Hermès are preparing to showcase anew a selection of their classic perfumes in a new range with a relooked packaging entiled Les Classiques while accompanyng this event with a new launch in December 2013, a creative yet faithful flanker to Bel Ami called Bel Ami Vétiver...
The new collection features L'Eau d'Hermès (1951), Calèche (1961), Equipage (1970), Amazone (1974), Bel Ami (1986), Rocabar (1998), Hiris (1999), and Rouge d'Hermès (2000).
This endeavor approximates a pure curatorial move as all of those fragrances are available through the normal channels. The press materials confirm this hunch as they offer historical analyses of the perfumes. For instance, the house now wish to position Amazone (1974) as the original gourmand fragrance, it having preceded Angel in its use of a note of Ethyl Maltol, the candy floss, caramel nuance which contributed to the success of Angel.
This is an interesting thought but by no means obvious as then, Shalimar for instance could be construed to be the original gourmand perfume based on vanilla since even perfumer Ernest Beaux said at the time that it could have turned into a crème brûlée - but that it didn't.
Amazone is sweet but not that gustatory in its leanings. Another one, Parfum d'Hermès (1984) also had a very sweet personality but not to the point of feeling gourmand. Retrospectively, it could be seen as being "borderline gourmand". It is a bit like pushing the boundaries of what is a gourmand fragrance and deciding that J'Adore by Dior is a gourmand perfume because it has a stewed fruit facet and a good dollop of vanilla. The thing is, this historiography is being done by the house and not by an independent scholar. There might be merit to the idea that since Amazone used Ethyl Maltol, it's a precursor, but I remember being more intrigued by the sweetness of Parfum d'Hermès to start with than that of Amazone.
Bel Ami Vétiver is a new twist on Bel Ami reportedly inspired by in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena's love of literature and wish to revisit the novel Bel-Ami by Maupassant about desperate arriviste Georges Duroy who succeeds in his goals of social climbing thanks to women and meanwhile is ridiculed by Maupassant. The vetiver note is said to overtake the patchouli one.
The Swiss press were treated to the first bytes of news about this new Hermès Parfums project.