Elisa’s Atelier: Lavender’s Dirty Little Secret

Because the Caldey Island Lavender wore off so quickly, I was able to get up this morning and try a new perfume right away without showering (yes, it’s summer, but I have an AC and am unemployed so I don’t have to shower till about an hour before my boyfriend gets out of work).  I decided to try Hermes Brin de Reglisse, not remembering what it was supposed to smell like. I received three Hermessence samples, and I knew only that this was one of them.

When I first sprayed it on my wrists, I thought… “ew, what is this smell?” It smelled familiar but I couldn’t quite pinpoint it. I decided it smelled like curry and baked goods, like some kind of curry danish. Ew. After a few minutes this ugly smell faded into the all-consuming smell of pipe tobacco. At this point I looked up the perfume again, wondering what the hell was going on (curried pipe tobacco? Did I really choose this? Did they label it wrong?).

Lee over at Perfume Posse described Brin de Réglisse as “a series of diaphanous veils, one lifted or completely removed to reveal more fully the next transparent layer”, and that is perfectly apt; it doesn’t seem to follow the typical pyramid structure so much as it seems to change course entirely several times over the course of its development.

I wouldn’t describe this as a “series of diaphanous veils” (“diaphanous”? hardly) but more like going to an open-air market where each stall has a different scent. Luckily, by about a half hour in, I reached the lavender stall.

The lavender of this perfume is a deep, smoky, sultry lavender, like you’ve been dragged into lavender’s poorly lit basement to engage in some kind of sex scandal. Depending on how long it lasts on my skin and whether it goes through any more olfactory shape-shifts (I’ll update later tonight), this may be the one. I can stand a few minutes of preliminary shop-talk for a trip to the basement.


Although this perfume required a second application later in the day, it grew on me– and not only did it grow on me, it overtook me with its complexity and made me passionately desire it. It’s unaffordable, but may be a “special perfume” to purchase a larger sample of for special occasions (when I was younger, my “special occasion” perfume was Oscar de la Renta’s Oscar, inherited as a small amount left in my mother’s discarded bottle… maybe I should try that again, too).


About Jessica Smith

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7 Responses to Elisa’s Atelier: Lavender’s Dirty Little Secret

  1. Elisa says:


    Some of the Serge Lutens perfumes have curry notes. Not my favorite either. But wasn’t this supposed to be anise-y? Maybe it’s that sharp herbal note you’re associating with food and spices? You may find that the opening grows on you with a few wears.

    I absolutely love a tobacco note in perfume.

  2. Elisa says:

    By the way, the tobacco facet is probably coming from hay absolute. If you like hay, you might want to try Serge Lutens Chergui, which is very manly to my nose, but lovely.

  3. I didn’t like either of the opening scents– I like pipe tobacco, but I don’t want to wear it. It was better than the first few minutes of curry danish though! Thanks for the differentiation… you’re right, the curry-like smell may be the foody licorice mentioned in the review.

  4. Elisa says:

    You might try it again later, knowing that it’s supposed to smell like licorice. Sometimes your mentality makes all the difference.

  5. Post-shower, 2nd application. Now that I know what the smells are supposed to be, it smells heavily of licorice & hay, but the drydown is only like 30 minutes b/f it becomes the awesome dark sexy lavender.

  6. Elisa says:

    Did you like the beginning any more the second time? It sounds pretty great.

  7. I didn’t mind it as much, but was still happier when it dried down to the sultry lavender.

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