Most of you hard and heavy Perfumistas are probably familiar with the story of the inception of Un Jardin sur le Nil.
My obsession with perfume was kick-started when I read this book and of course, Un Jardin sur le Nil was one of my very first perfume purchases in the new era of Perfumista-dom, as opposed to the previous dark times of unenlightenment.
Jean-Claude Ellena, the perfumer who created Un Jardin sur le Nil for Hermes, turned into my favorite nose quickly and my mission was before me, clearly visible for the first time – sample everything Ellena ever did.
I am still on that mission, although as you know there are many things that sidetracked me and my tastes have broadened considerably. This Ellena fan wears an Amouage perfume today, of all things!
But as I thought about my beginnings as a scent-fiend, I realized Un Jardin sur le Nil played an important part, so it is high time I reviewed it.
The Jardins series comprises three perfume so far, Un Jardin en Mediterranée, Un Jardin sur le Nil was the second in the line and Un Jardin aprés la Mousson the third. A fourth one is to be released in spring of 2011, Un Jardin sur le Toit (A garden on the roof), I am looking forward to this release.
Notes include green mango, lotus flower, aromatic rushes, incense, sycamore wood. It was created in 2005.
Upon application Un Jardin sur le Nil wakes me up with a most effervescent green grapefruit note, fresh, bracing and non-sweet citrus, perfect. Then it calms down towards the subtler scent of green mangoes, as yet unripe, still hanging in the tree. There is a soft, ever so slight sweetness, underscored by the lotus flower, but it never gets too fruity, which would be a turn-off for me. The mango is surrounded by green and dry woody notes that stealthily take over during the perfume’s development.
It is one of those amazingly constructed Ellena perfumes that is as transparent and translucent and light-flooded as can be, yet still proves to be a lot more tenacious that one would think given its incredible lightness of being.
The drydown is dusty green, wood tinged with incense, a very unusual and memorable base, again astounding for something so weightless.
I could marvel for days about the high art if Jean-Claude Ellena’s style of paring down a perfume to the minimum without ever going to far, there is everything it needs, nothing is missing and yet nothing is too much either. But you heard me rave about this several times already, so I will just leave it at that:
The lightness of being this perfume exudes is almost unbearable in its delicacy and refined beauty. It is easy to underestimate and file it under cologne-style summer scent. But that would not do this perfume justice, although it is highly wearable, highly comfortable, perfectly gender-neutral and simply pretty, it is also a perfume that seems like lit from within.