Hermessence is a line of fragrances from Hermes that follows a somewhat minimalist aesthetic through airy, transparent compositions (although Ambre Narguile seems to be an exception here).

Ambre Narguile – This immediately smells like some freshly baked holiday treats covered in cinnamon. The spices are quickly joined by apple (think apple pie), a soft incense, a subtle amber that soon comes to the fore, and a touch of rum and tobacco. In one sense, it feels a bit like Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille in a bakery. Similarly linear and just as comforting. [**]

Poivre Samarcande – Lemon and pepper dance about before being joined by a dash of cumin. This quickly blend quickly settles down over a soft cedar base. Doesn’t shout after its opening notes, and feels very airy and open. [**]

Santal Massoia – A soft fig leads quickly to a whispering take on sandalwood, softened with coconut. Compared to the scratchiness of Le Labo’s Santal 33 or even Diptyque’s Tam Dao, this is like a massage. Very understated and transparent. [**]

Vetiver Tonka – A light sweet orange blends with salty green vetiver and sweet tonka beans. This is miles away from Tom Ford’s charmless Grey Vetiver. [**1/2]