Hanae Mori HM

...ridiculous but insanely catchy.

Hanae Mori HM plays out like a compilation album of perfume's greatest hits. Hits that, while they might be standouts in their own genre, have the potential to be a little iPod-playlist-jarring when strung together. With its tart lemon, bracing lavender, giggly blackcurrant, soothing vanilla, masculine cedarwood, childish chocolate and sensual amber, HM should be a mess, but it isn't. Like the best pop music, it's ridiculous but insanely catchy, due to the nuanced engineering that allows the frosted fruits not only to coexist with HM's deeper amber and woods, but also encourages devil-may-care fraternization across its magical cocoa bridge.
The waters under the magical cocoa bridge are known to be treacherous.
It would be hasty to dismiss HM as mere kid's stuff, though there's no doubt that its ADHD zig-zagging between notes make it a good match for fired-up young fellows caught between the nostalgia for childhood candy and the desire to impress young ladies. Let's say that HM is sophisticated kid's stuff. In my video discussion of HM, I reference three other YouTube fragrance reviewers (fumetubers?) and their takes on the scent: Robes08, CutlassSupremeSL and Guinea54.
HM: distinctive enough to project over Guinea54's cigarette. Guinea54 is an unexpectedly sensitive New York/Joisey kind of regular guy (watch him write in to protest that he went prep school in Connecticut) who often punctuates his reviews by gesticulating wildly with a lit cigarette. At the end of one of his first video reviews (Angel Men Pure Malt), he confesses:
I wasn't going to do any more videos, but some people seem to like my weird style, I don't know how. I don't know how some people don't find my voice totally obnoxious, either. I can't even watch my own videos.
In YouTube's universe of instant gurus, Guinea54's self-deprecating admission is disarming. And as one those instant gurus, I should know!
HM is available from Amazon.com, Sephora.com and FragranceNet.com, starting at $33 for 100ml
Image from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


  1. Wait - is this a food or a perfume? It sounds like it has crossed the line and moved into dessert. I would like to smell it though, because you describe it so well, it sounds intriguing, especially in the lighter version.

  2. What strikes me as odd about the way you describe this scent is that the bottle doesn't seem to match up with it at all. I've always been interested in the psychology of advertising and how they market perfumes, and always say that any perfume that is marketed with light blue is not for me.

    But I digress. So to me, lemony wou,d match that bottle, but not gourmand. And certainly not, kind of insane, but in a good way.

    Am I making sense here? Or did I lose you back at light blue isn't for me?

  3. Thanks for posting Guinea54's video. I watched it and the Angel Pure Malt one. I don't personally know men who are fume heads. It was fun to listen to a man talk about perfume! And I like his "weird style".

  4. SoS,

    HM is a gourmand, but it's more "sweet-inflected" than a hologram of dessert.


    I'm right with you: the bottle conveys monolithic masculine minimalism, and the scent is anything but!

    Suzy Q,

    You know what the funny thing is? YouTube's fragrance scene is *dominated* by straight guys talking about their favorite colognes. There is literally only one other woman on YouTube doing regular perfume reviews: Teresa at http://www.youtube.com/user/ariscotm

    Most of the YouTube fume reviews came over in a clump from Basenotes in the last year or two, which accounts for their shared sensibility.

    I do appreciate Guinea54's "regular guy" approach to smellin' smells.

  5. HM was one of my recent discount-store steals - $18 Canadian for 50 ml eau de parfum, and it's an older bottle, all the better for warding off my nagging fears of everything on the damn planet being reformulated after 10 years. I smelled it in Sephora and was rather shocked by how much I liked it, given how generally apathetic (bordering on antagonistic) I am toward gourmands. But like Dior Homme, which also gets saddled with the "men's gourmand" label, I don't like thinking of HM as such. To me it's a well-blended, classically masculine (citrus, lavender, moss, wood, amber) composition given a bit of shimmer and interest by using gourmand touches here and there - a dash of chocolate, a spritz of blackcurrant. It's so well-blended a scent that the gourmand stuff doesn't make itself screamingly obvious - as such, it's one of the few I can get on board with. I find its mossy, woody drydown utterly perfect for damp spring days, and plan to wear the hell out of it once this godforsaken winter ends.

    Also, the YouTube gurus should be so lucky to have such a shoutout from the one and only Puckrik. I'll sure Guinea54 will write in, but with a thank-you.

  6. Darryl,

    Thanks so much for contributing your thoughtful analysis of HM to this discussion. When you put it like that, I agree that labeling it an out-and-out gourmand is overstating the case. It truly is a hybrid.

    And Guinea54 has indeed sweetly thanked me in the YouTube comments section for this video.