Monday, April 5, 2010

SOTD: Hermes Voyage d'Hermes

Did I mention that the rumor that the Hermes boutiques are allowing mix-and-match of the Discovery set is true? They are. I went. I bought. And the nice lady threw in a sample of Voyage d'Hermes, and today I'm finally trying it.

And I was indecisive. And then I wasn't.

The beginning has a lot of lime, which I approve of. Well, approved of. For the first minute or two. It was a very nice lime backed by something green, peppery, bitter and salty-without-being-aquatic that I also approved of. Sort of like Terre d'Hermes viewed through green glasses.

But that went away, within minutes. The lime took on an aggressive character, or perhaps teamed up with an accompanying note, that I can't place. It's rather as if someone tried to duplicate the scent of the bitter white pith of citrus peel, but failed to do so in a convincingly realistic manner - it feels very synthetic. I detect just a trace of the same thing in Rose Ikebana, and it's the only thing that I don't like in that scent. It's much, much stronger here, and seems determined to grow to monstrous proportions.

Come to think of it, it also reminds me of the lime note late in the development of Jo Malone Sweet Lime & Cedar, the one that I theorized might be Kaffir lime leaves. The one that grows and grows and is the only thing that I don't like in that scent.

It occurs to me that it might just be a combination of vetiver and lime peel, and as I'm sniffing again to test that theory, it starts to change. The woody musk, or musky wood, that I couldn't imagine being in there, finally comes out. It reminds me all the more of Sweet Lime & Cedar - in fact, it feels very much like a Jo Malone, but an unsuccessful one. I wouldn't call it typically-Ellena transparent at this point - I visualize it as a rather solid chewy base, with a bit of fog rising from it, a sharp fog that's trying to make my eyes water.

I find that I just don't like it. I feel rather as if I'm drowning in limes. It does tie some perceptions together for me - it contains what I don't like in Eau d'Orange Verte, and the little bit I don't like in Rose Ikebana, and in Terre d'Hermes, and it highlights those notes and brings them forward. It is clearly an expression of Ellena, but an expression of the rare part of his palette that I don't like.

Review Roundup: Now Smell This and Perfume Posse and 1000 Fragrances and Fragrantica and The Scented Salamander and J'Aime le parfum and Persolaise and Grain de Musc and Perfume Shrine and Perfume Patter and Bois de Jasmin and ScentSate.

(I could've sworn that I saw at least one more review of this one recently. Is anyone able to give me a pointer?)

Image: Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Huh. "Drowning in limes." Now, ordinarily, I would consider that to be a good thing. (I rub limes on myself all the time, and then get disappointed when they fade away after 10 minutes.)

    But, I will proceed with caution, as I do with All Things Elena. Like you say, they are often not as they seem at first sniff...

  2. Hey, LCN! Well, I would have thought so too, and I love Trumper's Extract of Limes, for example. But with this, it's sort of as if the limes were given weaponry. Or something.

  3. Hi ChickenFreak,

    I'm heartened by your response to Voyage. In general I've liked a lot of the Hermes fragrances, but I've sort of turned a corner and gone off them.

    When I tried Un Jardin Apres le Mousson, it reminded me of sushi. I think it was an initial dose of ginger. But it could have been something else - something more intangible. It made me laugh out loud - which is a first for me in perfume terms.

    Then when I finally tried Voyage - having read an absolute stack about how fabulous it is - I had the same reaction, "Where's the sushi". It could have been a lime-type quality. Would have to sniff it properly and buy a tester - but I'm not going to do that.

    It could have been an odd reaction with my skin or perhaps I'm not giving it a chance, but Voyage is (IMHO) not a great scent. Shame, but not all fragrances are going to be classics I guess.

  4. I have a sample on my desk, and plan to retry it soon, though the initial reaction was very similar to yours: too sharp, too synthetic, and not ethereal enough for an Ellena!

  5. Hey, SignatureScent! Ah, see, I didn't even much like Un Jardin Apres le Mousson - I didn't dislike it, and I wouldn't give it away if I owned it, but it didn't have much of an impact on me. This one has more impact, but it's not positive. :)

    flittersniffer! Yeah, I just don't Get this one. Maybe it's Ellena going in a new direction and not yet succeeding?