The Sniff Box – Perfume In Plain English

Hermès

Bel Ami

I’ve been pondering furniture for my flat recently, and that has made me think about one of Hermès’ most famous perfumes, Bel Ami.

Why? Well, it’s all about the difference between what, in the antiques trade, I guess you’d call original and repro. Bel Ami is a bit like a lovely Chippendale chest of drawers that once attracted admirers from all over the world – not just for the beauty of its design but for the skill and complexity of its construction…

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Hermès

Cuir d’Ange

The latest addition to the Hermessences range, created by in-house perfumer Jean-Louis Ellena for Hermès and launched in 2014, Cuir d’Ange is, as its name suggests, a rather ethereal take on the smell of new leather – appropriately enough for a company that started out making riding tackle.

Inspired by a phrase in Jean le Bleu, a 1932 novel by Jean Giono – a kind of French Thomas Hardy – Ellena explains that, for…

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Guerlain

L’Homme Idéal

I have before me a bottle of Amaretto liqueur, which I’m tempted to drink, though seeing as it’s ten in the morning I probably shouldn’t. I also have a bottle of the latest men’s perfume from Guerlain, L’Homme Idéal, which you’ll be relieved to hear I won’t be drinking either.

The reason for this conjunction is that several reviews of L’Homme Idéal have suggested that it smells distinctly like Amaretto, so I’m testing whether they do – and the answer is that, side by side like this, they don’t. Amaretto smells…

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