IRONIES : : MUGUET PORCELANE d’HERMES (2016) (and some other new releases)





I am now safely ensconced at my parents’ house in England after a rather gruelling flight from Japan via Amsterdam, and a stopover at the reeking Duty Free of Schiphol airport.


God it was vile.


The stench. The uncouth, chemically cheap unpoetry of it – the vulgarian slop. And the irony: the great perfume lover, wanting to get up to date, but hating the smell of all the ‘perfume’ (these inverted commas strictly necessary), to the extent that he was not only unable to muster any enthusiasm for any of the nose-searing atrocities, but not even capable of being near it.I had to retreat to a corner of the airport and an art museum cafe to regain my bearings.









I suppose this extreme reaction is partly due to the fact that Japanese airports, while still polluted with the likes of Coco Madamoiselle and its insidiously chemical patchoulis (you will never comprehend how much I detest that perfume), are not so full of such billowing gusts of offensively concocted aroma chemicals that you get a headache from the moment you come out of customs, an olfactive ten max volume that would floor most Japanese people and leave them unconscious on the carpet. ‘Men’s Fragrances’ (god, HOW did we get to this point?!) that get worse and worse all the time, the same variant, the same sports smell, the same, Axe spray macho olfactory horror that makes me wince every time a ‘man’ walks by me and I just think ape. ape. ape, continually (though two scents I encountered, Prada L’Homme and Kenzo Totem at least seemed to  be trying something at least vaguely different); ‘women’s’ ‘fragrance’ that are ALL, virtually bar none, now variations on the sickly, sickly Flowerbomb cheap vanilla theme, but much much worse. ‘Black Opium’: VILE! Poison Girl. VILE! Every other perfume. VILE! Even the new Angel Muse, had, seeing that it was the originator of this candy floss ethyl maltol craze, ironically gone the same route, caving in on itself and compromising and turning into yet another one of these crass, evil slag, fuckwits.



Exhausted, jet-lagged and ill, but still with time to kill , I eventually came across the Hermes boutique and thought YES ! I can try the new Muguet Porcelane. That will give me some clarity and beauty. Or at least a change from the unchanging tropes. Plus, the Dutch sales assistant is virtually guaranteed to be more friendly and amenable than the cold snooty bitches in the Tokyo shop, who I have freely condemned before, and who deserve to be locked in giant refrigerators up to the last minute possible until they learn their lesson. And yes, as I anticipated, the lady was nice, but Jesus the perfume!




Blimey. Hats off I suppose to Jean Claude Ellena for making his swan song for Hermes a full on floral, both swooningly intense and unrepentant, and cunningly old and modern at the same time. Shame to my nose it smelled so damn repugnant though. I mean I was never much of a lily-of-the-valley man to begin with, so ignore me if you are a muguet madame who can’t get enough of this flower, but.




I enjoy Diorissimo on other people, and the D bought me a vintage Diorissimo cologne the other day that was quite intriguing, but generally speaking I prefer this flower note muted and cold like Caron’s Muguet or Muguet De Bonheur or simply not at all. This new, quite bizarre interpretation of those strange little white May bells is like a mutant version of lily of the valley emerging Godzilla-like, and roaring, from the jungle. It is huge (at least thirteen metres high); it is animalic; it is musky and old fashioned, yet the giant lily of the valley bells come clanging from the undergrowth blaring in tandem with gargantuan  melons  – melons with teeth and eyes that open forth and split, and start immediately rotting, menacingly, on the forest floor. Yes, melon. And not the elegant, decadent melonic notes ingeniously employed by Roudnitska in Diorella or Parfum Therese; just a hint of my least favourite fruit to add some peculiar, dirty chic. No, we are talking MELON melon, right there in the funky, floral, melange, with some kind of civet like weirdness lurking underneath, and a smell for this tired traveller at that point in the day (or night? god knows) that was the straw that almost broke the camel’s back.






I could have puked.





