When it was announced that Christine Nagel would replace Jean-Claude Ellena as the in-house perfumer at Hermès I remember wondering whether the house-style that Ellena had crafted to be so distinct would change. Both are idiosyncratic perfumers with a bold style and Ellena’s mineral watercolours are as far removed from Nagel’s voluptous compositions as they can be. So we’re now four launches into Christine Nagel’s tenure at Hermès and it is safe to say that yes, the house style has changed from minimalism to a subtle maxamilism (i’m making that a thing, by the way), but it still remains completely faithful to the one thing that Hermès always delivers: luxury.
Hermès latest launch is Twilly d’Hermès – a fragrance named for the brand’s Twilly scarves, which are colourful, think silk scarfs that can be worn in a multitude of ways, and the scent really cements the brand’s new style, which feels a little bit more accessible. Twilly the perfume is just as vibrant as the scarves and Hermès use words such as “joyous”, “impish” and “playful” to describe it. The presentation, which sees the fragrance housed within a carriage lantern-style bottle topped by a bowler hat and finished with a Twilly tie, says that this fragrance is young, fun and full of surprises. So let’s not wait any longer and give Twilly d’Hermès a sniff.
Ginger, Tuberose and Sandalwood
How Does it Smell?
Twilly d’Hermès promises a note of ginger in the opening and that’s exactly what it delivers. The first spritz unleashes a good splash of ginger but where the root itself can hit one’s nose rather sharply, the note in Twilly has been softened slightly. It’s still zesty and tangy, and unmistakably ‘ginger’, it’s just blended with some citrus notes (I get a touch of lemon) to prevent it from smelling too foody. What I really love about the opening is the bubbly soapiness which gives Twilly a classic twist, whilst merging with its fresh and vibrant personality to create something that is ultimately very modern.
Now, let’s talk tuberose, because if there is one thing I like to talk about it’s tuberose. On the spectrum of tuberose, which ranges from bubblegum sweetness to hot, fleshy indole, Twilly sits somewhere in the centre. It boasts both sweetness and fresh greenery, all with a remarkable transparency and a sparkling clarity. I like to think of this treatment of tuberose as being similar to rose water – it’s fresh and vibrant, with lots of dewiness, but also a strong theme of heady white petals to give body. Now I want tuberose water to be a real thing, dammit.
In comparison to the intriguing opening, the base does feel a little bit lacklustre, as much as I hate to say it. The sandalwood is very muted with a blurred feel. It has none of the spikiness or nuttiness that one usually associates with the wood, but it does possess the creamy soft character (and ‘sun kissed skin’ warmth). This smooth texture is amplified by musk (it’s a modern feminine, after all) which gives it a breeziness but also a slightly waxy sheen, which is almost vanilla-esque in tone. It’s nice but not as eye catching as the opening.
Twilly is one of those fragrances that simply puts a smile on your face. It manages to be commercial and safe whilst also having some interesting things going on, like that clash of zingy ginger and fresh tuberose really is clever and more importantly, new. I do wish that it kept some of the punch found in the opening, but Twilly is a fragrance that I will happily wear whenever I fancy a modern, fresh tuberose with a twist. Also, can we all agree that Twilly is bottle of the year, right? I mean, it’s wearing a hat for Pete’s sake! What more could we want?!
Twilly d’Hermès is available in 30ml (£47), 50ml (£70) and 85ml (£99) Eau de Parfum.
Sample, notes and quotes via Hermès. Images are my own.