Bel Ami (1986) Eau de Toilette

Bel Ami (Eau de Toilette) by Hermès
8.3 / 10     290 RatingsRatingsRatings
Bel Ami (Eau de Toilette) is a popular perfume by Hermès for men and was released in 1986. The scent is leathery-spicy. The longevity is above-average. It is still in production.

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesBergamot, Mandarin, Sage, Lemon
Heart Notes Heart NotesBasil, Carnation, Orris root, Jasmine, Patchouli, Cedar
Base Notes Base NotesOakmoss, Coconut, Leather, Styrax, Vanilla, Vetiver



8.3 (290 Ratings)


8.3 (203 Ratings)


7.6 (196 Ratings)


7.6 (197 Ratings)
Submitted by DonVanVliet, last update on 13.01.2019
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Bottle 7.0/10 Sillage 6.0/10 Longevity 7.0/10 Scent 7.0/10
Woody - soil - green leathery
Initiates a distinct sombre green vinegar'ish smell that conjures up impression of petrichor after acidic rain. With a hint of barbershop leathers it actually stays miles away from barbershop leathery frags, and while smells mossed woody and wet soil, Bel Ami remains so much higher than a natural or nature-inclined fragrance.

A never-showing-up-entirely leather envelops whole sharp astringent mossy top and warm woody base and gives it a frown animalic twist. It's a heavy macho masculine with kinky preferences! Strong longevity, medium sillage yet 4/5
Bottle 9.0/10 Sillage 9.0/10 Longevity 9.0/10 Scent 9.0/10
Helpful Review    2
Classic Leather with a Fougere hint
An interesting aspect about the fragrances before the nineties and its simplification of the formulations is the richness in aroma details. Even perfumes that are even being adapted to current regulations continue to offer more complexity and nuances in aromas than many recent releases (provided they are properly reformulated, of course).

I remember a few years ago experiencing Bel Ami and being charmed with its leather, dense, classic, surrounded by aromatic resins and woods but with a sweet coconut nuance that appears at the end of its evolution and surprised by its lactonic creamy impression. The modernization made by Jean Claude Ellena which resulted in Bel Ami Vetiver left me apprehensive perhaps that the brand had also made the classic one a simple perfume, more transparent and more similar to some of the other Ellena creations.

My concerns proved not to materialize once i had the chance to use Bel Ami again in the skin. The reformulation that resulted in the current version seems to me to have a dry and serious aura and brought the fragrance more into a fougère than chypre direction, making it come closer to other perfumes of the its time, the eighties. The current Bel Ami still has the classic smell of drier leather, but not very smoked and without the sweet coconut nuance. I notice in most evidence the smell of spices and a combination of herbs and astringent citrus aromas, which are what shape my perception into a Fougere perfume.

But as I said at the beginning, Bel Ami still has a lot to offer and even at the end of its evolution is possible to see the perfume win ambery oriental nuances. There is a combination of amber with a velvety musk and a slight hint of vanilla that perhaps curiously brings me the aura of some current compositions that explore these elements within the oud theme. I do not remember if this aspect was present in the original, but it shows an interesting addition and matches with the composition as a whole. Bel Ami is like the perfume evaluated yesterday, Rocabar, a more mature and sophisticated creation and a scent that seems to focus on a very specific audience rather than trying to please everyone. Even reformulated easily beats many current releases.
Greatly helpful Review    7
petro leather
In retrospect, Hermès Bel Ami marks the midway point between the dry woods of Chanel Antaeus and the gasoline slap of Dior Fahrenheit. The connection is leather, which both the Chanel and the Dior hint at, but the Hermès wraps itself in.

An intermediate species can by definition only be identified after the fact. So, here we are, after the fact, and Bel Ami deserves its niche, its genre. The woody petro-cuir.

Chanel Antaeus is classified as a woody fragrance. But it hasn’t been given the typical Chanel face-lift of aldehydes, iris and velvet (Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie). Antaeus is woody by virtue of the range of its notes, not for any affiliation with nature. This is a wood product in the same way that turpentine is. Where most woody perfumes emulate botanical woods, Antaeus reminds me of touching my tongue to a frozen chain-link fence at an outdoor skating rink.  Antaeus feels chilled by virtue of an extreme dryness that conjures freeze-drying. Dior Fahrenheit matches Antaeus dryness with a cool hiss. The chill is the feeling left behind on your skin as gasoline evaporates, leaving only a brisk whiff as memory.

