The newest masculine from Hermès has all the makings of a modern classic, just like its predecessor Terre d’Hermès – H24 is easy-going but highly interesting at the same time; unlikely to ever offend anyone, but also with the capacity to give great joy to those who appreciate it; unique without the audacity to stick out like a sore thumb.
I would describe it as a green foggy chypre – green as in leafy, foggy as in musky, and chypre as in dry. The opening is incredibly engaging, painting silvered eucalyptus hues with smooth, suede-like sage that possesses an airy, voluminous transparency and a silky, curvaceous herbalcy, peppered but also floral. That floral facet is highlighted by a subtle, hard-to-put-your-finger-on narcissus (daffodil) note which shapes the texture and character of the scent more than its flavour, providing a richness and buttery plushness, a touch waxy and a touch fruity, that morphs the sage into the territory of fig or papaya (recalling something like Heeley’s Figuier but with far less fruit).
To continue comparisons, I felt the shadow of Frédéric Malle’s French Lover but with the wood toned down to a whisper; it would not surprise me if Calyx, with its neon green accents backdropped by tropical humidity, was an inspiration here; as well as Tom Ford’s Vert des Bois for its chlorophyll-stained, sappy forest accord. But H24 has a signature in its own right; these references only hint at the collage of smells you’re getting from this deceptively simple botanical scent. Even though the musk starts clouding the picture a few hours in, shifting the balance from spritely garden aromas to comforting clouds of white, the opening has a pleasing naturality to it that even borders on a “healthy”-smelling accord (see our article “What Does Healthy Smell Like In 2020? for more). I read that Christine Nagel wanted to evoke the textural quality of the brand’s fashion line; to me, the palpable character she achieved is of a silk pocket square in which your fingers glide seamlessly over the fabric but also notice the fine grain and tight weave.
The most unusual aspect of the scent, present from a few minutes in to about the half-way mark, is the sclarene – an aroma-chemical that is supposed to be reminiscent of hot iron. Penhaligon’s Sartorial immediately came to my mind when discovering the metallic effect in H24, paralleling Sartorial’s workshop machinery vibe but with a colder, less cottony lining.
With H24, there is a lot to discover in a hard-to-hate package, bolstered by some hard-to-forget moments. For my money, it will stand the test of time.