It might seem strange to wear a gauzy floral perfume during the first weeks of winter, when warm, rich scents might seem more appropriate. But Jour d’Hermès has so much radiance that it lights up the darkest of days, and this trait, along with a coquettish playfulness, is what caught my attention. It’s the latest addition to the Hermès fragrance collection, and like many recent launches, it was created by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena.
Jour d’Hermès has the weightless presence, brightness and luminosity of Ellena’s other fragrances. It’s a delicate vignette of floral notes that unravels into the drydown of musk. The description may not seem exciting, and it’s true that Jour d’Hermès doesn’t have the opulence or drama that you might find in say, a Serge Lutens composition. But despite its understated presence, it has so many facets that it’s exciting to wear. It’s also an uplifting and happy perfume, as if Ellena infused the liquid with some of the Mediterranean sunshine.
Perhaps because I now live in a place deprived of sun for a big part of the year, I’m more sensitive to anything that feels sun dappled and joyful. And the mood of Jour d’Hermès is just that. In her tempting review, Denyse mentions that Ellena didn’t want to include specific notes in the press release, wishing that instead we discover our own choice of flowers, smell what we want to smell. In Jour d’Hermès I smell flowers that span all seasons, and every time I wear it, I discover something else.
My first impression was of crunchy, springlike sweetness reminiscent of hyacinth and lily of the valley. The fragrance grows warmer and richer when the summer blossoms–jasmine, tuberose, ylang-ylang, become more pronounced. The orange blossom is a delicate leitmotif that sparkles in the top notes and then turns sultry in the drydown. You notice a swirl of violet, a hint of rose, and a squeeze of lemon juice, but overall, Jour d’Hermès is more than the sum of its parts. Green florals are a dime a dozen at the perfume counter, but this take is more refined and complex than most.
The rainbow floral effect reminds me of what I used to smell in Christian Dior J’Adore before it was reformulated. Unlike J’Adore, Jour d’Hermès is green and crunchy throughout, even when it reaches its salty musk layer. Unlike some other delicate etudes by Ellena like Osmanthe Yunnan or Iris Ukiyoe, it’s surprisingly tenacious and has beautiful diffusion. I doubt that those who don’t care for Ellena’s radiant fragrances will be swayed, but if like me, you crave some sunshine, Jour d’Hermès might satisfy the yearning.
Hermès Jour d’Hermès Eau de Parfum is available in 50 ml ($108), 85 ml ($149), and 125 ml refill ($130). Available at Hermès boutiques and starting January 2013, at other retailers with Hermès counters. It’s also available via Hermès website.
Sample: my own acquisition