I’ve been on a chypre bender lately, wanting something full-bodied and classic once again. Enter Hermes Bel Ami, which inspired an hour-long look at some new Hermes scarves.
In Bottle: Now, it should be noted that I have the newer formulation of Bel Ami, so this isn’t a true vintage chypre. It’s one of those “modern” deals. But Hermes did a good job with it, sweet, deep, masculine and woodsy.
Applied: Sweet upon application with a nice bergamot and lemon opening. The spiciness is only a hint in this fragrance. What I’m getting the most out of it is a deep, rich leather scent with a hint of animal and a big dose of earthiness from the orris. There’s a pleasant touch of cedar in the background that doesn’t overwhelm but is in there enough to give the fragrance a hint of woodsiness. The herbal notes probably lend a tempering effect to this fragrance as it’s more of a blast of leather than anything else. I can see where the chypre construction in this lies and it’s fabulous, but it isn’t quite what I’m looking for. Still a really great, strong, masculine scent with a very interesting composition and a great sense of projection.
Extra: Bel Ami was released in 1986 and has, unfortunately, been reformulated a few times, I suspect. Still, it smells pretty good for having been tinkered with over the years.
Design: Bottled simply, and somewhat reminiscent of some other Hermes bottles. Looks classical and functions pretty well. No one is going to immediately notice this bottle, but it’s a joy to look at it nonetheless.
Fragrance Family: Chypre
Notes: Mandarin, sage, bergamot, lemon, cardamom, patchouli, orris, carnation, basil, jasmine, cedar, leather, coconut, vanilla, oakmoss, vetiver, styrax, amber.
So Bel Ami isn’t really my thing. I don’t go crazy much for this much leather as it tends to smell too bold for me. But it is still a very well constructed fragrance.
Reviewed in This Post: Bel Ami, ~2000, Eau de Toilette.