Bel Ami (1986)
    by Hermès




    Average Rating: 4

    Based on 380 ratings
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    Bel Ami Fragrance Notes

    Bel Ami information

    Bel Ami was launched in 1986 by Hermès. The fragrance was created by Jean-Louis Sieuzac. The scent was updated by Jean-Claude Ellena in recent years.

    The company say:

    Irresistibly charming and masculine. An audacious mix of cardamom, amber, patchouli and leather

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    Reviews of Bel Ami


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    Showing 1 to 6 of 83 reviews.

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Bel Ami (vintage) opens with a breathtaking accord of soft, rich leather, more on the suede side if compared to other more dry and austere fougères, then beautiful fizzy herbal notes (thyme, sage... ?), bergamot, spices (cloves), fruity-plummy notes, all rounded in a classic accord of aldehydes and balsamic-mossy notes with woods (warm sandalwood and vetiver among all) and finally a smoky tobacco breeze. On the very base it's also detectable a thin but rich animalic note. Here's where Cuir Ottoman, Fetish pour Homme, Puredistance M have their roots – the mossy-leather scent à la Moschino pour Homme, in a more modern, linear, gentle version softened and sweetened by herbs and fruity notes, less "heavy", more playful and somehow younger and brighter. Refined, dandy, androgynous contemporary elegance, impressively ahead of its time. Effortlessly elegant, versatile, rich, irresistible: one of the very few rare vintage scents which are worth the chase and the cost.

    9/10

    11th July, 2014

    jtd's avatar

    United States United States

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    In retrospect, Hermès Bel Ami marks the midway point between the dry woods of Chanel Antaeus and the gasoline slap of Dior Fahrenheit. The connection is leather, which both the Chanel and the Dior hint at, but the Hermès wraps itself in.

    An intermediate species can by definition only be identified after the fact. So, here we are, after the fact, and Bel Ami deserves its niche, its genre. The woody petro-cuir.

    Chanel Antaeus is classified as a woody fragrance. But it hasn’t been given the typical Chanel face-lift of aldehydes, iris and velvet (Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie). Antaeus is woody by virtue of the range of its notes, not for any affiliation with nature. This is a wood product in the same way that turpentine is. Where most woody perfumes emulate botanical woods, Antaeus reminds me of touching my tongue to a frozen chain-link fence at an outdoor skating rink.  Antaeus feels chilled by virtue of an extreme dryness that conjures freeze-drying. Dior Fahrenheit matches Antaeus dryness with a cool hiss. The chill is the feeling left behind on your skin as gasoline evaporates, leaving only a brisk whiff as memory.

    I recently came across two bottles of vintage Bel Ami, the cocktail shaker model.  They were boxed testers that had been well stored and were perfectly preserved.  I never smelled it at the time of its release but I wish I had. The combination of botanical and proudly synthetic notes make Bel Ami a large-scale fairy-tale of a perfume. No Disney back-pedal for a G rating, though. Bel Ami is an olfactory history in the school of historical oral history. Fairy tales were principally a means of reinforcing the super-ego, were deliberately frightening and worked by reinforcing irrational thought. Fairy tales told you, “don’t go outside the boundaries of tribe and kin, or monsters will destroy you.” Less specific, but equally promissory of harm, Bel Ami taunts with a smile: ”Go ahead. Fuck with me.”  

    Bel Ami plays with a gasoline note that Fahrenheit would eventually take to maximum expression. The top notes are a big opening and grab your attention, settling pretty quickly into the heart. The leather note in Bel Ami is irresistable. The wood and the gasoline notes set the tone for the fragrance and the leather is dry and crackly-stiff. It has the quality of an imagined leather object like a leather blanket.  I've never heard of one, but I'd love to have one.

    I've never tried the current model of Bel Ami, and I'm leery too.  Vintage Bel Ami reminds me of everything that I loved about the early men's power fragrances.  Vintage Bel Ami is not the shaved steroid gym queen of this millennium.  It precedes the contempo-masculine poodle-tailored facial hair , and it certainly precedes topiary pubic styling.  Bel Ami has honest-to-goodness chest hair, the kind you want to run your fingers through.

    Fucking hot.

    19 June, 2014

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Leather

    Bel Ami is a big, spicy leather scent with a heaping dose of dark woods in its base. It’s neither so lithe nor so risqué as its lascivious oldest brother Eau d’Hermès, and it doesn’t share middle brother Equipage’s taste for tobacco. This leaves it the most staid – stolid, even – of the Hermès leather brethren. Bel Ami is a guy you can depend on, even he’s not the most charismatic one in the room. When I'm looking for a leather scent in this general style, I'm more apt to reach for the more challenging Knize Ten or Parfum d'Habit, but Bel Ami works just fine if you're after something more congenial.

    09 June, 2014

    RHINORAY2's avatar

    United States United States

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    Ditto Jack Hunter. This is a pleasure to smell. The warm, heart felt compliments I get on this fragrance are literally ooohs and aaaahs, even when I think it's gone. My 3 favorite compliments (1) from a woman walking behind me that said very sincerly " what smells so good! (2) from a woman that said mmm mmm you smell good" I swear she got weak in the knees and (3) from a hostess in a restraunt that said a couple I had walked past wanted her to ask me what I was wearing that smelled so good. This holds a place in my top 5. Hermes has come out with a new Fragrance only available in Europe I understand, that supposedly won't be available in the U.S. until next year called Bel Ami Vetiver. I can't wait.

    09 December, 2013

    ezequiel91's avatar



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    This is why male perfumery exists. That beautiful. Will not try to analyze it. Just enjoy it.

    27 November, 2013

    Andrè Moreau's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Extraordinary scent from the Eighties

    One of the most pleasant experiences in perfumery world. Vintage is superior, but the reformulated is nonetheless really good.

    Pros: Unique, one-of-a-kind.
    Cons:

    12 October, 2013

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