Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Équipage by Hermès

After sampling for some weeks from an ever-dwindling 2ml supply procured from the Perfumed Court, I found a vintage bottle at a price too good to pass up. The vintage arrived today, and I was so taken by it that I thought it worth posting a review.

The notes for this fragrance are well-known and well exposited elsewhere so I will not duplicate these efforts. Rather, let me make some comparisons. There are some great leathers out there. Among semi-modern, D&G Pour Homme (made in Italy or Germany but not elsewhere) is one. There are many others. Of those I've sampled or bought, this is simply the best. The richness and depth of the fragrance combined with its "dirty" elements are out of this world beautiful. Viewing fragrance as art, this is a Monet--relatively few brushstrokes producing a transforming effect.

The vintage juice is different from new in all the right ways. It is darker in the opening with a dirty, rustic theme right from the outset. Happily this is dirty in the sense of oakmoss and not in the sense of cumin. As it dries down, the leather is pure, rich and lovely, like a visit to a freshly cleaned stable. The horses are there, sweating and steaming in the afternoon heat. You pick up a saddle, nose right to it as you lift it into place onto your chestnut brown quarterhorse. You pull on your hand tooled boots and prepare to ride. Heading out, it is just you, saddle, riding crop, and the country air in the low, late afternoon light.

Just perfect.
23rd January, 2015
bFlay Show all reviews
United States
After reading the great reviews, I had to try this and was left feeling...perplexed. EQUIPAGE is very floral, almost feminine and overwhelming. There is a pine note, though mild. I also get a tannic resins/leather note that is fleeting and so light it doesn't seem to hold it's own...a leather note I would associate with women. I don't really get spice notes at all. Rather bland fragrance overall that lasts approximately 5 hours on skin and breaks down to even more purely floral design long before that.
06th December, 2014
One of the truly great scent creations for men, Equipage defies description. It tries to be everything all at once - spicy, fougere, floral, leather, chypre, tobacco, woods - and miraculously succeeds on all fronts. Whatever appeals to you, you will find it there.

Created at this writing 45 years ago, its note profile is much more complex than the few ingredients listed above:

Top notes: Rosewood, Bergamot, Orange, Clary Sage, Nutmeg, Cinnamon
Heart notes: Carnation, Jasmine, Muguet, Labdanum, Pine, Birch Tar
Base notes: Tonka, Vetiver, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Musk, Vanilla

The new formulation, which seemingly had to dispense with the oak moss due to those pesky new regulations, has a much more warm leather support to its spiciness than the true vintage, which in an equally warm manner presents its complex carnation/pine bouquet. Both are lovely, just slightly different to my nose.

The original is much more pungent in the warmth of summer than the newer version. Sillage for both is low in winter, clarion in summer.

A must-experience for every man interested in scent.
19th November, 2014
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There is not much I can add to all of these glowing reviews. This fragrance is class in a bottle! An extremely warm and enveloping scent. This has to be how an old faculty lounge must smell like at Oxford or Cambridge! Leather, woods, tobacco, vetiver and carnation in perfect harmony. As much as I love it, I feel I might be a tad young to wear this yet. I can see this being my signature scent in 10 to 15 years. Superb! 10/10!
01st November, 2014
Genre: Fougère

After Eau d’Hermès, Équipage is my favorite of the Hermès scents for men. In style it is a rich and substantial fragrance that combines elements of a tobacco fougère and a leather chypre. With its aromatic content, labdanum, woods, and animalic leather, it smells of well-worn club chairs, fine whiskey, and expensive cigars. In its weight, warmth, and nuanced complexity, it also smells like the work of the nose behind Amouage Gold, the original Calèche, and Monsieur Rochas. And well it should, having been composed by the very same Guy Robert.

In the way it straddles the fougère and leather genres, Équipage prefigures Jean Luis Sieuzac’s equally brilliant Or Black. Yet while the two share a reliance upon sage, labdanum, and birch tar, they are otherwise distinct in terms of content and character. Where Or Black can be grim – even forbidding - in aspect, Équipage, with its conspicuous floral middle notes, is essentially comforting and comfortable. Not, mind you, that it’s even remotely bland. The play of astringent aromatics and cool pine resin against the warmly animalic labdanum is proof enough against boredom.

