Perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena says:

During a visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing, I was captivated by an exquisite smell that led me by the tip of my nose to the Imperial Palace, where osmanthus bushes were in bloom. In November, despite their tiny size, the flowers exuded a strong scent of apricot and freesia. I imagined combining these blossoms with a tea from Yunnan, the most beautiful province in China… and the idea for the fragrance was born.

Hermèssence Osmanthe Yunnan fragrance notes

    • tea, orange, freesia, osmanthus, apricot

Where to buy

Latest Reviews of Hermèssence Osmanthe Yunnan

You need to log in or register to add a review
It is challenging for me to write about Osmanthe Yunnan, because it is always simultaneously more and less than what I expect it to be. The first eight sprays – the minimum required to kickstart this famously ephemeral thing into gear – never fail to surprise me with the milky-boozy lusciousness of its apricot note. But spray any less, and the impression is of something far drier and brighter, like a translucent piece of peach leather held up to the light. Like Xanax, you need to fiddle around with the dosage to get it right.

Osmanthe Yunnan is, in a way, victim of its own press. While it is true that the central osmanthus-peach-tea accord is gently lactonic and smoky, it is never quite as milky or as smoky as its mythology makes it out to be. On the skin, there’s a thin, leathery sourness that is interesting, but almost never discussed. Osmanthe Yunnan is more about the tannins in suede and tea and fruit skin than it is about milk or smoke. Which is something I forget about entirely the next time my eyes alight on the bottle (“Ah, Osmanthe Yunnan! What an excellent milky, smoky thing you are!”).

Those facets are there, of course, but because they are drawing on subtler stuff like peach lactones or the hint of smoke lingering from the tea roasting process, they lie quietly just under the surface of the scent, causing barely a ripple. I suppose this is the point of the whole exercise – refinement, minimalism, the miles-deep cream carpet of luxury. Ellena didn’t need to call in the shouty, muscle-flexing chemical bonfire material pumped into By the Fireplace (Maison Martin Margiela), nor does he go for the smoked-ham pungency of the lapsang souchong Co2 used in Jeke (Slumberhouse). The smoke and milk are mere suggestions. Possibly even a figment of my overactive imagination. I love it, but for some reason, it plays out much better in my head than on my skin.
2nd October 2023
The pellucid beauty of Osmanthe Yunnan may elude those who favor bravado to that of nuance in their fragrance. The notes of osmanthus and tea, by their very nature, cannot be bold and highly diffusive. I truly believe any perfumer worth their grain of salt knows that any attempt to give either muscle would collapse the limpid beauty of each, rendering them into something harsh or even grotesque, or, depending upon opposing forces, buried and indiscernible.

Be that as it may, Ellena's creation here is full of presence, and his minimalism works to his benefit here. The osmanthus uses the natural absolute with other materials to broaden and exalt the accord, and the tea is a natural pairing—I do love to sip osmanthus tea, with its bittersweet, floral, apricot flavor. There are citrus and herbal facets that come through as well, and hints of that smoky undertone that we come to expect from black tea.

I also praise Ellena's restraint with the leather as this transitions into the heart, seamlessly, appearing to use Suederal or something similar in a way that I can appreciate, nuanced and clear. This is a perfect fragrance for a space of reflection or introspection. Apply some of this, write in a journal, read some poetry, or just let your mind meander. If worn for others, having intimate company and your willingness for others to lean in will result in others potentially appreciating it as well.
19th April 2023

I don't understand. I grow osmanthus in my garden; the scent of the flowers (which bloom in cold weather here) is both tropically luscious and fresh. I was hoping for the same from this perfume, but what I get is a weird cleaning-fluid-like overtone that doesn't fade at all.

It also happens that my favorite black tea is from Yunnan province. The perfume doesn't smell like that, either.
21st December 2021
Strong, fruity tea. Muddled, yet pleasant, flowers in the background. Brief, 4.5 hours on my skin. Hardly any sillage. Neutral rating, because of its fleeting wear.

I expected more of an apricot flair...
3rd September 2021
I love osmanthus, and this is one of the best. It's elegant and not too sweet, while still get the essence of the real flower.

Since osmanthus is an autumn flower, I always apply this in autumn, but recently I realized it projects better in warm weather. So this is going to be my late summer fragrance.
11th November 2019
Show all 44 Reviews of Hermèssence Osmanthe Yunnan by Hermès