Hermes Jour d’Hermes Absolu ~ perfume review

Jour D'Hermès Absolu visuals

So how much do you care about a perfume's lasting power? If it's an important issue to you, you probably weren't impressed with Jour d'Hermès, the 2012 release from French luxury brand Hermès. I've seen it described as radiant, and translucent, and luminous (all fitting adjectives for a scent from from perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena), but nobody claimed it was a powerhouse. Personally, lasting power is only rarely a concern of mine. I'm disappointed if a perfume fizzles out in 45 minutes, but I'm not at all concerned if a perfume doesn't make it through the day — ideally, I'd like a perfume to smell lovely for about 4 hours and then disappear altogether. I'm not sure if Jour D'Hermès actually manages a full 4 hours, but it comes close enough for my purposes.

Still, a slightly more full-bodied version would be appealing, and the new Jour D'Hermès Absolu sounded like it would fit the bill, and might also provide an interesting variation on the original — sort of like the Eau de Parfum version of the original Kelly Caleche Eau de Toilette. And that's about how it works out, although anyone hoping for that powerhouse, or even considerably increased sillage, will probably be disappointed.

Jour D'Hermès Absolu starts off with intensified citrus and fruit notes: there's far more grapefruit, and it's greener and rounder and fruitier. I said the original Jour D'Hermès included "fleeting glimpses of old favorites and/or not favorites (Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, Vanille Galante, Un Jardin Sur Le Toit)", here, the Pamplemousse Rose, with its tart rhubarb, is front and center, and it hangs around longer.1 I still smell a touch of apple, joined here by a bit of apricot jam.

The flowers in the heart are likewise intensified. The notes for the original included gardenia and sweet pea, for the Absolu, they've listed gardenia and jasmine. It does not matter much: the Absolu is a more full-bodied floral, as advertised, but like the original, it doesn't smell all that much like any particular flower — it smells stronger than the original, and different, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you what floral note is intensified, although the apricot undertones, which do linger into the dry down, almost-sort-of recall osmanthus. The base, which was rather pale in the original, is warmer and earthier, although only just so much and no more: to my nose, it's still a perfume for spring or summer.

Verdict: I think the Absolu is gorgeous, but I'm not at all convinced that it will be universally loved, and I'd love to hear comments from anyone who has smelled it! In particular, if you didn't like Pamplemousse Rose, I wouldn't think you'd like this one either.

I bought the original Jour D'Hermès on a whim, because I was in the Hermès boutique and I liked it. I'm not sure it would have made my buy list if I'd taken a sample home and lived with it for awhile, but two years later, it's hard to say for sure — I do wear it fairly regularly. I like the Absolu much better, and I'm convinced it would make my buy list regardless. But I can't justify owning full bottles of both versions, so I'll live with the one I have. If it ever needs to be replaced, I'll get the Absolu, which is only a few dollars more.

I never did smell the (more expensive) Extrait version of Jour D'Hermès, do comment if you have.


Hermès Jour D'Hermès Absolu bottle

Hermès Jour D'Hermès Absolu is available in 30, 50 ($112) and 85 ($153) ml Eau de Parfum.

1. I never tried the Concentré de Pamplemousse Rose that came out in 2011, but now I might have to hunt some down.

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  1. APassionateJourney says:

    Robin, are they selling this version in the United States yet? Department stores or just Hermes boutiques?

    • Robin says:

      I have not been in the mall for a couple weeks so can’t say for sure…my understanding is that it’s only in Hermes boutiques (and possibly not all of them) in the US right now. In the UK it’s also in department stores.

  2. Squirrely says:

    I will seek this version out. I tend to have scent-eating skin, and so I’m baffled but pleased by the decent sillage and lasting power I get from the original, which I like, but don’t love. I’ve tried the parfum at various duty free shops and it did take the scent to the next level for me. I adored it, and had I the money to throw, it would be FB worthy for me.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, so good to know about the parfum, many thanks!

  3. sapphire03 says:

    Reading this review I realized that I somehow forgot to try the original Jour d’Hermes. I must see if I have a sample of it kicking around. The original sounds lovely and I notice it has a sweet pea note. Is the sweet pea in Jour d’Hermes noticeable or is it more of a sweet pea/gardenia blend? There are not too many well-done florals out there with distinct sweet pea notes.

