This is the only Hermessence that I own (for now), and this simply because, while many of Ellena's impressionistic and minimal compositions in the line are captivating and beautiful, I just can't see myself paying anything close to the full retail price. The others I've sampled are simply too introverted and diaphanous to warrant adding to my already sprawling collection that already includes equally lovely introspective scents that have proven to be more affordable. This is coming from someone who by no means obsesses over the performance of fragrance.
However, I found Brin de Reglisse for a shockingly reasonable price and this just so happened to be one that most interested me from what I sampled. A bittersweet, earthy, melancholy opening that gives me the same sensation as the gorgeous Serge Lutens Gris Clair, but here, we have this classic fresh mown hay accord and licorice that makes for a thoughtful variation on the lavender aromatic style. It's so gauzy and sheer, a delight for the olfactory receptors, and rather calming and reflective. It is true that much like the other Hermessences, this one doesn't have a ton of fuel, but it isn't quite as fleeting on my skin as others have suggested. It's the intimacy of this scent that begs for someone to come closer. It reminds me that we all could use some more hugs in this day and age.
But no one would be getting a Brin de Reglisse hug from me after paying 300 dollars. Brilliant for a 1/3rd of the price, however.
The opening of Brin de Reglisse is medicinal and very intriguing combination of herbal lavender and black licorice or anise. The combination of these two cooling medicinal aromas is fascinating and has a very clean cooling effect. But "not cool" soon arrives with a waft of orange blossom which corrupts the herbal green lavender into a quaint lavender flower which smells dated and dowdy. Fortunately the fragrance is so short lived that this floral lavender doesn't last long. The opening licorice and lavender is so fresh and original that this is still a thumbs up for me, but the ending is a bit of a disappointment.
Brin De Reglisse is probably the most blatant example of why I consider several *Hermessences* to be frustrating experiences. The composition is centered around a great bone accord made out of lavender and licorice. The synergy between the two gives birth to something extremely novel, refreshing and modern. On one side the aromatic and sharp-ish qualities of lavender. On the other the dark, bittersweet facets of licorice. Simple, yes, but absolutely perfect. It masterfully avoids the heaviness often associated with licorice fragrances (see Eau Noir), it's never too sweet, never too sharp (see Lolita Lempicka), anything but functional but, in the end, really too thin.
I'm not obsessed with longevity and I obviously wasn't expecting Hermessence to deliver in sillage but on skin this disappears after a couple of hours leaving the wearer with an incredible sense of frustration (unless you literally stick your nose to your wrist). It basically performs like the weakest Eau De Cologne and it should be re-applied constantly just to achieve an almost ghost-like presence. At these prices, this is honestly too much.
Pity because I really love the main accord but beside that, Brin De Reglisse feels more like an expensive joke.
Wonderful authentic, dry, rich burst of Lavender in the opening, full of unmistakable quality... followed by a juicy liquorice note. Very well made.
Brin de Réglisse is Jean-Claude Ellena's take on Lavender, and for this he chose Liquorice - another note which has some olfactive similarities to the herb (he also managed a similar choice of combination with Vétiver Tonka). It's dry, almost caramel like quality pairs with the deep lavender to give a very rich, authentic feel... like standing in a lavender field in summer eating liquorice. The hay is also a wonderful choice here, which really evokes the natural and dry, herbal feel of this fragrance.
I also suspect there may be other notes at play here such as immortelle, with a dry, burnt-sugar and herbal feel, or maybe a hint of vanilla and orange blossom. Either way, Brin de Réglisse has one of the best lavender and liquorice notes in any perfume I've tried. It's transparent, as is Ellena's style. But, much like Vétiver Tonka, although I do like the combination... there are better interpretations of lavender and liquorice in other perfumes out there. Dior's Eau Noire comes to mind, which smells much more authentic than this (it's also a lavender liquorice combo). Overall I do really like this one, I just wished it gave me a little more.
Brin de Réglisse goes on with a really lovely savory-salty accord of black licorice and lavender. Contrary to my expectations, it does not then settle into the sharp, synthetic woody accord that anchors so many of Jean-Claude Elléna's previous scents. Happily, this means that after twenty minutes it doesn't wind up smelling exactly like Un Jardin sur la Nil, Un Jardin en Méditerranée, or Terre d'Hermès. Sadly, it also means that after twenty minutes Brin de Réglisse winds up smelling like nothing at all.
Quiet lavender meets fleeting licoriceAn innovative and attractive combination of savory and aromatic elements, Brin de Réglisse juxtaposes a grassy hay-like lavender base with dynamic top notes of black licorice. Despite the name, the main ingredient here is the lavender which has been modified to become very clean and smooth, containing none of lavender's distinct herbal or medicinal aspects. Although beautiful as a stylized representation of the natural note, the lavender in Brin de Réglisse has been so excessively tamed and civilized that most of its character is gone, making it too anonymous and transparent to create a truly lasting impression, especially as it meets little constructive opposition from its licorice counterpart. While delicious and very natural-smelling, the licorice note is present, literally, for only a few minutes and dissolves far too quickly, leaving the lavender alone and overly docile with its natural teeth and claws removed.While Brin de Réglisse is undeniably elegant and conceptually intriguing, it is also too soft-spoken and insubstantial, especially as a very expensive and exclusive Hermèssence fragrance. It performs like an eau de cologne and would be far more at home in the excellent (and significantly cheaper) Hermès cologne selection, relaunched in a pale violet bottle and renamed "Eau de Lavande Stylisée". Given its unsatisfactory performance and unjustifiable price point for what it is, I have to rate Brin de Réglisse below four stars. While I enjoy the fragrance and find it both very pleasant and easy to wear, I'm slightly bothered with the way it whimsically tries to trade character and substance for intangible hints, suggestions, and mannerism.