Indeed, the depth and complexity on display in Équipage are worlds away from the elegant, but often flimsy structures that have since become the hallmark of the Hermès line. A scent like Équipage, traditional in style, original in content, enduring, and stimulating after forty years, demonstrates the creative potential inherent in classical French perfumery. I wonder if anybody will still be talking about Rose Ikebana, Vanille Galante, or Eau de Gentian Blanc forty years from now? Even if Équipage is extinct in forty years, it’s liable to be a fond memory.
13th June, 2014
Citrus, cloves, tobacco, vetiver, spices and leather. An austere, noble, terribly pleasant and versatile milestone in masculine perfumery - and more broadly, a pillar of masculine class. Hundreds of reviews about this one, nothing more to add about it. Superb!

10/10

(vintage version)
30th January, 2014 (last edited: 23rd June, 2014)
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
For decades this has been a mainstay if mine, using it off and on. It is restrained and traditional, elegant but never thin. What impressed me most was the amazing balance of citrus, floral, wood and green notes, none overwhelming the other. Fresher intitially, then divulging jasmine-lily and woody tones that develop into a richer deeper base with tonka, vetiver and oakmoss forming a delightful orchestra of scents. The development was subtle and exquisitely blended, and in the older versions the oakmoss very beautiful. I got modest projection but good longevity. A grand classic.

03rd April, 2013
At the start it is very woody and dry with a mixture of rosewood and vetiver. After this like the sun peeking out of the clouds you get, pine,jasmine and carnation showing itself behind the woods.

The scent is very elegant and restrained as it does not shout but whispers it's presence.

I like it as it's subdued but also quietly compelling as well. Very nice.
12th March, 2013
The first masculine release (1970) from the wonderful house of Hermes. Excellence & class poured into a bottle. The nose - Guy Robert. This is a beauty.

The gorgeous aldehydes infuse the rich top notes of crisp bergamot, clary sage and incredible rosewood. I get the carnation note right underneath and its bloom is full and sharp - that is balanced beautifully by the nice lightly powdery jasmine and a key note - pine (which is aromatic, not dominant or resinous). The baking spices, sharp vetiver, and a nice base of oakmoss that interplay and 'dance' with each other on our olfactory palate - it is the feeling of watching elegant ballroom dancing...a waltz in perfect stride. This is gentleman fragrance - old-school, yes...but absolutely beautiful and timeless! How does one describe this better than a combination of Darvant (awesome inclusion of olfactory notes & scent development) and jtd (the 'feel' of this classic gem) and Bartlebooth (wonderful interpretive review).

To me, there are notes here that are presented in a fashion that is revelatory. I have a passion for Vintage fragrance that is always going to be relevant and here it is elevated to another level (including many classic Aromatic Fougeres, Chypres, and Leather scents - this is classified as an Oriental Fougere). Like others, it transcends both classifications and time. Guy Robert created a masterpiece in 1970 in Equipage! It lives on with those of us who care to take the time and respect true refinement in fragrance. My score - 9.5+/10. To be worn on special occasions...I look forward to it as I will do so with respect and confidence. I am not yet 40, but no concern. Elegant, proper attire is a must.

After losing Guy Robert (RIP) recently, I came back and sprayed this on my arm. I enjoyed numerous fragrances of his in honor of the remarkable legacy and creations he left behind. This is, simply, magnificent. No other scent has ever been created like it...and no one ever will. A scent that I adore and treasure. Merci Monsieur Robert! A masterpiece fragrance...forever, timeless.

