Terre d'Hermès Eau Intense Vétiver ** woody amber
Christine Nagel’s job as in-house perfumer at Hermès must be one of the most coveted in the business, together with the equivalent at Guerlain (but LVMH), Chanel (but Polge dynasty) and Cartier (but nothing, those guys are inexplicably keen on allowing Mathilde Laurent to be a genius). There is, however, no free lunch without pointless flankers coming to spoil the fun, and Nagel has had to come up with some. Citron Noir was a minor disaster, a tremendous lemon topnote followed immediately afterwards by a dismal woody-amber worthy of stuff I see on supermarket shelves called Str8. These damned woody ambers are now being used as prosthetic extenders for all manner of notes, in the vain hope that punters will be sufficiently distracted not to notice that the fragrance has morphed from flesh to metal. The only difference between crap perfumes and good ones in this respect is that the good ones taper in the nightmare more tactfully. The Terre d’Hermès franchise had so far been very presentable, though I never thought they did anything better than Guerlain’s Homme Idéal (or for that matter Tauer’s Désert series). But they were wearable and polite. This one would be too if Nagel had resisted the temptation to strop the cutting edges of the excellent vetiver in there with a woody amber of insistent power and banality. Perfumery is going through a phase analogous to the fashion for boom-and-fizz loudspeakers in the 1980s, which lasted until people cottoned on to the fact that not everything has to sound like an oversized car audio or smell like the guy at the wheel. LT
Sample obtained at local department store.
This review will be included in the next edition. Click here for the 2018 guide.