By and  on January 6, 2006

PARIS - Terre d'Hermès, due out in March, is meant to be an olfactive embodiment of man.

"He is an alchemist, who lives standing with his feet in the earth and his head in the stars," said Veronique Gautier, chief executive officer of Hermès Parfums. "He can transform what is rough into something refined."

She likened "his" powers - and the men's scent - to the artisanal process through which Hermès creates its luxury products.

The name Terre d'Hermès (Earth of Hermès, in English) was chosen since it harks back to "the beginning of everything," said Gautier.

For the scent's inspiration, Hermès in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena turned to the writings of French author Jean Giono.

"He is a man who loves the richness of nature," said Ellena, who decided to create a vertical fragrance containing primarily vegetal and mineral notes. No musk notes are included.

"Musk creates a mask on the skin," he explained, adding that without such a note, a person's scent is evident. "So each time, the fragrance is unique."

Terre d'Hermès contains a large amount of woody notes, including Atlas cedar. It's also a mix of grapefruit, effervescent orange, gunflint, silex, pepper, baies roses, geranium leaves, patchouli, vetiver and balm of benzoin.

"It is a serene perfume," said Ellena.

Added Gautier, "The juice is extremely elegant and sophisticated."

For the creation of the glass fragrance bottle, Hermès tapped Philippe Mouquet, who works in-house creating belts, gloves and watches, among other items. His flacon, like the fragrance's note structure, is vertical, with metal on the shoulders to "reflect the sky," said Mouquet. The bottle's base is cut into an "H" form, emblematic of Hermès, and even includes a flash of orange coloring. A twist of the collar reveals the actuator, which is modeled after a Hermès rivet.

A film advertisement for Terre d'Hermès was shot by English cinematographer Laurence Dunmore, whose first feature film, "The Libertine," was released in 2004. The 40-, 30- and 20-second ads feature French actor Clement Sibony scooping up and then throwing sand that magically turns in the air from brown to the signature Hermès orange.

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