Shermine by Pierre Guillaume is an mysterious fragrance which showcases woody notes alongside softer florals and musks. Both tantalising and bold, soft and woody, this fragrance is a changeable one that will match your every mood.
Iris, cardamom, rosewood, lavender, pepper, lemon, vanilla, musks, vetiver, patchouli and guaiac wood.
Pierre Guillaume is a celebrity in the perfume world, his major lines being Parfumerie Generale, the Pierre Guillaume Cruise Collection, and the Pierre Guillaume Huitieme Art Collection from which Shermine comes. Pierre Guillaume also bought the Phaedon line in 2012. Basically, he is one of the authorities of French perfumery.
Here at The Sniff we are huge fans of the PG stables of fragrance largely due to the fact that they combine elegance and old school craftsmanship with modern, lively scents, often using edible notes and doing so without smelling like you’ve rolled in popcorn or bathed in chocolate (although if you want to do either of those things then by all means do).
Some perfumes are really easy to review and really easy to pick out the elements that they smell of. Shermine is not exactly one of those. It’s complicated and multifaceted. That doesn’t mean it’s bad by any stretch of the imagination, just that it might cause you to pause and reflect before you really understand it. I’ve personally worn this three times now and each time have come away with a slightly different impression, sometimes woody, sometimes masculine, and today, more floral. It’s a strange, intriguing chameleon of a scent.
The initial burst of Shermine is primarily a woody one. At the very start it smells like very dry, old wood, crumbling away at the side of a fireplace somewhere. At the very edge of the scent there is a sweeter, softer kind of chocolatey note that just rounds the woody notes out and gives them some depth.
Slowly, as the scent warms, the florals come in to play, very gently. The iris is particularly discernible, imparting a note which is not entirely dissimilar to violet in its tone, although more watery and less harsh than violet can be.
The cardamom also sneaks in here, toning down the florals so they don’t get out of hand, and playing up the wood so it seems drier, more herbal.
Once the perfume has really got going the lavender and lemon join the symphony and the perfume takes on a slightly more masculine tone. Again, these notes are right at the edge of what you can pick out, but they add yet more layers of tone to the fragrance.
There’s still wood here, and iris, and a cool note as well, somewhere between ozone and cucumber. This gives the overall impression of both cool and clean, and reminded us of something akin to a laundered shirt hanging in an air conditioned closet on a hot day.
Make no mistake, at the heart of the scent there is a lot going on. But rather than being confusing or muddy, what happens is that the scent shifts gear and starts giving impressions of things and evoking memories, rather than just being just being a journey through its listed notes. Shermine is too complex to be easily broken up into its component parts and as a result it’s quite hard to pin down, it shifts and slides showing different facets here, different facets there. Definitely one you need to try on your own skin to see what your own particular chemistry highlights.
I’m going to share with you now a direct quote from the notes I personally wrote when wearing this scent, because it goes back to the point about the perfume evoking impressions rather than just being a list of ingredients. Here goes: “this smells like a refined gentleman who works in the city, he carries a timeless leather briefcase that he bought for a small fortune in Barcelona, and is the first one to bring out the best cigars at weddings.”
And that to me conveys what this perfume smells like. It’s classy, it’s manly, it’s complex, it’s affluent without being showy. It’s the sort of scent you would wear when you want to be taken seriously or make a good first impression. Yes it’s woody, yes it’s leathery and yes, it’s even floral at times, but it’s so much more than those things as well.
You know that old expression, “men want to be him, and women want to be with him”, that’s the sort of man who would wear Shermine. It’s the equivalent of one of the classy, understated James Bonds of the perfume world.
The other stuff
We’ve mentioned a couple of times that this, to us, is a masculine scent and stereotypically it would seem to quite comfortably sit more towards that end of the spectrum. That’s not to say that ladies shouldn’t wear it if you like it, but with this more than other fragrances we have tested, we would definitely say that you need to try before you buy. That’s always a good rule of thumb, but this is such a multifaceted scent that it is very much something that you need to test out a couple of times first, before you part with your hard earned cash. Luckily it’s both easy and cheap to do this as Bloom offer testers for a mere £2.
The longevity of Shermine is excellent, with it lasting into the evening without reapplication. The sillage or projection of the scent is also very good with it giving off wafts of sweet woodiness throughout the day pretty consistently.