Thursday, October 15, 2009

SOTD: Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan

I can't make up my mind about the Hermes Hermessences.

On the one hand, they're very pretty. People seem to agree that Jean-Claude Ellena perfumes are pretty, but then they diverge on whether they're masterpieces of transparent simplicity, or just plain simple.

I would have been in the first camp, but putting this on on a fall day, it appears that I'm in that camp only in the summer. In the winter, I'm finding Osmanthe Yunnan, just... pretty. Nice tea, lovely osmanthus, pretty relaxing scent. I'm not sorry I have some, but I'm not doing the eyes-closed drinking-in-the-scent thing.

And then there's the exclusivity thing. You can only buy the Hermessences in a Hermes boutique. (Well, maybe you can also mailorder them from a Hermes boutique; I don't know because I haven't tried.) And while they're very generous with samples if you're standing in the boutique, they're not interested in mailing you a sample - I've tried. Now, to be fair, Hermes is wonderfully generous with samples of their regular line, more than most other houses.

And then, going on to the very superficial, there's the bottle. It strikes me as well, dull. The full size does include the leather cap; I suspect that the combination reflects the leathery, horsey Hermes vibe that I just don't get.

And the size. They had the foresight to produce them in 15ml bottles, but you have to buy a set of four. If you just want one fragrance, you have to buy the big bottle. Or get your hands on a 15ml bottle from someone who bought a set, which is how I got mine.  I guess it's not realistic to expect an expensive house like Hermes to offer a bottle of perfume of any size, in their exclusive line, for less than fifty dollars. But I can still want them to.

And the strength. You might need to buy the big bottle, because you have to spray a fair bit of these on to really smell them. I'm a one-spray person with most perfumes; with Osmanthe Yunnan I apply seven sprays without really thinking about it.

So no doubt I will return to the topic of Osmanthe Yunnan in the summer, and swoon all over the page. But right now... it's OK.

(Updated to expand the Review Roundup.)

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