There is something to be said for the onset of winter. As the days draw in and the temperature plunges below freezing, there is a real sense of melancholy in the air. I often enjoy strolling outdoors at that time of year, taking in the smells of the neighbourhood and being a part of a bleak landscape painted in hues of pallid grey and midnight blue. But if the rain begins, or the wind picks up, I'll often pull my coat tight around my body, bury my nose under my collar and head for home. The allure of warm orange hues and the welcoming aroma of a hot meal blazing in the oven, will always win out over wet shoes and a dripping nose. There is something incredibly comforting and familiar about the smell of food when stepping in from the cold.
In 2004, Hermés nose Jean Claude Ellena managed to create one of my favourite "comfort" scents: the accomplished Ambre Narguilé - a deliciously charming blend of soft spice, woods and floral accords... the sum of which surprisingly emulates the mouth-watering aroma of fresh-baked apple cinnamon pie. One will surely swoon at the memory of such delights with the first spritz of this extraordinary fragrance. Its remarkable composition echoes rum-soaked raisins and cinnamon strudel with a light dusting of sugar, but in a very Hermés manner. Ellena has taken much care to lift the perfume out of the bakehouse, and manipulate it into something so much more opulent. White orchid, honey, ginger, amber, caramel and vanilla all lend themselves to the gourmand nature of this scent, but after an hour or two, the sweet edge subsides and makes way for a warm, tobacco, smokey, incense-like drydown which is peppered with allspice.
Many of the Hermessence fragrances each have a culinary quality (eg: the mildly spiced Paprika Basil, the anise-inspired Brin de Réglisse), but Ambre Narguile is by far the most paralyzing... it will soothe and narcotize with its deeply addictive bouquet.
The Hermessence line can only be purchased exclusively at Hermés boutiques the world over.