I, for one, have been impatiently waiting for Un Jardin sur le Toit to be released, since I am a declared Ellena fan and I love two of the three previous scents in the series and am intrigued and challenged by the third. Last Friday the Hermes boutiques launched Un Jardin sur le Toit – a garden on the rooftop, so I braved the haughty SA’s at the Vienna boutique and was pleasantly surprised at their friendliness this time. Maybe this fragrance had something to do with it, also Baby N. did his very best to charm them.
In contrast to the exotic locales of the first three perfumes in the Jardins series, the fourth and newest perfume by Jean-Claude Ellena explores home turf, a garden on a roof in Paris. Not any rooftop garden, but that of Hermes headquarters itself, at 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
While the first Jardin perfume centered around the Mediterranean fig, the second around Egyptian mango and the third focused on melon from India, Jardin sur le Toit showcases a fruit very near and dear to our hearts and noses – the apple.
Notes include apple, pear, rose, green grass, basil, magnolia and compost notes.
Jardin sur le Toit opens with a sparkling and wonderfully bright and many faceted accord of apple, pear, grass and citrus notes. It is one of those scents you cannot very well say no to, the top notes are so inviting and so fresh and prickly, they make you smile involuntarily and make picking up a bottle a breeze.
For a second the perfume teeters on the brink of Pomme d’Api* territory, before it segues into a wonderfully complex, but always sheer composition of green, fruity and floral notes.
*Pomme d’Api is a children’s shampoo by Yves Rocher that accompanied me through my childhood, it has an intense green apple note.
Had Un Jardin sur le Toit stayed like that second of bright-green super-apple, I would not have liked it at all. But Ellena’s mastery is apparent throughout. In lesser hands this may have been a fruity, synthetic applejuice disaster à la DKNY be delicious. (Which certainly has its fans, to whom I apologize, this is just my personal opinion after all.)
In its heart, Un Jardin sur le Toit is still very green, the grass, even a little earth and herbs (I smell basil) are clearly there, but I was surprised by how floral it is. Rose and Magnolia make a lovely pink bouquet that balances the green apple nicely, as to not let it take over the fragrance.
The drydown is striking and decidedly different from the other Jardins. The fruity notes subside slowly, leaving behind the naturalistic notes that so beautifully evoked the rooftop garden, and take on an abstract shape, a “real perfume” emerges. I like to think that is Ellena’s way of telling us – “Hey, we are in Paris! And this is what Paris smells like after all.”
Un Jardin sur le Toit lasts a long time for an Eau de Toilette, this is no gone-in-an-hour-summer scent, but it stays – always light, quiet and reserved, mind you – but present and distinctive for at least six hours on me. Decidedly longer than the other three in any case, although their longevity is not so bad either.
Un Jardin sur le Toit is surprising at first, but when you think about it, it is a perfect and quite literal interpretation of a locale, as were the others. A garden in a city, in a city like Paris, there is the undeniable coming together of two worlds.
Un Jardin sur le Toit manages to masterfully unite nature and urban environment, thus depicting what it says it would, what the beautiful artwork on the packaging shows – a garden on a rooftop.
All it takes is to close my eyes.
If you would like to try Un Jardin sur le Toit yourself, I have a sample vial to give away, courtesy of the nice Ladies at the Vienna Hermes Boutique. GIVEAWAY CLOSED!
To participate just leave a comment telling me what your favorite Jean-Claude Ellena creation is. The draw closes on Friday, April 8 midnight GMT. International entries welcome.
My reviews of the previous three fragrances: