Hermessence Vetiver Tonka was released in 2004, created by Jean-Claude Ellena. It is a tender, enveloping, warm vetiver fragrance. It features the strength of vetiver mellowed by hazelnut and tonka bean. Then you add in caramel, praline and blonde tobacco notes and that gives it all the mellowness. This fragrance is in the Woody Chypre fragrance group.
The Hermessence line are Jean-Claude Ellen's olfactory poems. From the brand - "As sober and intense as Japanese haiku, they reinvent a nature that is as precious as it is unusual, as if rendered by the inspired writing of a composer in search of the new."
Makeupalley - "Another Jean Claude Ellena triumph! Vetiver Tonka is one of my favorites this season. Nutty, warm, sweet, and almost edible without ever crossing the line over to food-y scents. A man or a woman could wear this and be perceived as gorgeousAnother Jean Claude Ellena triumph! Vetiver Tonka is one of my favorites this season. Nutty, warm, sweet, and almost edible without ever crossing the line over to food-y scents. A man or a woman could wear this and be perceived as gorgeous..."
Basenotes - "A brilliant vetiver, contemporary, concise and effective. Vetiver seated right next to tonka that cancel out each others' worst qualities. Green, light brown like early autumn, lightly toasted, nutty and slightly buttery without the fat; well-proportioned, sweetness without excess, and adorned with hints of praline. Diffusive, and reasonably tenacious; sumptuous and thoroughly charming."
Fragrantica - "For me, the hazelnut shows up as coffee so this is a yummy Vetiver coffee scent, but not sweet (which is the way I like it). After a few hours, a spicy Vetiver skin scent remains (which is where I can see how people compare this to bal D’Afrique), but they’re only similar after hours. Not in the first few hours."
Fragrantica - "Love this. Bought it years ago and let it sit. I'm not a big fan of what I've learned are referred to as 'gourmand' fragrances, but one day I took a chance and gave myself a spray before I left for work. Thought I was tolerating it at first, didn't expect much, but by mid afternoon I sensed an evolution to the fragrance, it unfolded again and again, and I was able to pick elements out as I had never before been able to. It was a pandora's box of of elegance, it became more beautiful by the minute."
Fragrantica - "A wonderful, rich gourmand vetiver from the master, Jean-Claude Ellena. Of the Hermessence line from Hermés, this is the standout for me, along with Ambre Narguile and Agar Ebene...The sandalwood note and caramel accord create a wonderful buttery, creamy undertone that is accompanied by the sweet hazelnut & praline accord that is ever so slightly syrupy but not sickly. I originally thought that all that might be a bit much accompanying the Tonka but with the inclusion of light white florals, tobacco & the Vetiver being ever so slightly astringent here, they meld beautifully together and I find I can wear it on all but the hotter days. I also find, in my personal experience of this fragrance, that although it is relatively linear in its nature; you pretty much get everything at once, it is a bit of a shape-shifter dependant on the temperature & humidity, so from that perspective and if you’re a Vetiver lover, this one is pretty versatile, definitely unisex and has many uses in the fragrance wardrobe. It’s super classy and refined, doesn’t shout out loud but rather it asserts itself in an assured and confident manner that will set you apart in a room, as it’s that intriguing."