Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Persolaise Review: Un Jardin Sur Le Nil from Hermès (Jean-Claude Ellena; 2005)

There seems little point in reviewing Un Jardin Sur Le Nil. After all, it was granted a status bestowed upon few perfumes when it was placed centre stage in Chandler Burr's excellent The Perfect Scent. Thanks to the book - and to Jean-Claude Ellena's own eloquence - many scentusiasts feel they know all there is to know about this second entry in Hermès' Jardin series. A great deal is said about its citrus aspect, and rightly so. The burst of zestiness in the opening (focussed on grapefruit, but with no heavy-handedness) is as sunny as that in Ellena's own Cologne Bigarade for Frederic Malle. Considerable attention is paid to the mango note, the search for which forms a key thread of Burr's book. Again, this is not surprising: the subtly exotic aspect is a major source of Nil's distinctiveness. But one facet of the perfume's construction remains largely ignored, despite the fact that it is dealt with in a fair amount of detail in The Perfect Scent: the frankincense. Even though the top section of Nil is undoubtedly a wonderful play on citruses and other fruit, it's the clean, incense base - with its twilit serenity - which is the real star. Quiet, persistent and buoyant, it takes you by the hand, leads you onto a felucca and rocks you to sleep as night descends upon the great river. Great work.

[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette obtained in 2011.]


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