Perfume Directory

Eau d'Hermès (1951)
by Hermès


Eau d'Hermès information

Year of Launch1951
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 324 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerEdmond Roudnitska

About Eau d'Hermès

Conceived by Edmond Roudnitska in 1951 on the basis of a citrus, spicy, floral theme, Eau d’Hermès is the first perfume of the house. It draws its inspiration from the idea of a magical smell, full of sensuality: “The inside of an Hermès bag where the scent of a perfume lingered… A note of fine leather wrapped in fresh trails of citrus fruit and seasoned with spices,” the composer described it at the time. A historical novel inspired by in-house customs and traditions, it is intended for men as well as women. A powerful, sensual writing style.

Eau d'Hermès fragrance notes

Reviews of Eau d'Hermès

Eau d'Hermès launched a long-held luxury saddle and accessories brand into the word of fragrance, doing so at the hand of the now-legendary late perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, a name responsible for helping establish the male aromatic citrus chypre mid-century, and designing many a renown fragrance for Christian Dior as well. Hermès must have tread lightly with Roudnitska, allowing him to have pretty much free reign to capture the aesthetic of their establishment in a perfume, which he ultimately chose to be unisex, even if it does heavily veer in the male direction. The scent is famous for it's note that tries to replicate the scent of Human skin, which is akin to what Kouros tries to pull off with a slight "sweaty" vibe, except much more carnal as the skin note in Eau d'Hermès is meant to directly imply sexual tension. Roudnitska worked off of his own memories and experiences in crafting this, his experiences with Hermès handbags when he was young playing a large part of that design, which is why this was chosen to be enjoyed by anyone rather than be a hard-line gendered perfume. Time has proven it more favored by men or women who reminisce about the men in their lives who wore it, so it tends to be ranked highly among enthusiasts of male perfumery. Overall, this can also be seen as something of a missing link between what Roudnitska did for Rochas and Dior prior to working with Hermès, and what he would do after primarily for Dior once again, as it combines ideas developed from Moustache and Diorama (both 1949) with some ideas he would later put to use in Eau Sauvage (1966).

Eau d'Hermès opens with much the same citrus fizz found in the later Eau Sauvage, but quickly submerges that sweet lemon top with the civet (officially unlisted by Hermès) that transitions into the infamous skank of stiff cumin, leather, and birch tar, which also end up being the base of this later on. Cinnamon, clove, cardamon, vanilla, tonka, and all these other spices typical of orientals, fougères, or even bay rum start richly and sweetly dancing around this swanky base, keeping it from being too raunchy; the end result of this interplay is a complicated multi-faceted scent experience that is gentlemanly on one hand, but pent up for action on the other. It's a scent right at home on a biker's leather vest, or an erstwhile equestrian enthusiast's saddle as was the original inspiration source, but in most modern contexts sees use in neither of these situations as most Hermès clientele neither ride Harleys nor set foot often outside of luxury saloons, except to run into another air-conditioned environment. Eau d'Hermès deserves much more than that; it deserves to be experienced in the heat of a day trip, in the proximity of an intimate dance, in the bedroom, and then on the shirt left behind. Edmond Roudnitska may have designed this to encapsulate his own experience with Hermès, but he also knew what purpose he had in mind for it's use, and it wasn't a day at the horse races.

Eau d'Hermès is certainly dated now, as it follows the aromatic citrus chypre model that had it's last gasps with the Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme line of the early 70's, but it does something strikingly different than any chypre before or since, in that it wraps itself in spices, which alongside that aforementioned civet note, are part of what make it such an undeniably sensual aroma that is anything but casual. Hobbyist-level perfume fans are undoubtedly already all over this, but for the average Joe (or Jane), this is best approached by somebody with an appreciation for the classics that also loves heady spices and a healthy helping of risque. It takes a special breed of person to really love that cumin/civet/leather accord, and almost everything else in this stuff is present just to blend it down and make it workable rather than lead the scent. It's a legend in a bottle, much like most things made under Roudnitska's nose, but it's not for everyone, as it's barely tamed, much like a stallion during his breaking in. For reference, my version is the copper top spray, which was the last version to contain a considerably noticeable civet note, so if a more-domesticated version seems safer (but not as fun for the die-hards), seek out the newest black-topped version with the sticker on the bottle in place of screen-printed lettering; it's the same experience without as much of the "holy s**t" factor in the base. If you're going for the full monty, you want the copper top or older.
31st December, 2017 (last edited: 01st January, 2018)

Think eau sauvage with notable cumin-like spice. Tight sillage and weak longevity at a distance, but it lasts plenty long as a 'second skin' depending on weather and/or what you're doing while wearing it. One of the standards in masculine citrus scents.
08th November, 2017
If I could smell just one fragrance on the opposite sex, it would be this. In vintage form this scent does something to me that no other one does. We don't need to discuss this at length, suffice it to say, citrus and cumin is a provocative combination.

I wear this myself if I'm feeling...lonely.
03rd October, 2017
I've tried to like this one for years and years... but I just can't get over the sharp cumin note. It smells like unwashed armpits, to be honest. The rest of the fragrance is lovely with nice structure and a classic feel. But the cumin is a deal-breaker for me.

Imagine that someone bought a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa - and proceeded to bolt on a chrome "whale tail" spoiler on the rear. The addition is disconcertingly out-of-place and it spoils the lines of this classic car.

That is what I think of Eau d-Hermes.
31st May, 2017
Copper top:

This is really interesting! Not sure about buying and wearing it though.

I definitely get the sweaty and spicy cumin, citrus, and slight anamalic notes, but to me, the cumin gets in the way of me getting the other more dirtier aspects. It dries down to a nice cumin and musk. It's pretty light and not as dense as I thought it would be.
26th May, 2017
This is a lighter, citrus fragrance, but with nice supporting structure that has something such as cumin adding a lovely dose of character.
01st May, 2017

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