There has been no small amount of anticipation in the release of Christine Nagel’s first mainstream release for Hermes. Ever since she was tapped as the replacement for current in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena I have been wondering what Mme Nagel’s Hermes would look like. The first step of that era has arrived with the release of Galop D’Hermes.
Mme Nagel has always been one of those perfumers who has shown a consistent skill at making perfumes which are transparent but have a structure like Kevlar. This combination of strength and opacity was going to be a fitting extension of the aesthetic M. Ellena has created at Hermes during his tenure there. Galop D’Hermes is a confirmation of all of that.
Galop D’Hermes is inspired by the equestrian leather goods Hermes is known for. The bottle is in the shape of a stirrup as if it was part of one of the more decadent sets of saddlery you might imagine. Mme Nagel takes the idea of that saddle leather as the foundation of Galop D’Hermes. She really uses only two other notes in significant quantity; saffron and rose. They combine not necessarily to create a saddle accord. Instead this is a perfume of splicing together the aesthetic of Mme Nagel with Hermes. It points to greater days ahead.
Galop D’Hermes opens with that transparent rose. There is a feel almost as if it is a crystalline version coated in rose oil. There are sparkling facets to it especially in the first few moments. Those are removed by Mme Nagel’s use of saffron. The saffron comes on very strong. Saffron in this concentration has a kind of leathery quality making it an effective bit of connection to the leather to come. That leather is soft sueded leather. This is no saddle; it is the leather of a Birkin bag. The refinement allows it to softly caress the rose and carry it from that sparkly beginning in to the shadows the leather casts. Galop D’Hermes then beautifully exists in this state with a rose darkened by leather and tinted golden by saffron for hours.
Galop D’Hermes has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage as it is in extrait concentration.
The whole horse focused style at Hermes got me thinking about The Pony Express. The Pony Express was the mail delivery service between Missouri and California in the early days of the gold rush. Until the telegraph and then the railroad connected California to the rest of the country this was how mail was delivered. A rider would leave Missouri and, at a gallop, ride about ten miles to the next station where he would change horses and keep going. Once the rider became as tired as his steed the stationmaster would let out a call, “Rider up!” to signal one of the resting riders it was their turn to keep the mail moving. Galop D’Hermes feels like the metaphorical change of riders at Hermes. The same aesthetic is going to be elaborated upon in Mme Nagel’s way for the next few years. Galop D’Hermes is as if the call “Perfumer up!” has been answered with another brilliant rider of the olfactory trail.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Hermes.