Hermès : Jour d’Hermès

Wheat Field with Reaper (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh

Wheat Field with Reaper (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh

Created by : Jean-Claude Ellena

Date : 2012

Genre : Green floral

Concentration : eau de parfum

Does anyone not absolutely love Jour d’Hermés?  You don’t?  Well then, I don’t believe you!  I’m not a great, big fan of Ellena’s recent, simple works but this one is sublime!

While researching this post, I found two very interesting comments in Ellena’s “Journal d’un parfumeur”…

“Mes parfums sont des parfums achevés mais non finis” and

“Ainsi je laisse volontairement des vides, des «blancs», dans les parfums afin que chacun puisse y ajouter son propre imaginaire ; ce sont des «vides d’appropriation»”.

Loosely translated, his perfumes are completed but unfinished and he likes to leave “holes” or “blank spaces” in his perfumes so that people can fill them in themselves.  Now that certainly rings true for the whole Jardin series and Terre d’Hermès.  But it doesn’t ring true for this beautiful and, dare I say, impressionistic Jour d’Hermès which recalls a field of wild flowers at sunrise.

Contrary to earlier works, Jour d’Hermès is completely polished, rounded and, well, finished. I’ve worn it now for almost two weeks straight and whenever I get a whiff of it, like in the middle of the long workday, it reminds me of field flowers… not hothouse flowers, not roses, not jasmine, not orange blossoms… wild field flowers about to open with the early morning sun coaxing them along.  And green!  Just when you thought green was out of fashion, this one has a green tinge throughout… right to the end of the day so longevity is excellent!

And, am I the only one that thinks that Jour d’Hermès reminds a little of Guerlain’s Chamade?  It’s kind of like a greener, more citrusy but very much lighter Chamade, isn’t it?  It’s like a daytime Chamade… or an eau de toilette to Chamade’s eau de parfum.

I think Jour d’Hermès has the potential to become a classic one day but not so much because of what it is but because of what it isn’t.  Jour d’Hermès is counterpoint to the intense florals of the day.  When tuberose, orange blossom and heady vanilla rule the landscape, in addition to all those fruity concoctions, I think Jour d’Hermès by Jean-Claude Ellena might be remembered as a singular masterpiece that bucked the trend and gave us an alternative… and that shows courage… and vision!

Who can wear Jour d’Hermès?  Everyone… young women, middle-aged and others “of a certain age”.  And men!  Jour d’Hermès would smell great on a man.

If you haven’t tried it, then by all means, go to the store and try it out.  If you have tried it… then you know what I’m talking about.


Hermès : Terre d’Hermès

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Created by : Jean-Claude Ellena

Date : 2006

Genre : Bergamot patchouli

Concentration : eau de toilette

I’m sorry I’ve been away from the blog recently.  You see, I usually have a pretty good idea how I feel about a particular perfume but sometimes it takes me awhile to sort things out.  Take Terre d’Hermès for instance.  When it first came out in 2006, it soon became the 4th best-selling men’s fragrance in France and with very little advertising.  A woman at work who smelled it on a scent strip exploded… “Ah… it’s like an aphrodisiac… I wish my husband wore this!”  And, a waiter at my favourite weekend hangout restaurant said, “Yes!  This is it!   This is what I’ve been looking for!”

So why don’t I absolutely love it?  I don’t know.  I mean, don’t get me wrong… it’s very smart… maybe even bordering on genius!  I would never hesitate to wear it on any given day. But to my nose, it’s “aloof”.  There’s nothing warm about it… nothing that says, “hey… come closer”.  Or for that matter, nothing that says, “woah.. back off!”  To me, it has no feelings of any kind… it’s more of an intellectual thing.  It’s all in the head… with no heart.

As for actual scent, Terre is an icy accord of bergamot and wood-centric patchouli.  There is no “terre” in sight… even Jean-Claude Ellena admits to that in his “Journal d’un parfumeur : suivi d’un abrégé d’odeurs” of 2011.

Maybe Terre is cool because Ellena himself is an intellectual.  That comes out loud and clear in his book.  Or maybe I’m just not used to Jean-Claude Ellena’s shorthand style.  When it was first launched, Terre was reported to have only 13 notes!  I think I need more notes… a bigger orchestra.

I would never hesitate to wear it because, intellectually, I “know” it’s beautiful… but I don’t feel it.

Image : Portrait of Nietzsche (1844-1900) who coined the phrase “God is dead.”

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