Minimalist perfumer Jean Claude Ellena really shook up the world of men’s fragrance with this innovative, modern masculine that eschewed the aggro-baiting air of many standard ‘aftershaves’ in favour of something far more interesting and persuasive. Leaving its crude, leering competitors in the dust, it has become something of a modern classic.
This scent is original in many ways. Firstly, it is made without animal by-products or musk, in fact without any bodied components at all: the scent is virile, but transparent; an animist spirit passing invisibly over forests and rivers. Pine, pepper, and a mineralized accord of flint and grapefruit smell like warm sun on rocks, while the ‘earth’ of the name is a sexually enticing, yet contemporary and elegant, dry, sun-baked cedar/vetiver.
Spatially, Terre is also interesting. The scent seems to do a vanishing trick: on first application it is a refreshing and purifying scent that might seem slight, almost imperceptible. In fact, as the scent unfolds it hovers somewhere in the vicinity of the wearer (rather than on him or her), elegant; seductively aromatic; an effect that is fascinating.
My only gripe with Terre D’Hermès is my feeling that it is one of the most invariable scents I know, smelling almost identical on every person I meet. On men especially, there is that familiar, that deeply overfamiliar, grapefruit and profound, overstrident vetiver that rises up and announces (the projection of this perfume is unbelievable sometimes, as if someone were wearing it in another room at high dosage); emphatically, that you are wearing TERRE. When a scent becomes fashionable, and is as insistent as this, it is rather easy to get sick of.