Reviews of Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande 
Hermès (2004)

Average Rating:  52 User Reviews

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Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès

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Reviews of Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès

There are 52 reviews of Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès.

Samarcande is an ancient city whose history reaches more than three thousand years, But according to documentations, it's age seems even older. Samarcande has long been a famous city for the world and they have known it; A beautiful and prosperous city on the way of the Silk Road with great economic prosperity. But it has been much more known and important for Iranian peoples. All Iranian tribes have known and know Samarcande and have had a deep connection with this city for a long time; Therefore, it has been widely reflected in Iranian myths and legends.

Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande is a pepper bomb! It is a bone dry, woody spicy fragrance with lots of really nice character. The blend of paprika and black pepper is great, it’s got the perfect backing of dry woods, and there is a faint clean smokiness that comes through. If you’re a woody aromatic kind of nose, it will be an explosion of pleasure on your chest. I dare to say that a special woman will know how to use it also, as an unisex elixir. It goes with casual clothes and also is great for work and even great for a date with someone special. It’s also a fragrance you can layer with other fragrances.

Pure pepper, freshly ground from the mill, is what greets my nose at the opening of Poivre Samarcande, with nary a twitch or sneeze, but with a subsequent wave of crunchy umbellifers. This crunchy caraway hovers just beneath the stratosphere of pepper with the spice cabinet wood closer to the skin's surface.

This demonstrates Ellena genius: this is everywhere but by no means an abrasive fog. The cook for the duchess in Alice in Wonderland is NOT screaming "pepper, more pepper!" This is not a pepper soup, naturally. This is black pepper haze with one of the best uses for Iso E Super ever encountered. It actually exalts the tiny, pepper love taps as they float in your sillage.

Further on, there is along with the indispensable cedar, what I discern as oakwood absolute, drier, from the robust Quercus robur, smelling delightfully of lichen-covered abandoned wine barrels, a bit malty, but not sweet. The most 'sophisticated' and 'refined' dustiness falls closer to the skin as the pepper melts into the woods and there's a feeling of sublime satisfaction. I refuse to discuss performance just because it's a Hermessence; it trivializes the experience.

Awesome stuff!

The opening starts with a nondescript brightness, which soon develops into a more defined brightness: A nice peppery note, black peppers but not dark and harsh; it is black peppers in the sunlight so to speak.

The drydown develops the oak, but on a slow burner over a couple of hours, with touch of cumin also present.

I get soft sillage, adequate projection and five hours of longevity on my skin.

A scent for warmer spring days that raises an interesting issue: is it minimalist Zen brilliance or synthetic blandness. The ingredients are few, but not of superb quality, and here laboratory tries to outdo nature - it does not succeed I am afraid to say. This is a synthetic simpleton. Not bad though. Just generic. The performance leaves a lot to be desired. 2.75/5

Utterly distasteful and pointless.

I guess you could say that this is a competent blend of wood and spice, but I find nothing to enjoy about it. It's very linear, and I smell a very dry oak, cumin, and black pepper. The result of this is that it smells very similar to some of the Indian takeout places I sometimes order food from in "Curry Hill" when I'm in NYC.

You could put cumin and black pepper into a bowl, mix them up and get pretty much the same effect. And in my opinion, that bowl of spices is exactly as wearable as this fragrance is. Ellena has tons of ideas that are unique and creative, and this is certainly that, but it's one of those fragrances that should have been abandoned at the beginning.

This might stimulate your appetite (it doesn't for me), but I doubt it would stimulate anything else. If I were to get wafts of this on a person, I would mistake it for body odor, and I'm not being hyperbolic.

Thumbs down, for sure.

Rocks in the Forest by Paul Cézanne 1868

Surprisingly lovely! The burst of pepper with the soft rounded cushion of the oak, but still quite sheer. Shame it seems to be difficult to get a hold of at a decent price.

PS made me give up looking for a pepper-focused fragrance. It offers a great snapshot of pepper and initially I was wowed. But a few more wears revealed a quite muddied structure and this same queasy drydown I get from Poivre 23, Piper Nigrum and to a lesser extent Poivre Piquant. Oh well.

Brilliant fragrance! I remember as a child I would curiously wander into my grandfather's bedroom and look at all the amazing things that seemed filled with so much history, as though everything held a story. He was a pianist and on his antique dresser there was always a loose assortment of coins, various bills, $1's $5's $10's etc..I even remember a $2 bill that was so odd yet so utterly unique. Along with those were a small container of “tics”, thin black, almost peppery, mentholated, licorice lozengers. These were so thin they looked like those colorful sprinkles you'd put on cupcakes, except that they were as black as coal. And finally, an old Rolex watch with a white face, black Roman Numerals, and a black leather band. The combination of those three things is what Poivre Samarcande smells like to me. Old money, a smoky, leathery sweaty watchband from years of playing the piano in clubs, and peppery, licorice mentholated tics. My god what a fragrance. When you get transported to another time and your head spins in nostalgia, that is the direct result of a true master at work!

