Reviews of Hermèssence Osmanthe Yunnan by Hermès

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
This review is from 2017:

I have to put my foot down here and call a spade a spade as I just wasted $250 on a blind buy of Osmanthe Yunnan. First of all, take all the high praise this has received and push it to the side, because none of it matters when YOU CAN'T EVEN SMELL THE SCENT 10 MINUTES AFTER APPLYING IT! This is one of the worst examples "transparency" I've come across in perfumery. It is so light as to basically be imperceptible. Even as a skin scent it is extremely light. And it's BORING. It's highlight is a 2 minute flash of a juicy orange and apricot smell, and that's the extent of anything remotely interesting about this scent. The juicy orange quickly dies down, and now, barely breathing, emanating about 1 millimeter off of your skin you may smell a vague, floral apricot smell. It gets even quieter and then Osmanthe Yunnan turns into what smells like a dull piece of suede leather or very bland, unremarkable "tea." As I've mentioned, all of this occurs on the skin, but not a millimeter beyond it. Well, it's a personal scent. NO, It's not. I can't even smell it for my own personal enjoyment. And when I can smell it it's all so unremarkable. Really, this was a huge let down. If you absolutely need to get your nose on this, make sure to sample it. It is not a safe blind buy. I've heard so many euphemisms used to describe OY: 'sheer,' 'transparent,' 'gossamer,' 'like silk' and I have to shake my head and ask "why?" Just be honest with yourselves and the public--this stuff is WEAK. No way around it. Thumbs down.
13th August 2019
It is a flush of a quiet, smooth earthy floral on my skin; in character, smelling like the remnant of a scented bath product when stepping out of a shower. It is as easy to dismiss Osmanthe Yunnan, as the post-bath fragrance. I like having a skin ambiance at times, as opposed to a perfume. It exists with my aura and thoughts better than fragrances that demand attention; more a fragrance for living in.
What becomes important, then, is whether it's a match for my skin and living space. Osmanthe Yunnan is nice, it's easy-going. But at this level it's competing with natural blends designed specifically for the energy body at better prices. Some of those, healthy and supportive of the skin/aura, also have fantastic subtle fragrances, like a spa treatment. And they feel great.
I like OY, but because of the niche it inhabits, it's almost subliminal presence, I might often prefer a more aura-oriented fragrance. But I still like it, though not FBW.
11th March 2019
Osmanthe Yunnan floats in the air like a gentle memory of floral tea; a dry scent that tantalizes with hints and bits of flavor and aroma that while incomplete individually, form a composition of harmonic hues assembled into a satisfying completeness. This is a tea ceremony with that rare tea aroma of soft woods, sueded leather, osmanthus flower, bitter steam over white tea leaves, apricot skin, mist off the mountains from Yunnan province. This perfume is a creation that resonates a subtle beauty, the impressionistic mastery from an artist of aromas - the maestro, Jean Claude Ellena.
27th July 2017

Heavenly Attraction by Farshchian
16th June 2017
The fruitiness that greets me in the opening stage has some orangey undertone, but is in its core if a peachy apricot nature. Very discreet.

Soon the ismanthus develops, and whist is is in the foreground for a while, the initial impression is weakened by the fact that the the osmanthus weakens soon, and from then on stays in the background.

A fruity tea note, a very gentle white floral tea note develops and merges with the fruity notes. This is a tea note that is not very exciting in itself, but it provides a lovely counterpoint as well as a complimentary aroma that blends in well.

I get soft sillage initially, adequate projection - initially - and an unexpectedly excellent longevity of eight hours on my skin - albeit very close to it.

This is a very restrained, at times weak spring scent, which after the first couple of hours is basically a skin scent. So is it too weak? Well, whilst it is a skin scent for most of its duration, it is well structured and the components, and especially the eponymous osmanthus remains with admirable persistency present until the end.

Is this sheer and simple diluted weakness or an array subtle impressionist touches on a pastel
canvas? On my skin it is the latter. A few extra sprays are, however, definitely needed.

A weak fruit tea in a very thin bow with just enough aroma after a long brew. 3.25/5.
14th March 2017
I'm 5 starring this for one and only one reason: osmanthus is probably my favourite scent in the world, and so far this is the only fragrance that got close to the real thing. I like osmanthus so much I remember most of the places where I smelt it - last time was next to a Franco-Japanese fusion restaurant in a Harajuku street corner with hand drawn cats on the menu and it was around 9pm.

