Friday, July 17, 2009

Scent post: Hermès. Un Jardin Après La Mousson

In winter, as I swaddle my self in cashmere, leather & furs, I like a grown up note to my fragrance. Last year I wore Miller Harris' Nouvelle Editions Jasmine Vert, with the occasional spritz of Chanel Allure, which I have worn for years.

But every summer I switch my scent to something less grown up. As I explained here, Christian Dior's Diorissimo is my signature scent and one that is perfect for summer, but for everyday I want something light as air, that drifts with me rather than calling attention.

When I was in my 90s Calvin phase I wore Escape, with its artificially conceived oceanic notes, a result of the use of the synthetic Calone, which also contributed to the marine notes of L’Eau d’Issey. Calone is not enormously subtle, but it did usher in a new wave of sea breeze fragrances.

I've never lost my liking for those oceanic notes and when I was given a bottle of Hermès' in-house perfumer Jean Claude Ellena's latest work, Un Jardin Après La Mousson, and told by the publicist that its intention was to replicate a Keralan garden after the Monsoon rains, I was enchanted. And hopeful.

Un Jardin Après La Mousson is the third fragrance in the Jardin series created by Ellena for Hermès, after Un Jardin en Méditerrannée and Un Jardin sur le Nil.

In an interview, Ellena said his intention was to create the smell of water: "J’ai vraiment voulu rendre l’odeur de l’eau. Pas une odeur marine, ça, c’est facile, mais l’odeur de l’eau."

When I sprayed it I didn't get (thank goodness) any overly artificial oceanic Calone nose for, as Ellena says above, a marine note would be too easy, but I did get cardamon & cucumber, with a hint of vetiver in the dry down. (The offical notes for the scent are cardamom, coriander, pepper, Kahili ginger, ginger and vetiver accord.) Several reviewers have talked about a cantaloupe melon scent, but I didn't pick this up. The spices notes are very subtle.

It's incredibly light, and dissipates quickly leaving only a suggestion of green, of something vegetal. It's not so much water as an Indian garden drenched in rain. Exactly as the name suggests. I love it.