The first paragraph of Jean-Claude Ellena’s The Diary of a Nose reads, “Since I started composing perfumes I’ve learned, I’ve invented “catchphrase-smells”, like the first sentence, the first notes of a piece of music, the initial images that are reworked at length to capture a reader’s, a listener’s, a spectator’s attention. So that he or she wants to carry on, in order to pursue the pleasure. In a society where speed is everything, perfumes are judged in a couple of seconds, as if at a glance. The hastiness of these assessments upsets me: a perfume can only truly tell its story when it is smelled and worn.”
I’m not sure what happened during the three years between that diary entry and the release of Jour d’Hermes, but Jour d’Hermes is exactly the kind of perfume that Ellena condemns in his Diary. The top notes, a burst of lilies brightened with lemon, are nothing short of exquisite. But each time that I put my nose to my wrist after those thrilling first ten minutes, I find that the fragrance has become thinner, more synthetic. After perhaps 45 minutes, Jour d’Hermes is just another pleasant but unremarkable lemony floral.
Quite a few other perfume bloggers really liked Jour d’Hermes; Robin at Now Smell This bought a bottle, as did Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels. Jour d’Hermes is even The Candy Perfume Boy’s fifth anniversary perfume. Here’s my explanation: I have extremely dry skin. Virtually zero perfumes last even an hour on me. I figure that Jour d’Hermes’ beautiful top notes must last longer on its fans.
If you liked Cartier Baiser Vole, another photorealistic lily perfume, then I think you might really enjoy Jour d’Hermes. Although I just called Jour d’Hermes’ drydown “unremarkable”, it’s actually much more successful than Baiser Vole’s drydown, which had an unfortunate Maxipad vibe.