One Thousand Scents

Monday, November 09, 2009


I am going to apologize right now, and repeatedly throughout the course of this posting, for the quality of the photographs. I took them myself (strike one), in a hotel room with indifferent lighting (strike two), using a bedspread as a backdrop (strike you get the picture), editing them minimally on a useful but dinky netbook computer (strike et cetera).

Now that that's temporarily out of the way:

Today, Day 4 in New York, I went to Hermes on Madison Avenue. I could probably have spent half an hour there, no problem (among other things I would like to have been able to compare and contrast Rouge Hermes and Parfum D'Hermes, and try the Extrait version of Terre D'Hermes), but I promised Jim that I would be there for an absolute maximum of five minutes, and I doubt he believed me (knowing me as well as he does), but I did it. I found my quarry, pounced on it, and brought it down in record time (for me). What I was after was the Hermessences Discovery Set, which contains the first four scents in the line. (If there had been a second set containing scents 5 through 8, I suspect I would have bought that, too.)

Whenever a new Apple product comes out, some people make a big deal about unboxing it, taking apart the packaging (which is always well-designed and interesting), removing the various contents, and documenting the whole process. So let's have a go at that.

This is what I brought home with me: an Hermes shopping bag in the familiar house colours of orange and brown. The bag has a nice pebbly leather-like texture.

What's in the bag? No samples: I wanted some of the newer Hermessences but she had none (and opened a cabinet to prove the point), just samples of the ones I was already buying. Oh, well. But the credit-card slip was tucked into a smart little folder of heavy card with a heavily embossed linen texture. Class all the way.

Also inside the bag: a lovely box, again in the house colours, again with that same pebbled leather finish. The charming saleswoman opened a drawer and removed the box, which was in a white cardboard sleeve bearing the name of its contents: she discarded this sleeve as being unworthy. Then at the cash she took a length of brown ribbon and tied up the box. The ribbon is woven but the stitching along the edges and the logo and name are printed on it; however, they're nicely printed in very heavy three-dimensional ink.

Another view of the box, because why not. Since it's Jim's netbook computer and he was resizing the photos for me, I think this was probably the point at which he said, "I have got to teach you how to take photos." They are pretty awful, aren't they?

The box, unribboned and ready to be opened to the world.

This is what is inside the box: four little drawstring bags in a very smart linen-coloured tweed.

And also a little booklet: the cover is two rectangles of heavy card in that same leather finish, glued to each end of an accordion-folded length of translucent paper printed with information about the Hermessence line and the various scents in it. I believe this is the point at which, in despair at the general awfulness of the images, Jim said, "Look, I'll take the pictures over again for you." But I thought he had probably done enough for me, so I declined.

Here is one of the 15-mL bottles, of Rose Ikebana, with the other three still in their pouches. The bottom of the slim squarish bottle has a little glaze of red-pink which shows up when you look at it from the front; the name is printed on the bottle in a similar shade. You don't get any sense of scale from this picture, but since the bottle holds a tablespoonful, you can imagine that it is not very big; the perfect size for tossing into your luggage.

And here are all four of the bottles. As you can see, they are all glazed at the bottom with a little smudge of an appropriate colour: dark red-brown for Poivre Samarkande, fresh bright yellow-green for Vetiver Tonka, and intense gold for Ambre Narguile, which I already reviewed some months ago. I swore I was going to buy some last time I was in New York, but events conspired against me (basically, we stopped by the Hermes boutique on Sunday, a day on which it is closed, and I just never got back to it). This time, the fates were a little kinder, and I so have my Ambre Naguile, and three more besides.

And that's not all! Stay tuned....



  • I have these four fragrances, too, but I love Ambre Narguile the most, especially for autumn. I'm sorry they didn't have samples of the others in the line; I'm looking forward to trying them, too.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9:52 AM  

  • I loved your step by step guide through the thrill of a shopping experience at Herm├Ęs. It doesn't matter that the photos weren't that great. My blog (mondofruitcake) has all kinds of horrible photos on it, but they're better than nothing. Can't wait to hear more about your New York scent-buying experiences!

    By Blogger Isabelle, at 2:51 PM  

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