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What You Need To Know About Christine Nagel's Next Coup At Hermes

The simple summary would be: another pleasant surprise. But there's more to that when it comes to her debut launch for the house's exclusive Hermessence line. For starters, there are not one but five launches at once – three perfumes and two perfume essences (perfume oils) – which is another first for the brand.  As we discover  all about  the line, she gives an insight on to her  thought process when it comes to creating fragrances.

In a nutshell, her debut launch for the house’s exclusive Hermessence line is another pleasant surprise from the perfumer. For starters, there are not one but five launches at once –three eaux de toilette and two essences de parfum (perfume oils) – all inspired by the Orient.  But there’s a lot more to it than that, of course. As she tells us all about  the line, we gain an insight on Nagel’s  likes, dislikes, perfume creation process and more.

“I work sparingly with (only a) few raw materials, because I’m convinced that simple (is best). The philosophy of the Hermessence line  lies in three words: sens (French for “meaning”), essence, and essential. I wanted to express this literally in my first creations for the collection. It’s about starting with the raw materials (used in) perfume (myrrh, agar wood and cedar for the eaux de toilette, and a rare form of musk for the essences).”

“Scent is interesting (and it’s amazing how) any scent can be inspiring. My love (for ingredients) fluctuates and I have no preconceptions about any. When I discover a new one, I want to know everything (about it), experiment with it… and push its boundaries… (It helps that) Hermes gives (me) the unique freedom to choose my raw materials – an absolute luxury that lets me go where no one else has gone.”

“Audacity is the greatest trend (in fragrances) – what I want is to be able to smell something radically different.” (Each of the new Hermessence launches can be worn alone or combined with the others. The two musk-anchored essences de parfum – one with notes of cardamom, the other iris – can even be layered under the eaux de toilette to personalise or intensify their lingering scent.)

“I think of perfume as an art and, like all art, it has no gender. Gender and (the stereotyping of) character came about for financial reasons – it’s better to sell two, three or four perfumes than one. The gender of a perfume depends on the wearer: (The same scent) can be masculine on a man, and feminine on a woman. I know women who wear men’s perfumes, and are very sexy.
I know men who wear rose (traditionally a feminine scent – it’s also found in the Myrrhe Eglantine eau de toilette), and it’s perfect for them.”

All five scents are exclusive to Hermes boutiques, and available in stores this month

Myrrhe Eglantine
A combination of lush rose and rosehip give this eau de toilette a richness, while warm, slightly medicinal myrrh jumps in for a shot of spice. Cedre Sambac
Woody cedar and velvety jasmine  blend effortlessly in this eau de toilette to leave a sensually sweet  smell that lingers on long after  you’ve left the room. Agar Ebene
This eau de toilette contrasts the intoxicating smell of agar wood with sprightlier woody notes of fir balsam and powdery cashmere, resulting in a modern, aromatic green scent with smoky undertones. Cardamusc
A blend of musk and cardamom lend a bold, yet sensuous silage to this essence de parfum. Musc Pallida
The unusual combo of musk and iris give this essence de parfum a certain lusciousness, that embraces you with a cosy familiarity.