The story of Hermès begins in 1837 when the saddlery craftsman Thierry Hermès opened a workshop in Paris, but the olfactory adventure started properly in 1951 with Eau d’Hermès composed by Edmond Roudnitska. The arrival ten years later of Calèche, the first women’s perfume from Hermès, confirmed this commitment to the perfumer’s art. Since then there has been a succession of creations from the great names of perfumery, each making a unique auteur’s contribution to perfumery at the house of Hermès, both as a craftsman and as an artist.
In 2004, Jean-Claude Ellena joined the house to become its perfumer and create all its fragrances. Never forgetting the vulnerability of the individual moment he’s striving to transcribe, Jean-Claude Ellena tries to find the “countries behind the air” so dear to Jean Giono. He reveals them, enters into them and makes them accessible to us by using a few strong symbols... because a mystery can sometimes be likened to a stance or an attitude, whereas the simplicity of a sketch can harbour unsuspected depths. A step like this illustrates the skills inherent to the house of Hermès which puts craftsmanship, individuality and a rigorous element of fantasy at the heart of its endeavours. In the library of Hermès perfumes, each perfume is a story, each perfume opens a new imaginary world. The Novel-Perfumes Like stories filled with characters and events, the Novel-Perfumes extend time with their lasting presence.
They draw their inspiration from the heritage of Hermès and its universe. Calèche, Équipage and also Eau des Merveilles, Terre d’Hermès, Voyage d’Hermès and Jour d’Hermès tell a story and invite us to share in the imaginary world of the house. The Novella Perfumes Shorter tales with a more limited number of characters and events, the Novella Perfumes – the Gardens and Colognes concentrate time around a single moment. An olfactory stroll in the footsteps of the in-house perfumer, the Gardens establish a new sensory geography inspired by annual themes at Hermès. The Colognes are generous, figurative expressions of simple pleasures, and sit perfectly in this register of olfactory snapshots. The Poem-perfumes Sober and intense as haikus, they reinvent a precious and unusual aspect of nature, sublimated by the inspired rewriting of a composer always eager to break new ground. With raw materials named in direct terms to produce a tenuous sensation and an ineffable impression, Hermessence is a collection of unique perfumes, intended exclusively for Hermès stores.
The Hermessence collection embodies the quintessence of the perfumer’s craft and all the expertise of a house distinguished by the authenticity of its creations. Like a constantly evolving entity, where each new creation elicits the next and contributes to an ever changing whole. A succession of olfactory poems, as sober and intense as haikus – the Japanese poems that celebrate the evanescence of things in so few words but with great depth as Hermessence reveals an unusual and poetic element of nature. Raw materials sublimated, reinterpreted, creating new associations, expressed more symbolically than figuratively to form a composition somewhere between the imagination of a creator and an alchemy of pure essences. The Hermessence perfumes therefore have an “ever changing future”, they are a permanent invention that flouts repetition, superfine connections established between the skin and the perception of an intimate inner life, as well as the outside world around us. The sensory experiment they offer to share with us has no element of hesitation, it opens doors onto secret, ever-expanding, incredibly subtle territories. Any man or woman who ventures along the twists and turns of this unfamiliar path could easily meet a crucial part of themselves, full of surprises and hitherto unknown.