Tenth fragrance from the Hermessence collection, Santal Massoïa belongs to one of these famous "poèmes-parfums" of the brand. The bottle, with its piqué sellier leather case, refined as usual, and containing woody scents, will be exclusively available from November 11th in Hermès boutiques.
The new Hermessence, composed by in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, will reprise a favourite wood essence, sandalwood: the challenge being in exploiting a material that is prized through its Mysore variety inclusion in classic perfume tradition, but now in short order due to shortages in its procurement. Therefore Jean-Claude is going to offer his specific vision, especially since it's allied in name to massoia oil, another prized aroma material: Massoia bark of Cryptocaria massoia gives an alkyl lactone (lactones are milky-smelling substances) which would naturally provide the lactic element of natural sandalwood. Massoia lactone (possessing a coconut-like, green and creamy scent) interestingly can also be found in molasses, cured tobacco and the essential oil of osmanthus fragrans, which presents intriguing hypotheses into how Ellena might weave in floral notes into what would otherwise be a woody composition. After all, he did a similar conjurer's trick with his salicylates & ylang-ylang laced Vanille Galante and also in Iris Ukiyoe with its holographic of the iris flower rather than the rhizome.In Santal Massoia Jean-Claude Ellena is quoted as wanting to evoke "what is beneath the air", and to that end he interweaves an airy fig note amongst the woody ones: fresh, rather more than creamy smelling.
Even more interestingly, Hermès is also just now offering their own version of the "Monclin" fragrance testing "cup", using a white ceramic device that allows fragrance testing that unlocks some of the hidden aspects of the fragrances that would otherwise need full body testing to evolve.
Related reading on PerfumeShrine: Aroma material: Sandalwood (Mysore & Australian) & synthetic substitutes, Hermessences, Hermes news & reviews
photo via wadmag.com