Rocabar by Hermès {Perfume Review & Musings} {Men's Cologne of the Week}


Rocabar by Hermès was launched in 1998. It was the house's fifth's men's cologne after Eau D'Hermès (1951), Equipage (1970), Eau d'Orange Verte (1979), and Bel-Ami (1986). It had a limited distribution in the US.

The perfume was created by nose Gilles Romey who is also the composer for Eau de Rochas pour Homme, Jil Sander Jil, Hermès 24, Faubourg Eau Délicate, Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit.

Rocabar is inspired, like many of their other products, by an equine theme in keeping with Hermès' roots as a saddlery when it was first established in 1837. In this case the perfume's name has an interesting popular etymology directly derived from the history of the house. "Rocabar" today designates their famous safron, indigo, and red horse blanket. According to WWD, "Jean-Louis Dumas Hermes, chairman, reported that the name came about when British saddle makers visiting Hermes in the 1930s called the combed-wool blanket a "rug a barres" (striped rug). Over time, the name evolved into "Rocabar.".....

The flacon comes wrapped in a piece of Rocabar blanket and the bullet-like shape of the cap is inspired by a polo player's helmet. The packaging was designed by Serge Mansau.

Rocabar has top notes of juniper berries, cedar leaves and lavender-nut and nutmeg-cinnamon accords. The heart has notes of cyprus from Italy and two types of cedars. Base notes are Canadian fir trees and vanilla pods. 

The scent starts with a sharp herbal aromatic impression with discreetly fruity and berry undertones. It then becomes more resinous, balsamic, as well as takes on a subtle hazy quality due to orris. Green violet accents appear on a background of soft woods. A musky, boozy, and apple-smelling accord adds masculinity to the mix evoking the personality of a man who lives hard and loves to confront himself with the natural elements from time to time. A warm dry crackling amber further adds virility to the scent.

Then, there is a shift in the atmosphere and a certain silence settles on the scent as a sort of white, mute smell colors it. The perfume is then softened down by a transparent wood effect evoking the tonality of a white mist rising up from damp earth on the border of a wood filled with dark trees.

The perfume is dry, yet soft, with a damp humus effect. One can point out that Rocabar is a men's scent illustrative of the "nouvelle fraîcheur" (new freshness) recent tradition developed by Eternity for Men (1989) that is, that its refreshing aspect is not based on citrus notes but on a transparent accord that is "...mild and clean and remains on the skin"

Rocabar despite its modern lineage bears a classic stamp. It is an elegant masculine scent with a strong personality and an understated slightly rugged type of sensuality. The image of the "strong silent type" used by Hermès to describe its ideal wearer is adequate. Would one want a man to smell like Rocabar? Definitely, yes and then one would not dream of stealing his perfume - it is too virile - unless one wanted to be reminded of him.

You can find Rocabar at many online discounters.

Related Posts

4 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. The sucker for fresh and vivid descriptions of nature that I am, you must know that I enjoyed this review as much as I do the scent itself! Although I prefer the mossy floralcy of Bel Ami, I find myself reaching for my sample of Rocabar whenever I feel like something transparent yet soothing. It does feel like a second skin.
    Great review, M-H!

  2. This stuff is amazing. I am a big fan of all the Carons for men - but Hermes is right up there. Hermes makes the best for men perfumes. Bel Ami rocks and Equipage is a classic. Rocabar might be the best out there. Very unique, powerful, and smells so high quality. No cheap scents by Hermes.

    jude c
  3. Hi Helene,
    I just discovered a website that takes other people's content including mine, and I found one of your articles (the aforementioned one) among the material they have taken without permission:

    Just thought that you might like to know.

  4. cool

    oussama ait zeouay

Leave a Comment