Spring Awakening – Review: Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu

I bought a new bottle of perfume.

Well, that should not be too momentous a confession on a perfume blog, but somehow it is.

I have been disenchanted with perfume, with blogging,with life in general, it seems lately, and just couldn’t be bothered.

Jean-Claude Ellena gave me a boost. A boost to smell a new perfume more closely, to write once more and to part with my money. He has a way of doing that… 🙂

hermes eau narcisse bleue

Eau de Narcisse Bleu is part of the Les Colognes Collection, Tara reviewed its launch partner Eau de Mandarine Ambrée yesterday, Eau de Pamplemousse Rose is an old faithful friend and the other two Eau de Gentiane Blanche and the reformulated and repackaged classic from 1979 Eau d’Orange Verte are both on my “sniff and write asap” list now – I still like to complete a set.

A contemporary fragrance that looks at Cologne in a whole new light.
A style of writing that combines a dense and textured narcissus note with a delicate woody accord in a muted contrast.

(from the Hermès website)

Eau de Narcisse Bleu includes notes of galbanum, narcissus and woody notes and was created by Jean-Claude Ellena in 2013.

Eau de Narcisse Bleu is not your typical cologne. Far from it. It does not use a citrusy kind of freshness to achieve its purpose but a green, milky and clean one.

It opens with leafy greens, sharp, almost bracingly, but very soon it softens and smooths, it becomes round and billowy, any edges the opening had mellow into a mild softness, a delicate tenderness that mostly characterizes the perfume for me.

The dry and powdery facets of narcissus are there haunted by leafy green shadows, all resting on smooth, sun-bleached wood.

Eau de Narcisse Bleu has an inherent warmth and an enveloping quality that is way less substantial than I make it sound. It reminds me of gauzy material, Hermès’s own mousseline fabric comes to mind, impossibly sheer and light, somewhat fragile, but stilll undeniably present. Tender, never suffocating.

That last word – suffocating – seems important. I felt suffocated by perfume for the past few months. My body seemed to reject it violently, I was plagued by allergies, even when I could smell through my stuffy nose some days, my skin seemed to say “No, thanks, wash that off now!” Not an ideal situation when you have a big collection, when you want to write about it, when you love perfume and the exploration of it. But I listened to my body that apparently had enough and abstained from most temptations. Hermès perfumes and their lightness seem to be the only remaining fragrant stronghold.


Eau de Narcisse Bleu makes me happy because it is interesting, tender, unusual and beautiful. It didn’t make me sneeze, it didn’t cause a rash, it made me sit down and write about it without making a big fuss. It is not a big perfume, not a show-stopping, scene-stealing diva, not a huge development in the industry, no splash, no hype, no big hurray.

It is what it is and will stay with me.

About Olfactoria

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48 Responses to Spring Awakening – Review: Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu

  1. cookie queen says:


  2. Sandra says:

    Lovely. So happy you found it and even happier that you wrote about it.

  3. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Lovely writing. I have to try it (the parfum, not the writing)

  4. Tara says:

    Well, it definitely is a big deal if you liked it enough to buy a bottle and it moved you to write about it. The opening didn’t appeal to me on card (I should know better to be put off by that) but the fact you say it mellows out makes my really want to test it properly on skin. I would love a narcissus perfume in my collection.

    This is a very happy Friday indeed.

    • Olfactoria says:

      This perfume didn’t appeal to me on paper and even smelled from the bottle at first either! But on skin it was perfect, instant love.
      Thanks for your kind words!!!!

  5. poodle says:

    You liked it, you wore it, AND you bought a bottle of it. That is huge news! The notes make me think spring which is something I could use a little of right now. It will be a while before I see any actual narcissus. Still covered in snow but supposedly the temps may go above freezing today. For now I’m seeking springtime in a bottle. I’m glad you found a perfume to renew your interest in writing. I think we all go through those times where everything is just not that interesting. Winter gets me down like that.
    Enjoy your perfume.

  6. shylotus says:

    I’m glad you liked it enough so buy, wear, and write about it. Seems just the right fit for you now Birgit! The wisdom of our bodies tell us what we need or don’t need before we actually think about it! Have a fine weekend 🙂

  7. Jordan River says:

    She’s back. Yay! Sounds like this one breathed life into you. Waft and write; write on.

  8. shellyw says:

    So glad to glad you’re writing again. May it be one of many happy returns.
    I need to smell this, narcisse I am sure I have in some bottle, but I cannot pull from my mind what it would smell like. Alas, the closest I will get to a perfume counter today is the run-of-the-mill Sephora. This one sounds like it may be worth a drive into SF to try.

  9. Suzanne says:

    I can definitely imagine you wearing this: JCE and Hermes are very “you,” elegant blondie!

    So happy to hear that it inspired you on every level. Loved your post, Birgit.

