Hermés Eau de Néroli Doré (2016) isn't the first "dirty citrus" to hit the market under the house banner, and as part of the brand's Eau de Cologne line, isn't much meant for day wear in the first place, but still feels a bit lacking in purpose and execution. With more marketing pomp than substance, Eau de Néroli Doré claims to take half of Tunisia and Morocco's annual neroli crops to produce, and is painstakingly hand-distilled by Jean-Claude Ellena himself to bring the ultimate in luxury cologne experiences, yet is easily out-classed by something from Guerlain's cologne lines for much less. There are some redeeming qualities to Eau de Néroli Doré, but only hardcore Hermés fanatics will find them significant enough to warrant a purchase.
Eau de Néroli Doré is touted to be a simple three-note wonder. The top is bitter orange, the heart is that telltale neroli from orange blossom, and the base is saffron, providing a variant of the "dirty citrus" vibe usually accomplished through the use of cumin or civet. The bitter orange and neroli both open, but the neroli seems to fade and blend quickly into the orange peel-like tartness, hiding any trace that this contains an entire economy of natural orange blossom harvests. The saffron is noticeable afterward, but is accompanied by some slight orris-like soapiness that isn't listed in the official notes, mildly neutering whatever dirty spice the saffron was meant to communicate. The total wear lasts a few hours but poofs to skin scent levels after 30 minutes as traditional eaux de cologne tend to do, and I am left a bit wanting from the experience.
Most eau de cologne fragrances become after-shower indulgences for me, but without any real complexity or bracing freshness in Eau de Néroli Doré, it fails at its intended purpose as a decadent luxury cologne. Some of the rather overpriced Hermés Eau de Cologne series feels like catalog padding in general, with a bottle filling a need for a specific note focus or color to complete the rainbow appearance of the line, and Eau de Néroli Doré is an example of such. I don't hate this, but having a neroli scent just to be one of the cool kids (like Tom Ford) just doesn't feel very much like the usual meticulous Hermés way of doing things, but this gets a solid neutral for not being unpleasant. Sample and see for yourself.
Starts beautifully. It really smells like Colonia from Acqua di Parma for the first minute. After that, it dried to an absolutely horrible powder. All I smelled was powder + powder. Where did the pleasant citrus note go that was first there?