Hermès : Terre d’Hermès

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Created by : Jean-Claude Ellena

Date : 2006

Genre : Bergamot patchouli

Concentration : eau de toilette

I’m sorry I’ve been away from the blog recently.  You see, I usually have a pretty good idea how I feel about a particular perfume but sometimes it takes me awhile to sort things out.  Take Terre d’Hermès for instance.  When it first came out in 2006, it soon became the 4th best-selling men’s fragrance in France and with very little advertising.  A woman at work who smelled it on a scent strip exploded… “Ah… it’s like an aphrodisiac… I wish my husband wore this!”  And, a waiter at my favourite weekend hangout restaurant said, “Yes!  This is it!   This is what I’ve been looking for!”

So why don’t I absolutely love it?  I don’t know.  I mean, don’t get me wrong… it’s very smart… maybe even bordering on genius!  I would never hesitate to wear it on any given day. But to my nose, it’s “aloof”.  There’s nothing warm about it… nothing that says, “hey… come closer”.  Or for that matter, nothing that says, “woah.. back off!”  To me, it has no feelings of any kind… it’s more of an intellectual thing.  It’s all in the head… with no heart.

As for actual scent, Terre is an icy accord of bergamot and wood-centric patchouli.  There is no “terre” in sight… even Jean-Claude Ellena admits to that in his “Journal d’un parfumeur : suivi d’un abrégé d’odeurs” of 2011.

Maybe Terre is cool because Ellena himself is an intellectual.  That comes out loud and clear in his book.  Or maybe I’m just not used to Jean-Claude Ellena’s shorthand style.  When it was first launched, Terre was reported to have only 13 notes!  I think I need more notes… a bigger orchestra.

I would never hesitate to wear it because, intellectually, I “know” it’s beautiful… but I don’t feel it.

Image : Portrait of Nietzsche (1844-1900) who coined the phrase “God is dead.”

Leave a comment

10 Comments

  1. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  May 14, 2013

    Normand, kudos for the fact that you wear a scent for a good while before reviewing it. I enjoyed reading how you relate or don’t relate to a perfume and I can identify with that process. Some perfumes are objectively stunning but for wearing that “feels like me” vibe is the best!

    Reply
    • Yep. Terre d’Hermès is well constructed and I just LOVE the fact that it’s not just another masculine fougère. But for me, it doesn’t speak.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Normand

      Reply
  2. Dzing!y

     /  May 14, 2013

    i’m with you on this one. my love for it was lukewarm when it first came out. but the more i wear terre d’hermes the less i like it. there’s a mineral note that sticks out like sore thumb on my skin. i even tried the parfum, but alas no.

    Reply
    • For me, Terre is another one of those that I want to love and it’s a perfectly good scent but…

      Thanks for the comment!

      Normand

      Reply
  3. Tara

     /  May 14, 2013

    Hmm… I would not describe this as a bergamot patchouli. I get vetiver and hot flint notes from it. It really smells like the south of France in the heat of summer to me. My bottle is not currently accessible (it’s in Montreal) but I need to smell it again and see if I can find the bergamot/patchouli you mention.

    Reply
    • Really? No citrus at all? I might be wrong about the classification. Michael Edwards calls it a “wood” scent… which supports your vetiver argument. I purposely didn’t read the notes on this one because I find they’re often more misleading than informative.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Normand

      Reply
  4. Tara

     /  May 14, 2013

    Here’s what Fragrantica says:
    This vertically structured scent is based on an alchemy of wood, the scent first introduces the gaity of orange, the bitterness of grapefruit and the vivacity of pepper and of fresh spices. This “vegetality” flirts with the mineral effect of flint and the coarseness of vetiver. Dominated by cedar, the fragrance goes deeper with the sweetness of resins and the impalpable voluptuousness of benzoin.
    ————————-
    From what I read in the comments though, this scent has been reformulated and does not have the strong vetiver note it used to have. What year did you purchase your bottle? I have one of the original release bottles. It smells a lot like Montale Red Vetyver IMHO.

    Reply
    • My bottle dates to about 2 months ago. So… it could be very different than that original. I remember early comments about the small number of ingredients that would almost certainly put it at risk of reformulation because of the obvious high concentration of certain materials.

      Interesting…

      Reply
  5. I’m not a big fan of this one either mostly due to the huge dose of E Iso Supre that’s in it (believe it makes up 55% of the perfume) it is so strong and potent but not a good way. Its astringent, antiseptic and presents a chemical aloofness that prevents one from thoroughly enjoying the scent. the smell of it makes me want to spray it on my mosquito bites to stop them from itching.

    The edp or pure perfume version as Hermès brands it as, is much better. It is warm, sunny, and adds a sweetness that makes it much more wearable for humans. The orange at the top is beautiful and is so delicious and is missing from the edt version. To me the edp is a better composed fragrance and would be a welcome addition to my fragrance collection; the edt on the other hand, is perfect for robots, and I can’t wait to get rid of. Any takers? LOL

    Reply

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