Friday, February 29, 2008

Kelly Calèche by Hermès : Perfume Review

*This post is dedicated to the wonderful, warmhearted, generous friend who recently gifted me with a bottle of Kelly Calèche. She always impresses me with her great manners and thoughtful character. May her generosity find its way back to her tenfold.*

Last summer, Hermès’ newest launch, caused quite a stir among perfume aficionados: Everyone wanted to have a whiff of the newest member of the Calèche family and even though most conceded the juice was not quite what they had expected it to be, most found it a very likeable, wearable scent. And while the perfume world was buzzing, Fragrance Bouquet kept quiet... I just couldn’t bring myself to love it – in fact I hated it. My own excitement about this fragrance had quickly fizzled out when one bright summer morning I spritzed this fragrance on a paper strip for the first time. Disaster. I couldn’t even bring myself to procure a little sample vial to review it – the only words that I could come up to describe this scent were ‘vile bug spray’ and my brain refused to elaborate further. And so I pushed Kelly Calèche out of my mind, unwisely remaining with that first impression I got from that paper strip for more than six months now. It never crossed my mind to try it on myself: the thought of having to live with the bug spray trail emitting from my own skin was too horrible to even contemplate. The months went by. And then it found its way to my doorstep... And I am besotted.

What a difference a spray on the skin makes... The scent of the jus sprayed on the skin bares absolutely no resemblance to the scent on a blotting strip. Where did the harshness go? This is soft, delicate, restrained even. Most have complained that the leather in this composition is almost undetectable, a mere hint rather than an accentuated accord, but Kelly Calèche’s first bloom on my skin is actually full-on leather. It is neither animalic, nor heavy as most leathers tend to be, but it is, to my nose at least, unmistakably leather. It is the whiff of leather you get that first moment when you open the door of an extremely expensive car decked with leather interior, the whiff of leather you can smell on your skin after having worn a supple, black kidskin glove for the first time. Slowly, the leathery scent subsides and gives way to a heart of cool iris, buttery and deep, colored by my mind’s eye in pastel shades of grey and pink – like a sunset that breaks through the clouds of a summer storm. It is surrounded by garlands of tiny flowers I can’t quite identify: their scent is neither reminiscent of the officially listed notes of narcotic tuberose, nor of the honeyed, magical smell of mimosas that has stopped me dead in my tracks so many times when taking an evening stroll in the summertime. The drydown is powdery and soft, with leather brought back to the fore in a subtle manner, which enhances the wearer’s own skin scent.

The overall feel of Kelly Calèche is slightly musty and very dry: those who like me, love bitter scents, are sure to fall for this one. Its finish is soft and subtle – a cultivated and refined skin scent whose sensibilities object to anything remotely vulgar. This coolly sophisticated fragrance is suited for every season, but in my opinion performs –as well as blooms- best in warmer weather, especially during springtime. It's one of those scents that reek of good breeding, quiet confidence and expensive taste. In the daytime, it begs for jodhpurs, boots and silk scarves or jeans worn with crisp white shirts and leather accessories. Those who have not considered this as a nighttime scent though, will be surprised when pairing it with a strapless cocktail dress cinched at the waist with a wide leather belt. Kelly Calèche simply puurrrs on bare shoulders...


Image: www.hermes.com


14 comments:

PinstripedZebra said...

Interesting how much difference it makes if you spray it on paper or skin!

I have also noticed how much difference it makes who's skin a fragrance is applied to, it is remarkable!

//Z

italian girl said...

Wow,I think i would like this one..
I also agree with pinstriped zebra completely.. i have a friend who smells divine in Sicily by Dolce and Gabbana and on me it is horrible. Another who can wear Calyx and make it heavenly, on me it bug spray!!
What do you think of the other Hermes scents???

Divina said...

Hey Z - it is indeed interesting at how big the difference is between the scent sprayed on the paper and on the skin. It is not always like that by any means, but kelly caleche is a prime example. I am now rather embarassed that I didn't give it a second chance earlier. Which of course makes me want to go and try out several other frags that didn't impress me at all on paper...

Divina said...

Italian Girl, I know what you mean! I also have a friend who smells amazing in scents I could never wear! She makes Love in Paris smell bitter and sophisticated while on my skin it's a fruity mess!

As for the Hermes fragrances, I hold them in high esteem. Rouge which you hardly ever hear about is my absolute favorite!

italian girl said...

What is Rouge like??
thank you ..

Jenavira13 said...

I wish this one worked on me, but like so many Hermes scents, the dreaded Hermes cedar accord comes out on me in fully glory, it happens with all of their new scents on me. Except Rouge, which is quite different from the new stuff.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this, dear Divina! I'm so glad you like it!

Perfumeshrine said...

For accuracy's sake:

the mimosas used in perfumery (the ones with the yellow pom-poms growing in the south of France)don't bloom in summer, they bloom in February-March(now actually!), so the tree that has you "dead in your tracks so many times when taking an evening stroll during summertime" is actually Silk Tree/Pink Acacia ~scientifically called Albizia Julibrissin. It belongs in Mimosaceae family, it blooms in mid-summer but has pink, bushy, like a fan blooms which have a different smell than the yellow mimosa: rosier and much less milky.

The two are not interchangeable and there usually is much confusion among people who are not involved in perfumery.

TMH256 said...

Oh, Divina how wonderful that you were gifted with this one! I am elated that you have come to recognize its beauty. It is one of my favorites from 2007 for certain! Your experiment clearly demonstrates the point that I tell all fragrance novices. Do not test with paper. Ever. Spray it on your skin or don't test at all! :-) Hugs to you!

Divina said...

Italian girl, to my nose Rouge is spicy, warm, rich and spiky. It has a bite and tingles the nose - a quality which I love.

Even though the two don't share many notes, my mind always seems to make a paralel between Rouge and Magie Noire by Lancome. I haven't done a side by side comparison, but when I wear Rouge I always get reminded of Magie Noire for some reason.

Divina said...

Jen you're right.. Doesn't Rouge seem quite incongruent when viewed in the context of the whole Hermes fragrant lineup?

Divina said...

Dear Helg,

since I am definitely not a perfumer I can actually vouch whether something is actually used in perfume or not unless I have done extensive research on it. (Which I very often do before reviewing a perfume) However I have to say that I DO know the difference between the trees and I was indeed referring to the pink mimosa as you well understood. Lastly, I have seen perfumes with pink mimosa notes, not only with yellow...

Divina said...

Anon, my dearest friend, thank you SO much for your most generous gesture! You have made me so happy!!

Divina said...

Tamara darling, I knoooow! LOL! You know though sometimes you don't have enough skin space (or you're saving it up for something else..) and when it was so attrocious on the blotter I never dared to spray it on my skin up till now! I have definitely learned from this though!