The brand new fragrance from Hermès, ‘Galop d’Hermès’, is an interesting one on a number of levels. Firstly, and most importantly, it is the first fragrance for the brand by Christine Nagel since she became in-house perfumer (she previously created their Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate whilst Jean-Claude Ellena was still the nose-in-residence), but it also shows the house of Hermès firmly looking back towards their equestrian roots. Galop d’Hermès is a fragrance that many will look at to ascertain whether this new collaboration with Nagel will see their distinct house style put to bed in favour of a new one, or whether it will be maintained as part of the Hermès heritage. Galop d’Hermès is the first indicator of what is to come in the future and therefore, a very important fragrance.
Galop d’Hermès is an essay in two ingredients: leather and rose. Housed within a stirrup-shaped bottle, which is adorned with a smart leather tie, in vivid Hermès orange no less, the fragrance, presents itself as a scent that captures the very essence of the house, right from the overarching concept to the individual notes of the perfume. Leather is an integral element within the Hermès DNA, finding its way into many of their luxurious accessories, whereas rose has been a key ingredient in many of the brand’s illustrious fragrances over the years. Together these two notes are presented in a pure parfum that is undeniably Hermès but also entirely exciting and new.
“At Hermès, I discovered all the femininity of leather. I composed Galop d’Hermès like a painting with two main colours…two raw materials that are emblematic to Hermès and to perfumery: leather and rose.”
– Christine Nagel
Leather, Rose, Quince and Saffron
How Does it Smell?
Galop d’Hermès opens as a juicy festival of fruit. Nagel appears to be as much of a dab hand with fruit notes as her predecessor but her style is less sparkling and decidedly more mouthwatering than Ellena’s. Quince and orange practically dance in a dressage display of stompingly bold fruits, offering up a vibrant squeeze of fruit juice that smells somewhere between mandarin and blackcurrant. Seamlessly, this blackcurrant vibe provides an olfactive link to the fruitiness of the rose note that sits at the core of Galop d’Hermès – a rose that is as juicy and bold as the fruity mane that Galop boasts in bold detail.
The rose has a dazzling ombre effect to it, with tips of baby pink that deepen and darken to a scarlet shade of red at the base. It smells like black tea and rose, all smoky and sweet with a deep, jammy centre. Rose perfumes aren’t exactly difficult to come by in this day and age, but Galop d’Hermès offers something decidedly more complex – a rose note that sits at the centre of its galaxy whilst elements of blackcurrant and suede, each of which feel birthed from its centre and inextricably linked to its molecular structure, orbit it, unable to pull away from the rose’s intense gravitational pull.
Galop d’Hermès is a fragrance of two halves: of rose and leather. The leather, which is definitely more suede-like in tone, provides a connection to Jean Claude-Ellena’s mineral-centric work. Immediately, the suede provides an auburn backdrop that is two parts Hermès handbag, all soft and supple, and one part orange soil, nodding, in texture rather than odour, to Ellena’s magnum opus: Terre d’Hermès. As it heads into the base, the suede becomes less of a backdrop and more of a shroud, covering the rose in its delicate tones and creating a dry down that is warm, silky and speckled with hints of rose and fruit dust.
To my nose, Galop d’Hermès is the perfect scent to bridge the gap between Jean Claude-Ellena’s cerebral, mineral style and Christine Nagel’s more voluptuous method of perfumery. The fragrance sits perfectly between the two method, staying true to the watercolours and dust of Ellena’s tenure at Hermès whilst injecting a bold presence that is undeniably Nagel. Hermès and their new nose appear to be developing their distinct style rather than reinventing it and why should they? If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, as they say and the fragrances Hermès offer (Galop included) are perfectly in keeping with the craftsmanship of the brand, serving as an olfactory compliment to the scarves, bags and luxurious accessories that fill the house.
Perfume lovers everywhere will be pleased to know that Galop is distinctly ‘Hermès’ in every way, shape and form. Honestly, one could pick it out in a lineup as something from the house of Hermès, but it’s also something more, specifically something more intense, almost as if the shapes and structures of Ellena’s watercolours are preserved but simply presented in more vivid shades. If Galop is the future of Hermès then we are in for some wonderful treats, I can feel it.
Galop d’Hermès is available in 50ml Eau de Parfum for £183.
Sample, notes and quotes via Hermès. Images are my own.