However, the osmanthus disappears within 20 seconds and leaves behind a very soft, dry peach tea, specifically white tea. A delicate watercolour fragrance suitable for days where you don't want to stand out too much. It's pleasant and well realised, but it's not osmanthus anymore. Alas.
3rd August 2016
This delicate tea scent has fragrant Osmanthus flowers, fruit (peach?) and a slightly smoky tea note that drifts in and out like a breeze blowing through a Chinese summer garden. Typical of Jean-Claude Elléna's ephemeral offerings, it is delicate and elusive. This one is particularly feminine with its sweet, milky floral note. Like most delicate Chinese tea, this leaves me feeling vaguely dissatisfied and longing for something more substantial, like a cup of strong Darjeeling. A good first scent, perhaps, for a young woman or--as the sales assistant at the Hermes boutique suggested--for layering with other, more masculine Hermèssence scents like Poive Samarcande or Vetiver Tonka.
3rd June 2015
An interesting first minute-or-two of juicy mandarin, light peach, vodka, and fennel all very quickly settle into a dull smell that reminds me of a vaguely peppery sheet of blank paper, or possibly the vegetal smell of a flower without an odor.

Besides a belabored metaphor or a modern art piece about the smell of unscented things, I don't see the point of this. The opening citrus is done better in Eau de Mandarin Ambre, and the odd peppery vegetal paper smell is fully fleshed out and better executed in Eau de Gentiane Blanche. The osmanthus is barely more than a wisp of peach. If this had been anything other than a Jean Claude Ellena, I wouldn't have spent so long trying to convince myself to like it.

EDIT FOR 2018:
A few years later, now that I'm familiar with osmanthus essential oil, I recognize that it's definitely there in the faded, unremarkable drydown, giving a tea-ish quality. That improves my opinion of this a bit, but for lovers of that tea/osmanthus smell, I'd highly suggest Jo Malone's Silver Needle Tea over this, as it's similar, but better concentrated and with much stronger osmanthus focus.
7th February 2015
Osmanthe Yunnan opens with a really vibrant, yet gentle watercolour blend of thin, lively, slightly sour and quite realistic green notes with a subtle fruity flavour and a juicy sweeter heart (tea), fruity-sugary accents (apricot) and a light, but drier base accord mostly comprising suede and something earthy. A minimalistic “haiku”, expressing Ellena's talent at his best: a graceful, perfectly harmonic, terribly refined miniature painting with a really few notes and a palpable feel of calm, a rarefied, bright, icy transparency reminding you of a cold, but sunny winter morning. A subtle powdery-sweet accord provide some sense of colorful warmth. Not much else to describe, as Osmanthe Yunnan is really more a silent, intimate and cozy harmony of green-to-white nuances on a darker shade of suede (and perhaps something woody). Really delicate - perhaps too much, and more than ephemeral; but fantastic until it lasts.

29th December 2014
A lovely, warm, natural floral...

A really lovely fragrance which captures the nuances of the osmanthus plant, and gives the impression of hot tea. It's a very warm and slightly fruity fragrance, and I think this comes from the apricot mixed with the osmanthus itself (osmanthus flower is purported to smell like apricots and Jean-Claude Ellena often uses similar note pairings to enhance the effect of a single note). He has paired the apricot with the osmanthus in the same way that he paired liquorice with lavender and other similar combinations.

The tea and freesia make the fragrance light and airy, with a tang of orange and hint of leather which blends really well with the skin. Overall I like it, and I do get the impression of China with this. For example drinking tea in a Chinese garden in Yunnan surrounded by osmanthus bushes. Or equally a cup of osmanthus tea. I think that is the impression I get from this.

Definitely a floral fragrance of unmistakable quality, yet as with all Hermèssence creations, this one stays close to the skin. Worth trying for sure!
20th August 2014
Genre: Woods

The crystal clear peachy-floral top notes of Osmanthe Yunan are simply beautiful. Their luminous quality brings to mind Menard's exquisite but hard-to-find L'Eau de Ryokuei, and the resemblance is maintained for quite some time after application. Osmanthe Yunan is the slightly sweeter scent, and is less suggestive of bright water, though neither of the two can be called "aquatic" in the usual (Calone soaked) sense.

Osmanthe Yunan eventually diverges to follow a path lined by soft, fruity white flowers, with a powdery olfactory texture and vanillic highlights in the far background. Like many of the Jean-Claude Elléna scents I've tried, Osmanthe Yunan works primarily as a skin scent, with very little sillage or projection. It has the trademark Elléna transparency, but not the austerity of his "masculine" compositions like Declaration or Terre d'Hermes. For a fruity floral scent to avoid the grating, cheap candy artificiality that plagues most of this tribe is quite an accomplishment.
15th June 2014
I understand the "milky tea" summary Turin gives this scent, but not its five stars.

For me this is a very light smoky tea leather scent, slightly sweet, which is the peach note.

