The Hermès flagship boutique on Madison Avenue is the epitome of a luxury boutique, with all the requisite elements: a doorman to greet you, a hushed ambience, a richly furnished interior, and an extremely well dressed clientele. The fragrance counter is stationed between shelves and cases displaying ties, briefcases, and leather-bound appointment books, and nearby spiral staircases lead to upper and lower levels, where customers are examining and — mirabile dictu! — even purchasing scarves and Birkin bags.
Once you are able to focus on the fragrances, you will notice that they are available in a complete range of concentrations, matching body products, and elegant presentation sets. If you ask to sniff any of the fragrances, you will be offered a strip of grosgrain ribbon spritzed with scent; no mere paper blotters here! You might just want to purchase a bottle of Eau des Merveilles while soaking up some of the Hermès atmosphere, since it’s definitely a different experience than a visit to Sephora. But this is also the place to pick up a petite, gilded phial of 24 Faubourg parfum; a giant splash bottle of Rocabar; or hard-to-find variations on Hermès’ classic scents, such as Eau d’Orange Douce and Rouge Eau Delicate. Many fragrances are also available in coffrets of four travel-size bottles, which condense Hermes’s timeless style and fine workmanship into an easily portable package.
Current best seller: Kelly Calèche
Not to be missed: The “Hermessences,” a series of fragrances (seven, at the time of this report) created by the brand’s house perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena. They are exclusive to Hermès boutiques. At the Madison Avenue shop, they are displayed under softly flashing lights in their own sleek wooden display case.
Details: 691 Madison Avenue (at 62nd St.), NY 10021; 212-751-3181; website.
Nearby: Barneys (Madison Ave. at 61st St.), Bond no. 9 (680 Madison Ave.), Etro (720 Madison Ave.), Chanel (737 Madison Ave.), Bergdorf Goodman (Fifth Ave. at 58th St.)
— images and report filed by Jessica M.
See also: Perfume Stores in New York City