Hermessence Poivre Samarcande, oak and pepper.

Few perfume houses do communicate luxury and good taste as efficiently as Hermès Hermessence. I already wrote a review on the poetic Vanille Galante. This time my attention was drawn by another Hermessence fragrance Poivre Samarcande with a totally different yet not less exceptional character.


Oak, pepper, caraway and paprika. Jean-Claude Ellena has maintained his unmistakable clean, smooth and neat style where the scent lingers somewhere between the body and the sky and melts into air, especially if it’s humid. Most of Hermès fragrances are at their very best before/during/after rain or in a pre-thunderstorm thickness. Thus, the weird, soft and well-composed Poivre Samarcande isn’t an exception.

The first notes reveal noisy and biting pepper and dry caraway in an old kitchen with wooden dish dressers. There’s a solid presence of oak which gets warmer and more resinous when combined with spices. The scent softens quickly. On one hand, it gets slightly soapy and even watery (watermelony?) with paprika flavour chips. On the other hand, it always keeps the stable wooden note at its place.

Very comfortable and respectable. It reminds me of The Adolescent by Dostoevsky and the main character, determined to ask the prince his salary of 50 rubles today. Well-mannered as he wanted to seem, the adolescent starts the conversation with irrelevant topics and wants to postpone the important question to the very end. However, the original determination quickly vanishes and, instead of a natural “…by the way” he shouts his prepared speech, then he blushes and feels ashamed. Then he reflects on what has just happened and decides the other people sitting in the room are trying to insult him with their glances; so he stands up, says good-bye to the prince and leaves.

Poivre Samarcande is like this. Very odd yet extremely intimate and familiar. Noble, dignified and with burning cheeks. Full of doubts, very genuine and fading away soon, 185 euros for not being taken for granted.


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