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So far I’ve tried two fragrances from the Hermes jardin line: un jardin sur le nil and un jardin en mediterranee. Both fragrances open with a blast of bright, clean citrus and immediately one can understand that these are sibling composition. The perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena, has cleverly crafted beautiful outdoor scenery full of depth and hidden treasures.
Un jardin sur le nil begins by presenting a beautiful green mango (with grapefruit) that dominates the composition. After 5-30 minutes on the skin, other aspects of the garden politely appear; most notably a holographic carrot flickers in and out. As the plants in the garden start to fade out, the base of musky-incense takes over and the floral aspect gains power.
Un jardin en mediterranee opens with citrus and beautiful, sweet evergreen. The fig is noticeable, but not remarkable. What is remarkable is the ghost of a salty sundrenched tomato permeating the entire garden. Although it takes longer for this composition to fade down (almost 2 hours), the remaining base notes are very similar those of a jardin sur le nil.
There is no denying Ellena’s genius; I can close my eyes and feel the sun and the gentle breeze in the salty air. My main issue with both jardins is how the fragrance develops over time on the skin. In both cases, the garden falls apart in an hour or two and all we are left with is a generic musky-perfume base. The garden is in perfect harmony when tested on paper ($) and this is usually a good sign that development on the skin will be either linear or result in disjointed decomposition. Both fragrances display characteristics of the latter, making the experience a little disappointing. I prefer un jardin en mediterranee because I love evergreen notes and I wonder if the addition of the woody basenotes of cedar could extend the dry down.
Un jardin sur le nil: 2.5/5
Un jardin en mediterranee: 3.5/5
16th October, 2012