Who told it better?
Pepper's tall tale of wood, or
Wood's tail of pepper?

Even after accounting for the fact that Ellena's style is marked by a characteristic transparent minimalism, Poivre Samarcande is underwhelming and shockingly pretentious.

A dry, transparent melange of spices (cumin) and woods is spiked with pepper - and that basically is the composition. The woods in question is a large amount of Iso E Super, and the pepper and the cumin together combine to create an airy fragrant cloud. This is neither compelling, nor interesting, doesn't smell good, and is soulless and synthetic. It is quite abstract, but also absolutely insubstantial, and functionally comes across as a marginally improved version of Bang by Marc Jacobs at ten times the price. It is extremely quiet on the skin beyond the initial peppery-spicy blast, and duration is not convincing - and irrelevant. Possibly the only redeeming feature could be how the spices (primarily cumin) briefly provide a warm contrast to the cold and aloof woody notes.

Poivre Samarcande slots in between Declaration and Terre d'Hermes chronologically. If one is looking for a minimalist composition featuring pepper, woods, or both, Comme des Garcons presents many superior alternatives. In fact, if one wants an actual three dimensional perfume version of Poivre Samarcande with real depth and substance, one only needs to look at Declaration or Declaration Essence - created by none other than Ellena himself. If one is just interested in a good pepper fragrance, Piper Nigrum or Noir Epices provide much more engaging and rewarding alternatives. While the skeletal structure of Poivre Samarcande bears promise, it is not innovative given its predecessor in Declaration. However, the primary source of discontent is the lack of any substance.

I have always found reasons to respect Ellena's compositions even though I may disagree with them. This is an exceptional case.


Fine pepper with a hint of smoke. At first this fragrance comes off very nice, but very simple and weak. After buying a bottle and wearing it more often, I've realized it lasts much longer than I initially thought. It is far more complex than its first impressions also. If you are a fan of Terre, you will most likely enjoy this. Terre stripped of its orange and vetiver. You are left with the smell of pepper and woods.

Mademoiselle_Nicole below has the most accurate review of this below.

Magnificent! This smells just like that first whiff of a freshly opened bag of peppered jerky. I mean that in a good way, too.

Longevity is poor, but some people may overlook that due to the uniqueness. I can't, so it's not full bottle worthy for me. It is a wonderful fragrance though.

I'm glad I gave this a chance. At first, I didn't like the sweaty cumin and just sort of wrote it off. But after wearing it quite a bit lately (more out of laziness than anything else), the complexities have come through and it has grown on me and now I'm quite enjoying it.

Part of what initially scared me away were the topnotes, which really are a mess, all sour celery and sweat. But that gives way quickly to a rather nice mix of spices - black pepper, leafy basil, tea-ish sage, and yes, that cumin. There's an ongoing undertone of dry, dusty wood, like teak or rosewood matched up with oak, and a shot of mace, which gives a chickory sweetness, especially later in the day. But the real star turns out to be a sweaty-old-man leather smell, which is certainly a bit gross, especially paired with the cumin, but which somehow ends up rather compelling in a very animalic leathery way when surrounded by all the spices and wood.

In a way, I'm glad that Poivre Samarcande has the signature low volume of the Hermessence line. If it were more concentrated and strong, this would be an unbelievable stinker. But as is, it sends off occasional leathery spicy sweet wood sillage without every making me feel like I simply smell sweaty or bad despite the skanky notes involved.

Close (at first approach) to Black Tourmaline but with less mineral dustiness, incense, less rubbery/smoky/dark turpentine and more ambery resinous sweetness in the blend. Spicy, not just pepper or sweet spices but also cumin and may be saffron. The HPS's beginning is really dusty and intoxicating by a blast of spices and a touch of exotic rum. I suppose a certain level of sweetness is aroused by a combination of sweet spices, some minimal hint of booziness and secret dried fruits. A touch of ambergris? Yes, I suppose it. The exotic pepper is prominent, the note of patchouli imprints structure and a final cuir note discloses endly its leathery touch in the dry cedarwood prominent dry down. Elegant and vaguely sultry with an enigmatic side.

Poivre Samarchande opens with a gargantuan blast of black peppercorn supported by cumin and maybe just the faintest hint of fiery red pepper. The pepper and cumin remain into the heart notes, but luckily settle down to more manageable levels. There is also a hint of supporting cedar wood to bolster the scent up a bit. And that is pretty much it... Pepper, cumin and cedar; very minimalist like most of the Hermessence line. Projection is minimal to below average and longevity is average.

