Hermès (1970)

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Équipage by Hermès

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Équipage by Hermès

People & Companies

Fragrance House
Guy Robert

Équipage is a men's fragrance launched in 1970 by Hermès

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Where to buy Équipage

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Reviews of Équipage by Hermès

There are 91 reviews of Équipage by Hermès.

What can you say of a classic like this? Equipage is so good—and such a completely balanced and complex fragrance—that it’s impossible for me to praise it highly enough. That said, it’s a men’s fragrance from an era where understatement was key. A true gentleman doesn’t peacock or boast. He makes guests comfortable. He holds the door. He is the master of the knowing nod and conviviality. Equipage is dandified without ever being dandy-ish. The carnation and cinnamon are simply exceptional. I own both the vintage and recent Ellena versions and am hard-pressed to tell them apart. Other than Chanel Pour Monsieur, this is my sartorial armor for the most important events in life.

How important is it and how much can a man be influenced by his father's olfactory imprinting? Very, very much. Equipage, used by my father, was and still is his most representative perfume, closely followed by Monsieur by Givenchy, Gentleman, etc. Today I use it too (for quite some time now). Hermes' first male and let me tell you he couldn't start better. The main smell that emanates, for me, is that of carnation and nutmeg with a woody but never dirty base. Equipage (the original at least), for me it's also a rather unusual perfume for its time... we are in fact talking about a creation put on the market in 1970, in which much greener, fresher and more aromatic perfumes with citrus traits were very popular. .. much more fougere. Equipage, on the other hand, is rather warm as a perfume, for me it falls into the category of chypres with a spicy and woody character. Held on the skin for around 6 hours without too many problems, it spreads very discreetly and is not at all an intrusive or loud perfume, in full Hermes style... I compared it with Ellena's flanker, Geranium... this The last one didn't hold a candle to the comparison... he looks like his simpleton cousin from the countryside. Where Equipage (original) is deep, enveloping and warm, Geranium is transparent, light, without body and inconsistent. Personally, I consider it a timeless, refined and tasteful masterpiece. I've saved up a small supply that I think will last me forever.

My love for vintage Equipage runs deep. A men's carnation, it is an olfactory boutonniere for the debonair. I would wear this with a tux, but just as well would wear this with tweed or jeans and a sport coat. However, today I wear it with relish whilst donned in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms, much like most other other scents these days. Somehow, it also evokes walking in Harvard Sq in Cambridge on a cool day, dressed impeccably, meeting a good friend for lunch, wandering through the epicurean treasures of Cardullo's, getting lost in Harvard Book Store. Perhaps because the first time I smelled it was in Colonial Drug when it was at its first location in the square, many years ago.

Equipage opens with a stunning rosewood, clary sage and nutmeg that soon yields to the centerpiece of carnation supported with pine and cinnamon, all warm and inviting. Being familiar with both the scent of hyssop and liatris through their respective essential oil and solvent-extracted absolute, I'd vote these notes up (I feel like they are much lower simply because few folks know exactly what these two smell like). Hyssop is herbaceous and camphoraceous while having a warm, spicy undertone (crushing the leaves is a delight). Liatris (or liatrix) is dry, warm, powdery, hay-like, and reminiscent of tobacco (hence the tobacco note detected by many). They are evident here and synergize wonderfully with the floral notes in the heart.

The base is musky, mossy, and mildly vanillic, seemingly wrapped in a wispy cellophane of carnation and the other florals, just gorgeous. On my page, there are six favorites (including my signature); if there was room for a seventh, it would be Equipage.

A masterpiece!

Vintage Equipage is a kind of teleportation in the past,when everything was so well done, professionally,with attention,hard work,and tallent. and yes,natural ingredients.it is symphony of smells.a dry,dark and spicy fougere that covers you in a billow of elegance.it has an airy transparency about it,and it's warm and cool at the same time.

The scent has a brief opening of clary sage and bergamot,supported by a spicy blend (mostly nutmeg & cinnamon) that will then take the lead in the heart.the woods take center stage in the heart and it all ends in an earrhy fougere tonality of great manner.in fact it starts out being loud but gradually becomes special fragrance.reminiscent of an elegant well groomed distinguished gentleman of an era gone by.

Equipage gives the impression of fine marquetry; rich woods inlaid with sweet amber, spices and herbs.
It's ornate, old fashioned, even a bit rococo, and could be a rival to Aramis for best Grandad scent.

