Perfume Directory

Bel Ami (1986)
by Hermès


Bel Ami information

Year of Launch1986
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 414 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerJean-Louis Sieuzac
PerfumerJean-Claude Ellena

About Bel Ami

Bel Ami was launched in 1986 by Hermès. The fragrance was originally 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

Bel Ami fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Bel Ami

It is not a bad leather. It is very good but it smells old somehow. I own Chanel Cuir de russie and Knize ten, which are actually older creations than Bel amis, but those perfumes smell very present. I don't know which fragrance component makes me perceive Bel amis smelling old but that is how I feel of this one. I use Bel amis when I need to project quiet authority and look organized in formal setting.I used this in my recent job interview that was successful.
02nd April, 2015
Nice. Retro type fragrance with heavy spice and pepper. This stuff is strong. Not a bad thing though. Perfect for cooler days. The leather note in Bel Ami is great. Received a half bottle of this and will purchase another when done. 7.5/10
22nd February, 2015
leather, leather and more leather!

Bel Ami smells expensive and elegant but slightly old fashioned to my nose. Goes on with lots of leather which becomes a herbal spicy sage and cardamom smell - like spicy black pepper and suede leather, with an almost apricot-like note to the soft and fuzzy suede. There's also a suggestion of cypress pine in here too (which i love)

I get 6-8 hours performance from the new version - after 6 hours the leather is mostly gone leaving a light but very pleasant vetiver and sandalwood that hangs on my clothes for the rest of the day. Right at the end there's a dated bit of oakmoss that clings on.

Whilst being a warm and inviting scent it is also somewhat formal and is the kind of thing that would go well with a tweed suit and overcoat in autumn and winter.

Very nice smell, Reminds me strongly of Molton & Brown Black Pepper body wash...
02nd February, 2015 (last edited: 03rd February, 2015)
Tried the current version. Very nice. In style it reminds me a lot of Equipage. The spice takes a lead here. In addition to cardamon, I also suggest pepper and perhaps nutmeg. Not sweet, despite the amber and vanilla. In fact, the vanilla is so muted here that I can completely endorse the scent. Leather here is not a problem. Very nice. My only caveat is that I find it so similar to Equipage that I can't see having both. But if you want a gentle but classy spice scent, this is a good one.
18th January, 2015
This is a little like Derby and Antaeus mixed together. It's like a leafy sandalwood with some amber and vetiver. Since I have Antaeus already and Derby is much better I'll pass on it. This is a happy medium for those who don't get into one or the other. It's also for those who want something like Yatagan but less weird.
25th December, 2014
Bel Ami does stand out in the suspiciously overcrowded leather genre but in ways that are more subtle than overt.

For one thing, it’s more complicated and daring than most contemporary leathers. There’s an iris that’s chilly and bitter, merged with a cardamom note that spins the scent into musty, somewhat raunchy, animal territories. You can almost feel the texture and deep grain of the leather as the result—as though it still carries a pulse. Furthermore, it’s a bold, confident kind of scent with some forceful cedar/coniferous notes jutting out, only slightly tempered by a bilge-like lactonic effect. In other words, there’s a lot going on here aside from just leather, and it’s all stereotypically "manly."

But more than anything, it smells like an old leather sofa to me—a heavily used one at that. It’s had drinks spilled all over its surface, and entirely too many cigarettes have been smoked in its presence. Furthermore, it’s a bit ratty and worn down now; its filling and frame have succumbed to age, emitting a characterful stink that sits somewhere between mildew and dust.

Yet that’s what makes it interesting: it’s unapologetically characterful and totally brazen in its demeanor. And I think it’s designed for a wearer who would like to view themselves in a similarly egotistic light. However, it doesn’t just smell old and worn, it smells dated as well. This is big-gold-chain-over-unbuttoned-polyester kind of perfumery, and I’m going to assume it was something made popular in the 1970s or the 1980s with the “refined gentleman of the disco" in mind.

Consequently, despite it being complex and evocative, it’s bit of an anachronism these days. It underscores a paradox from that period of fragrance's history when men would wear perfume in order to supposedly bolster masculinity. Today, there are better options on the table. This feels too costumey now; too much of a throwback to a moment that wasn't very good to begin with.
17th October, 2014

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