Among the most prominent designer brands, Hermès is currently probably the only one which is still able to deliver solid products on a consistent basis, at least for the masculine/unisex side – good, sometimes great, decently boring in the worst cases. This new addition to their classic series confirms that commitment to respect customers’ taste and intelligence. Equipage Geranium is in fact, briefly put, a very solid fragrance. It pays all respects to Equipage’s heritage, cleverly reworking its bone structure by giving it a sharper, colder, more floral yet somehow drier shape – shortly, a fresher, more contemporary look. And also a sort of more transparent, edgy texture. I must say that globally it is very similar to Equipage, even almost too much, and you easily get it since the very opening. “Equipage in spring”, so to speak: all that timeless, distinguished, smoky herbal-woody refinement tinged with a shade of cold, yet cozy an breezy geranium and a sprinkle of spices, topped with a really enjoyable citric accord – citrus was there in Equipage too, here it seems a bit stronger and more persistent. The evolution is equally enjoyable, the scent – which turns out to be quite more long-lasting and bolder than you may assume – gets drier, a bit darker and woodier as a base blend of bitter mossy woods (vetiver mostly) and, I think, some cloves-leather accord gets a more prominent position, with even a touch of grey, slightly powdery smoke arising and giving some dusty, refined warmth to the blend. Still a sharp herbal blend, just a bit moodier and more somber. Oddly enough, as we’re talking about two opposite types of fragrances, the emerging of a general sense of dusty-sweet warmth brings in a really distant echo of the very drydown of Tiffany for Men, too.
Coming to the main feature and the “raison d’etre” of this flanker – the geranium – I am sadly not familiar enough with it, so I can not comment on the specific note extensively. Never been a fan of it, actually. But it seems, well, really good to me here. It smells crisp, tolerably acrid, even slightly fruity and powdery while remaining bracingly sharp and minty. And it shows some evolution, which is often a sign of quality of materials – it doesn’t simply decrease its presence, but it changes and evolves, getting unexpectedly warmer and more “powdery-floral” before leaving the stage to the mossier-woodier drydown, with sandalwood and salty vetiver as nearly-main notes – both quite thin, but fulfilling and solid.
So overall, you surely get the “Equipage” first, and only then, the subtle, brighter floral-spicy variations. In other words, don’t expect a geranium-based scent; rather a subtle, elegantly executed spicy geranium-based variation on Equipage. Whether you care for or know Equipage already, the final result is an extremely pleasant, refined “old school” fragrance with a palpable “vintage” feel (the mossiness, the virile and restrained dryness, the austere herbal-woody structure with that nondescript sort of citric-metallic feel so many classic masculine scents had, and so on – several classic names come to mind, from Monsieur Carven to, obviously, vintage Equipage itself) and a more contemporary tangy accord of spicy-grassy notes. Quite a mature, “over-30” discreet fragrance fitting like a bespoke glove, lasting longer than I expected and projecting just perfectly. Maybe just a tad too close to Equipage to make sense for Equipage fans, but... well done, Hermès.