Hermès Terre d’Hermès, 2009

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(image, Al Pacino from The Devil’s Advocate)

Perfumer JeanClaude Ellena

I first tried Terre d’Hermès in the eau de toilette concentration. It is radiant in the contemporary manner, not forceful, but persistent. The eau de toilette’s slightly sour edge gives the impression of two voices singing together, one sharp and one flat. The notes don’t balance each other and they don’t cancel each other out. They sit uneasily next to each other.

Terre d’Hermès is linear, but has a single, wide accord that seems to surround you. It is radiant like many other contemporary linear masculines (a famously heavy percentage of Iso-E Super), but it seems to encompass you rather than emanate from you. The parfum is smoother and differently calibrated than the edt. It cushions the tartness of the edt, making it less curdled than tart. There is nothing superfluous, yet there’s no feeling of starkness.

The artistry, consideration and likely enormous amount of editing that went into the making of Terre d’Hermès are evident. Apply any binary set of descriptors to Terre d’Hermès and you’ll find it sits dead center, equidistant from the poles. I imagine an inordinate amount of effort went into placing Terre d’Hermès smack in the middle of the road. It suggests nothing. It refers to nothing. It asks nothing. It is devoid of character.

Forget Prada. The Devil wears Hermès.

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