I only own Original Vintage and Vintage bottles with the Lucite/Bakeline "wheel" caps...both EdT and After Shave lotion. Splash and spray. I do not own any current version. There is a slight difference in the feel of Original Vintage (slight more "focused" and austere, with a bit more aldehydes, a touch more sharpness...even a touch bitter, vetiver note and a dollop more moss; while the newer Vintage has a more 'velvety' feel with added spices and is a bit more 'plush' in vibe). Both are truly exceptional and wear exquisitely - the late dry downs are almost identical - so don't get hung-up too much. It is the feeling in the heart and transition into the base where you get the slightly different nuances - more 'how' not 'what'. The notes are the same - just a feel that is slightly unique...and subtlely different. I adore them both. In the end, Vintage Equipage (Original or Newer Vintage) is, for me, a composition that is a must in my collection. Once you wear (just once), you will never forget it. I have adjusted my score since further wearings (including some gorgeous one when I layered Vintage After Shave with the EdT). This is very near perfection in a bottle for me...
08th March, 2013
drseid Show all reviews
United States
*This is a review of the vintage formula

Equipage (vintage) opens with a mild bergamot citrus, quickly mixing with a more prominent rosewood note before transitioning to the early heart. The rosewood remains into the heart, coupling with a subdued carnation floral and powdery oakmoss and vanilla rising from the base, with faint hints of jasmine and cinnamon spice rounding out the main heart accord. The scent stays relatively linear, with the powder fading into the dry-down, allowing the rosewood a bit more time to shine along with the spice. Projection and longevity are both below average.

Equipage (vintage) is a pleasant very conservative scent that I like, but I can't help feeling it needs something else to roughen it up a bit. It is just so polished and muted that while it will work in formal situations very well, it has little excitement to keep one interested for daily general wear (not to mention it does not last relatively long). Scents like the vintage versions of New York and Tiffany for Men occupy similar space to Equipage (vintage), but both of those are more interesting compositions with better performance for similar money. The bottom line is Equipage (vintage) is a solid conservative release from Hermes, but there are even better choices in the genre than this 3 star out of 5 classic to be had.
30th December, 2012
You can't get much more Old School than this wonderful throwback fragrance, I own a circa late 90's bottle and really enjoy the dated yet eternal blend that lasts forever on me. Until I get a vintage bottle of Bel Ami this is easily my favorite Hermes release to date, for some reason somebody I knew once wore this but I can't remember who...a Powerhouse of uniqueness.
27th November, 2012
Top: Aldehydes, orange, clary sage, nutmeg flower, bergamot, Brazilian rosewood
Heart: Carnation, cinnamon, jasmine, lilly of the valley, pine tree needles
Base: Tonka beans, patchouli, musk, oakmoss, vanilla, vetiver

Équipage is a dressy fragrance for all seasons. On me, it is extra dry but I simply adore it (which is quite surprising considering I generally prefer sweet amber-based fragrances). Since Équipage contains carnation, vanilla, tonka beans and musk, I expected it to be much sweeter. However, in spite of its dryness, it is not too hard. At first, it is spicy and very smoky but as soon as the dry-down begins, the clove note (well, it is more likely the carnation) becomes slightly tamer and seems to blend with the cinnamon which makes the composition zesty and vibrant. The dark patchouli/oakmoss/vetiver notes also subdue into a rounder and richer earthy base while the smokiness becomes much more discreet.

When I first tried Équipage back in the early 80's, I was not impressed at all. I thought it was too "serious", too "daddy-like", in other words: not exciting enough. I was sure there was leather somewhere in the composition and I did not care for that note at all back then. I tried Équipage again lately and I was very pleasantly surprised. I think you have to be a little older to truly appreciate this unique fragrance. Now, I am a fan!
02nd August, 2012
This is a review for the vintage EdT. On my skin it's a soft and long lasting perfume. After returning to work yesterday, I still could smell it. For me it's mostly a male floral. It evolves over time but nothing sticks out as a domínating note. A classic male scent that oozes elegance.
04th April, 2012
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equipage is THE formal wear cologne of choice. Or the cologne to choose when the duties of life call for a no-nonsense approach that day. but it can also be appropriate for casual use too; two sprays keeps it noticeable yet close to the skin and subtle for when you feel in the mood for the understated daniel craig/sean connery/george clooney on vacation kind of vibe.
27th December, 2011 (last edited: 06th March, 2012)
I don't know what to think of this. I bought it on eBay, partially used. It strikes me as a feminine fragrance - quite sweet. i don't get any of the leather notes others talked about. Now I wonder if the seller drained the bottle and refilled it with something else. Anyhow, it's far from a favorite. But it is not unpleasant.

