24 FAUBOURG by HERMÈS (1995)

Usually, when I went back to England for the spring or summer holidays I would always have some perfume in my suitcase to hand out to my mother and friends. It was a tradition: get back to the familiar surroundings of my parents’ house, unpack, and hand out the goodies; vintage Chanel extraits, Jacomo Parfum Rare, old Guerlain bottles to decorate the bathroom. Before 9/11, I would also frequently send lavishly decorated packages in the post filled with perfume, CD compilations, letters, strange artefacts; but once the rules changed and prohibitions came into place, all that was over. It is strange to think that it is now impossible for me to do any of these things.

One perfume I randomly gifted my mum one summer in England was 24, Faubourg by Hermès, a smooth and lustrous creation by the brilliant Maurice Roucel (Iris Silver Mist; Tocade; Insolence); a very perfumey perfume in its homogenised richness and glamour, with no obvious stray notes or beginnings and endings, and which I have always quite liked for its flawless construction but never quite loved – to me there is an emotional opacity to this scent that can almost come across as mindless; even if that shielding quality – a dependable and semi-elegant armour – is exactly what probably makes the perfume so enduringly popular.

With its warm, salted ambergris and vanilla finish profused generously with deliberately controlled lashings of vetiver and tuberose/orange blossom over adult jasmine, this glowing and undoubtedly very sexy perfume is to me always reminiscent of that other inimitable glamourpuss of the previous decade, Giorgio by Giorgio Beverly Hills: just Francofied and given a more dignified makeover. It is distinctly wearable; versatile, and subtly, animally feminine in a way that most contemporary perfumes never achieve, although I find it personally slightly wearing if I am in too much regular contact with it ( I just can’t find any chinks of light). Still, this was a surprise hit for my mum, who garnered more compliments when wearing 24 Faubourg than almost any other perfume she wears – the hairdresser was all over it; others have commented on positively it as well, and it has now become part of her repertoire. I don’t know if I have ever smelled it on her, personally (she usually wears First or No 22 vintage parfum when they pick me up at the airport) but now I finally have another bottle that I found at an antiques store, which I will be hopefully taking back with me and giving to her, on some future, as yet unspecified date.

34 Comments

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34 responses to “24 FAUBOURG by HERMÈS (1995)

  1. Cath

    I absolutely love 24, Faubourg. It used to be my signature scent for 7 or 8 years. People would ask me what I’m wearing, and if they could please also buy and wear it 😄
    I still have a few bottles and when I wear it it feels so familiar, a well known and loyal friend.

  2. I have had that perfume for years in every form. At one time I wore it a lot. About a year ago, I started wearing it again, but there was something about it, which I couldn’t describe, that would just leave me cold. Your post perfectly described the feeling that I could never put in words and makes me want to try it again to see if I feel deferently about it now.

    • I wonder. Perhaps you have outgrown each other? For me 24 Faubourg is definitely a finite pleasure. I do think it is good though.

      • I also think that much as I admire Maurice Roucel’s perfumes in some ways for their wide orchestrations and sense of deep finish- Insolence etc – they are never ENTIRELY digestible. Musc Ravageur, for example. There is always something odd at the centre of them. Even Rochas Tocade, which I do like, is slightly nauseating after a while. Does anyone have any theories on this?

      • Liz

        I’ve noticed that about Diptyque fragrances. Most all
        Of them have something I don’t like about them that unifies them. Oyedo and the 34’s are exceptions to that for me.

      • I know what you mean about Diptyque. Something a bit ‘rasping’ and dry. I do like them though overall.

  3. Liz

    I had bought my Mother Mon Paris, J’Adore oil,
    L’eau de Jimmy Choo and a Coach fragrance. She liked Narciso and Angel. Every perfume smelled really nice
    on her! I used to call her my elegant little French lady
    whenever she wore Mon Paris. She also really loved
    Óscar de la Renta!