Filed under Flowers

27 responses to “IRONIES : : MUGUET PORCELANE d’HERMES (2016) (and some other new releases)

  1. You, you light up my life! You give me hope! To carry on!! You light up my days!!! Etc. This is SO damn good. Amazing how someone’s rant can make someone else so happy!!!!!! xoxo

  2. Renee Stout

    I’m with Robin, your rant wasn’t too much. You articulated, perfectly, the disgust I feel when I walk into any department store perfume department or airport duty free shop…VILE. VILE, VILE!

  3. LOL! Tell us like you really feel! I just love your reviews…straight from the nose!

    • De

      I so appreciate your review, every bit of it, antithesis of sticky sweet slop. Perfect!

      • I just hate this kind of ‘fragrance’ to death. And it is getting worse by the week. And when it all combines together, it is sheer hell for the nose and the soul.

    • No but really, the miasma of horrors had to be reported straight. I know you know EXACTLY what I am talking about! Compare that with walking into the Caron boutique on the Avenue Montaigne for example……how perfume should be……..mysterious, shadowy…..

  4. David

    I want to hear the full story of what exactly happened at the Hermes boutique in Tokyo! My husband used to fight back every time he got snooty or dismissive service in Tokyo. He’s mixed Japanese-Brazilian and, unfortunately, he experienced many more cases of mistreatment than I ever did. He’d fight with them in a mixture of Japanese and English. I used to try to calm him down but he’d always scream “They need to learn! they need to learn!” I can laugh now, but I was always mortified when it happened. I follow the kill-them-with-kindness line of attack.
    I used to like Haneda Airport because they had Serge Lutens fragrances in the duty free area. I want to try Equipage Geranium by Hermes. Is that ever in duty free shops?
    I so want to travel around England. I am on a huge British TV kick. I think Happy Valley might be the best series I’ve seen in years and years. It makes me want to visit Hebden Bridge.

    • I really think I am like your husband.
      I WILL not stand for it, like in this hospital.

      You are the Duncan of my equation- he hates a scene but I just explode.

      On the day in question, I was in Hermes Tokyo and the bitch was looking me up and down, horrified, as though I were a piece of shit.

      I asked her if I could smell something, Rouge I think it was, and her refrigerator reaction just made me suddenly explode.

      Why are you so frigid and cold I screamed at her to her terrified frozen befuddlement and I slammed out the door.

      Your partner is right. They DO need to learn!

      What is your star sign combination if I may ask?

      And I hope you are doing well in your recovery x

  5. kidnecessary

    So true! SO TRUE, ALL OF IT. I have introduced my sister to niche perfumery (La Fille de Berlin was her gateway drug) and it changed her life to realize that perfume was not just Eau de DutyFree, that hideously sweet, banal, generically bland and occasionally nose-searing witches’ brew of vile chemicals.

    Incidentally the sales people at Hermes DutyFree Los Angeles made me feel I should thank THEM for being permitted to purchase a bottle of very expensive Ambre Narguile. If I hadn’t wanted it so very much I would have turned on my heel and left immediately. But desire overcame pride, as is so often the case in life.

    • I have a mega-beef with snooty assistants and just want to say (even though it would make me snooty as well……er, what is it again you do for a living? ) There is no need for it, I despise it. And what you say about your sister is what I was wanting to write in this, actually, but never quite got round to it. That OF COURSE people will say they hate perfume if this shit is all they are exposed to. OF COURSE. How could they not? They literally have no idea of what exists BEYOND all this tacky shite. It frustrates me, actually.

      Ps. Fille De Berlin: a perfect example of how a relatively inexpensive perfume can smell lovely – contemporary but with classic undercurrents. A perfect selection!

  6. rosestrang

    I feel your pain! Muguet Porcelane sounds vile indeed. I too like the hint of melon in Diorella, not so much Parfum de Therese. Also it’s what makes Carnal Flower difficult for me. I can’t wear Diorissimo, I feel that’s how I’d smell if I’d been cleaning public toilets all day with industrial strength bathroom cleaner. It’s ok from a distance though.