I am not really enjoying Poivre Samarchande much, I confess. It just is too simplistic, and I don't like the cumin in it at all. The scent pretty much stays linear throughout which also does not drive any new interest. I guess this is just another disappointment from one of my favorite noses, Jean-Claude Ellena. I find when he hits, there is none better, but his misses can be pretty bad, and there are plenty of them. This is not a complete failure, but it is not noteworthy at all and at these lofty prices anything less than that is unacceptable. If I want a superior pepper scent I would easily go with Piper Nigrum from Lorenzo Villoresi for less money before buying this. I give Poivre Samarchande a middling neutral and a 2.5 out 5 rating.

please picture a country house somewhere in the hamptons, full of the rich ,young and beautiful. Large leather sofas you sink in when sitting down, finest cigars and old whisky.
poivre samarcande catapults you into the old world. the fragrance has the souverain sexyness of a man who was just born with it all. the understatement of the selfconfident. smokey peppery with a touch of soft wood. a very well balanced fragrance that makes me think of a man who knows to waer his white tie.

A great production by Ellena. Smoky and peppery very stylish scent. The note I perceive to be strongest is the cuir note. Very very good manly parfume. Finally a great experience for my nose.

You're greeted by a smooth, peppery scent with a sort of woody chilli, calming down to a smooth wood and pepper-base.

I'd call it smooth and sofisticated, without ever being shouty or aggressive. My girlfriend really liked this one, and claimed it lasted way longer than I could smell it.

I have to chime in with others and agree that the sillage is pretty low. That's probably the price to pay for an extremely smooth fragrance that whispers, rather than shout about itself.

All in all extremely sexy, sophisticated and smooth, yet understated and calm. If you're heavily into something like A*men, this could very well disappoint you with its calm nature, but if you're done with the shouting, this is the fragrance for you.

If you are new to frags like at this writing) I am, you owe it to yourself to give this scent a smell. "Like pepper" as others have said, and not at all sweet in nature, and something that if you worry what people might think should you suddenly appear in public smelling like...well...perfume, this is one you should have no problem with.

In my opinion this is the best of Hermessences. Pepper is well executed in this fragrance. Non-offensive and very welcoming. Been wearing it for the past 7 years and love it!

Poivre Samarcande's opening with pungent spicy pepper and woods brings to my mind of countless perfumes I smelled in the past 10 years. It's pleasant but lacks in personality. Same story for the drydown that is surely refined but still not so interesting for me. HPS is a nice scent, no more, no less. It could be enough if just half priced and composed by some anonimous perfumeur, but it costs 200 bucks and it's by JC Ellena.

A good option could be to include it in the travel set available at a cheaper price with 4x15ml vials at your choice form the hermessence range.

This is the more refined, subtler son of Eau D'Hermes, with the unmistakably louche aura that's the family crest. Nose-tingling pepper on very mild vetiver and citrus, with the sweaty basenote that is Ellena's homage to Roudnitska's Eau D'Hermes and Eau Sauvage. Ellena did a similar iteration in Bigarade, but there the orange is unmistakable. Reviewers who didn't get anything animalic surprise me. This has the scent of a sweaty fat guy or gal but, remarkably, in Ellena's hands, it becomes compelling, not disgusting. This one wears close to the skin, as intended; it's an "essence," an effort to impart a scent that seems to be coming from the wearer's pores rather than a bottle. Unfortunately, you have to use copious amounts if you want to be able to smell it on yourself. Unless you really give yourself a few thick coats, no sillage. Ellena is so subtle I expect he'll soon be making fragrances at homeopathic dilutions, smellable only by the four legged.

This is one of the best pepper fragrances in the universe. I really enjoy this one. I have been wearing this one for years and it always get compliments. Warm, sexy, comforting! Simply one of the best! It also is my favorite of Hermessence. Ambre Narguile and Vetiver Tonka come right after this!

What a *fascinating* scent. I can say this - I think everyone should at least get a sampler of this. It smells very interesting.

To me, this scent smells almost exactly like unbuttered popcorn with chili powder sprinkled on it. (Try it sometime, it's delicious.) It needs no other description than "wood and pepper" - there's almost nothing else to it except the tobacco floating around in the background that seems to be the standard Hermessence base.

Someone compared this to Burberry London, and comparing them on my wrists, it's certainly like that in the top notes, but Burberry's huge lavender note totally changes everything - the pepper is an accent, while in Poivre it is the entire thing. Hermessence's general idea, at least of the ones I've tried, so far seems to be to take just two notes and make a fragrance which is purely those notes and nothing else from application to drydown.

I will say, though, the fragrance is really amazing. It is so sophisticated and sexy - when I smell it, I have visions of Italian models wearing impeccably tailored suits in some luxurious corporate boardroom. There's a really interesting allure to it - it almost seems to hit your taste sense even though you're smelling it. Unfortunately, as with the others in the Hermessence line, the sillage is so low that someone's going to have to already think you're pretty sexy to smell it. Or maybe I just have a hard time using enough of a fragrance that goes for about $4 / ml. :)

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