“ Brand: Hermes / Type: Fragrance / Concentration: Eau de Toilette „
Group: Woody Chypre
Vetiver Tonka is part of Hermes's Hermessence line of unisex eau de toilettes created by inhouse perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. This eau de toilette is one of the two I had snapped up on eBay to test.
The Eau de Toilette comes in a heavy and transparent glass bottle many other Hermes creations share at the moment. The minimalist but elegant packaging if finished off by a leather-imitation orange box, easily spotted as it's the epitomous colour of the house.
Top notes: blonde tobacco, caramel
Vetiver Tonka opens up with an aromatic blast of earthy, green and woody vetiver that soon exudes a strong smoky note that soon overpowers the composition. Vetiver naturally has a more or less pronounced smoky facet however what really comes to the forefront here is a sort of cigarette smoke or tobacco aroma. The background of the accord is softer and sweeter with the tonka bean having a plush and powdery, vanillic touch. It takes the edge off the smoky harshness and creates a lovely balanced and smooth accord that projects well in the first half an hour.
Middle notes: lily-of-the-valley, praline and hazelnut
The fragrance has gradually moved on to having a more restrained, clean but equally earthy and aromatic vetiver that has lost some of its bitter touch and is definitely a warmer and gentler element now. The sillage is mainly clean with a hint of zesty citrus peel and transparent, watery musk bearing all the signature of Ellena's creations: refined, transparent and with a clean and elegant touch making them suitable for both sexes. The heart is surprisingly fresh and sparkling showing the vetiver in a different light. Calmer and softer, yet still green and woody and supported by a gentle, powdery note in the background, the overall blend is fresh and balanced with green and powdery nuances and a hint of sweetness that lingers on leaving a light sillage for a good 5 - 6 hours.
Base notes: tonka bean, sandalwood, vetiver
Vetiver Tonka is back with another surprise. It's warm and powdery again but this time without being sweet or vanillic and is more on the nutty and spicy side. The vetiver has mellowed out to a whisper which I don't mind at all. Instead, I enjoy this chameleon fragrance that is still exactly what it says on the tin and yet has transformed itself again. To sum up, the base is a wonderful culmination of an ever changing combination of earthy - smoky to green and fresh and at the end soft and clean vetiver paired with spicy, vanillic, nutty and powdery tonka bean. It's such a shame it fades so quickly and is barely detectable after about 8 hours.
Unlike traditionally masculine vetivers such as Vetiver from Guerlain Vetiver Tonka is minimalistic and refusing all stereotypes. Combining the best quality raw materials and outstanding craftsmanship, it is a modern, slightly gourmand, laid back and easygoing vetiver that's everything but banal and forgettable. It has grown on me more than I expected. Vetiver Tonka is a piece of artistic expression and beautifully executed at that. Bar the price, I'd certainly wear this in summer however I find it a bit too thin and not sweet enough for winter. For gentlemen, this could be a wonderful all-year-round treat.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Look out for the 15ml travel editions that Hermessence colognes are available in and sometimes appear on Ebay for anyting between £10 - 30. The full 100ml bottle costs £150 in Hermes boutiques, concessions and airports or online.
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