Thursday, March 8, 2007

Perfume Moment -- March 8

What I'm wearing:

(Hermés Caléche)

What I feel I should be wearing with it:

(Blumarine S/S 2007)

I've seen Caléche described as an aldehyde, but for me it's a bright, green-floral chypre. There are several white floral notes in it, as well as some citrus-y notes like bergamot. Well-placed bergamot is almost a guarantee that I'll like a fragrance. There's something about it that makes a perfume so bright and sparkling and... tart. Straight-up lemon notes leave me cold, but good bergamot really makes my mouth water a little. The oakmoss is unmistakable, but it never gets the sharp edge of many less well-balanced fragrances in this family, it just gives it a woody dryness that I love. It's a chypre to try if you're not sure you can wear chypres, it's far more user-friendly than a lot of the classics. Caléche isn't moody, she doesn't sulk in her room like Mitsouko. She goes out, has lunch with her girlfriends, laughs at your jokes and makes a lot of her own. Caléche is very elegant, very sophisticated, very French, but not in the least bit aloof. She's not the Parisienne who eyes you up & down disapprovingly, she's the one who unties the Hermés scarf from her own neck and lovingly knots it around yours, making a gift of it because the colors suit you better than her. Caléche may be the one chypre you'll ever find that you'll want to wear on a sunny day. It really is beautiful.

Caléche was originally released in 1961 and created for Hermés by Guy Robert, who is no slouch as a parfumeur, having also given us Équipage (another of my favorites), Monsieur Rochas and the much-beloved Dioressence, among others. The fragrance was reformulated in 1992, and I've never smelled the original so I can't compare them. The formulation I have is the Soie de Parfum, which as far as I can tell means "EdP" in Hermésspeak. Every time I wear a perfume I love from Hermés (and there are many), I marvel at how this house sort of flies under the radar a little in the perfume world. Sure, we all get excited when the brilliant Jean-Claude Ellena (or as I like to call him, myboyfriendJean-Claude) releases a new Hermessence, but in general they don't seem to spark the same sort of admiration or slavish devotion as say, Malle or Lutens. I think this is a bit of a shame. Just about the only thing that prevents Hermés from being my top contender for Favorite House is their lack of a straight-up, ravishing amber. (Sure, I love Ambre Narguile, but it's a sweet, candied amber -- I'm talking about something down & dry & a little dirty like my beloved Ambre Sultan.) But their roster of fragrances is pretty darned impressive, and their packaging is always gorgeous -- no small thing to us hard-core perfumistas who like to look at pretty bottles full of pretty juice.

Have you tried Caléche? Let me know what you think of it!

Photos: Hermé,

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really should re-visit Caleche. My tastes have greatly expanded since the last time I tried it.

Another great Hermes that gets no respect: Rouge.