Is there such a thing as ‘old man’ fragrance, akin to when someone describes a woman’s fragrance as old-ladyish. If so, Hermes’ original Bel Ami probably fits that bill. I love the original’s leather richness, with just the right amount of dirtiness to make it rugged and earthy. But I bet it doesn’t really have a lot of fans beyond the die-hard users and perfumistas. So voila, Jean Claude Ellena was tasked to do a more modern interpretation of this in 2013, and he added a note that would make it instantly wearable for today’s standards: vetiver.
And I have to say that it works. The sparkling effervescent note is just the thing that makes this a lot more accessible. The leather is still there, tan and masculine as it always has been, and the spice is a little bit toned down – the cumin is faint though the civet still lingers. Still, this is perfect for someone like me who lives in Southern California – there’s enough classic fragrance here with just the dash of modern element.