You might be incredulous to see the moniker referring to Aldous Huxley's novel twisted into a perfume review, but indie perfumer Adam Gottschalk of Lord's Jester participates in a blogathon of indie perfumers which we announced on these pages recently and his scent submission Hermes indeed defies classification.
The vividly mossy stain of the fragrance does not bely the scent itself: it's rather mossy and quite animalic all right; musty, tart, very dry and earthy, but with a floral depth opening soon, which allays some of the gloom and animalistic character of Africa stone. (Africa stone/hyraceum for those who don't know it yet is the petrified and rock-like excrement composed of both urine and feces excreted by the Cape Hyrax (Procavia capensis), commonly referred to as the Dassie. The material can be harvested by aroma material producers without harming the animal to render a note that unites some of the facets of castoreum, musk and oud. Quite intense!) Coupling the musty with the more hay-sweetish flouve absolute (rich in coumarin) produces a loaded combo that seems to hit you on the head at first, only to mellow soon after.
Lord Jester's Hermes tricks you into believing it is all about the base notes, but the lighter elements (a very perceptible and very lovely indolic jasmine note, plus citrus essences) are welcome leverage which rounds off the perfume. Too much animal can prove unwearable otherwise!
I have tested the fragrance from a spray vial and feel that it would be better suited to a dabbing from a splash bottle instead, to smoothen the initial blast; the rest of the composition blooms wonderfully without assistance even on a mouillette, usually not the perfect medium for all natural perfumes.
The perfumer used in order from greatest concentration to least these "wild" essences for his fragrance "notes":
for the base:
linden blossom absolute in 30% fractionated coconut oil
for the heart:
for the top:
linden blossom essential oil
Pretty rare, huh? Indeed Gottschalk clarifies in a blog post how suddenly two of his chosen essences are becoming rarer and rarer; namely rosa bourbonia and jasmine auriculatum. Harvesting materials which are unavailable to the masses and the Big Boys (big aroma producing companies) however is at the heart of small artisanal perfumers, isn't it? In that regard, you won't be disappointed: There's inherent rarity factor in Hermes and I hope Adam finds a way to procure supply of these two rare aromatics.
Hermes by Lord's Jester is an 15% concentrated Eau de Parfum and is quite decently lasting for an all naturals perfume.
We have a perfume giveaway for our readers (a 10ml/0.4oz) mini of Hermes, so please post a comment if you want to be eligible! (NB.Perfumer sends prize directly to winner)
Sample provided by perfumer as part of the project. Photo found via AnyaMcCoy's tweets.