A new kid arrived to the designer block in Vancouver (Burrard @ Alberni): Un Jardin Après la Mousson, turning the recurring Hermes garden theme into a trilogy. Three reasons lead me to try it out today:
Knowing that it’s not widely available makes me feel obligated to try it for all of those who can’t; The division in opinions as per the reviews on MUA (although there are only 4 for now) peaked my curiousity – making it look like a love-or-hate scent; And finally, the very hot weather in the last couple of days, which made it an ideal condition for a Jean-Claude Ellena scent that is said to include some “cool spices”.
I visited the Hermes boutique this afternoon, right after getting out of the swimming pool into the very hot and humid Vancouver air (a rare phenomenon, if I may add). Perfect time to try one of Ellena’s scents, which are known for their subtle silage.
Un Jardin Après la Mousson stroke me at first as yet another peppery-dry Elena scent (similar to recent creations, such as Osmanthe Yunnan, Paprika Brazil and Kelly Caleche). It seemed indistinct in that context for the first 2 seconds. And than came a surprise (well, not quite surprising because earlier reviews of the scent suggested note in that direction; yet still the effect was quite strange): this is neither watermelon nor melon, but rather – a ripe, juicy cantaloupe. Think of what it would smell like if you were just popping a fresh slice of Trident’s Watermelon Twist sugarfree gum into your mouth while spraying Omsanthe Yunnan all over yourself and you’ll understand just exactly what I’m talking about (Alternatively, try Bvlgari’s Eau Parfumee Au The Vert, if you can’t get a hold of Osmanthe Yunnan for this curious experiment).
I have to admit I'm a bit puzzled by the commitment to fruity notes throughout the "Jardin Trio" (green fig in Un Jardin de Mediterrane; green mango in un Jardin Sur le Nil; and now the ripe cantaloupe in Un Jardin Après la Mousson). Oddly enough, I found myself enjoying this cantaloupe note today, in this context. It was out of place but somehow, but it worked. Perhaps it is just the sun stroke talking, and tomorrow I will sober up (I don’t remember myself ever going gaga over any other melony scent besides Le Parfum de Therese, and the cantaloupe here is an olfactory caricature of the fruit).
The cantaloupe note does not linger for very much longer, and we move back into a vague floral and spicy territory. I’ve never smelled ginger flower before so the fact I didn’t recognize it at the heart means nothing. I can’t even say I smell any floral note at the heart. The abstract veil of cool spices is what predominates, fresh ginger and dusty pepper in particular; and whatever it is in the base that maintains it on the skin shares a something with vetiver as it is indeed cooling.
Like so many of Elena’s creations, Un Jardin Après la Mousson can be described as sparse, sheer, thin, gauze or veil-like and abstract. If you are not a fan of this style or approach you probably will not enjoy it very much. As much as I try to appreciate scents like that (and grew to be able to enjoy them for my personal use on several occasions), I find it very foreign to me and my flamboyant and dramatic Mediterranean upbringing. Something in me always searches for something deeper at the root of the scent; and in Elena’s perfumes I can’t find that, which results in me feeling like I’m hanging in mid-air like a big question mark awaiting and answer that will never come.
Top notes: Pepper, Ginger, Coriander, Cantaloupe
Heart notes: Ginger Flower
Base notes: Vetiver
The scent is available in a variety of forms (including a limited edition dry oil), in Hermes boutiques around the world.
Want to read what others think of this fragrance? Visit:
Now Smell This
Bois de Jasmin
The Scented Salamander