Friday, March 13, 2009

Terre d'Hermes - So Good it Turns Me Stupid

What’s this, a third Smells Like Boi post in two days? Madness! Don’t get used to this frenetic pace. It’s just that, after all of those bitchy, negative reviews, I was itching to write about something I actually like. The next several posts will all be about various Hermes scents. I got samples of nine different unisex and masculine fragrances from Hermes, and have been trying each of them over a period of several weeks. As most of them smell very nice – even the ones that aren’t really my style – you can expect the atmosphere around here to be quite “posi” for the next few weeks.

The first sample I tried was Terre d’Hermes, and it smells fantastic! I think it may have been love at first sniff. My initial scent impression was a really rich, deep pine, that was not at all artificial like Pine Sol or a car air freshener. I could actually picture the needles and the bark. It smelled jut like the Pacific Northwest, and brought back a vivid sense memory of the time I visited Mt. Rainier with a couple of old friends who were living in Seattle.

“Earth” is an incredibly apt description; Terre d’Hermes smells like nature in all the best ways. I can even smell dirt and rocks and rain and fresh air, and maybe even a little bit of a far off wood fire. It makes me wonder how the hell Jean-Claude Ellena managed to bottle the smell of camping. Then it makes me wonder if Luca Turin could possibly have been smelling the same thing I was when he declared there was “no terre in sight” in his review for The Guide.

After a little while, the pine seems to fade, and I can smell other parts of the forest - ferns and moss and grass, deciduous trees and even a few spring flowers poking up through a carpet of fallen leaves in search of the sun. Before I can miss the pine, though, I find it’s still there, if I focus on it.

Terre d’Hermes is exactly what I was hoping it would be, and more: earthy, wholesome, and unpretentious. It’s a scent I would recommend to people who claim not to like perfume. It’s very rugged, but not at all hyper-masculine.

On a subsequent wearing, I noted all of the things I smelled before, but I also realized it smells strikingly similar to the Nippon Kodo Viva Pine incense I use during my daily zazen (Buddhist meditation) practice. I think its meditative association is a large part of the draw for me. I love incense-y smells.

I’m wearing Terre d’Hermes again today, and for the first time, I can smell the citrus notes people keep mentioning in their reviews. It’s been described as everything from grapefruit to navel orange peels. Whatever it is, it’s pleasant, as citrus notes generally are for me.

As much as I love this fragrance, I couldn’t wear it every day. Beyond the fact that it’s quite expensive – which is why I haven’t snatched up a bottle yet – it makes me stupid. Really! I’ve been wandering around in a haze of contentment all morning. I don’t think I could handle feeling this good all the time.

Image note: Isn’t this photo gorgeous? This is one of those popular nature photos that get put up on those “free wallpaper” sites. I think it was taken in Japan, but I’m not sure. Anyway, this is where wearing Terre d’Hermes takes me.


TMC said...

This one sounds delightful! I love anything 'earthy.'

Julie H. Rose said...

Ah, I just ran (well, limped) over to the samples you gave me and saw there was no Terre d'Hermes, a scent I've always wanted to try. And ever since you told me it smelled like Viva Pine, well, I WANT IT BAD!

Someday we're just going to have to have a sniffing party. . .

And once again, your fragrance reviews are wonderful. Beginner's mind at work? Myself, I can't seem to write about scent these days. Not sure why. : (

jmcleod76 said...

Oh no, no, you'd have to pry this sample out of my cold dead hand ... I'm milking it for all it's worth. One day I WILL buy a bottle, though, and give you some for your very own. In the meantime, I'll keep slip it in my coat pocket on Saturday mornings, so you can try a dab next time our paths cross. Speaking of which, are you going to Treetop tomorrow?

Honestly, I wonder if you'd even like it ... only one way to find out, I guess.