[unpaid/sample/affiliate/ad] I feel I have my work cut out trying to describe this new fragrance, L’Occitane Herbae Clary Sage, because it’s not really like any I’ve smelled before. The whole purpose of Herbae, as you’ll guess from the name, is that it takes a lead from Provencal herbs to create earthy scents inspired by nature.
Herbae Clary Sage is green – almost grassy, lightly floral and dries down to a woody, earthy finish. Clary sage is from the salvia family which can smell very peppery and there is definitely that element of sharpness – add that to a bitter orange top note and it really needs the sweeter elements of bergamot.
Given how strong the green elements are, the packaging, while beautiful and detailed (I mean look at the green atomiser straw!) is visually misleading because (I think) it makes you imagine something perhaps in the sweet pea family or similarly sweetly floral. Herbae Clary Sage is almost all herb – smoothed by elemi and amber but nonetheless sits in the herb family and it might take you into the kitchen more than you’d imagine. There’s even, to my nose, a bit of a soapy note in the dry down.
I can see that it will align much better with the senses in the summer when everything smells more lush and you naturally seek out refreshing notes. I’m really very interested to see how this goes down – it’s limited edition but would not be a natural purchase for me. That said, it’s certainly very different in a sea of sameness and I like it for that alone – Herbae is a fragrance adventure rather than a safe bet. Plus, anything that gives South of France vibes is fine with me – and it does. Taking inspiration from herbs and wild flowers on a spring day, you can place yourself with a glass of Cote de Provence enjoying the scenery and feeling utterly content with your surroundings. My recommend is to try before you buy – there’s a 10ml for £20 and a 50ml for £55 and I’d go the 10ml first. It’s HERE.
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