I recently came across two bottles of vintage Bel Ami, the cocktail shaker model.  They were boxed testers that had been well stored and were perfectly preserved.  I never smelled it at the time of its release but I wish I had. The combination of botanical and proudly synthetic notes make Bel Ami a large-scale fairy-tale of a perfume. No Disney back-pedal for a G rating, though. Bel Ami is an olfactory history in the school of historical oral history. Fairy tales were principally a means of reinforcing the super-ego, were deliberately frightening and worked by reinforcing irrational thought. Fairy tales told you, “don’t go outside the boundaries of tribe and kin, or monsters will destroy you.” Less specific, but equally promissory of harm, Bel Ami taunts with a smile: ”Go ahead. Fuck with me.”  

Bel Ami plays with a gasoline note that Fahrenheit would eventually take to maximum expression. The top notes are a big opening and grab your attention, settling pretty quickly into the heart. The leather note in Bel Ami is irresistable. The wood and the gasoline notes set the tone for the fragrance and the leather is dry and crackly-stiff. It has the quality of an imagined leather object like a leather blanket.  I've never heard of one, but I'd love to have one.

I've never tried the current model of Bel Ami, and I'm leery too.  Vintage Bel Ami reminds me of everything that I loved about the early men's power fragrances.  Vintage Bel Ami is not the shaved steroid gym queen of this millennium.  It precedes the contempo-masculine poodle-tailored facial hair , and it certainly precedes topiary pubic styling.  Bel Ami has honest-to-goodness chest hair, the kind you want to run your fingers through.

Fucking hot.

Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 6.0/10
Helpful Review    3
Leather for the men
Now this is the kind of masculine I like. The moment I put this on and inhaled deeply, I thought to myself, all men should smell like this.

A ruggedly masculine man makes my heart skip a beat and this is the essential fragrance for such a man. Rich, leathery and clean. Bel Ami is the scent of those 1950's Hollywood cowboys. It's a fierce fragrance, not for the shy.

You need to like leather in order to enjoy this fragrance. For some, the leather note may be too strong, however I find it fascinating. There's a hint of sweet incense mixed in there somewhere too, that gives this fragrance a rather luxurious feel.

The heart is mostly leather, pepper, herbs and earthy patchouli. This combination is strangely clean yet a tad dirty. Bel Ami has an almost dizzying effect on my senses. To be honest, I'd much rather smell this on a man than on myself. The mystifying masculinity of Bel Ami goes to waste on my feminine skin.

The longevity of Bel Ami is very impressive, as is the sillage which will leave the air around you beautifully scented for all to enjoy. A true classic in my opinion. A fragrance that separates the men from the boys.
Bottle 5.0/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 5.0/10 Scent 10.0/10
Helpful Review    1
Bel Ami
Bel Ami the perfume with master class
the opening is well defined with Lemon with a mixture of dry sage and velvety
citrus note of bergamot dries the top note, the middle section becomes a bit
more spicy consisting of Carnation with
the herbal scent of basil with the nuance
of pepper Jasmine in diluted form makes
it's presence known and orris seems to
quiet the jasmine with it's earthy aroma
dries the middle with sharp ceder,
Patchouli is elusive and heard to detect
in Bel Ami that is perhaps the most
elusive note in this fragrance,

The drying down starts off deep resinous
of styrax with undertone of leather for
an glossy texture and semi-sweetness of
coconut then dries to an mossy
feel of oakmoss and dry vetiver.

Bel Ami conjours for me a vast hunting den in
the Scottish estate in the highlands of some
pompous Earl with deer antlers
a bear rug in the floor with red velvet
chairs a huge ornate fireplace
meticulous crafted ebony table and
a vast library of old books from great
masters on a dusty shelf musty in scent
sitting in his luxurious chair sipping
his blood red Vino in his Burgundy colored
robe and idly listening some
depressing violin adagio almost falling

Bel Ami is for a man or for a few brave
women who appreciates the finer things in
life this is one of the finest cologne in
perfumery there is nothing
cheap or kitschy about Bel Ami they only
make the top of the line of ingredients
to make this masterpiece

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