Blog post by Gwen

Eau de narcisse bleu – green and floral and woody



I was scouring my favourite food writers for inspiration for a Sunday dinner when I came across this preamble for recipes by food writer Nigel Slater in The Guardian:

'Little things come to cheer us. There is new growth on the thyme bushes on the kitchen steps, the chives are poking through the soil and I found wild garlic leaves at the greengrocer’s the other day. New life in the garden and new season’s ingredients in the shops suddenly seem more welcome than ever.’

Where I am, we are a little behind England in the spring-blooming department, but I was more than a little cheered by the sight of narcissi, or daffodils, in my garden yesterday. For me, they mark the beginning of spring and are a reminder to get out my bottle of Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès.

Created by Hermès’ in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, the fragrance was inspired by the Greek myth of Narcissus, the son of Cephissus, the river god and a nymph, Liriope. He was a hunter known for his beauty and vanity. He scorned those who loved him, causing some to take their own lives. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, took notice and punished Narcissus. One day, she lured him to a pool, and as he leaned down to drink from it, he fell in love with his reflection. Realizing that his love could never be returned, he killed himself. In time, his body disappeared and in its place was a golden daffodil.

Eau de Narcisse Bleu opens with a bitter green burst of galbanum that leads to an opulent note of floral, animalic narcissus. The word ‘narcissus’ is derived from a Greek word for narcotic, and the narcissus used here is heady, intoxicating, and complex. I smell its green facet and its hay and tobacco aspects. A fresh, sweet orange blossom adds another floral dimension to the fragrance, rounding out the narcissus, its animalic facet boosting that of the narcissus. The flowers tame the bitterness so that the galbanum fades into the background yet gently persists to the drydown. A soft, woody base smoothened by white musk completes the scent.

Eau de Narcisse Bleu dries down to an elegant, uplifting, fresh spring scent. And, since narcissus flowers are hermaphroditic, Eau de Narcisse Bleu is a unisex fragrance.

Like all good colognes, Eau de Narcisse Bleu doesn’t have any real development and is more about the experience of spring, but what makes it unique is the way Ellena swapped out the tang of citrus for the green of galbanum in the standard cologne formula.

After the short, dark days of winter, colognes are one of the little things that can cheer us. Their easy-going nature is fresh and light and can brighten the grey skies of the heart or soul any time of year, so apply as needed.

Check out Eau de Narcisse Bleu in our Shop.