Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Hermann à Mes Côtés Me Paraissait une Ombre by Etat Libre d'Orange

Total Reviews: 3
Hermann is a popular guy. Everyone seems to like him. He has lots of friends, he gets around. He’s super likeable. There’s something about his personality, though, that most people find hard to figure out, something oddly troubling or mysterious. Does he have a checkered past? Is there a monkey on his back? Is he keeping a secret? What is he hiding? There’s a depth to him that he tries to keep to himself, yet it seeps around the edges of his personality, sets you on edge sometimes.

One of the things I love about a lot of ELDO fragrances is how they play on dichotomy, how they harmonize opposites. Hermann A Mes Cotes Me Parrasait Un Ombre plays on easy likeabliity (black currant, calypsone, ambroxan), complexity (frankincense, patchouli), and perplexing mystery (geosmin, the smell of muddy beets, ozone, camphor). Somehow they all work together here for me. Over the hours of a day, the notes quiet down but shift around a bit. The ambroxan is always there, but the other accords keep peeking up and hiding away.

ELDO’s offerings are often like this: clean but dirty, pretty but muddy, fresh but musty. ELDO is always polarizing. People either love or despise their scents, and I love that about them, too. My husband had to ponder for quite sometime how he felt about Hermann. He finally decided that he really didn’t like him at all for one troubling note he couldn’t decipher. It also turns out that he detests beets, and can smell them from a distance and finds them revolting!

Hermann, however, is my friend... not despite his quirks and his complexities, but because of them.

A most versatile fragrance that can be worn for any occasion at any time of year... as long as you’re not looking for something easy. Challenging, a bit off-putting, but ultimately a good friend.
05th June, 2018
First impression - blurred petals under running water. Clearly, the flower in question is not entirely of this world. Peppery, stony mineral smells frame and sustain this first impression. A delicate creamy-lemony incense note pervades. Do I detect a hint of perfumed melon, Crenshaw perhaps? I find little rapport between the olfactory experience and the notes in the perfumer's manifest. There is a directness about the presentation that makes it smell contemporary. The composer avoided the musky veils and aldehydic fizz so often used to chaperone abstractions. No hologram, Hermann is rather a learned recreation of something--a magnolia?--once encountered, now reprised for the mind's eye. This is my favorite of the ELOs I've sampled.
30th August, 2016
The name of this scent - Hermann à Mes Côtés Me Paraissait une Ombre - is taken from a Victor Hugo poem "A Night Ride Through the Forest" and is a discussion of death, buried loved ones, life and meaning, fear, . . . It's poetry and it is a nice poem worth looking up to read and ponder. Long names for fragrances, such as this one, don't make sense to me - who can remember it? - so I just call this fragrance Hermann. Named for a poem, Hermann is also poetry in a scent. Hermann, the fragrance, is an abstract very dry wood but airy scent whose subject is the intangible mysteries of life and death. The fragrance is a nice all purpose cologne that avoids citrusy floral tradition with dry after-the-rain cleansed air which leans towards a medicinal cleanliness.

The ingredients are dry, purple, earthy while being expansive and very present but ethereal. I think of this as a transparent woods and universally adaptable cologne. The combination of chemicals: Calypsone, Geosmin and Ambroxan creates a unique abstract smell that is refreshing. Calypsone is a Givaudan chemical with an ozonic and melon-like smell. Geosmin is an earthy aromatic ingredient that smells like the air around rain falling upon dry earth. Ambroxan smells like dry radiating ambergris on steroids. These three synthetics attempt to replicate the message in Victor Hugo's poem, Hermann . . . which was already very ethereal and forever fixed as poetry -appreciated but not fully understood - as is Hermann by ELDO. The unrecognized but familiar aroma here is a big part of its charm.

Adding to these intangible notes are aroma of black pepper, blackcurrant bud, galbanum, frankincense, pepperwood, petalia, rose and patchouli. All together you have a very dry, after rain air, old books smell, slightly green and purple floral, dry medicinal and intriguingly persistent fragrance. I like Hermann and keep a bottle in my bathroom to keep the air and skin fresh and natural smelling. 5/5 stars for originality. 4/5 stars for wearability.
07th July, 2016 (last edited: 13th February, 2017)
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