Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hermès Un Jardin Après la Mousson

Hermès Un Jardin Après la Mousson has been compared to Frederic Malle L'Eau d'Hiver, another creation by Jean-Claude Ellena, but surprisingly, I can wear Un Jardin Après la Mousson and not the other. The difference to me is that Un Jardin Après la Mousson is sweeter and less spicy overall. The first impression I got was that salty wintergreen (salicylate) I associate with many of his creations, but also a cool, yet sweet and juicy watermelon note. Members of my family (like my parents and their parents) have always eaten watermelon sprinkled with salt, which I didn't really understand; like margaritas, I prefer my watermelons unsalted, thank you very much. But I love this perfume. I can smell in it the ginger scent, but it kept the Fruity Floral-Marine character all the way through. In fact, the scent really doesn't change through wear and lasts forever, which is good but also a bit annoying (I like to change scents, or have one change a bit over time). But that's salicylate for you: a long, smooth, consistent ride. I was surprised that I immediately took to this new scent by Hermès--even more amazing because I generally don't like this line of fragrances, as luxurious as it may be. Unlike many others in the line, this new scent isn't too stuffy or powdery (not that I'm against all powders). It's light and clean, sophisticated but easy-going, something I thought I'd never smell: an elegant watermelon perfume. It's aqueous but I would never compare this to Tommy Girl, for instance, because it doesn't smell all that sporty to me. It smells like its name: floral, like a garden, only with enough watermelon slices for everyone.

The sillage is huge and carries across a room, yet it never overwhelms because it's so light and transparent. I know this scent is supposed to let us imagine a garden after the Indian summer monsoon (it's the third creation in the Jardin series following Sur le Nil and Méditeranée), but to me, it's salty and oceanic, the smell of beach air. Even with a hint of carrots in the scent, I can tolerate it--it's sweet like carrot juice. I love it, Fred loves it (and it is a shared fragrance between men and women), and so I think this mutual favorite new perfume of 2008 is going to be our next investment, just in time for the end of summer. I hope I don't tire of it too quickly, though. I generally don't do well over the longterm with overly salicylic fragrances. (Edited to add) I just bought it - it's my new favorite. Thank you, JCE!

The carded sample has many translations of the description of the scent. In Japanese, it's described (loosely translated) as follows: "passionate ginger and sweet gingerlily flowers, smooth coolness of spices (清涼感 - so I'm right about the wintergreen, yes?) and fresh vetiver (the word "fresh" here is みずみずしい "mizumizushii", a word closer to "dewy", often used to describe beauty, especially to describe youthful skin brimming with moisture). A fragrance that lets you imagine the passion of the blowing breeze, then the calmness following after." It sounds like a bipolar scent, but I'm OK with that.