Joining the Hermès masculine universe, the Maison’s perfumer Christine Nagel takes inspiration from artistic director Véronique Nichanian in creating the brand’s latest fragrance, Hermès H24.
“To create this new Hermès signature fragrance, I had to open up other, less predictable paths, to move away from the conventional woodiness of men’s scents”
Observing the work of Véronique Nichanian, artistic director of the Hermès men’s universe, Christine Nagel – the Maison’s top perfumer — was mesmerised by the “the texture, the weave fabrics” used. From the fluidity of the garments to the proportions, the tactile muse was given breath and structure drawn from the literal fibres of Nagel’s chosen botanicals: Clary sage (Salvia sclarea), with its inflections of hay and cut grass, alongside the highly distinctive, slightly animal amber base.
A virtuoso of volume and composition, Nagel’s creation overturns the convention of woody and leathery men’s scents an allegory to the imagery of a “fragile little shoot pushing through concrete to claim its space”. To AUGUSTMAN, this allegory is analogous to the question that men have long asked: What is man? Stripped of our outwardly bravado, are we not creatures with the same emotions and desires as our female counterparts?
That is not to say that Hermes’ latest H24 fragrance is feminine, but rather, it is the embodiment of a man’s emotional core brought forth like the metaphorical “shoot through the cracks” of our coarse exteriors.
“I was thinking of urban nature, the accelerated image of this fragile little shoot pushing through concrete to claim its space. I find the expression of this movement, this life force, enormously moving”
Nagel takes audacious steps, utilising her passion for biotechnology with the innovative hybridisation of nature, producing new molecules based on natural and environmentally friendly enzyme reactions. With deft precision, she combines the untameable narcissus and its renowned crisp and edgy notes reminiscent of nocturnal tobacco – in our perspective, the key ingredient lending Hermès H24 its masculine edge.
Rosewood essence extracted from a wild South American tree, provides the hints of spicy and floral notes tinged with passing wood notes. A green and earthy coup de grâce by way of lab-created sclarene evokes the nostalgia of a freshly pressed suit.
Vibrant, sensuous, and luminous, Nagel describes the scent as one which would “make her head turn to take a second look at the gentleman wearing it”. Indeed, this act of nigh miraculous alchemy blends each ingredient an entirely bespoke way – part of the whole yet existing in its own right. The Hermès H24 is a reinvented signature with just the right note of casual ease, igniting men’s style without ever confining it.
Nagel’s mastery of the ephemeral is matched by its “home” — the bottle itself is a physical manifestation of the scented essence it contains. Philippe Mouquet, the Maison’s in-house designer, created an aerodynamic, endlessly refillable construct of aluminium and glass, expressing the unquenchable spirit and zest of the Hermès man.