Update: You can read our reviews of the three colognes
Hermès will launch a set of three unisex eaux de cologne in May 2009 called Eau de Pamplemousse Rose (Pink Grapefruit Water), Eau de Gentiane Blanche (White Gentian Water) and Eau d'Orange Verte (Green Orange Water) prolonging the lively cologne revivalist trend spotted last year around the time of the launch of Dior Escale à Portofino. What is new is the upscale branding of these sophisticated eaux de Cologne on the one hand and on the other hand, sometimes, a desire to freshen up the genre like François Demachy did for Portofino.
With Hermès's new trio of colognes called Les Colognes Hermès, in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena has also decided to pick up the guantlet and offer new interpretations of the classic Kölnish Wasser.
The initial Hermès trio collection also builds upon the heritage of Eau d'Orange Verte which was created in 1979 by perfumer Françoise Caron and can be considered a classic. She recently created a trio of refined eaux de cologne for Astier de Villatte and one could see a parallel between that collection and the new Hermès one....
Robert Chavez of Hermès USA said that the project upped the standing of Hermès "as a perfumer rather than just a launcher of new fragrances." A phenomenon which is much aided by a seeming digging-in of the heels on the part of in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena who manages to impose a perfumer's sense of obsessive leitmotiv over an overly crass mechanical and commercial one (see our review of Kelly Calèche Eau de Parfum, the latest twist on KC).
Eau de Pamplemousse Rose features notes of grapefruit, orange, rhubofix and vetiver and is said to bear a classic stamp especially with regard to its citrus components. Rhubofix is an odorant made by Firmenich described as smelling very fresh, with woody, spicy, floral and fruity overtones. A rose note is said to bring a twist to the composition.
Eau de Gentiane Blanche is the one seen to be more innovative as it pretends to belong to the genre without using citruses. Notes include gentian, white musk, iris and incense. Catherine Fulconis chairman of Hermès Parfums says that Ellena in this case "...really revisited freshness."
Eau d'Orange Verte has notes of orange, mandarin and lemon, mint leaves, blackcurrant buds, oakmoss and patchouli.
"Each scent comes as a splash with a pump that's available for a spray iteration. Eau de Pamplemousse Rose and Eau de Gentiane Blanche will be sold in 100- and 200-ml. bottles, which are to retail for 87 euros, or $110.87 at current exchange, and 114 euros, or $145.29, respectively. Eau d'Orange Verte will come in 50-, 100-, 200- and 400-ml. versions for 45 euros, or $57.33; 62 euros, or $78.99; 82 euros, or $104.47, and 124 euros, or $158, respectively. Prices are for France. There is also an ancillary line."