I love a food. But, weirdly, I do not love a “gourmand” (a.k.a. food-ish) perfume. Chocolates, macaroons, pineapples—all good, but not on my skin/in my hair. So the fact that this new Épice Marine scent from Hermès involved a chef was not immediately compelling. But the chef was Olivier Roellinger, the famous, many-Michelined “pirate chef” of Brittany, and the perfumer, Hermès’ Jean-Claude Ellena (who totally has my number; there is not an Hermès fragrance I don’t love).
What is a marine spice, anyhow? There is the ocean-salt-spray of Brittany, smoked spices like cardamom and cumin (a Roellinger experiment that totally works) and a touch of something that’s almost like bread or hay. The description mentions wet pebbles, and that is not wrong, either. It somehow manages to smell fresh but not sharp, a little sun-warmed, a lot French, a lot sophisticated. It’s like nothing I’ve ever smelled before and so, so beautiful.
You don’t think of cardamom as beachy, but Hermès does.
Hermès Épice Marine, $240, usa.hermes.com