Notes: Lemon, Bergamot, Birch, Cassie, Labdanum, Vanilla and Oakmoss
I only drift off easily at night these days when listening to recordings of turbulent weather, such as squally winds, heavy rain or a rumbling thunderstorm. It may seem odd that these restless sounds soothe me to sleep, but I find something calming about the wildness of nature when I’m safe inside. Wearing Hyde, the new EdP release by indie perfumer Hiram Green, gives me the same feeling.
The fragrance opens a little medicinal and those citrus top notes don’t hang around as we leap headlong into the warming arms of leather.
Most fragrances in this category smell like molten tar but this is much more of a bonfire on the breeze. It has that quality of smoke in the air that regularly occurs here in autumn/winter, which I love and look forward to at the end of every summer.
Hyde is not as heavy as many leathers. It possesses all of the atmosphere with only half of the weight. It doesn’t have that same level of dense meatiness you often find in similarly themed scents either. It has real presence but exhibits a lightness of touch, and it’s that sinuousness in a normally rugged style, that really captivates me.
There is a savoury and moreish aspect to Hyde, although it’s not in the least bit edible. It’s also considerably more parched than a lot of birch leather fragrances, with the feel of charred wood rather than sticky tar. I picture it as deepest brown rather than inky black.
I find myself breathing it in deeply. I like the burnt facet that hits the back of my throat at the end of the inhale. Bois d’Ascese by Naomi Goodsir is a conflagration but Hyde is a smouldering slow burn. Where Cuir de Lancôme is plush, Hyde is unworldly. The fragrance wraps itself like smoke rings around the body and the sense of intimacy is alluring. The lasting power – particularly for a natural perfume – is superb.
The soft malt vanilla in the drydown can only be enjoyed through the lingering wisps of woodsmoke and I like it all the more for that. In common with a lot of base-heavy fragrances, Hyde is best experienced at one remove.
I’ve been thinking about how, when the shadows lengthen or the internal darkness falls, it makes sense to step down a couple of gears to ease the pressure. It’s time to take some respite from the rat-race, either with your loved ones or alone. Hyde is the perfect perfume to hibernate with. It is as reassuring as it is addictive and would make a wonderful shared scent.
It is a must-try if you like burning/smoky scents. It’s not going to appeal to everyone but the best fragrances often don’t. Hyde isn’t trying to please the crowd. It walks its own path, leaving a trail of smoking footprints scorched into the moss-covered earth.
How do you feel about smoky perfumes? Will you be seeking out Hyde?