    I wonder how you’d have coped with the aromas I dealt with this weekend – I was staying at a cottage in the country while doing a project, and the owner was a kind hearted soul who’d taken in every local stray cat or dog, so the entire house was pungent with the nostril singeing ammonia reek of cat pee. I struggled, but at least it was in a good cause. Turns out the owner of the house is anosmic!

  7. So sorry your poor nose had to suffer so much. I really hate the way fragrance has devolved and come to the state it is in right now. Do you feel there is any hope for the fragrance world? Or are things just the way the they are and no more redemption? I personally feel that the world of fragrance is too far gone to be saved, that for real fragrance lovers it it a sorry state of affairs. Even though a fragrance group I belong to on Facebook, the members are always purchasing super high end niche scents, all of which smell pretty much the same to me. I never thought the day would come when I can honestly say, ” I just don’t understand fragrance any longer.” But, that day is here.

  8. I laughed so hard with your outbreak at melon. I love fruit and I have learned to appreciate fruity notes but melon in all its forms, is where I draw the line. I hate melon so much…. If someone keeps it in the fridge it manages to creep into everything, worst of all the bottles of water where it imparts an unmistakable infusion of rotting household garbage. And yes, Diorela is the only use of melon that excites me.

    Death to melons!

  9. OH NOOOOOOOOO! Poor bastard.
    Feeling better now you’ve purged through prose?
    That was hilarious.
    Portia xx

    • but you MUST know exactly what I mean, dear Portia. Things are pretty grim in the commercial world of ‘fragrance’. UGH

      • I think your nose is much finer tuned than mine. Yes, there’s PLENTY of dross out there but I quite liked the oily, poopy, melon, air freshener and LotV from Muguet Porcelaine. It makes me smile in a “Did he really?” way.
        You’re chatting with a guy who will head straight for the Lancome Midnight Rose and spritz with abandon. Also, while Black Opium smells like shit on me, somehow on Jin it becomes the most incredibly beautiful and interesting spiced coffee floral.
        DOIR has their prive line in the big airports now too.
        Yes, I hear your yowls of complaint and agree that perfume is imploding in general. It feels like the last hurrah before it all gets banned.
        Portia xx

  10. Lilybelle

    Oh no! Ick! I do like muguet but that sounds awful! I hate melon, too. It positively makes me feel queasy. I wonder how I once wore some of the fragrances I once did eons ago. I wouldn’t have the stomach for them today. I would have to go fragrance free. I like simple, old fashioned lily of the valley (and of course Dior is similar – who doesn’t?). Once someone tries to artsy it up too much it ruins it for me. I’m surprised such a thing would come from Hermès. Maybe you were just ill and exhausted. If I felt ill or especially nauseated I wouldn’t be able to tolerate muguet of any kind – and I love it. What I really love, however, are the natural blooms. 🙂

    • Lilybelle

      My phone changes my text. ^^

    • Oh god, me too, but I don’t think that any perfume has ever really come close to that. They are so small and nestled, whereas perfumes flay them into something bigger….in the case of Porcelane, positively ELEPHANTINE. You should try it just out of curiosity. I personally thought it was foul.

  11. Lilybelle

    When I saw that green on the bottle it made me think of a fragrance I wore in the 80s called Natural de Myrurgia.

    • Tell me more. I know their famous flagship scent (though its name escapes me for a moment), the geraniumy rose chypre/ flamenco number.

      • Lilybelle

        You’re thinking of Maja with the flamenco dancer. I want yhose soaps. Natural was from the late 70s, very clean, green and sort of like a lighter Ma Griffe. I never see it ANYWHERE. It vanished off the face of the earth.

      • I ADORE Ma Griffe – I actually wore the vintage edt one day when I was back home and I really enjoyed it. I am sure I would have loved Natural as well.

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