It is official. The final chapter in the Jardin fragrance series by the historical house of Hermes is inspired by a garden redolent of in house perfumer Jean Claude Ellena's favorite flower: jasmine. The flower he grew up with (Jean Claude was taken as a child alongside the family, working with the workers, for the dawn picking of the lush white blossoms which smelled halfway between flower and flesh, as he recalls in his Journal d'un Parfumeur/Diary of a Perfumer).
The inclusion of the unusual note of kumquat, a small citrus fruit with a rich scent favored for the preparation of a special liqueur on the island of Corfu, recalls the fruity hesperidic note in Colette 1873 by Histoires de Parfums.
The name, Le Jardin de Monsieur Li, is of course recalling a garden fantasy, as previous editions in the series did: the plate of figs offered in a garden in North Africa as translated into Un Jardin en Mediterannee (2003), the green mango and sycomore trees in Assouan, Egypt, in Un Jardin sur le Nil (2005), the monsoon in Kerala, India in Un Jardin apres la Mousson (2008), and the actual garden atop the Hermes headquarters which provided vegetables for the Dumas family during WWII in Un Jardin sur le Toit (2011).
Of course this is the swan song of Jean Claude Ellena for Hermes as well. He is to be succeeded by Christine Nagel, as we had announced on Perfume Shrine a while ago.
The new Jardin fragrance by Hermes, Le Jardin de Monsieur Li, is set to be available at the flagship Hermes boutique on Madison Avenue (in NYC) in early March 2015.