    The Absolu sounds nice as well, I will have to give that a try.

    • Robin says:

      It’s a floral blend…I don’t particularly notice gardenia OR sweet pea. Just flowers.

  4. Janice says:

    I will try this one when I see it, but Pamplemousse Rose wasn’t my kind of thing at all so the grapefruit in this might be too much for me. If you like the Absolu much better, I bet you’d have no problem swapping away the bottle you have… I hear there’s a swapmeet coming up here in a few months! ☺

    • Robin says:

      The likelihood of someone swapping me the Absolu for the regular is about nil though, right? I’m already hoping to unload my Cartier Panthere for something fabulous, that will be hard enough to pull off :-)

  5. eutrapelia says:

    I have but wear very rarely the original Jour d’Hermes. Too much flowers for me (I constantly try recognize them and I can’t). I am afraid to be dissapointed…

    • Robin says:

      If that one was too floral for you, doubt you’re going to love this one, sorry! But of course you never know.

  6. scentfromabove says:

    Can’t wait until it hits the states. This is one I wanna try. Does anyone know where I can try a sample?

    • Robin says:

      It’s already here…call your local Hermes boutique and see if they have a tester. Otherwise, it will get to Neiman Marcus eventually, sorry but I don’t know when (it will be in a daily online shopping post when I find it though).

  7. Lucy says:

    Uh oh. Pampelmousse Rose has been on my summertime buy list for awhile. With this being available in 30 ml., I fear I’m a goner.

    • Robin says:

      The 30 ml bottles are unfortunately sometimes hard to find. Hopefully Sephora will get it?

  8. happy888cat says:

    Has it already been 2 years? My, my.
    I also bought my Jour d’Hermes on a whim. I truly bought into the concept and idea of light and luminosity. But after a few wears, I found it to be a little too green and too “celery-ish” on me (my mum sampled it at the counter and the first thing she mentioned was “scallions”) and the lasting power left some to be desired.
    This Absolu is a little more rounder to my nose and as a little more weight to it.
    My favourite though is the Extrait version of Jour D’Hermès. It is much more lasting, less green and more “lush” but like the previous two, it’s never heavy.
    If the original does not quite hit the spot, I say go straight for the Extrait. I know I will be getting a bottle. :)

    • Robin says:

      Scallions, LOL!

      And thanks so much…that’s two votes for Extrait as best version. Wish it were cheaper!

    • nozknoz says:

      happy888cat, I had the same reaction to Jour – that it smelled pretty at first and then started to smell odd.

  9. Merlin says:

    I think I found the absolu too similar to the original which was too abstract for me. Ironically I found the original to have quite good lasting power, in its own chilly way.

    • Robin says:

      It’s true, they’re both abstract. This one is less chilly to me, but it’s still pretty abstract.

  10. Normand says:

    I “ABSOLUtely” agree with everything you say about Jour d’Hermès and the absolu, which is more intense but impossible to distinguish the floral components. I almost wonder if they shouldn’t have come out with the absolu first and then the Jour d’Hermès could have been Jour d’Hermès L’Eau or Eau Fraiche or whatever.

    As for your comment that you would like fragrances to last 4 hours and then disappear… YESSS! I feel the same way although I’ve never stated it publicly for fear of being burned at the stake for heresy. OK.. maybe 6 hours but then… “adios!”. Let me choose to wear nothing at that point or change altogether. As far as I’m concerned, most perfumes outstay their welcome… and isn’t it always the perfumes with mediocre basenotes that linger!

    Great post.


    • Robin says:

      At the very least, they got the release months mixed up. The regular should have come out in late spring instead of December, and this one should have come out in December.

      Glad to find a kindred spirit. Maybe it’s my short attention span, but I don’t want to smell any one perfume longer than 4 hours, and especially hate musks that linger through a shower and into the next day.