  10. glad you found something like this for yourself right now. If the others bother you, then let them rest — as you have done, a little while longer. Overexposure to anything leads to hypersensitivities. I often wear a lot of different perfumes in one day, and I often don’t wear any. I read that Louis XIV who was mad for perfumes and made courtiers wear a different one each day of the week at the end of his life got so he could not even tolerate the scent of fresh flowers. That to me is a sign that over exposure can affect anyone. (And of course he had only natural perfumes anyway, so it wasn’t the ‘chemicals’).

  11. Annina says:

    Oh dear, I feel a lemming moment coming on! I adore narcissus and galbanum – some if my favorite notes! And the narcissus is my birth flower (March). And today is a big day. Oh dear….a blind buy??

    Is there anything to compare it to?

    • Olfactoria says:

      I can’t really think of anything comparable… I don’t usually recommend blind buying, but I can’t imagine you wouldn’t like this. (But I wash my hands of responsibility! 😉 )

  12. Vanessa says:

    I am so happy to see a perfume worm its way into your affections in such a comprehensive way that you ended up buying – and most importantly writing! – about it. I must say I love narcissus as a note – and milky accords and all things soft, tender and muted. I think I could deal with the initial stab of galbanum too. Yes, delighted for you, and duly curious about this latest Hermes now. 😉

  13. Anka says:

    What a spot on review! I am so glad that even though you have been disenchanted with blogging lately you still keep your blog going by all the wonderful guest-posts, monday questions and interviews, thanks a lot!!!
    And passion might come back or simply changes its quality or object of desire (easy said…).
    My iiwii-scent (it is what it is) is Grand Neroli from Atelier Cologne.
    Have a sunny weekend!

  14. Ines says:

    I’m so glad to hear your perfume love has awakened. 🙂 And just in time for spring. I always think of spring as the awakening time for me, I tend to hibernate during winter.
    I love the smell of narcissus and even though I am not a huge fan of the Hermes Ellena perfumes, both Tara’s review yesterday and now yours make me think these are rather good.

    • Olfactoria says:

      These two are rather good indeed. 🙂 Maybe the long winter is over…
      To horribly mangle Shakespeare:
      the winter of our discontent is made glorious summer by this son of Hermès. 😉

  15. Undina says:

    Let me join others in the joy on your newly acquired bottle.

    I tried Eau de Narcisse Bleu and liked it. First of all, it’s a blue bottle… Ok, I’m just partially joking. But I discovered that I actually like narcissus in perfumes. And galbanum has always been one of my favorite notes. I’m not ready to pay a full price for a bottle yet but I will definitely catch it once it gets at least slightly discounted.

  16. nemo says:

    Congratulations on your new bottle! I loved your review, especially because this perfume seems especially meaningful to you. I hope you continue to find perfumes to love and enjoy, whether they are new ones or old favorites 🙂

  17. hajusuuri says:

    Nice review! I smelled this on paper when it first came out and did not warm up to it. Since it was available at Nordstrom, my favorite SA made me a sample, and, as is the case with many of my Nordstrom samples, it became separated from the label and so it is now in my orphaned samples bag. I guess I have to go back and ask for some more to try on skin!

    • Olfactoria says:

      This is a perfume that definitely needs skin to shine. I dismissed it when it first came out because I didn’t like it much on the strip, so glad I tried again… 🙂

  18. Figuier says:

    What a wonderful, heartfelt review! You are always my first port of call for Hermes reviews, and I’ve been waiting for you to get to this one; it was certainly worth the wait and I’m so glad that it broke your perfume dry spell.

    I’ve been trying NB every time I go through duty free, and like it a lot, but the air in those places is always so overloaded with perfume that it’s hard to assess unassertive scents like this one. But judging by your description it’s definitely worth testing in a more propitious setting – it sounds exactly what I’m looking for at the moment, bracing then gauzy, and springlike.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you very much, dear Figuier!
      This is surely not a perfume that can make itself “heard” in the “din” of a duty free perfumery. I hope you like it as much as I do once you give it some space on your skin.

  19. johanob says:

    Yes,we miss you terribly when you go all quiet on us!!Happy Women’s Day!Soooo happy you also like this one,it’s gonna be in heavy rotation during the upcoming fall in my collection!Happy weekend Birgit!

  20. Dear Brigit
    ‘Green, milky, clean’.
    So pleased that perfume is working for you again and that the black dogs seem to be at bay.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  21. behemot says:

    Thank you for coming back. It is good 🙂

  22. Pingback: Monday Question – What Is Your Fragrant Spring Fling This Year? | Olfactoria's Travels

  23. Congratulations on the new bottle! I think that every blogger goes through a period like that where what you know you love and are passionate about just seems so far from what you feel like doing (or even wearing, in this case). For myself, I know food bloggers sometimes go through food malaise where we just don’t care to know what the latest place is, or what other people are cooking, or have much inclination to cook ourselves. I think it’s cyclical and totally, frustratingly normal.

    In any case, it’s glad to see that you have been reawakened 🙂 A good sign for spring!

  24. Pingback: Monday Question – Your Top Five Part V: Perfumes | Olfactoria's Travels

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