Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Hermes Un Jardin sur la Lagune: fragrance review

In old novels, in the time of Balzac and thereabouts (as I have written in detail before), or even prior to that time, there is the well-known trope of the poor relative, usually female, who receives the second hand clothes of their elders and betters in social status, with the acceptance of keen appreciation of their circumstances. Governesses, school mistresses, nurses, or beneficiaries of a small income of a few pounds or francs a year, thanks to the generosity and sense of due of an almost unknown yet benevolent antecedent. In the world of perfumes, this situation is usual and usually ignites the same condescending acceptance: "close, but no cigar; divested of the elements which make the original truly flamboyant or plush, bon pour l'Orient."

via

It's with great pleasure that I found out that Un Jardin sur la Lagune by Hermes (a spring 2019 launch) is an exception to that scenario. One of my favourite and closest to heart fragrances, Lys Méditerranée by perfumer Edouard Fléchier for the niche brand of Frédéric Malle, has a little cousin; one who does not ape the greater one, nor does it deign to wear the elder's hand-me-downs, Un Jardin sur la Lagune by Hermes.

An abstract feeling of petals from flowers of another dimension, of champaca and bliss, unfolds into space like cones which embraces with arms opens wide, with the piquant joy of citrusy touches and the blissful cocoon of white musk.


In Un Jardin sur la Lagune, inspired by a secret Venetian garden which Christine Nagel, in-house perfumer for Hermes, discovered thanks to the writings of a blogger, the feeling of solace and silent contentment is palpable.

The scent of far away algae is delicate in Un Jardin sur la Lagune yet there, the salty water which hits the lonely craggy shore or the foundations of an old building immersed into the water, possesses that sort of introspection, a very humane sense of disorganisation and an ironic look on the state of the Human Condition that even Balzac would be jealous of.

Les Jardins series in the Hermes portfolio is a line of easy and lightweight fragrances which began its course in 2003 with Un Jardin sur la Méditerranée, the impression of a mediterranean garden where people nibble on freshly cut figs. Next came Un Jardin sur le Nil (2005), inspired by a trip to Assouan, in Egypt; then Un Jardin apres la Mousson (2008), evoking the watery landscape of Kerala, India, after the passing of the monsoon; Un Jardin sur le Toit (2011), inspired by the war-time garden on the terrace of the flagship Hermes boutique in Paris, and Le Jardin de Monsieur Li (2015), a minty citrus evoking a special eastern garden. 
All prior Jardin fragrances have been composed by legendary perfumer Jean Claude Ellena (an interview of whom I had the honour of taking HERE), and therefore Un Jardin sur la Lagune is Christine Nagel's first entry in the series. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Cerruti 1881: fragrance review

The realm of soapy fragrances is huge, probably because "cleanliness is next to godliness" in several cultures. Therefore buying at least one fragrance that would prolong that feeling of freshness and would broadcast one's good intentions and respectability all around is probably necessary in an inclusive and nuanced fragrance wardrobe.

Fenella Chudoba by Zhang Jingna via

Within this vast field there is a spectrum: some soapy nuances come from fatty aldehydes, accounting for classic aldehydic florals like Chanel no.5 and Arpege, some come with powdery accents like Caleche, while some with their own dry but at the same time soothing, innocent elements. Cerruti 1881 belongs to this latter category with "flour de lin" its signature core note, as per perfumer Claire Cain.

The note of chamomile is the dominant one, however, throughout Cerruti 1881 For Women, a soothing note of German chamomile tisane, almost soporific, though the dryness of the composition retains it from becoming too juvenile and keeps it in the adult world.  Herbal without being green or aromatic, it projects like an imaginary linen flower, tactile and smooth.
A section of iris projects starchy and ironed, like a shirt that has been pressed, while the accompanying, powerful note of mimosa is that touch of innocence that prolongs the feeling of the chamomile. Mimosa has light heliotrope-like and honeyed-sugared aspects, and it naturally includes farnesol which acts as an insect pheromone within the blossom, but as a fixative and floralizer in perfumery. It almost gives a linden tree impression, which further reinforces the soothing properties of chamomile.

In short, it's hard to be seen as dangerous in something like Cerruti 1881, but its dry elegance makes it a suitable fragrance for innocuous occasions and office wear. Its light, starched florals quality makes for an easy like from most people.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

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