    • I love that. I have to say though, that the Coach fragrance is literally the worst perfume I have ever smelled. I remember sniffing it and being AMAZED at how much I utterly detested it. Such a mess! I reckon this Hermes would be much nicer.

      • Liz

        I bought a Coach fragrance from about 3 years ago.
        It is very floral and light. I don’t care for the new one.

      • Perhaps I am thinking of another one: the horrendous mishmash of everything and the kitchen sink that I smelled was astounding.

      • Liz

        You are too sweet! Sadly, Giorgio never smelled good on me! Have you ever smelled Prada Candy Gloss? I got a lot of compliments on that. I’m just not sure I can stand smelling like that all day . A
        Sephora reviewer described it as cherry cough syrop.
        Most accurate description to me!

      • I actually do really like that perfume and strangely was smelling it yesterday in an electronics shop that just happens to have a perfume section: I was semi tempted to invest, even if ultimately those Prada perfumes are just slightly too sweet I think. The caramelised benzoin note is attractive/repulsive to me: I couldn’t stand it in large doses, to be sure.

  4. Robin Wright

    I used to love 24 Faubourg. I bought it when it first launched and worn it often for about 3 or 4 years, then suddenly my taste changed and I was no longer enamored. It’s a wonderful perfume, beautifully composed, and I do love orange blossom. As much as I enjoyed it, though, 24 Faubourg never moved me. The perfumes I love the most (usually vintage) I feel an emotional connection with them. They either remind me of myself in some way, or stir up feelings of a past part of my life. For me to love a fragrance it has to somehow resonate with me. 24 Faubourg never did, though I can admire and appreciate it.

  5. Giorgio by Giorgio Beverly Hills was my mom’s signature scent in the last decades of her life. Thus traumatized by that nuclear tuberose as a teen, it took me years to realize I wore white florals as well as she did.
    24, Faubourg by Hermès is the only thing Hermès I like & own. Although, as you said it can be a bit smothering with constant use. Bu like your mom, I receive many compliments when I wear it!

    • It’s a hot number! ‘Thus traumatized by that nuclear tuberose as a teen’: …god. I love Giorgio in small doses for the nostalgia, but once I followed a woman up the mountain where I live, and I swear, she was at least half a mile ahead of me and I could hold on to her scent trail as though it were a rope in the air. INCREDIBLY strong. Can you see any similarities with Faubourg? I definitely can.

  6. Tara C

    I wore 24 Faubourg and Calèche back around the same time my mom and I were wearing Giorgio. It doesn’t feel like « me » any more but I still enjoy sniffing it from time to time. I keep a bottle around just for Nostalgia.

  7. Lucky Mama Chapman! To receive this as a gift, not once, but twice. Interesting that you compare it with the audacious Giorgio Beverley Hills. I’m a big fan of that one, too, but would never have connected the two.

  8. Robin

    Ran to put on some of my vintage 24 Faubourg (six bucks at the thrift store many years ago), pooh-poohing in advance your connection with Giorgio. But no! You are right. Wow. Enormously. And I think that’s why I recoiled a bit when I first sniffed it after coming home from the thrift store; I’d been thinking along the crisp, cool, restrained lines of Caleche and it hit me with its hot, stale breath of sweet amber and cloying orange blossom. I think it’s something that Ivanka Trump would wear. Lounging on a white sofa, leopard print on the pillows, ornate gold-framed mirror behind. Paris meets Dallas. And yet, I do appreciate it. (Amber and I have a bit of a testy relationship, especially triangulated with white flowers and animalics.) I will never love it. Speaking of which (big white animalic floral), I thought I’d put on some Jardins de Bagatelle edp on the other hand for comparison. Whoah. Compared to 24 F., the Guerlain seems spare, dry, with a green-leathery gardenia and narcissus note I’ve never before isolated so clearly. It’s actually rather fabulous.

    • It is ABSOLUTELY fabulous, and I can’t live without it, even though I can’t pull it off: for me it has the best sillage of all time which is why I opened my book with it.

