Friday, June 11, 2010

Review: Bel Ami by Hermes

Bel Ami has got no connection to the famous porn production house but was inspired by the 1885 French novel of the same name. One can possibly argue that Bel Ami the novel in its time was as good as porn literature. Scandals upon scandals, how did this 'beautiful friend' become an inspiration for a fragrance? Beats me, but I'm glad it happened and Bel Ami the fragrance was created.

I obtained the original juice five years ago and it was out of this world beautiful, at least in my opinion. The first whiff transported me to a library in the 19th century - leather book bindings, old newspaper, acidic ink, leather upholstery, dust, fire place, tobacco and unwashed homosapiens. Never mind it broke me in rashes; I'd wear it even if my skin blisters. 

That bottle was precious, and the greatest irony of all happened: I lost it. Yes, I somehow stupidly misplaced a treasure. Fast-forward, I finally bought a new bottle today and what's better to celebrate this reunion than a well-deserved review? Sadly, the new formulation (I am pretty sure it was tweaked since I don't break into a rash anymore) 'cleaned' up Bel Ami. The scent and idea is still there, but it's lacking the depth and raunch of the original. The citrus notes are much cleaner, leather less castorum-like, and oakmoss is seriously diluted.

Bel Ami kicks off with well blended aromatic cocktail of citruses. The heart is carnation and orris, scandaled by dirty, smoky woods, and bound together by a handsome base of leather, oakmoss,vanilla and vetiver. It's truly complex and to quote Beauty and the Beast - 'bitter sweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong'. Ahhh ... scandals.

Rating: ***** (original)
           ****1/2 (new)



  1. SO sad that it has changed for the worse! But I still love this one, I must say!

  2. Your review makes me want to find my decant and try this again. Not much I love more than dirty, smoky woods. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the comments. Bel Ami should be considered a timeless men's frag imho. And yes, nothing better than dirty, smoky woods!


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