Hermès is a house that I admire with my deepest soul. Everything about Hermès demands my attention – through its luxurious scarves and ties to its impeccably polished leather goods down to its elegant perfume collection. I have worn many Hermès perfumes through the years but nothing compares to the quiet gracefulness of the Hermessence collection.
Many say that the perfumes are too fleeting and airy to command such high prices. I on the other hand love the fact that they seem evanescent. Osmanthus Yunnan is a favorite of mine and when I wear people still comment on it in the afternoon. Certainly not fleeting!
Now, when I heard of the next installment for the Hermessence collection I was quite curious as to how the spices used in Epice Marine would compare to the rest of the Hermessence collection. I need not have feared for in the hands of Jean-Claude Ellena the spices add something quirky and fun to the final development of the perfume.
The Hermès website introduces us to Epice Marine with Jean-Claude Ellena’s words
“A fragrance from a meeting between a man who lives by taste and one who lives by his nose. I wanted to invite you to discover smells of spices, rum, waxed wooden floors and smoked woods. A sort of escape inspired by the invigorating, stimulating smell of the Brittany coast. A pirate Hermessence.”
Fragrantica lists the notes as: cumin, hazelnut, sesame, cinnamon, cardamom, bergamot, sea notes, whiskey, vetiver and oakmoss.
Epice Marine opens with a strong toasted/roasted cumin note which I find delectable. In fact I find it so delicious that I keep finding myself wondering what is for dinner (I enjoy cooking with cumin and always start by toasting it in the pan). The cumin note is quite dominant and because it is roasted it gives it a very different feel compared to other cumin heavy perfumes which may be perceived as ‘sweaty’. There is quite a bit of cardamom and what I want to say lime, which must actually be the bergamot, as well which gives me the feeling that I am about to sit down for a lovely curry dinner. Hmmm – do I really want to smell of curry?
And before I can write off this perfume for good, it takes a different turn and starts to pull in the woody aspects with the vetiver and then the bergamot starts to fade into the background but does not disappear. I love the ride that the perfume is giving me. This stage lasts quite a bit longer than the initial blast of cumin. Now I have cumin and woods and slowly the salt adds a new twist.
The most relaxing and de-stressing part of this perfume is the late drydown. It is a wonderful ‘marine’ scent which is constantly mingling with the toasted cumin and woody notes. I do not get any whiskey notes at all.
Jean-Claude Ellena decribes Epice Marine as ‘a pirate Hermessence’. I find it to be too hypnotic to be a pirate. It is so soothing and smooth that it feels as if I am relaxing at the beach listening to the waves crash, soaking up the sunshine which is so seriously lacking here. This is not the beach in Fort Lauderdale which I also adore, but rather the cabin at the fjord in Norway with the ocean in the background and the lanterns on the deck warming the evening sky.
Take a look at Olfactoria’s other Hermessence reviews here.