When we inhale a scent, it travels down to the olfactory bulb, the front of our brains that sparks an emotion or memory. “Sweet as oboes” or “Vast like night and like clarity,” wrote Baudelaire, our perfumed portals to the past. There is also the more practical aspect of what we are looking to project with each spritz of a flacon. What are we looking to do? What are we looking to show? What are we trying to hide?
If some perfumes are the olfactory version of thick smoke that blankets the brain in the past, then H24 by Hermès — the first men’s fragrance created by in-house perfumer Christine Nagel — is hot urgent steam that alludes to how we live now. We aspire to modernity but understand the cultural gravity tradition has. We are plugged into the now, our data floating in the clouds but we still enjoy the old-world charm of things like letter writing or calling someone on the phone. We want a fragrance that does not project its own personality onto us but instead, opens up a mosaic of possibilities for each life we exist in.
“What you put on your skin is something much more intimate and personal. It is not a product of gender but instead, one wof emotion. I wanted to express sensuality lightly with H24 and in a contemporary way. It is a sensuality that is treated in a tactile way. Like when you see a man walking on an Hermès runway show — the materials are so soft that you’d want to touch and caress them. If you would like to caress someone’s neck wearing H24, that would be so delightful,” shares Nagel.
However, what is sensuality without some depth? Men and women have been scientifically proven to seek a partner with a certain IQ score after all — no more, no less. With H24, Nagel’s answer is less complicated. The depth is in her observation of what she thinks could make a men’s perfume different.
“I think that at a House like ours, we have a big responsibility because the first object that a person purchases from a House he loves is a fragrance. There is no gender in it. I’ve known men who would wear rose beautifully and it suits them very well. No one asks any questions about their masculinity. You have to wear a fragrance that touches you.”
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