“Un Jardin sur le Toit " by Jean Claude Ellena for Hermès. Ellena succeeded to reproduce the atmosphere of the roof garden on top Hermès building, at 24 Rue de Faubourg in Paris.
“Un Jardin sur le Toit " is part of the collection "Jardins" by Hermès, which includes a Garden in the Mediterranean (with citrus fruits, tomato leaves and hints of Mediterranean bush), a Garden on the Nile (my favourite, with green, aquatic notes and fruity notes of mango) and a Garden after the Monsoon (fresh and spicy).
Ellena's style, which is very well expressed in this “Gardens” series, is recognizable for being essential, transparent, his fragrances are as immersed in a transparent light. Ellena's works share all the same formal perfection and a refinement that is really incomparable. You cannot but realize the vision of the composer has been developed over decades of experience.
The entire “Jardins” series is deliberately intellectually lower, if compared to other more intellectual works by Ellena: it’s a series dedicated to freshness, to the idea of journey, designed to bring your imagination Elsewhere, in a spring garden on a river or along a warm, friendly sea. Well, the new Roof Garden is the "easier" in the series, the most immediate, cheerful, carefree. Some don’t appreciate it because it smells of fruit, flowers and grass, just like five thousand flowery-fruity-Barbie scents that preceded it. But I do, instead: it caused me a happy smile, and a marked improvement in mood!
It proves that it’s still possible to put apples and pears in a perfume today, without resulting trivial, fake, or already-smelled. Although Hermessence -that is, Hermès’ exclusive line- with its outstanding raw materials and limited distribution qualifies as "artistic perfumery" the normal line of Hermès –including the Gardens- is a commercial line, sold in every perfume shop and department store on earth. Well, “Un Jardin sur le Toit” is the proof that industrial perfumery may still be able to offer more interesting perfumes to the wide public. That is not necessary to offer the consumer standardized fragrances, without style or personality. Sure, you probably need Ellena’s 40 years of experience, but it’s still possible.
The slightly citrusy-green opening is exhilarating, the fruity heart develops in the next half hour, and white-musk base notes stay for another half hour. The fragrance then, is as delicate and ephemeral as a fruit, and I’ve nothing to complain about. I re-apply, and the smile appears again. I'd call it miracle.