The Journey Inwards – Review: Voyage d’Hermès

I have talked about my split perfume personality already. The oriental lover and the transparency aficionado in me, both demand their rights, thankfully they live in harmony and sometimes one is dominant, then the other.

Whenever my sheer, light, delicate-craving side emerges, I turn to Jean-Claude Ellena. He has not let me down yet, although I almost thought there was one Hermès perfume I did not like. Although not liking it, is already putting it too strong. I was mere uninterested and unimpressed when it came to Voyage d’Hermès.

Released in 2010 and including notes of citron, bergamot, coriander, ginger, artemisia, cardamom, black pepper, tea, birch, white musk, amber and cedar, Voyage never had much of a chance with me, because one spray on my hand did not leave much of an impression, so I moved on.

I had several samples in my box though, so out it came recently and I started actually wearing it, instead of just trying a bit on my hand. That marked the point of me starting to love Voyage.

Most reviews center on the fact that Voyage d’Hermès reminds the reviewer of some other Ellena creation, and doubtless many ideas are to be found in Voyage that we know from other creations in his opus. See reviews at Bois de Jasmin, Now Smell This, Katie Puckrik Smells, 1000Fragrances, Perfume Shrine and EauMG. But for me that is not the main point.

Voyage is meant to symbolize a journey rather than a place (as do the Jardins series for example) or showcase a certain material (like in the Hermessences), Voyage is abstract to the max.

And what is it that abstract art allows us to do?

Fill it with our own ideas, our own emotions, imbue it with our unique and personal interpretation, make it into something that is only ours, no one else’s, not even the artist’s. The artist no doubt has his own ideas he wanted to express, we may hear about those, be influenced by them to certain degree, or dismiss them, we are free to do so, since abstract art does not demand anything from us, other than letting the creation get to us, so we can react to it, even if that reaction is walking away from it.

Voyage d’Hermes is like a painting that is open for interpretation, like a sculpture everyone sees differently, it allows for interpretation, my own interpretation. It is fuzzy, grey and indistinct, it is clear, bright and finely chiseled, all at the same time.

There is no other perfume that becomes so much me, when I wear it, that molds itself to me and what I am or want to be. It is hard to put into words what I mean, it is something to be experienced.

Voyage soothes me, it calms me, I inhale its cool, spicy, watery, woody elegance and let myself be carried away on my own voyage inwards.

If you made it until here, congratulations! If you like to skip some text, especially text like this, here is a bit of text in bold to get your attention again. To tell you the truth, if I were to read what I wrote above, somewhere else, I would probably roll my eyes too. It is just a perfume, for God’s sake, not a meditation device, not a high priced piece of art. Or is it?

I only know one thing: I like how Voyage smells, I like how it makes me feel and I love the bottle. That had to be said too, it is a unique design after all. (That are actually three things, but don’t be so hard on me.)

My personal interpretation of the piece of abstract art that is Voyage d’Hermès is mine only, it lets you reach yours by wearing it.

Image source:, feather and waterdrop courtesy of

About Olfactoria

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

31 Responses to The Journey Inwards – Review: Voyage d’Hermès

  1. Ines says:

    He, he. 🙂
    I caught myself doing some skimming over the text until I reached the bold one.
    I’ve been wondering about your love of orientals and JCE stuff (especially as I’ve been testing Poivre S). Obviously it works for you. I just can’t help but wish for more flesh each time I smell some of the Hermes line.
    But I can completely understand the idea of the voyage inward. To me that means the perfume was obviuosly done with a stroke of genius (I, of course, completely ignored this one). 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ha, caught one! 😉
      Somehow I have those two personalties that allow me to wear both transparent and “fleshier” perfumes, although I have to find the right time for each or it’ll be a horrific day.
      Voyage is a stroke of genius for me. 🙂

  2. lady jane grey says:

    Hm, I definitely spritzed it at least once in the past, but can’t remember my impressions of it – which is not a good sign. But reading the ingredients it firmly cries for another & proper try. I liked the packaging though (I work with packaging …).
    I often think of the fact that there are lots of scents I ditch after just one superficial try, that there might be a gem among them, not getting a proper interest and time. On the other hand, I have enough cravings already, at the moment it’s sandals from Jimmy Choo…

    • Olfactoria says:

      As long a it is not the new scent of Jimmy Choo… 😉

      I dismissed Voyage too after one superficial try, but there are certainly gems out there, that take you slowly, not with the first spritz. I am glad I went back.