Late hit. After sitting on a high closet shelf for a couple of months I just now tried it again. It's much better, more refined. Wearable now.

I must have my nostrils checked.
19th December, 2011 (last edited: 25th September, 2012)
Swanky Show all reviews
United States
Unlike so many fragrances, this one seems perfectly named. The scent evokes the leather goods one might associate with old-money livery: the leather seating in a coach, riding boots, horse bridles, gloves. Leather is not indicated as a note, but it's definitely in what I am smelling.

Perfectly judged, too, is the fragrance within. The subtle floral produced by the carnation and the mildly smoky woods (birch tar?) that produce at least a hologram of leatheriness result in an apotheosis of traditional European masculinity and refinement. This is one of the greats that has the added enticement of being rather unique. If you want a classic, classy men's gift idea, look no further. Projection is modest but omnipresent and longevity is superb for such a nuanced fragrance.
08th September, 2011 (last edited: 17th October, 2012)
First wearing of Equipage today in a long time, and what can I say? I sniffed the bottle, and thought, "Whoa, I don't want to wear this!". Too heavy (man), like a right-hander from Hollyfeld, I'll be smelling of the 70's all day, right?

Well, partly due to laziness, plus a desire to find out, I applied generously, and left for work.

Here are my thoughts: Equipage is pungent, rich and complex. It's like staring into a well and never seeing the bottom. Metaphorically, it's like putting on something awkward, like a suit or armour or a Del-boy camel coat. At first you really notice it; it's cumbersome, distinct and foreign. You feel a little silly, perhaps. Gene Hunt might wear this, not exactly a ladykiller.

But slowly you get used to it, catching the odd waft of deep bass (think Barry White in aroma form) and before long you're mentally giving it the nod, the quiet "Yeah" of approval growing to, "What's that smell? Oh yeah, it's ME. Man, I am the NUTS! Cooool...".

That's how I see it, anyway.

She's pungent, I'm getting curry leaf. She's a timewarp - I'm seeing hideous orange wallpaper and carpet combos. She's complex too, downright hallucinogen for the nose. Wow man.

Above all, she's a landmark, which any student, aficionado or follower must pass on their journey to olfactory enlightenment. Glad I didn't pass her by this morning. Will be visiting again soon for sure.
26th July, 2011 (last edited: 11th August, 2011)
The superlatives are so many. What more can be said? This is the highest level of elegance and refinement you can find in the world of fragrances. Few words are enough to describe this timeless fragrance: A TRUE MASTERPIECE.
24th April, 2011
One of the best ever created. This fragrance, with its exoticism (I mean its capacity to evoke on the olfactory level a creative and brillant era) talks about huge residences, cozy ambiences, about fascinating host people, woody lounges full of leather chairs, regal stairs, boxes of cigars, large pictures, bar corners, and rare crockery. This historical fragrance owns the internship for that restricted clan of fresh-mossy 60-70's (or previous) old-school (masculine) chypre heralding and preceding the upcoming 80's powerhouse new concept of stronger (more herbal-spicy) virility (on the side of juices a la Monsieur Rochas, Arrogance Pour Homme, Pour Monsieur Chanel, Dunhill for Men, Monsieur Givenchy, Habit Rouge etc). Equipage is woodsy, barely mild, resinous, silky-leathery and tobacco flavoured. It sails the waters between the aromatic fougere and the leathery chypre. A touch of citrus lavender is placed among the top notes. The peculiar type of perfumed (seasoned) mildness (the one typical of the aromatic tobacco) is provided by seasoned rosewood, mild tonka and by a bouquet of muguet, jasmine and carnation. The combination of delicate flowers, citrus and rosewood determines indeed the particular type of aromatic boise mildness  that stands on a woodsy, slightly rooty but definitely smooth base. A pine note in the middle enhances the sensation of being caressed by a breeze of forest while some spices in this phase (may be a touch of cinnamon) provide the concoction with an exotic trail. The accord between perfumed tonka, may be a touch of tarry coniferous resin, spices and earthy-rooty patchouli-vetiver conjures me slightly Santos but in here the delicate moss, a touch of amber, suede and may be some hints of labdanum imprint to dry down a substantial dose of smoothness and delicacy that is a peculiar trait of the Equipage's dry down. The calibrated addition of leather creates a perfect link with the silky temperament of balsams and resins and with the tobacco touch from woodsy tonka. The outcome is a superb work of balance and class in which the green masculinity and the subtleness from spices, roots and woods encompass leathery smoothness and creamy balsams delicacy. A wonderful creation epitome of style and nostalgic charme. The longevity, as usual for Hermes, is not at top.
03rd April, 2011 (last edited: 11th November, 2014)
Equipage is beautyful. Nothing I really would like to wear but definitely one I'd totally appreciate on a person seating next to me. It takes roughness and turns it into refinement. It shows you the differences between smelling a tobacco seed and the finished expensive cigar made out of it. Between a very old leather couch stocked in the cellar and the same old couch that instead had a great mainteinance with valuable oils and greases. I'm more into rougher interpretation of the tobacco/leather scents but I totally appreciate refinement and, for sure, I can't stop taking off my hat in front of this absolute masterpiece. Chapeau!
15th March, 2011 (last edited: 04th April, 2011)
I have a vintage bottle of this. It makes me think of Stanley Kubrick's version of Stephen King's "The Shining". Kind of formal yet coldly foreboding, much like The Overlook hotel.

