“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
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…
The Perfumed Dandy.