Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande 
Hermès (2004)

Average Rating:  51 User Reviews

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Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès

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About Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès

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Hermès
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Jean-Claude Ellena:

A massive, beautiful oak tree once grew in front of my house, blocking our view of the Mediterranean. Eventually, it grew ill and was felled. The peppery, musky, slightly smoky scent of the cut wood etched itself in my memory. The soul of the old oak, mixed with pepper, lives on in this fragrance. The name Samarcande is an homage to the city through which spice caravans once passed on their way from East to West.

Fragrance notes.

Reviews of Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès

There are 51 reviews of Hermèssence Poivre Samarcande by Hermès.


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.

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