Santal Massoïa by Jean Claude Ellena for Hermès 2011

Hey Hey APJ,

While out in London with the mad London Frag Crew a bunch of us that just couldn’t let the day finish went to Selfridges in the evening and ran amok. It was bittersweet fun because we all knew the day was coming to a close and it felt that we’d made some really great new friends who GOT us. Know what I mean? Anyway, I think it was the beautiful Tara of Olfactoria’s Travels who came to Hermès with me because I wanted to try Epice Marine (FABULOUS BTW) but annoyingly they had no samples left for me to take and review. The SA was so embarrassed at their lack that she gave me two samples of other things and today we’ll look at the first. I have decanted to a spritz so I get the same ride as you would from a bottle. Just for fun today I thought I’d let you travel through my mind on a first wearing of a fragrance…….

Santal Massoïa by Jean Claude Ellena for Hermès 2011

Santal Massoïa Hermes FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Massoïa wood resin from New Guinea, coconut, peach, butterscotch, sandalwood, sugar, milk, dried fruits, floral notes

Well, Santal Massoia is a bit of a surprise. Now that I look at the notes it makes sense but I was not expecting a tropical alcoholic drink out of a coconut, with a paper umbrella, in a freshly made wood and thatch bar by the pool. Honestly I am smiling broadly and feel as if the holiday is at day 5 when you just realise you are away and can relax for another 5 glorious days.

Santal Massoia Hermes Evening Beach Matt Rudge FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Something that I often feel about Jean Claude Ellena’s work and here in Santal Massoia especially is that the notes are part of a chorus, though there is a buttery, waxy, fatty wood at the centre it is not really about that so much as it’s about a feeling of quietly luxuriating in the sun, having a silly drink for the hell of it and either reading a trashy novel or playing meaningless games on your phone. It has been a long time since I’ve had a holiday like that, I don’t think in the last 25 years, but my childhood and early adulthood was full of exactly those kind of holidays, it was ONLY trashy novels then as the internet was still being used only for governmental/war games. We did used to get those great puzzle books though like find trhe word, crosswords or other game type books. There were also cards, canasta was the family game of choice and it was used as a tool to show good game play behaviours and how life was often ready to throw a curve ball. OH MY GOD! I am lost in a complete memory cycle and all through two spritzes of a fragrance.

 _MG_6220rPhoto Stolen Flickr

Yes, I can pick the woods, fruits, coconut, mmmm sort of get the butterscotch but in a Schnappsy kind of way and if you asked me to pick some flowers I would say a fruity/boozy rose and the buttery fat of ylang, is there fig? Maybe the milk and fruit are giving me a fig reference? I could understand if you were to complain that Santal Massoia is linear, the story is more a rotating of notes that become more pronounced than a change in fragrance per se. After the first hour to two hours Santal Massoia softens to a nimbus of soft focus fragrance, very close to the skin and you really need to be hugging someone for them to notice how lovely you smell, that is no bad thing especially at work or in confined spaces. By the 3 hour mark I’m finding it difficult to smell anything but I think anosmia has set in because Jin still smells something nutty.

Santal Massoïa HermesPhoto Stolen Hermès


Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Perfume Shrine
Hermessence are only available at Hermès stores or very rarely they come up at auction sites
You can buy in Australia from the Hermès site $665/100ml with leather cover
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/.5ml

Which of the Hermessence range have you tried? Do you like Jean Claude Ellena’s style?

Portia xx

11 thoughts on “Santal Massoïa by Jean Claude Ellena for Hermès 2011

  1. Hey Miss P!
    An awesome piece of fragrant prose.
    I have tried enough of the Herbal Essence range, thanks, without an orgasm in the shower. Not for me at this point in my life. Jin smelt something nutty or someone nutty?
    Bussi xxxxxxx


    • Naah, you weren’t here Val, it must have been something. As to the Hermessence’s I can completely understand you not loving them at this point. You may one day but it’s not a given, the bottles though are beyond fabulous to hold, they send a shiver down my spine every time.
      Portia x


  2. WORDSEARCH! That brought back childhood memories for me too, Portia. Love it.

    I can’t do milky, coconutty fragances but it was so fun reading your comparison with a silly drink on the beach. Bet that’s a first for old JCE 🙂

    Have you tried Poivre Samarcrnde? Cumin, pepper and woods. I can imagine you getting on with that one.


    • Heya Tara,
      I wrote you a long, heartfelt and witty reply which was eaten by wordpress because it was so deliciously frothy.

      Salient points: YAY WordSearch!! I think Poivre Samarcande was the other sample and I’ll dig it out.
      Portia x


  3. I haven’t tried any Hermes yet, but I love the images you have created. If I could get the feel of a tropical vacation then Santal Massoïa is for me. Sitting on the beach, the breeze blowing, sipping a mai tai. I know, so cliche, but who cares and I do like me rum matey!


    • Maya,
      The whole think made me long for a tropical holiday, I think maybe 2015 will be the year for it.
      Portia x


  4. Wonderful review Portia! I still do word searches but now with the four year old. loved your memories and thanks for the smile. I do like Ellena’s style but i have to be in the mood for it. Sandra xo


  5. I love Terre D’Hermes and most of Ellena’s creations. This one sounds good. I would love to sample it. Keep it up with the posts Pirtia. Sounds awesome.


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