"All work and no play..."
25th January, 2011
There is a way to get a spareness in overall feel that come from a well considered complexity. This is Equipage’s great success. The accords found in Equipage I’m sure have many building blocks, but the fragrance has one precise inflection. There is a cold sharpness that is not harsh, but precise. Equipage has a tone that reminds me of how sound travels through cold, dry air in winter. There is a snap and a crispness that doesn’t say, “fresh," but “frosty.”

Bergamot can have a silver/grey feel to it, but combined with a clove-like, peppery carnation and pine, it feels positively nippy. Even the herbal elements work in the same direction. What seems like clary sage and tarragon add a minty or camphorous bit that lines up squarely with both the pine and the carnation. As things progress, woody aspects enter. But here too, it’s not creamy or warm, although it is very smooth. Vetiver and moss keep things cool by making it feel just a little damp. There seems to be something like rosewood, which might warm the cheeks a bit, but it can’t really thaw the overall sensation.

Interestingly, Equipage works well in both worm and cool climates. When it’s cool out, Equipage feels snappy and crisp. In the heat it has a cooling “menthol” effect. Some see this as a chypre, some a fougère and others as an aromatic wood. I can see chypre, though I don’t really get the fougère vibe, and lean toward floral spicy wood. But maybe this neither/nor is Equipage’s trick. It takes a little of everything and serves it up cold.
29th November, 2010 (last edited: 31st December, 2010)
Someone go tell Creed Orange Spice that this is how it's done! This is among the most "barbershoppy" of my designer-brand samples, which I don't normally like but for some reason it doesn't bother me much here...probably because the anise isn't sticking out much. It's rather sweet, but the spices are very bracing so they cut the sweetness well. It's quite traditional, and might border onto "old man" territory, but not the acrid, pungent 70s/80s type: more like a 50s/60s executive's aftershave. This was one of my first samples, and at one point I nearly threw it out for being too orangey and not interesting enough, but I've since realized that it's extremely well-balanced, with nothing obviously obtrusive or missing. The only thing I don't like is that the base becomes slightly more anisy and stodgy, though also woodier which I like. So go buy some...if not to blow anyone's mind, then at least for a scent that knows how to behave in all types of company.
31st October, 2010
One of Hermes’ best. It came out in 1970 and fortunately, and I can attest that Hermes has not messed with it much as I have both the vintage and newer versions. There’s a very relaxed and luxurious feel here that is so rare in fragrance these days. Low-key florals on the top blend marvelously into a slightly sweet & woody drydown. Probably the finest use of Rosewood ever. I picture men like Sinatra or Serge Gainsbourg in their vintage years wearing this; gray hair and still looking dignified and well-put together. Don’t get me wrong, this scent would be hard for anyone under 35 to wear and it can’t be worn when the temperature is over 50F. In other words, if you’re going gray and live north of the Mason-Dixon line, this one is for you even if you can't sing a note.
12th June, 2010 (last edited: 27th July, 2010)
