The White Room… 24 Faubourg by Hermes The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

Beyond the grand balls in decaying over wrought salons.

Beyond the women in their layers of lurid silks and heads extended by feet of feathers.

Beyond the streets with their anguish and anger.

Beyond even her own home’s vast public chambers.

Beyond The World there is The White Room.

Here, in the privacy afforded by having only one maid present, she can be calm.

Be undressed and in her stays recline in reverie.

Her walls unadorned by the endless bright florals of the Court and belle Paris are jasmine, ivory and orange blossom blanc.

The only colours she has allowed are trims of aged gold tarnished to amber on candlesticks and clocks that show the time a little after the 24th hour.

The vivid almost orange of the gilt legs of the chaise on which she now rests and wonders at the immensity of her achievement.

To have lived and to have prevailed in persisting is enough for her.

She is passed a fine china cup of peach and orange tea, she does not care for coffee or liquor, and sips on it remembering those who were unable to retain their dignity, their fortunes, their lives.

Yes, to be alive, if unloved, is enough.

Enough for her and for here.

Her woman returns and places a vase of blue and purple flowers on the table.

The earthy aroma of iris and air borne sprite like scent of hyacinth pervades the room and invades her consciousness.

She yields to the flowers’ cold bluish warmth and then to sleep.

Tomorrow will be another day to be survived only by the comfort of solitude.

24 Faubourg by Hermes is a perfume that radiates a certain kind of hard won and worked out purity and self possession.

This a scent to protect the self from the rigours of the rough and ready world.

Place a cloud of this aroma between you and the everyday and scented self assuredness is yours.

Opening with a characteristically vivid Hermes orange underscored with other citrus and an enlivening somewhat green hyacinth the composition effortlessly evolves into white florals.

Indeed, it is between great walls of gardenia, jasmine and yet more orange blossom that the heart of the fragrance is played out.

This is a scent with an almost paradoxical, ornate simplicity.

There are ample enough notes for a symphony and yet the central theme being actually rather restrained and the range of instruments quite small the effect is more that of a chamber piece.

Whatever, this is music for the soul.

When earthy irises and honeyed amber, sandalwood and vanilla arrivea change begins.

The fragrance enters into a long dry down that exudes a stately satisfaction.

24 Faubourg, the headquarters of Hermes, was once an address in the suburbs of Paris.

Today it finds itself at the heart of the city’s luxurious shopping district.

Whatever changes there have been in the ever changing world outside, 24 Faubourg remains an oasis of calm.

Whilst there is a determined sense of the female stoic about this scent, it might be worn by men who hanker after such heights of splendid poise.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “The White Room… 24 Faubourg by Hermes The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. Gorgeous writing for a gorgeous perfume.

  2. Hermes: precision, contained opulence, depth of beauty… Could this be your favorite perfume house?

    • Yes one wonders if Guerlain is in danger of being trampled by the horses of Hermes? I loved the post and must away to our stately Hermes on Grant Ave. to get a whiff of the “White Room.” A most wonderful review in fact.

      • Dearest Mr L
        Oh no, both Guerlain and my beloved Caron are safe (the latter I fear just for the timebeing if current moves afoot continue).
        But Hermes pre-Ellena is much overlooked, and The Dandy has such a soft spot for the orange note that is the house speciality!.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

    • Dearest V
      While Guerlain and Caron and perhaps Dior exist (though the last of these is a poor guardian of its own heritage) then probably Hermes must settle for a lower slot in the pecking order.
      But you know, I might *gasps* place it above Chanel amongst The Great French Houses.
      I know others will scoff at such a suggestion, but I merely float it… for myself as much as anyone else’s consideration.
      Any thoughts would be welcome…
      Your ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • I TOTALLY prefer Hermes pre Ellena, Oh GOD

      • EvaMotherGanges

        I totally agree with you, Hermes is above Chanel, nowadays… And I consider both overrated and overpriced, none of them is my favourite. But Hermes has left me impressed in the litlle I have tested, and Chanel, always cold…
        Exquisite review, vivid prose of yours, as ever.

