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I haven’t done a perfume review for some time! Last summer, I ordered a dozen samples of colognes and summery perfumes and was looking forward to writing several reviews. Guess what. Not one of them inspired me enough to come up with more than about three sentences. I did discover a whole bunch of notes that I dislike, and than light colognes on the whole make me bored, but I have not had anything perfumey to write about for a while.
On my first wearing of Voyage d’Hermes (parfum concentration), I was definitely disappointed. I have liked many of the Hermes fragrances I’ve tried – in fact I think it’s one of the most consistently enjoyable and interesting lines out there. So when I tried Voyage I’d been hoping this would be a perfume to love and I was sad when I only loved parts of it.
However, there was still enough calling to me that I wore it again the next day – a sunny day over 70 degrees this time – and had a very different experience. Repeated applications have borne out the fact that for me, this fragrance needs nice weather to achieve its raison d’etre. Have I found a summer perfume to love after all? I think I may have!
One of the best things about a fragrance, in my opinion, is complexity. I just love how I have been catching different things with each wearing of Voyage d’Hermes. Sometimes I smell an initial pungency of wild carrots snapped in two and the green leaves of something like geranium. Another time the first note was distinctly gin-and-tonic, followed by juniper tree. This opening comes and goes quickly as the perfume develops. There’s a high-rise “artificial fresh breeze” element for a few minutes, tingly and brisk, but it doesn’t last long. I don’t mind waiting it out to get to the best part.
Voyage starts to warm and soften with the green zip of a tangelo rind laid over a backdrop of salty amber, and soon settling into a dry, spicy-peppery greenness. This scent of peppery, sun-heated salt marsh grasses is one of my very favorite notes. I love its prominence in Voyage.
In keeping with the “voyage” theme, the heart of the fragrance reminds me of the openness of the sea and the fresh possibilities of a limitless horizon. It gets cleaner and whiter as the heart progresses – never squeaky clean, but noticeably cooling off with some laundry musks layering in over the peppery greenness and into the whispery crisp drydown. But aha! This is not quite the final gasp. The cool white musk lights up briefly with a hint of some woods and possibly vanilla making one last victory lap.
Now I have to mention the fantastic bottle consisting of a black vial that smoothly tilts back and forth within a metal stand. It feels weighty and substantial in the hand and it reminds me of astrolabes and spyglasses. I must confess that the awesomeness of the bottle makes me want to buy an actual bottle of this, as opposed to my usual decants. This is the very first time I have ever had bottle lust.
The longevity is average, about 4-5 hours on me including a rather long drydown at the tail end. On days over 70 degrees, the soapy musks with the peppery grasses was like a cool breeze on a warm day. In cloudy cool weather, it was a bit too much like a slap of cold bathwater. Voyage d’Hermes is best suited for spring and summer and is considered a unisex fragrance.