I blindly bought Hanae Mori HiM the last spring, after reading many reviews that compared this scent with Gucci PH II, and I opted for the EDT version. When I got it, I instantly tested it on a paper strip and a whiff of flavored tea filled the air. I put some on my skin and I quickly knew I had smelled it before, it had a head-turning resemblance to Gucci PH II, of course. Yet, as it began to dry down and become spicier and the sweetness began to fade, I knew it was Spicebomb that it was reminding me of. Yeah, I said, it's uncannily similar to other nice gems, and I stored it in a safe place waiting for the right season to wear it. And there we go, it's nearly middle autumn now and the main notes seem appropriate for these wet and cool fall days. To me, HM HiM has three main dominant accords that overstand during its lifetime, spicy, sweet, and woody. Stealthily, the soft cinnamon gets involved in the velvety and almost chocolate tonka for a spicy and subtle harmony. Majestic and rare, white cedar and teak woods punctuate this noble and elegant fragrance.
As aforementioned, I've read quite a few reviews around HM HiM, and I believe that numerous people got the wrong impression about it... Perhaps, there is too much prejudice against fragrances that are not unique or that do not respect their expectations. I am convinced that the perfume's notes are comparable to music's notes, and when combined together they might result in the same accord, same groove, and same vibe. Having said that, I do not think HM HiM is an uncanned clone of Gucci PH II, rather they are in the same ballpark and they give you the same vibe. Yes, they share half of the notes, but the other half is completely different, and from time to time HM HiM is a bit similar to DSquared2 Potion, when the luscious cinnamon brights, or a tad akin to V&R Spicebomb when it approaches the dry down.
HM HiM is adventurous, masculine, refined. Sprayed on my skin, it starts with a powerful opening punch that’s fresh and delightfully spicy. From the listed notes I clearly get bergamot and mandarin. A few minutes later, that zesty part cools down, leaving space to the spicy grains of pepper and cardamom, and the green violet leaves. At this stage, the similarity with Gucci PH II is strong. When the slightly acid citrus fruits infuse with peppercorns, the scene is set and the contrast shows itself fascinating.
The firm heart comes with a blend full of spiciness and sweetness, which encompasses cinnamon bark, fig wood, and tonka beans. The fig note here, allegedly from its wood rather than its leaves, is, of course, woodier and less milky. Ain't no similarity with CK Obsession Night, for instance, so don't think about the intoxicating fig leaves aroma you get in the air during a summer walk down to the sea in a south of Italy or Greek islands, which is anyhow awesome yet not in here. Not soft, the sweet cinnamon blends with velvety and almost chocolatey tonka for a spicy and subtle accord. I know some of you were turned off by its sweetness, but I think you should try it as I don't really think it is that sweet. Maybe the level of sweetness is going to depend based on skin type.
It closes with woody notes of teak and white cedar, fir balsam melted with soft musk, and sweet amber. As it dries down, it develops a smokey olfactory texture. I get bits of amber and tonka in the drydown as well, all notes work well in conjunction. The fragrance is elegant and simple, and so can be worn in any situation, it is an ideal choice for daytime occasions. Longevity, projection, and sillage are very good if not great in EDT formulation. It's not overpowering, yet it lasts almost all day especially on your clothes.
This sophisticated scent is as perfectly suited for a power meeting, business, as well as leisure days. You'll never go wrong when you reach for this robust cologne. This is one to sample, as it is clearly virile but doesn't go for the obvious. No doubt, the opening seems to have been inspired by Gucci PH II and the base by Spicebomb, but that doesn't bother me. There are a softness and depth here which is uncommon in recent designer scents, and it smells reasonably natural. I don't get that much woodiness nor fir balsam here, and overall it's nicely balanced so that no note is dominant. It is an autumn luxury, evocative of October evenings ... notes of cedar bring to mind falling leaves and changing colors. Don't let any naysayers detract you from this joyfully complex, wonderfully seasonal scent. Despite its uncanny resemblance to other scents, HM HiM still fascinates me in its own way.
Ouch... I got tons of compliments while wearing it!