[Vintage sample]

The debut masculine fragrance from Hermès is no small matter. Hermès was a big player in designer fragrances at the time, right behind Chanel and Dior. In fact, they still are mostly right behind Chanel and Dior to this very day, perhaps because Hermès is just a bit more expensive and less universally-appealing thanks to their dedicated theme (whereas the other two are somewhat more amorphous stylistically), so you have to be the type to go looking for them rather than stumbling across their wares. In similar fashion, Hermès Équipage (1970) was a little less accessible and pricier than it's peers Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955) and Dior Eau Sauvage (1966), tying in a horseback riding leather theme into both the initial packaging and smell. Chanel had Henri Robert on retainer as house perfumer whilst Dior had almost exclusive use of Edmond Roudnitska (who had once also worked with Hermès previously), so without a preeminent perfumer to call their very own, Hermès did the next best thing and tapped Henri's son Guy Robert to create Équipage. Guy would develop a penchant for heavy indolic fragrances with varnish-like leather notes or animalic musks in their bases (sometimes both), and much of that style shows up here in Équipage, which outside that trait goes on to become a kitchen sink of things in the typical complex baroque style of late 60's through late 70's perfume. A lot of men still swear by this, and it's earned a latecoming flanker to boot, so Hermès must have gotten something right. Modern bottles have been streamlined into a collection of classics using the same homogeneous bottles as the eau de cologne range, so be on the lookout at Hermès counters.

The opening has sour bergamot and aldehydes mixed with orange and a little isobutyl quinoline, conjuring that varnish-like quality I mentioned, but unlike something such as Piguet Bandit (1944) or Grès Cabochard (1959), that tannery leather doesn't stick around much and is soon buried under clary sage which acts in the capacity of lavender to add a familiar barbershop aroma. Since sage is nowhere near the sweetness of lavender, Équipage dodges the bullet of being a dandy scent but things do get more like a fougère once rosewood, nutmeg, geranium, and carnation enter the heart. A hint of very dry cinnamon comes towards the dry down into the base, with muguet and jasmine indoles adding some floral funk alongside the emerging foundation of oakmoss. Flanked with patchouli and the more-earthen aspects of vetiver, this oakmoss is touched by a kiss of vanilla before becoming skin scent left behind late in the wear. Some note breakdowns list pine, and it may be here, but it doesn't leap out at me. With both oriental touches and leather touches to add nuance to what is otherwise a burly near-fougère structure, it's easy to see how men of the time might have gravitated towards Équipage as a versatile signature (by the standards of the day), with the only real component missing being anything sharp or uplifting to give it some hot weather pop. As is, Équipage smells good in almost all weather types but sweltering hot, and feels too overtly-masculine for 21st century standards but otherwise very even-keeled, giving good performance and longevity too. Équipage will go for over 10 hours and eventually dies to moderate projection with intense personal sillage. People will smell you and think you're going for a sneering Clint Eastwood a la Dirty Harry vibe, but you might be okay with that.

Hermès never really seemed to care as much about mass appeal as its main competitors, as evidenced by their slightly more-exclusive marketing and limited availability overall. They're by no means niche in the context of what we consider such in the perfume world (unless their Hermèssence line counts), but Hermès shows here as they would again with Bel Ami (1986), Rocabar (1998) and Terre d'Hermès (2006), that they only care to reflect their own dedicated aesthetic through the prism of the period, rather than capitulate to the styles of the day 100%. For that reason, Équipage fans, like fans of any Hermès masculine, are fierce and loyal, since being a man of the times but also a man apart from trend speaks to certain aspects of conventional masculinity that instill a kind of stubbornness that implies integrity, without being too individualistic. Some compare Balenciaga Ho Hang (1971) to this and I can see where they are coming from, but that scent swaps lavender back into its proper role (in place of sage), has absolutely no leather, aldehydes, or carnation, and mixes labdanum-based chypre with fougère instead, plus was initially marketed unisex. This review was based on deep 1970's vintage but I've also smelled the current edition and remembered liking it, I just don't fully remember the differences so test and compare to my notes if you go that route. If you're a fan of that "rich brown" aromatic smell so many 70's masculines carry, one that implies well-worn leather jackets, a bit of perspiration, and cigarette smoke, you've got a real winner on your hands with Équipage. If your tastes veer a bit more socially-conscious and genteel, this one may not fit your bill. Thumbs up.

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