      ‘Paris meets Dallas’. Genius. YES. Caleche is inimitably French and genuinely elegant: I have had some pristine vintage parfums that are absurdly beautiful (and that work well on my skin): 24 Faubourg is more like an accessory to me: a smell.

    • Probably, Giorgio is less vulgar than we imagine on closer inspection, and 24 Faubourg more. Orange blossom in a woody vanilla context always has that effect for me. But the indelible – I imagine synthetic – ambergris note that lines the bottom of Faubourg ‘raises’ it all somehow and gives that almost cool suavity that the perfume undoubtedly possesses .

  9. I bought this as soon as it came out, back in the 90’s, and have loved it since. I had not worn it in a few years, and even lent my bottle to a dear friend, but that all changed in the autumn of 2017.
    In November of 2017, Nate had a conference to attend in Las Vegas, I always go with him when he travels, but this time was different, my Mama had just passed away a couple of months prior, in August. As you can imagine I was very emotionally wrecked, but I loved Las Vegas, from our previous (first) visit the year prior, 2016, so I thought it would do me good to get away.
    What I did not count on was being reminded the whole time I was there, that the prior year I called my Mama all the day long to tell her what I was doing, eating, shows we were seeing, etc… So from the time we arrived, and there was no Mama left to call, I was very emotional. I know I had brought an array of fragrance with me, which I always do when traveling, but not a one seemed to bring me much comfort on the first night there. The next morning, being quite down and filled with thoughts of Mama, I went into Sephora and looked around. For some reason I was drawn to 24 Faubourg, so I spritzed myself liberally. I had not worn this fragrance in more than a few years, and I do not know if it was something Mama might have liked, but it brought me the most intense level of comfort you could imagine. I asked them to make me a sample, which they generously made me a few, and for the rest of our time there it was all I wore.
    It surely was not a cure all; whenever the fountains at the Bellagio, where we were staying, would play the song My Heart Will Go On (for the fountain show), I would become a total wreck, but 24 Faubourg would provide so much comfort, it would prevent me from being a sobbing mess the whole time there.
    Since that time, I asked my friend if I could have my bottle back, and I have purchased many vintage bottles as back-up. The scent to me is the most soothing and relaxing fragrance you could imagine. It really is like nothing else. So for me it is a much different experience, it is instant comfort and cocooning.

    • This is a fascinating, if emotive, story to read. And it is amazing that it correlates with what I was saying – that it is like some kind of armour. You bring out that aspect very strongly here: it is definitely very comforting, as though it just wraps around you and cuts out the wind.

      I know it was an incredibly hard time for you, and the pain will still be there, but it is at least some comfort that certain things in life can still become some sort of balm. xxx

  10. JulienFromDijon

    The “best” 24 Faubourg is the early EDP.
    It’s the EDP with “eau de parfum” carved on the metallic neck.
    It’s the one praised by Kafkaesque.

    I have yet to test the current EDP.
    I’ve got semi-old EDT.
    Old extrait. (It’s not very worth it. It has a bit more of magnolia leaf, but with a weird toothpaste dissonance at start. It’s Maurice Roucel signature ingredient. Vintage tocade does the trick better).

    The old EDP starts as a potent synthetic ylang-ylang, or yellow floral. Then 15mn later it mellows to a wonderful, and rich, and regal orange blossom accord. It’s strange how the stuff is more potent than most extrait, it’s also worth every penny.
    (About Giorgio : I never caught what made it special. Maybe I never got my hand on a true old one.)

    The late extrait is not worth it. (Even if I may fall for an extrait tester bottle of it. It’s hard to resist 50ml of extrait at discount price)
    It’s like a Chamade extrait, with a few rosy magnolia leaf detail that get drown very quickly. It doesn’t breath. The present Chamade extrait is very good, since it’s late 2017 reformulation. I don’t hold the reformulation during the Jean-Claude Elena era as good, except for “eau d’hermès”, and it’s flattened “Calèche soie de parfum”.

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