JUST A GLIMPSE……… DOBLIS by HERMES (1955 : 2004)






Reorchestrated in 2004 in a strictly limited edition batch of 1000 (extortionately expensive) worldwide bottles, I found myself one day in the Tokyo Marunouchi Hermès boutique panicking:  racking my brains financially and deliberating whether there was any feasible way in which I could possibly buy one. Rarity. Preciousness. Utter exclusivity. Standing there on the shelf, before me:  peerless and irreproachable, and one of the only bottles left in Japan; a mythical gazelle, about to disappear quietly, but forever, behind the leaves….


Though a modern reworking of a timelessly classic genre,  as soon as I smelled this beauty by genius perfumer Guy Robert (Madame Rochas, Dioressence) I knew that it was one of the most superb aldehydic florals I had ever smelled.  Victoria from Bois De Jasmin – and this woman certainly knows her perfume -cites this as her all time favourite scent. Now I understood why: it was like a dream. All the perfume’s notes were truly glass-like, crystallized, effulgent, clear –  a moment in history brought to life. I had never smelled the original, but I could imagine that this formula had possibly even been improved upon by the perfumer’s son, Francois Robert: divinely eliding past and present with no budgetary restrictions , cutting out fust and extraneity and reviving the formula to the most sublime proportions within his artistic grasp: a grand, fresh cut-flower bouquet of green florist flowers; sparkling, delicious neo-classical aldehydes, and a gentle, soft-wood finish of tender, tactile calf-skin leather. I was stunned, moved even, desperate to have it, though I knew that it was impossible. Doblis was the perfume equivalent of the Venus De Milo, angelically dignified and love-inducting: as beautiful and stainless as  Calèche, but played on celeste.




Filed under Floral Aldehydes, Flowers

34 responses to “JUST A GLIMPSE……… DOBLIS by HERMES (1955 : 2004)

  1. Review by Bois De Jasmin

    I wish I had found a way to buy it!

    • No I am torturing myself! I couldn’t possibly afford it (500 dollars) no matter how I tried to wing it. It suddenly struck me, also, actually, that I have MET the person – Francois Robert – that did the reorchestration. It was at an event at Les Senteurs in London two years ago, and he was talking about this new niche brand, whose name I can’t remember tellingly, but I was also raving on about Caleche and how much I loved it, and also his own tribute – Apogee – we got on well,actually, as I was the perfume maniac who got his allusions and examples (“Oh, you mean Paco Rabanne’s La Nuit?” and so on). I have a photo somewhere of us talking. I should put it up later as a post. I love his Rose De Rosine – so the perfumed talent definitely got passed down.

      • You’re torturing all of us, then!
        More so, telling us you had a conversation with François Robert. I see he’s been doing interesting things for Bex London and Friedemodin, although distribution seems limited.
        It’s easy to rave on about Caleche (assuming you mean vintage). At least that’s (relatively) accessible. You drove me crazy with your magnificent description of Doblis. Five hundred dollars seems positively reasonable for all that.

      • Well considering that I recently spent a thousand on Madonna (because I had to), I suppose it does. But I am just a teacher and am not rich, and that point, near the end of the month, it was impossible.

        Bex London was the launch I attended, actually. They were fine – each perfume representing one area of London in that niche kind of way – but I still haven’t reviewed them. Talking to him, though, was very interesting – like having direct access to the soul behind Caleche. J’adore ca.

  2. cookie queen

    I just received this as a gift. ❤️

  3. Having direct access to the soul behind Caleche. Wow. Just thinking how that would be a dream come true: to somehow magically be able to talk with all the great perfumers of every era. I wonder who would be at the top of your list? I think for starters I would love to meet Jacques Guerlain and go from there!

    • Jacques Guerlain is god, no doubt. I can hardly think of anyone else, though the creator of No 19, Henri Robert -same name no relation, would intrigue me and possibly come second. I find the original of that perfume the most interesting in terms of anti intuitive juxtapositions: ylang ylang and galbanum with neroli for example, in the top. The macho of the base – the leather and vetiver -DIVINE, my signature – but also the resplendent iris at the heart. Utterly unique. How do you start making something like that?

      • Your experience of No 19 mirrors my own. I have vintage parfum and edt in excellent nick (I’m astonished at how profoundly good a “mere” eau de toilette can be) and have that same, almost kaleidoscopic, experience. Things go back and forth, in and out of awareness, sometimes pairing up or coming in threes or fours, and for me, always returning to that exquisite orris that seems fresher the longer its on the skin as the other notes soften and mellow. Yes, I would like to ask Henri Robert how it came to pass . . .

      • The difference between that, and the current atrocity, is one of the worst examples, if not THE worst example, of a perfume being totally destroyed by reformulation. Sometimes I try the new version at Duty Free on the way somewhere and am conned by the first ten minutes or so and then realize that NOTHING of what I love about it remains in the base. The base! THAT base! It gets better and better and better as the day goes on: my favourite time is about 12 hours in with the parfum and it just encircles me like my soul, but without, rather than within. SO good. SUCH (forgive the capitals) pure and wonderful raw materials…….sigh.

  4. I think I would also like to talk with François Coty and the Ernests: Daltroff and Beaux. For a start. My heart rate has actually increased at the thought.

    • I agree: those two would be divine. I actually have a real thing for Caron. Perfume IS a heart racer – it is totally thrilling.

      • I would love to go to the Caron shop in Paris.

        If I had never smelled vintage No 19 I wouldn’t terribly mind the current formulation, although I wouldn’t like it enough to own it. But comparing the two? As you say, destruction. I would say vintage Miss Dior and whatever the current one is called, since Miss Dior now was Miss Dior Cherie then ($&^@#!), is another egregious act . . . Dior has botched their stuff. Another crap reformulation of theirs is Diorling.
        Mind you, Caron, our beloved Caron, has annihilated much of its lineup as well, so.

        Must not start sinking into despair.

      • Actually I have a piece I was thinking about doing about my experience of the Carons in Ginza the other day. I felt hope.

  5. P.S. I wonder what Ernest would say about it all.

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