Tag: Jean-Claude Ellena

Eau de Narcisse Bleu – review

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For notes and facts, please, read a perfume dossier on Eau de Narcisse Bleu.

After smelling Eau de Narcisse Bleu for the first time I’ve got an idea to create a picture of a blue narcissus flower. After several attempts I finally came with a satisfying result about a year ago. I use it now to illustrate this text. But it took me another year to find the words to describe the scent.

When trying to find Narcissus in Eau de Narcisse Bleu, it’s important to forget everything you know about the narcissus note in perfumery and switch the reference point to the natural narcissus absolue. A Russian blogger Ekaterina Khmelevskaya in her aromablog.ru has perfectly described that smell, so let me cite her here: “The real narcissus absolue doesn’t smell like tight honeyed yellow and white gramophone shaped flowers. But rather like hay, a little bit of soap and small blue flowers.” Fleur de Narcisse by L’Artisan Parfumeur is good reference for the natural narcissus note.

Another interesting point about Eau de Narcisse Bleu is its translunary character. While smelling it I don’t get a clear visual impression, but rather a sequence of gleaming illusions overflowing into each other. First I percept a simple sketch of white and blue hyacinths painted by the green galbanum note. But in a moment that vision falls apart into thousands white snowflakes of powdery musk. I feel the citrus nuance of the scent touching my skin like a white magnolia petal, but it easily melts under the lukewarm rays of winter sun. Eau de Narcisse Bleu could perfectly express the smell of snowdrops as it’s all about early spring, melting snow, frosted grass and narcissus flowers went blue with cold.

Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès

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Name: Eau de Narcisse Bleu

Brand: Hermes

Perfumer: Jean-Claude Ellena

Year of creation: 2013

Pyramid according to Osmoz:

Top notes: Orange Blossom, Galbanum
Heart notes: Narcissus
Base notes: Woody Notes, Powdery Notes

Notes mentioned by Parfumo/Fragrantica/Basenotes: Narcissus and Woody Notes (all three), Galbanum and Orange Blossom (Parfumo only).

Impression of the scent by Hermès:
An ode to a raw material endlessly reflected back by playing on its salient features, Eau de narcisse bleu pays an unusual homage to freshness. This exercise in style tackles the sense of touch, given depth with orange blossom and galbanum. A novella with contemporary, very individual writing, creating a muted contrast between the dense textured notes of narcissi and the delicacy of a woody accord.

“A completely free-spirited creation in which I particularly wanted to express the tactile aspect of the raw material.”
Jean-Claude Ellena

Visual impression by Hermès:

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Classification by Osmoz: Floral woody musk

Fragrance Wheel (by Michael Edwards) classification: Floral, Fresh/Frais, Citrus Fruity, unisex

This fragrance is compared to: Eau de Gentiane Blanche by Hermès, Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene.

For my personal impression of this scent, please, read my review here.

The smell of snowdrops and early spring

Eau de Gentiane Blanche by Hermès

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Eau de Gentiane Blanche caught my attention when I was looking for an early spring cologne. Something cool and fresh, but without obvious summer infused citrus notes. Something within white and bluish grey color spectrum rather than yellow and juicy green. An alternative for Grey Flannel. According to some Fragrantica users the smell of Eau de Gentiane Blanche is similar to Grey Flannel, so I decided to give it a try.

Name: Eau de Gentiane Blanche

Brand: Hermès

Perfumer: Jean-Claude Ellena

Year of creation: 2009

Pyramid according to Osmoz:

Top notes: Fresh Notes, Green Notes

Heart notes: Oliban, Gentian

Base notes: Iris, Oakmoss, White Musk, Woody Notes

Classification according to Osmoz: Woody – floral musk

Classifications according to Fragrance Wheel by Michael Edwards: Woods (Boisé), Crisp (Pétillant) subgroup, Green (Vert)

Verdict by Luca Turin: 2 of 5 stars called “orange blossom” (by Tania Sanchez)

Although I wouldn’t say that Eau de Gentiane Blanche do smell like Grey Flannel, I have to admit, that both fragrances share the similar character and are the good choice for the early spring season. The time of snowdrops blossoming above the snow covered ground. When the thin rays of low staying sun are not yet bring enough warmth, but can still leave long blue shadows on the snow.

In Eau de Gentiane Blanche the citrus character of fresh top notes is ingeniously hidden and transformed into the peppery green freshness of the first grasses and leaves combined with the tonifying bitterness of white gentian blossoms. The main theme is extended by floral white musk with light woody accents. Fortunately this musk is much more pleasing to my nose than the one used in Grey Flannel.

Being honest, I don’t know what white gentian smells like. And whether it smells at all. But I have to say that Jean-Claude Ellena is succeeded to convince me, so I can easily associate this perfume with white gentian blossoms. But if he told me it was a smell of snowdrops, I’d believe him as well – same bitter freshness I’d expect from those gentle little flowers. In fact I prefer to associate the smell of Eau de Gentiane Blanche with a something familiar like snowdrops than something distant and unknown like Alpine gentian.

The fragrance is linear and doesn’t change with time. The sillage is restricted to the intimate zone and sometimes I can only smell it directly from the skin. But it stays the whole day and on my clothes even longer. A soft sillage in combination with musky freshness makes it quite suitable for in the office. And to me personally Eau de Gentiane Blanche keeps to be the early spring cologne. Its bitterness reminds me of the bitter character of capricious spring weather and its musky floral tones make me think of the first snowdrops.