Truth be told, I am not really a fan of Ellena's work. Game changing visionary--yes, I get that. The problem is, I don't really like many of his scents. He may have "revitalized" the house of Hermes, but I do not think that any of his fragrances for Hermes are as good as Bel Ami or Equipage--not to mention Eau d'Hermes. That said, Poivre Samarcande is the best of the lot. It is a bit of a shape shifter, drifting in and out of peppery, smokey, leathery sweat and mostly drifts in and out, period, thanks to the Iso E Super that is his signature. While it makes this scent ephemeral and elusive, I like something I can wrap my arms around and find that Penhaligon's Opus 1870 gives me all that and more--pepper done right. Poivre Samarcande does, however, not only smell manly, but it smells like a man, literally. Which is no bad thing. This man just can't be relied upon to show up on time or stick around when needed......
I'm glad I gave this a chance. At first, I didn't like the sweaty cumin and just sort of wrote it off. But after wearing it quite a bit lately (more out of laziness than anything else), the complexities have come through and it has grown on me and now I'm quite enjoying it.
Part of what initially scared me away were the topnotes, which really are a mess, all sour celery and sweat. But that gives way quickly to a rather nice mix of spices - black pepper, leafy basil, tea-ish sage, and yes, that cumin. There's an ongoing undertone of dry, dusty wood, like teak or rosewood matched up with oak, and a shot of mace, which gives a chickory sweetness, especially later in the day. But the real star turns out to be a sweaty-old-man leather smell, which is certainly a bit gross, especially paired with the cumin, but which somehow ends up rather compelling in a very animalic leathery way when surrounded by all the spices and wood.
In a way, I'm glad that Poivre Samarcande has the signature low volume of the Hermessence line. If it were more concentrated and strong, this would be an unbelievable stinker. But as is, it sends off occasional leathery spicy sweet wood sillage without every making me feel like I simply smell sweaty or bad despite the skanky notes involved.
Close (at first approach) to Black Tourmaline but with less mineral dustiness, incense, less rubbery/smoky/dark turpentine and more ambery resinous sweetness in the blend. Spicy, not just pepper or sweet spices but also cumin and may be saffron. The HPS's beginning is really dusty and intoxicating by a blast of spices and a touch of exotic rum. I suppose a certain level of sweetness is aroused by a combination of sweet spices, some minimal hint of booziness and secret dried fruits. A touch of ambergris? Yes, I suppose it. The exotic pepper is prominent, the note of patchouli imprints structure and a final cuir note discloses endly its leathery touch in the dry cedarwood prominent dry down. Elegant and vaguely sultry with an enigmatic side.
19th October, 2012 (last edited: 15th July, 2014)
Poivre Samarchande opens with a gargantuan blast of black peppercorn supported by cumin and maybe just the faintest hint of fiery red pepper. The pepper and cumin remain into the heart notes, but luckily settle down to more manageable levels. There is also a hint of supporting cedar wood to bolster the scent up a bit. And that is pretty much it... Pepper, cumin and cedar; very minimalist like most of the Hermessence line. Projection is minimal to below average and longevity is average.
I am not really enjoying Poivre Samarchande much, I confess. It just is too simplistic, and I don't like the cumin in it at all. The scent pretty much stays linear throughout which also does not drive any new interest. I guess this is just another disappointment from one of my favorite noses, Jean-Claude Ellena. I find when he hits, there is none better, but his misses can be pretty bad, and there are plenty of them. This is not a complete failure, but it is not noteworthy at all and at these lofty prices anything less than that is unacceptable. If I want a superior pepper scent I would easily go with Piper Nigrum from Lorenzo Villoresi for less money before buying this. I give Poivre Samarchande a middling neutral and a 2.5 out 5 rating.
please picture a country house somewhere in the hamptons, full of the rich ,young and beautiful. Large leather sofas you sink in when sitting down, finest cigars and old whisky.
poivre samarcande catapults you into the old world. the fragrance has the souverain sexyness of a man who was just born with it all. the understatement of the selfconfident. smokey peppery with a touch of soft wood. a very well balanced fragrance that makes me think of a man who knows to waer his white tie.
07th April, 2012 (last edited: 29th June, 2012)