Hermes Rocabar ~ fragrance review

Hermès wool horse rugs

A fragrance for wanderers drawn to wide-open spaces. — Jean-Claude Ellena1

During my Now Smell This years, many men have written me asking for a review of Hermès Rocabar.2 I’m wary! I assume the guys writing me love Rocabar; what if I don’t? In that case would Rocabar fans prefer I keep quiet? Hermès is one of my favorite perfume houses so why was Rocabar unknown to me? Maybe I tried it ages ago and didn’t like it? Was it just a case of Fate — Rocabar and I always just out of each other’s reach? But last week, at the Hermès boutique inside my local Nordstrom, there was an easy-to-sniff tester bottle of Rocabar and I finally wore it. (This review is based on the current Rocabar formula; I assume late-1990s Rocabar was different).

Hermès says the name ‘Rocabar’ is a “contraction of ‘rug’ and the French words ‘à barres’ meaning striped.” Rocabar…

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Hermes Muguet Porcelaine ~ fragrance review

lily of the valley

“There’s so much subtlety in lily-of-the-valley that I’ve often dreamed of sublimating it. I dived right into its fragrance in order to reproduce the beauty and supply voluptuous quality of this flower which is fragile as porcelain.” Jean-Claude Ellena

Muguet Porcelaine is the latest to join the Hermessence range at Hermès, and the choice of subject, lily of the valley, was something of a surprise, to me at least.1 Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena widely cites perfumer Edmond Roudnitka as his mentor, and Roudnitska, of course, made Diorissimo, surely (if you think otherwise, don’t tell me) the reference lily of the valley.2 It struck me as highly unlikely that Ellena would wade into those same waters, so I was expecting a sort of meditation on lily of the valley, not really a soliflore or even something I’d necessarily recognize as lily of the valley.3

But no, surprise surprise, what we have here is exactly what the name suggests…

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5 perfumes: iris fragrances for spring

Iris sanguinea

Spring is still tentative where I live — we’ve had a few lovely days here and there, but plenty of days where there’s still a decent chill in the air. If you’re like me, you’ll do your best to pretend it’s sunny and 70 degrees even when it’s not, so it’s time to put away your darker, richer iris perfumes and reach for lighter, happier variations on the theme. Below are my five favorites for spring, and if you missed them, do see my list of iris picks for summer, iris picks for fall and iris picks for winter. Next up: a year of vetiver.

Do add your own picks in the comments…

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