I bought a bottle of this at the flagship store in Paris, along with my scarf, in 1991. I had no idea what I had at the time; I just knew that it smelled sharper and smarter than the florals (old and new) I knew from back home. I remember the slightly hissy aldehydes and the sharp green Galbanum, and I know my bottle was a true OG chypres because of its age. It was soft around the edges, but bitter and structured in the middle. Definitely best for daytime wear--a no-nonsense, seen-the-world, sophisticated, grown-up chypre; perfect for a 21 year old with a newly acquired travel bug, after a semester and a summer abroad.
Chypreish mixed floral (rose and hyacinth especially) with an overall dry, almost leathery, and powdery classical feel. But a little bit of a catch all: some citrus, some green, some flowers, some amber, some incense, some moss. Pleasant throughout, but rather generic. Apart from a brief, curiously oily, but sadly fleeting top (perhaps thick bergamot, or hyacinth), it lacks a bold structure or a striking note that makes it memorable.
Perfume with incredible silage that lasts for about 2 hours on my skin. I received, only compliments, although it has a bit of a "retro" touch. Like most of the Hermes perfumes, it has that special combination of notes that gives its elegance.
Initially I mostly feel bergamot in combination with floral and balsamic notes. In later development powdery iris with hint of vetiver and amber became predominant. It has quite good longevity. I prefer to wear it during fall, winter and spring. This perfume is twin with Hermes Rouge.
The 1980s Chypre fragrances are by far my favorites. In the early part of that decade, perfume houses took the previously strict parameters of the Chypre family and blew them up. New- and always bold- designs were built upon the traditional Chypre chassis of bergamot, a classic floral meritage, and resinous or animalic moss. On the scene arrived such unlikely stars as the resinous, heavy fruit notes of Talisman by Balenciage, the outrageous ylang-ylang of banana in L'Arte de Gucci by Gucci and Pour un Femme by Caron, the brazen rose note in Rose Cardin by Pierre Cardin, peaty smoke as in original Versace for women, the spicy woody interpretation of original Fendi for women, the animal in Paloma Picasso (spicy) and La Nuit by Rabanne (straight up)...I could go on and on.
Parfum d'Hermes does not shout as loud as the exemplary scents above; it is a sleeper, the classy older sister who gets the good husband. She and sibling scent Ysatis (Givenchy, 1984, by Dominique Rompion) are modern executions of traditional chypre ingredients.
What I enjoy most about this perfume is the beguiling top- the aldehydes are paired not just with the usual bergamot, but also with the cloying sweetness of the hyacinth playing against the strong, green, spicy, woody Galbanum. It's like an entire composition in just 5 minutes. After this blazing entrance, Parfum d'Hermes calms down significantly and enters a classic floral heart with powdery jasmine atop a subtle velvet of iris. The rose is very quiet-it must be Damascan absolute, not a synthetic- and makes a discreet appearance only after 20 minutes. Both the character and the strength of the notes become quite modest, in contrast to the top. Half an hour in, one hardly notices the seamless transition into the warm, woody incense base, with a restrained vanilla note. While sillage lessens considerably, the longevity of this scent remains excellent, due most certainly to the fine ingredients.
My one criticism of this perfume: while I adore the top, it is out of balance with the much more restrained heart and base. Sort of like realizing you have been talking too loudly at a dinner, and trying to compensate by assuming a polite and softspoken demeanor. No matter how hard you try, no one will forget your first impression.
Classic perfumery in a bottle, it is as kasae says: "warm, powdery, gently aldehydic". If not for the rose becoming cloying on me I'd snap up a full bottle immediately, Parfum d'Hermes is exquisitely rich. The spices are mouthwatering. It's even got that milky lactonic drydown that I love! I'm giving this one a thumbs up, although I won't be wearing it due to that rose.