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Eau d’Orange Verte – Citrus explosion + vibrant green = complex cologne

Eau d'Orange Verte - hermes.com

The weather is officially HOT! The world tends to think of Canada as being constantly c-o-l-d, which is a myth. Winters are cold, yes, but with the exception of the cooler Pacific and Atlantic coasts, summers across Canada are hot, especially in the Eastern provinces, which always have lots of humidity.

This Sunday afternoon is predicted to reach 33C/91F, with a Humidex that will make it feel like 40C/104F. Sunday is also Father’s Day and a big family barbecue, so the fridge is stuffed full of burgers, ribs, sausages, salads, and everyone’s favourite beer – How about a cold beer, ay – as well as this year’s favourite eau de cologne, which is just for me.

I love colognes in hot weather. They’re uncomplicated. Usually a fresh citrus note is the star, accented with some herb and floral notes to sweeten, and a wood note to round out the dry-down. The sparkling pleasure from an EdC is all over in a couple of hours, and then its time for another few cooling spritzes. It’s my hot weather ritual.

A couple of years ago, my EdC was  Eau Dynamisante by Clarins, a perfect balance of citrus and herbs. Last year it was Eau de rhubarb ecarlate by Christine Nagel for Hermès , an EdC that starts as tart tangy and bold, but ends up mellow and radiant from soft musk notes. I thought an EdC couldn’t get any better for me than that, but I’d forgotten about another Hermes cologne I’ve worn for years, Eau d’Orange Verte.

Originally named Eau de Cologne d’Hermès, Eau d’Orange Verte was created by Françoise Caron in 1979 and marked the beginning of the Hermès Cologne collection.  What marked this cologne as an original forty years ago was the pairing of traditional vibrant orange citrus with the cool green chypre-like notes of moss, leaves, and woods, which gave the scent a bitter freshness, a darker complexity which was reflected in the dark green bottle, the green of a shadowy forest rather than the green of a sun-filled garden.

The Hermès website describes it:

“…inspired by the smell of undergrowth moist with morning dew….conceived as an explosion of citrus notes, orange plays the main part, supported by zest and leaves, lemon, mandarin, mint and blackcurrant bud. The fragrance reveals its complexity in a unique sillage composed of oak moss and patchouli.”

The current version was reformulated by Hermès perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena, who rounded the moss notes in the base with musks, making the scent more balanced, with a contemporary feel that appeals to everyone, men and women alike.

What do I love about Eau d’Orange Verte? Everything. From the first juicy lemon-orange blast which has an ultra-fresh zesty bite, to the cooling minty notes that waft up, and the bitter-sweet of black-current in the heart, and the shadowy green damp of the moss and wood notes, to finally, the airy dry-down, still vibrant with citrus-green elegance. The scent definitely has a more refined, darker character that makes it far more interesting to wear than other colognes, somewhat like the difference between a regular expensive Scotch whiskey compared to specialty aged single malt. 

And while we’re on this train of thought, wearing Eau d’Orange Verte is like a drinking a glass of perfectly chilled white wine on hot summer day. The first few sips are cold and heavenly, then the wine starts to warm and become more complex as the notes emerge, so you sip some more. Before you know it, there are just a few drops left. Time for another glass! Eau d’Orange Verte only lasts only a couple of hours on the skin, and then it’s time for another spritz, which is all part of the fun.

But unlike chilled white wine, or fine aged single malt for that matter, you won’t feel compelled to finish the bottle. You’ll definitely want to save some Eau d’Orange Verte to spritz during the dog-days of summer.

Eau d’Orange Verte is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.