Brin De Réglisse by Hermès

The thing with Brin De Réglisse is that it truly was a case of unexpected serendipity. 

Brin de Reglisse by Hermes Photo by Liam Sardea

© 2014 Liam Sardea

[My first Hermessence] I state this was a case of the unexpected because I walk into the store with the intent to buy Paprika Brasil (another yummy- however completely different Hermessence) and walk out with the sweet purple bottle of Brin De Réglisse. Having smelt most of the line, I decided to review my desire for Paprika by sniffing another assortment of cards and being blown away by something unexpected.

On my nose, the wonderful bombastic blast of sweet enigmatic liquorice is made docile with the herbaceous fleeting note of lavender with an underlying green note of hay.

What was most fortuitousness for me was the final realisation of the intentions of the Hermessence line. In retrospect, that is probably why I wrote an overview on Hermessence before writing a review on one of them.

Paprika Brasil is another fragrance I will get eventually, however the time machine that is Brin De Réglisse was something I just had to have. They both smell equally good, certainly, but another dimension of ‘panache’ exists with this scent that elevates it to an entirely new and more superior plane than anything other Hermessence…at this stage anyway.

Conceived in 2007 by Jean-Clause Ellena for the Hermessence line by Hermès, Brin De Réglisse is described as: “A fragrance that blows cool and warm, dry and sweet. A landscape in Provence, dry earth, fragrant purple fields, the wind of the mistral… draped in a luxurious coat of mouthwatering licorice. The fragrance opens with the pure light of stylized lavender only to move into the velvety black of licorice.”

The ‘provence’ that is France for Ellena is translated into an entirely different entity on my own terms. The scent of lavender and licorice evokes memories of tea and scones with licorice root tea and scones generously smothered in lavender scented chantilly cream. Whilst Ellena’s conception of this was to gauge the South-Eastern aspects of France, I get my own memory-evoking, or ‘memory-reminding’ scent of complacent periods of my life.

-And that’s what I find to be most important; Something as a true testament to the Hermessence line and Jean-Claude Ellena’s ability to fabricate something that I adore not just as a product, but as an art form.

The composition overall is linear. It boasts the crisp, gourmand scent of upfront anise, which is almost minty and menthol-like in quality in the sense that it cuts through the receptors unapologetically, but I’m okay with that, I do have a habit of of chewing on aniseed.

(Akin to how the Indian & Pakistani cuisine has “Mukhwas”- an after-meal digestive made of fennel and anise seeds along with peppermint oil). 

The lavender quality acts as the softener in the composition, which doesn’t necessarily dampen the anise/licorice quality, but adds that mysterious perplexing quality of many fragrances that requires even more stern sniffing and professional patience.

The final note I detect, hay, is more imaginary than real. What I mean is, it’s not that I can’t smell it, but it’s more of a colloquial term used to describe the green note from the fragrance. It’s a bit like how the stem of a flower is usually more bitter than the actual petals, it’s as if Ellena utilized 2 parts lavender bud and 1 part lavender stem; in turn this delivers a mildly rough quality that works wonderfully with the potent liquorice.

Furthermore, the green, ‘cut grass’, hay quality has this warming affect, that is concurrently kind of roasted and a tad toasted by the sun (which happens to be Cis-3-Hexenal & 1-Hexanol that is attributed to the intense grassy note). In turn, it gives the fragrance a ‘dirty’ character; but an Ellena kinda dirty…think Terre d’Hermès; that draws out the molasses character of licorice and syrups.

Ellena’s fragrances, whilst story tellers, are novellas, not novels. A message is still received but in a shorter, sweeter amount of time. This is the case for Brin De Réglisse. The EdT carries the cost of an EdP, but philosophically makes sense, seeing how Ellena is the master of understatement and a particularly close sillage.

Finally, you can’t ‘score’ these fragrances because it is so personal. I for one could give this unlimited praise because it has this intrapersonal quality, a bit like how you just love things for the kitsch appeal.

My new signature scent.

Subjective rating : 5/5

Objective rating: 4/5

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