  3. I like blogs when they get up close and personal. After all isn’t that what blogging is about? Otherwise it would be called “small scale journalism”.

    I think a great scent is one that either allows you a lot of room for personal interpretation or one that strikes cords so personal that the wearer somehow ends up being owned by the perfume. And this is completely subjective.

    In general I find JCE fragrances a bit… tantalizing. Too little of a good thing. Or sometimes too little to even be able to tell whether it is good or bad. But that’s just how I see them… Voyage is indeed unique. Airy but present, cold but comforting, familiar and surprising at the same time. I like its slight bitterness. I would have bought me a bottle (gorgeous, inddeed) if I hadn’t already found a tester of Ca Luna (Aqua di Biella) for 50 euros, which is a steal for such a fragrance. They are quite close, only Ca Luna is a liitle less familiar and more bitter.


    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Christos,
      I totally agree with what you say about Voyage, you describe it beautifully. Voyage is, like I said, something you can imbue with meaning, the other extreme, the striking of personal chords, would be Frapin 1697 for me. I am glad perfume allows for such a range…
      I will try to smell the Aqua di Biella you mention sometime.

      And “small scale journalism” – lol! 😀

  4. Suzanne says:

    I totally agree with what Christos said. I really enjoyed reading your review of Voyage (have never tried it, but I know someone who loves it like you)…the text where you explain all the reasons you do, and compare it with abstract art, those lines read so true for me because they are emotive and such a personal reaction to the scent.

    And the artwork you chose (the feather with water bead) for this post is just perfect, by the way.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Suzanne. It means a lot to me that you enjoyed reading my review.
      The image is fantastic, I think it is beautiful and matches my inner picture of Voyage perfectly.

  5. deeHowe says:

    As I was reading I was utterly pulled in by your description, and then I got to the bold print, haha. “Wake up!” it shouted at me, and so wake up I shall.

    Last time I was actually at a perfume counter, they had Vd’H, but I skipped in in favor of Terre d’Hermes and Chanel Egoiste (I can only sniff so much, a mere mortal here!). And now I’m bummed because I feel like I missed out! Oh well, I’ve got a perfume sniffing weekend ahead of me soon enough, and will snag a sample of this while I’m out!

    Thank you for the beautiful review 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m sorry for the rough wake up call, but I cannot hope that everyone reads my ramblings as faithfully as a great friend like you does. 🙂
      The good thing is: Hermes scents are here to stay I think, no need to hurry, it’ll wait for you at the next opportunity.

  6. Julie says:

    I have a lovely little mini of this and don’t believe I’ve tried it other than spraying a card at the store. Asked for a sample and they were out, but they gave me a mini instead! Definitely need to give it a try again – my first impression was that it was too cold. Perhaps I will have a similar experience when I try it again!

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is great, it has such a great bottle, the mini must be very cute! 🙂
      Let me know whether you like it better the second time around, Julie!

      • Julie says:

        It is adorable, but you have to open carefully or else you’ll spill it everywhere! Wearing it today – I definitely like it better this time. Very airy and not as cold as I remember. I’m a light spritzer, but think this could use a heavier application as it’s pretty much gone now. Thanks for the inspiration – I’ll be wearing it more often now!

  7. Undina says:

    “I like how Voyage smells, I like how it makes me feel and I love the bottle.” – that is exactly how I feel about this perfume.
    After reading your inspired review (and no, I haven’t skipped through any text 😉 ) I went to my mini bottle to try it again. You know how it happens sometimes with perfumes that you tested, liked, put a mental check mark or a real note next to its name and left be till the next time… So today was that next time. I definitely need a real bottle of it. “it is a unique design after all”. 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you Undina, for your kind words and for reading the whole thing without skipping! 😉
      I am glad you went back to Voyage because of this review, such a great perfume really deserves attention.

  8. alice pngen ..... says:

    mines…..kasturi perfume

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