      • Dearest Eva
        Humble apologies for my delayed response…. due entirely to my being away.
        An interesting comparison between Chanel and Hermes, certainly I think more creative minds are at work today at the latter.
        As for prices, perfumes seem to attach value to themselves independently of either rhyme or reason, and yes, of the large houses these two do seem to be rather more expensive. Guerlain offers a wide range of high quality work at keener prices than either.
        That gripe over there is much in the current Hermes line up to adore!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  3. My mom wore Guerlain, so I can’t be objective at all, it smells like heaven to me.

  4. Alice

    A beautiful review, and a very elegant perfume..but.. you are more likely to find me in the crowded espresso bar on the other side of the street, happily tucking into a cappuccino and croissant (with maybe the odd scattered crumb). I could never cope with those white chairs, at least not for long!
    as ever
    Alice

  5. Lilybelle

    I entered a comment, but seems it didn’t “take”. Lovely review and a lovely fragrance. I wore it for a while in the 90s when it was released here in the U.S. It instantly captivated me. That “ornate simplicity” is what made it so wearable, modern, yet beautiful. I am enjoying the idea of that white room where all is pure, where beauty can breathe.

    • Dearest Lily
      The Dandy too has been having problems with comments adhering to the articles he intends them too… I do so hope people haven;t thought me rude or remiss if I’ve unintentionally not got back to them.
      When I think of “ornate simplicity” I have a very specific image of very elaborate rococo plasterwork that would, no doubt, in its day have been extravagantly coloured, but it now painted a pure radiant white.
      I too am sure that in high-ceilinged rooms such as this ‘beauty can breathe’… what a wonderful phrase!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. I dare say this is one of the very best of Hermés’ perfumes – it’s certainly one of my own personal favorites precisely for that , cool self-possessed air it has, not generally something one associates with orange blossom, is it? I love it for that coolness bordering on chypre but never quite – a juxtaposition you managed to convey perfectly! Thank you, Dandy!

    • Dear Tarleisio
      It is a stand out from the very high quality selection that Hermes offer in The Dandy’s opinion too. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree, this is a surprising and to my mind original take on orange blossom.
      Here it is expansive, elegant and airy rather than merely bright and cheery in a slightly brash fashion, as it is so often set out.
      And yes again, it does border on a chypre like quality despite not having the constitution to technically belong in this class.
      So, thank you so much, you have helped me tease out my thoughts further and understand all the more why I adore 24 Fauborg.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  7. It’s a beautiful review for the perfume that absolutely doesn’t work for me. I tried. More than once. But still no.

    • Dear Undina
      I only ever read reviews after the fact (for fear of being influenced rather than informed by them).
      I’ve noticed that some people find this Hermes to be too ‘baroque’ or too ‘artificial’.
      The Dandy would be most interested to hear your take… is this one you’ve written about?
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Dear Dandy,
        I understand your position: I also avoid reading most reviews on those perfumes that I actively plan to try. Mostly because I don’t want to be disappointed: the more praises you read for a perfume, the harder it will be for it to meet expectations.

        I haven’t written about this perfume before (there was no story in it for me). 24F was too masculine for my liking and reminded me somehow of colognes from Soviet times.

      • Dearest Undina
        You have put your finger on it… the matter of disappointment.
        For example I can’t help feeling that even if the current film of “The Great Gatsby” were in anyway great it would be too late for me as it has just been so much everywhere for me to enjoy it untainted (if that’s not to melodramatic a phrase).
        I think you’re right about 24 Faubourg, there is something rather robust, quite muscular about it (I’ve since read that it was designed to show off everything that could be achieved with – then – modern aromachemicals).
        Perhaps this ‘shoe off’ quality has a slight tang of testosterone about it?
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  8. I love your take on this as I would have said that Faubourg is almost over-embellished to the point of suffocation….so full of sunlit ease and fullness, yes, but to me really quite, almost, vulgar. Yet you take us beyond this to the next stage….I like it.

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