrances that have released over the past year+.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ta’if is really beautiful, I love that the rose and the spices weigh in equally, it is not a classic “rose perfume”.
      Pepper can be tricky, but I think Poivre Samarkand does it well. I tried Le Labo Poivre in Liberty’s, not bad either, but I would need to get to know it better.

  4. deeHowe says:

    Le Labo Poivre 23.

    It is the be all, end all pepper, the only pepper I ever want to know. I’m hoarding my 8 or so mL that I have left, because I certainly won’t be at Liberty in London anytime soon! Why, oh why must it be a city exclusive? If you can get ahold of some, you really ought to try it, because it’s divine.

    I haven’t checked the notes lately, but I think there must be labdanum in the base, because it reminds me just the tiniest bit of L’Ombre Fauve (which I know you didn’t like), but in such a subtle way that I do not think it would be a deal-breaker for you 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is certainly no dealbreaker here, I liked the top and the drydown a lot, only for a few minutes in the middle I was irritated by something. Sadly I let this something distract me… I am re-trying l’Ombre Fauve, maybe it works some day. 😉

  5. Undina says:

    Terre d’Hermes, I think, is my favorite pepper perfume (though, I do not wear it, I like its smell on my vSO).

  6. Pingback: What’s Up With The Perfume Embargo? – Status Report On The No-Buy | Olfactoria's Travels

  7. Pingback: Highly Efficient – Review: Hermès Hermessence Vétiver Tonka | Olfactoria's Travels

  8. Pingback: Plain And Simple? – Review: Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 | Olfactoria's Travels

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s