This is my first love. I wore Terre D’Hermes exclusively for almost a full year. It was the fragrance that greeted me every morning with its tarty grapefruit opening and reminded me to stay classy throughout the day even in the grimiest of moments. Terre D’Hermes was never too much, never demanding attention and perfectly happy to hum in the background giving a tone to my daily rhythm and painting in bright colours memorable moments of my life.
Loving Terre D’Hermes is easy because it is beautiful. To be exact, it is not beautiful in the classic sense the way Dzing! is beautiful by radiating pure refinement. Terre D’Hermes is beautiful because of its ease to wear, versatility and aura of masculine sophistication. Pick any day, any time, any occasion and Terre D’Hermes will likely work great. I’ve worn it in the office, at formal galas, on nights out partying and even on cold days when others warm up their spirits with amber and chocolate.
Arguably Terre D’Hermes revolutionized men’s fragrances without being too revolutionary. Jean Claude Ellena did not wander into uncharted territories, nor did he create a fragrance bursting through the mold with creativity. He created a citrus-woody fragrance that any man can wear any time and anywhere but just made it better. It is like making an omelet and making it different by adding blueberries to it. It is still an omelet but you know there is a certain je ne sais quoi about it, a certain something that makes it different than the average omelet you get at your corner diner.
The downfall of Terre D’Hermes is its popularity. Being a mid-to-high end fragrance, it doesn’t enjoy the popularity of Acqua di Gio or L’eau d’Issey, however, it is extremely popular among fragrance connoisseurs and high end consumers. Two things put Terre D’Hermes out of my rotation list – the fact that I often sniff it on other people and the fact that I have locked in it memories of a particular part of my life. Therefore, every time I smell Terre D’Hermes I fondly remember the year when I wore it almost exclusively.
Terre D’Hermes open with fresh grapefruit and bright orange notes. The orange note is similar to the one found in Eau D’Orange Verte – very bright and crisp. What makes Terre D’Hermes‘s opening slightly different than your average citrus cologne is that the grapefruit note actually smells like the white part of the grapefruit peel – it is zesty and slightly tarty.
As the fragrance develops, the tartness intensifies and the sweet notes of geranium and possibly benzoin slowly emerge. Pink pepper is present from the very beginning but it never dominates the composition. The pepper note is much more noticeable in the sillage than in close up smell of the fragrance.
As Terre D’Hermes slowly progresses towards the heart notes, earthy vetiver and patchouli chime in. Neither one of them takes the solo or dominates the middle of the composition. They play more of a supporting role to recreate the scent of fresh earth (it is Terre after all).
Airy mineral note also sneaks in and helps the remaining citrus to elevate the juice from going too earthy. It helps recreate the feeling of cool rocks in the fresh earth.
The dry-down is dominated by vetiver, woods and the mineral note. The notes include cedar as part of the composition, however, it is not sharp or pungent. Vetiver and mineral notes are what define the dry-down. Outdoorsy-airy feel is what remains on the skin until it fully dissipates in about seven to eight hours.
If you can think of a situation where Terre D’Hermes won’t work, you must be a very creative person and should pursue a career as a lawyer. Terre D’Hermes is a citrus-woody fragrance and almost by default it is very versatile. I’ve worn it in all four seasons and it has worked great every time. It is a safe choice for very casual events and very formal ones. In fact, it is probably one of safest fragrances to wear in a conservative environment (e.g. a job interview, formal meeting, court).
A cautionary note: the projection is relatively strong, so apply with caution. Longevity is unlike that of other citrus-based fragrances and lasts seven to eight hours.
I have seen people of different ages and social position wear Terre D’Hermes. It is appropriate for anyone from 16 and up. The last time I was in the Hermes boutique, an old bohemian-looking guy bought a bottle along with all the scented accessories (e.g. the aftershave, shampoo).