Perfume Directory

Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande (2004)
by Hermès


Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande information

Year of Launch2004
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 221 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerJean-Claude Ellena

About Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande

Jean-Claude Ellena:

A massive, beautiful oak tree once grew in front of my house, blocking our view of the Mediterranean. Eventually, it grew ill and was felled. The peppery, musky, slightly smoky scent of the cut wood etched itself in my memory. The soul of the old oak, mixed with pepper, lives on in this fragrance. The name Samarcande is an homage to the city through which spice caravans once passed on their way from East to West.

Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande fragrance notes

Reviews of Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande

Who told it better?
Pepper's tall tale of wood, or
Wood's tail of pepper?
11th July, 2017
Even after accounting for the fact that Ellena’s style is marked by a characteristic transparent minimalism, Poivre Samarcande is underwhelming and shockingly pretentious.

A dry, transparent melange of spices (cumin) and woods is spiked with pepper - and that basically is the composition. The woods in question is a large amount of Iso E Super, and the pepper and the cumin together combine to create an airy fragrant cloud. This is neither compelling, nor interesting, doesn’t smell good, and is soulless and synthetic. It is quite abstract, but also absolutely insubstantial, and functionally comes across as a marginally improved version of Bang by Marc Jacobs at ten times the price. It is extremely quiet on the skin beyond the initial peppery-spicy blast, and duration is not convincing - and irrelevant. Possibly the only redeeming feature could be how the spices (primarily cumin) briefly provide a warm contrast to the cold and aloof woody notes.

Poivre Samarcande slots in between Declaration and Terre d’Hermes chronologically. If one is looking for a minimalist composition featuring pepper, woods, or both, Comme des Garcons presents many superior alternatives. In fact, if one wants an actual three dimensional perfume version of Poivre Samarcande with real depth and substance, one only needs to look at Declaration or Declaration Essence - created by none other than Ellena himself. If one is just interested in a good pepper fragrance, Piper Nigrum or Noir Epices provide much more engaging and rewarding alternatives. While the skeletal structure of Poivre Samarcande bears promise, it is not innovative given its predecessor in Declaration. However, the primary source of discontent is the lack of any substance.

I have always found reasons to respect Ellena’s compositions even though I may disagree with them. This is an exceptional case.

04th May, 2017
Fine pepper with a hint of smoke. At first this fragrance comes off very nice, but very simple and weak. After buying a bottle and wearing it more often, I've realized it lasts much longer than I initially thought. It is far more complex than its first impressions also. If you are a fan of Terre, you will most likely enjoy this. Terre stripped of its orange and vetiver. You are left with the smell of pepper and woods.

Mademoiselle_Nicole below has the most accurate review of this below.

28th April, 2017
Magnificent! This smells just like that first whiff of a freshly opened bag of peppered jerky. I mean that in a good way, too.

Longevity is poor, but some people may overlook that due to the uniqueness. I can't, so it's not full bottle worthy for me. It is a wonderful fragrance though.
17th December, 2016
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
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......
26th November, 2014
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.
30th April, 2013

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