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April 07, 2011

Hermes Un Jardin sur le Toit : Fragrance Review


Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars--outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars--very good, 3 stars--adequate, 2 stars--disappointing, 1 star--poor.

With Un Jardin sur le Toit, Hermès in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena recreates not just the scent of wet soil, green leaves and flower buds, but the joyful atmosphere of a garden party. There is something joyful and vivacious about this newest fragrance from Hermès which is inspired by roof top gardens. While the composition plays with some interesting green apple and mossy-woody ideas, it essentially reads as a crisp, sheer rose on the skin.

The first few minutes of Un Jardin sur le Toit are all about the effervescence of green and aromatic notes. Then the initial sparkling freshness of verdant basil leaves and grass slowly turns into the mouthwatering, juicy impression of a green apple and pear. While the fruity accord is an obvious one, it is rendered as an abstract idea, rather than as the photorealistic fruit salad that we see on every single fragrance counter. As I wear Un Jardin sur le Toit, I find that its fruity-floral orchestration oscillates beautifully between sheer petals and tart fruit flesh--jasmine becomes a green apricot, rose turns into a lychee and violet suggests raspberries. The balance of fruit and flowers in Un Jardin sur le Toit is similar to Hermès Rose Ikebana and Yves Saint Laurent In Love Again (rose-rhubarb marriage,) while the sheer, delicate outlines of the composition place it in line with other fragrances from Les Jardins series (Un Jardin en Méditeranée, Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, and Un Jardin Après La Mousson.)

Although I very much enjoy the idea of Un Jardin sur le Toit, I find it unexciting to wear and lacking the comparatively strong character of the previous Les Jardins. Moreover, as time goes on, Un Jardin sur le Toit loses its charm, and the flatness of soft woods and vetiver wrapped in musk makes it rather less enchanting than the initial brilliance might suggest. While the fragrance gives its wearer a pleasant aura, it is quite ephemeral. After a couple of hours, I cannot detect much on the skin other than a whisper of musk, moss, vetiver and tart fruit. Die-hard fans of Jean-Claude Ellena’s crystalline style will find it lovely, while those of us who prefer more voluptuous compositions might find Un Jardin sur le Toit too ethereal and pale.

Hermès Un Jardin sur le Toit includes notes of apple, pear, magnolia, rose and green herbs. It has been launched at Hermès boutiques; wider distribution will follow later this spring.

Sample: my own acquisition



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