When a gaggle of us from around the globe met up for bunch in London ahead of the Art and Olfaction Awards, a highlight was that Val the Cookie Queen shared with us the PR set of five recent Hermessence creations by their in-house perfumer, Christine Nagel.
Read Val’s ravishing review of the two Essences de Parfums here.
I tried Musc Pallida, Myrrhe Eglantine and Cedre Sambac on skin. I didn’t smear enough of the beautiful iris oil, so it was Cedre Sambac that I fell for that day. I was still breathing it in with a sigh at 10pm that night as we sat chatting in the bar of The Tabernacle.
Fast forward a couple of months and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. The only jasmine perfume I owned was a 10ml travel spray of Superstitious by Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums, which I only find suitable for special occasions because it’s so bold and glamorous. I had a gap in my collection for an everyday jasmine that would be lovely in the summer.
Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume mentioned that there was someone on a Facebook group who was selling the travel sprays individually (officially only available in a set of three). I contacted him on impulse and a few days later, the 15ml bottle arrived.
These five new releases were inspired by the Middle East. however this is Christine Nagel and Hermes we’re talking about so there are no clanking clichés. The theme is executed with a light hand and style to spare.
I normally avoid perfumes with spice or at the very least, approach them with caution, but the soft spice in Cedre Sambac is what makes it so unique and addictive. The creamy, spiced cedar is much more like malleable Indian sandalwood.
While I said I had room for an easy-to-wear jasmine in my collection, the name Cedre Sambac is pertinent here – this is a cedar base richly embellished with climbing jasmine. This is probably in large part why it suits me so well. Time and time again, I’ve found jasmine soliflores to be too indolic, too clean or too loud. I also tend to find straight-up florals rather dull. Cedre Sambac keeps me on my toes and glued to my wrist. The jasmine used is absolutely exquisite and doubtless high quality. It’s warm and silky as opposed to fresh and blousy.
I’m always banging on about how I’m drawn to contrast in perfumery and I find this marriage of strength and gentleness incredibly attractive. The composition is so expertly blended that the two are inextricably wrapped around each other in a tight embrace.
It may be an Eau de Toilette but Cedre Sambac lasts well on me at a low volume and becomes the most seductive of skin scents after a few hours.
There is a sensual, mildly animalic facet that I only pick up clearly when I get close. I like that this touch of filth is kept intimate and not on display to the whole world. It’s much sexier that way. I believe it’s this dirty little secret tucked into the folds of its cascading rosettes that elevates Cedre Sambac from pleasingly pretty to utterly beguiling.
Have you tried any of the five new Hermessences? If not, do any appeal?