The first of the Jardin series by Hermes’ in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena was launched in 2003. After Un Jardin sur le Nil and Un Jardin aprés la Mousson I am concluding the reviews of this series today.
The wait for Un Jardin sur le Toit can begin.
Almost considered a summer classic by now, Jardin en Mediterranée has many fans.
It opens with rather sharp, almost too sharp for my liking top notes, that go away in ten minutes or so, which is when this gets much more friendly.
Jardin en Mediteranée is not your typical fig fragrance though. There is fig, along with the entire tree and surrounding garden, but there is also a discernible element of something dirty, a little compost-y (is that a legitimate word?). I like that Mediteranée is not your usual pretty-pretty scent. It is courageous in a way. It delivers the entire garden, not only the lovely parts the public wants to see, but also the decay that is always a part of nature. Flowers bloom and wilt, trees grow and decay all at the same time.
It makes me think of the concept of Apoptosis, the programmed death of cells. It is not necrosis, the “unnatural” death of a living cell through damage, but the natural dying process that is as necessary to life as the birth of new ones.
I think it is amazing of Ellena to integrate those necessary and perfectly natural “dark side” of nature, of a garden, be it as beautiful and well tended as any, into his creation.
Life is only complete when you see both sides, light and dark, good and bad, growth and decay, life and death.
Only there are not really two sides to it, this dualistic stance is something deeply ingrained in our western culture and how we perceive things. Heaven and Hell, anyone?
I think, in a small way, Jardin en Mediteranée stands for that truth.