The last day of freedom… Jour d’Hermes by Hermes The Perfume Dandy’s Scent Today

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“Music is the space between the notes.”

So, they say, Claude Debussy said.

Scent is perhaps the art closest to music, sharing as it does the qualities of abstraction and the ephemeral.

The two forms existing as much, more, in fact, in the air and the senses than in the bottle or on the bow.

No perfume expresses this sentiment more precisely than Jean Claude Ellena’s Jour d’Hermes.

Weightless, amorphous, transparent, luminous and above all quite, quite beautiful.

Jour is a refined fragrance in the same sense that a passage of the finest poetry has the sensation of the best prose distilled.

Its sparseness is that of the poet’s words upon a page, the length and conclusion of each line the result of deliberation, the start and end of every stanza as concious an artistic act as a painter’s brush stroke pulled across canvas.

Poetry, perhaps, is the places between the words.

In a world where so much perfume is mere cheaply drawn literal prose: scents called ‘Candy’ that smell of sweets, endles gourmands that succeed only in smelling exactly like confectioners’ kitchens, Jour is writ in verse.

Jour is poetry.

Elusive, sly, metaphorical, mischievous and quite, quite beautiful.

The words, the ideas, the notes seem so simple: citric, floral, dry.

Lemon, lily of the valley, orange flower.

It is in their deployment that the artistry lies.

Some people have termed the perfume ’empty’, I find it to be expansive.

An uncontained scent large enough to accept one’s own interpretation.

A fragrance of freedom.

“Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands
Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,
Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,
Luminously-peopled air ascends;
And past the poppies bluish neutral distance
Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach
Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence:
Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.”

from ‘Here’ by Philip Larkin

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Jour d’Hermes was The Dandy‘s final self-picked weekday scent for a while.

Tomorrow, after a Summer turned “Indian Summer” of laid-back liberty, The Hit Parade returns, and The Dandy will once more be your ever faithful servant, taking his scented commands from you… why not choose what perfume I will wear next and join in the vote.

Please be gentle with me…

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “The last day of freedom… Jour d’Hermes by Hermes The Perfume Dandy’s Scent Today

  1. Lilybelle

    Back to the salt mines already? Of course we’ll be gentle with you. 😉 xo

  2. Alice

    Jour d’hermes has slowly grown on me. I have to confess at first I thought ‘so what?’ But I keep returning to my sample, always a good sign.. in fact I particularly admire perfumes that win me by stealth. So I’m already planning a purchase for very early next year, as a tonic when the days start to lengthen.

    BTW I love Philip Larkin, and the quote is beautiful. My favourite, though is Norman MacCaig.

    • Dearest Alice
      I must confess that I too initially thought something along the lines of ‘airy orange flower scent, so what?’.
      But then I noticed the way in which the notes are blended and so much complex than at first appears. The turns each part takes coming to the fore. The effect a spaciousness and serenity.
      Yes, the overall effect.
      This scent is more minimalist art than grand opera, but I for one am more than happy to have both in my life!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. I liked Jour d’Hermes’ bottle and wanted to like the perfume but it’s just OK on my skin. I’m glad it works for others since it’s a much better perfume than most modern mass-market releases.

    • Dearest U
      The bottle, indeed the packaging as a whole, is very much part of the experience of Jour, and I must admit to being somewhat predisposed to liking it merely on the basis of looks alone.
      The question of personal chemistry is an intriguing one here. Since writing the review I have read much about the alleged quantities of Iso E Super (alleged for no notes are published for the fragrance) that Jour contains. In turn I’ve also learned that men are more susceptible to this compound’s charms than women… whether all of this is true, or relevant I know not. It is, though, of interest.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • I’ll start with saying that I like Iso E Super. And yes, according to my nose, there is a lot of it in this perfume (as well as in my other favorites – Voyage and Terre). So it’s not a problem with this note that doesn’t allow me to love Jour. I wouldn’t mind wearing it if I had no other, more interesting, perfumes in my collection.

      • Dearest U
        I was speaking generally rather than about U in particular.
        I find it interesting that this scent has few people who can’t abide it (The Black Narcissus excepted) but rather a lot in the camp of ‘oh well’, ‘meh’ and ‘it would do if I didn’t have much better’. Then a number, like myself, who adore it.
        Of course, this is true of many perfumes to a degree, but that everyone (almost) should be bunched in the ‘okay to good’ spectrum leads me to wonder what it is that makes a competent perfume great for some of us, myself included…
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Jour is such a lovely concept and bottle, and I like the notes. But this is just so ordinary on my skin. I’m glad yours loves it! Beautiful poem and sentiments!

    • Dear Annina
      You are far from alone in finding Jour ‘ordinary’… ‘meh’ is a term I see widely applied to it. Strangely for someone who has just waxed lyrical about how much I love it this is a notion that I can understand.
      Jour it seems to me is at once very like countless similar white florals and totally unlike them. Yet this difference seems to be achieved by a merest tweak. Like placing a vase just off centre on a mantelpiece: conformity is disrupted entirely by a tiny intervention.
      Fascinating, as always, how scents affect us al so differently…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. rosestrang

    That was beautiful! I seem to have missed this review so I’m a bit late, but this is a really lovely piece of writing. I’ve not worn Jour d’Hermes, I just sniffed the bottle but had tried on quite a few others. The bottle design is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen, even nicer than Cartier’s slightly retro Baiser Vole. This one remind me of a lead crystal whisky glass, but without all the fuss and engravings. I need to try the actual perfume!

    I love the Larkin too, very much the poem of a writer with a deep understanding of peace

    • Dearest Rose
      Perhaps it was all those years as a head librarian at the University of Hull that gave Larkin his peace.
      I agree with everything that has been said about this flacon, it is beautiful and just what a perfume bottle should be.
      Do tell your thoughts when you get a chance to try.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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