I've been wearing this as THE scent of choice for over 36 years. I've occaisionally had thoughts that it has changed slightly in that time, but I'm not so sure about that now. It may be me and my body chemistry that has changed instead. I've not found anything that does as well on me as this one. I find it spicy oriental, starting out fresh, spicy complex and then mellowing out slowly over a day or evening to simpler and less spicy, always remaining pleasant. I don't believe it to be purely a middle age/mature male scent. Another reviewer indicated little/no sillage, but my experience is that it has some that is gentle and not overbearing. With me, the sillage tends to pick up a little with skin warmth and humidity, and the modest sillage and slow decrease in complexity seems a perfect accompaniment to a warming romantic encounter. For 36 years, it has always evoked a very positive response from girlfriends/women who remember it vividly and unique to me. They have told me later it has left a very pleasant memorable scent of me on throws and sofa pillows.
30th April, 2010
Was this fragrance reformulated? I had a bottle of this a long time ago, and I recently purchased it again. It smells less harmonious, and there is a hint of a "chemical" smell to it. I do like the fragrance, but there is something almost old-fashioned and cloying about it. The sweet floral and wood notes are a delicate balancing act in this one. I wish Ellena would reinterpret this one.
06th April, 2010
Throughout much of the late 80s, I splashed on the light, short lasting apres rasage (aftershave) version a few mornings a week. After nearly 20 years, I recently became reacquainted with the fragrance. The EdT is exactly as I remember the aftershave, but of course it is quite a bit stronger and long lasting.

Does no one think of egg nog with this one? It starts of with a strong, freshly ground nutmeg, and transitions seamlessly into a nice vetiver (in much the same manner as Caron pour un Homme transitions from lavender to vanilla, i.e. with elements of both at all times), with a touch of ceder and black walnut throughout. Bone dry, from start to finish.

It is a really pleasant scent.
17th January, 2010
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I mentioned in an earlier review of the disappointing Rocabar that Bel Ami wasn't flawed (even the new EU friendly formula), but Equipage did have one. It may only happen to me, but after about 45 minutes to an hour Equipage turns a bit pissy --it doesn't last long, but its there for me.
02nd December, 2009
motown Show all reviews
United States
Wow! What a beautiful fragrance! This one made a big impression on me the first time I smelled it. It's a uniquely blended, floral masculine cypher that triangulates it's balance between the sage, carnation and mossy wood in the base. The sage is right up front you can almost feel the texture of it's leaves, the floral notes bring a fresh cool breeze and finally the powdery woody bass gives this scent serious class. For me it smells exactly the same on the card as it does on the skin. Like others, I find the mossy, powdery notes of Equipage similar to Eau Sauvage; I would also recommend it to admires of the the much newer New York by Parfums de Nicolaï. Equipage, I feel, has much more personality than PDN NY and has quite a bit more strength than Eau Sauvage (which I also quite enjoy.) It's like a friendly, dressy, tough and gregarious older gentleman that you can always depend on. I would probably be at the young end of the age spectrum for this juice which is fine by me; I find it a refreshing change of pace from modern designer fragrances which are usually a big bore. I'm pretty selective about my wardrobe; this is a potential purchase for me.
20th November, 2009
A sparkling, good natured masculine fragrance that perfectly balances a soft, non-resinous pine note, a refreshing and spicy masculine floral accord that reminds me of clove, and just enough warmth (tonka, patchouli, perhaps a touch of tobacco) mixed with the remaining woods in the base to prevent any notion that this scent might be harsh or austere. Simply wonderful. It's classic, but never dated, and warm but never heavy in the least. I just feel great wearing it. Major thumbs up.
12th November, 2009 (last edited: 30th November, 2009)