Average, undistinguished, way too expensive for what you get.
10th March 2014
Really light and crispThis fragrance is light and crisp which makes it perfect for a summer gathering. When I applied this fragrance, I really felt like I was in a garden of roses in a remote part of China. They did a great job of capturing a fragrant setting instead of trying to make another boring fragrance. The fragrance isn't too overbearing when applied compared to the designers that can become cloying. I really love how the fragrance can stay dormant on your skin and then show its best attributes when the sun heats your skin. The bad thing about this fragrance is it is way too expensive for what you're getting. It's not the most versatile fragrance so when you consider the price you have to ask yourself if you'll get your money's worth outside of the summer season. The projection is really poor but the longevity is solid. It basically requires heat for it to be a good performing fragrance. Another thing that annoys me is the box is the exact same throughout the collection. I collect the boxes so I was expecting each to have their own individuality. 7.7/10Pros: 1. Truly takes you into a Chinese garden atmosphere 2. Not too overbearing 3. Performs better with more sun exposureCons: 1. Way too expensive 2. Projection is awful 3. Box looks the same as all the other Hermessence collection"
4th September 2013
Elegant understated chic This scent is very straight to the point. It's delicate and refined, supremely elegant in its minimalism . I have liked most of the Hermessences I have tried and this is no exception . I do not find its longevity a problem to be honest - I think I have tried this sample 3 times now . Osmanthe Yunnan is just not a shouting kinda scent - it's ' my skin but better ' scent. It's a "my- skin- made- by- Hermes" scent. Therefore understated chic . it's fruity ,sharp at first - abit of orange , then fresh floral with freesia mixed with that delicate apricot skin - a bit tart - whatever 'leatheriness' is mostly my imagination. The tea note is mute and in the background. All in all ,well blended ,soft but not necessarily short lived at all. Osmanthe Yunnan lingers in its own little whispery way . It's rude to shout ! Actually very signature scent worthy. Very subtle.Pros: Beautifully madeCons: Price per 100 ml"
12th August 2013
Very fleeting, thin as water, with no sparkle to the fruit notes. The tea note is as delicate as some green teas, but not a photographic representation. There are no tannins (kind of wish there were), but thankfully no crashing sour so-called "tea" notes.

It feels like a soft veil of peach, overtaken by white flowers, then ... POOF! Nothing.

But pretty. Very pretty. It's a "kind" perfume, but I wish it emphasized the precious osmanthus more (makes me want to try to add some osmanthus absolute to it). Has this line been "dumbed down" a tad to have a wider appeal? I get that feeling.

I prefer Ayala's Kinmokusei for it's lush, fruity otherworldly take on osmanthus.
30th March 2013
I really don't understand all the negative reviews about this one!
What a lovely quiet fragrance!!! I thought I found a great fragrance when I tryed Osmanthus by The Different Company but I really felt in love when I met this  Hermèssence! I tryed this in the Hermès store at the Frankfurt airport minutes before I fly back to Brazil... I sprayed it on my skin and I thought "that's nice! That's  fine!" and I didn't buy. I prefered take the Voyage Parfum with me... How wrong I was... I couldn't help to fall in love with Osmanthe Yunnan all the way back to my country we almost talk to each other! And yes, after landing I could still smell the greatness  of this masterpiece! On my skin, this guy is greater and has more longevity than Santal Massoia (easy) and Ambre Narguile (hard, but it's true)!!!
Give yourself a chance, and if you have the time you'll be delighted too!

But if you only want to "smell huge" without any other purpose... Go look another place!
19th November 2012
Osmanthe Yunnan is a nice subtle scent that will not offend anyone. It starts with a nice fruit smell of sorts, apricots & oranges pave the way with a lingering note of tea. Leather??? HA! This is a very nice aroma that conjures up memories of sitting in my great granny's backyard looking at the garden where she grew fruits & things as such.

The problem that I have with this fragrance is that it does not project much at all, nor is the lasting power good. It is almost average... I can say that this is one of the fragrances I do not care for from this line, while being nice & inoffensive, it lacks the POWER I would like & appreciate with a fragrance. Natural smell, great ingredients all creates a piss poor longevity concoction. Not full bottle worthy, I'll pass.
16th July 2012
So I am sitting here in a deep funk and I decide to test Osmanthe Yunnan. One whiff, and my funk melts away. I get a bright, cheerful floral, coupled with fruit and tea notes. I think this would smell wonderful on a lady.
27th January 2012
I have to register a negative vote, not because the scent is unpleasant but because it is so subtle as to barely register. I have a sensitive nose but this is beyond subtle, into the "attenuated" category, or almost invisible.
The opening has promise: a somewhat substantial fruity apricot with some respectable orange blossom notes. Other florals of a delicate nature appear. As is typical with orange blossom, sometimes there are creamy notes and sometimes there are woody-stalky notes. The tea note is so subtle as to be non-existent. The scent is not sweet and certainly not heavy. The apricot, as is so often the case, has a slight metallic tinge.
Poof! The scent recedes into the background and one is left sadly searching for even a ghostly impression of what had been.
When it was present, it was mildly pleasant but not compelling. When it is absent, it is ... absent.
18th January 2012