  11. Normand says:


    We were separated at birth! ;-)


  12. sunnlitt says:

    I could not get past the ‘rotting grapefruit’ in the beginning of the fragrance. I love fresh grapefruit, but not that.
    And, I LOVED the floral part of the scent. People mentioned how great I smelled. But, it took 45 minutes for that foulness to disappear.
    I wonder if the citrus opening in this version will hit me the same way.
    I sure hope not!!

  13. sabbauer says:

    Hi, we have all three versions in our shop. . So far I like the normal Jour most and found the others not very different, but I will try each with more attention the next days and leave a comment.
    Its a unique fragrance, recognizable very easyly. For me its Lemon Curd, a little more fresh…

    • Robin says:

      I’ve heard the extrait is more recognizably a gardenia scent, do tell us if that’s true!

  14. annemarie says:

    I’m with the folk who find the original Jour too cold and green. Nice at first, but for me there is a bitter heart in Jour that lasts hour after nagging hour. But I’ll try the new one.
    Most unusually for me I have been on an overseas trip for work and I asked for the Absolu in an Hermes boutique in Beijing. They gave me a blank look, and not just because of the language barrier. They just seemed not to have heard of it.

    • Robin says:

      Well, it hasn’t been out that long…maybe they just haven’t got it yet?

  15. meganinstmaxime says:

    I’ve got a small sample of the Absolu and I really like it. It’s not a powerhouse though – the name may be sightly misleading in that way. It’s not a ‘special’ scent but it’s one of those perfumes that is a good everyday wear that you don’t have to think about. I usually go for heavier perfumes and sometimes you just need a break from them. It is very abstract though – lots of bits and pieces in there that are difficult to identify.

    • Robin says:

      At least they didn’t call it Extreme, I guess!

  16. Rappleyea says:

    “…ideally, I’d like a perfume to smell lovely for about 4 hours and then disappear altogether.”

    After a lifetime of “scent-glue” skin, I really, really agree with this. Six hours would be good too, but my perfumes are regularly going strong at bedtime, 14 to 15 hours after application! And even after a shower the next morning, I can smell traces with nose to wrist. I can’t imagine a SOTA or SOTE – unless, of course, I just wait to apply later in the day!

    • Robin says:

      Anything that goes longer than 10 hours starts to worry me…I don’t like to be forced to consider the chemical exposure issues.

  17. beaudelairefleur says:

    Hello NST!

    Having admired your site from afar, I joined today because this fragrance is the first I’ve smelt in a long long time that just does it for me, in every way. Because of that, I’ve written a novella of how I feel about it, sorry Robin (!)

    I’ve just bought this fragrance as I was leaving HoF in Cheltenham… I spied something I hadn’t seen before at Hermes (i hadn’t perfumed shopped for about 2 years) and after spraying it, those who past me wanted to know what it was… I say they were demanding to know (!)

    It’s soft, alluring and mesmerising… a seamless, creamy & utterly beautiful potion of innocent first love – I smell there’s a gentle mist of grapefruit and green tea/rose falling constantly over an oh so light as a feather rose iris, musk, vanilla, light mossy woods…that doesn’t turn into anything too dirty but there’s enough to make you want more, there is a feeling of nostalgia and hope, the first stirrings of lust in here….(!).. the flowers keep caressing my senses like a warm summer by the woods after the rain…. I just want to live in this feeling forever.

    It’s like that beautiful Caleche, the horse and cart, is trotting through a light, sun filled wood, strewn with lightly crushed flowers after the summer rain…sparkling and yet haunting.

    For me, this Absolut feels like it’s the perfect love child of Givenchy’s Eaudemoisselle and YSL’S original brew of In Love Again…. (both are very haunting, nostalgic trips to that summer you first fell in love..) only this Absolut is extremely fine and nothing jolts…. seamless… (on clothes, you will smell it the next day and it’s still as beautiful and dreamy…)

    Some how, Jean Claude Ellen manages to bring together the dryness of Sur le Nil, a little Voyage, a little Hiris and the best bits of Caleche and makes it work…. yes, that’s what I can sense, I have no idea if that’s what is there, because the ingredients have been kept a big big secret… but I think the secret adds to its mysterious beauty.

    • Robin says:

      Novellas are allowed, and so glad you love it so much! And hope you have tried the new Gardenia version, although I like the Absolu better.

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