Friday, March 20, 2009

Un Jardin Sur Le Nil Smells Like a Garden of Malevolent Sentient Flower Beasts!

After my quick Vetiver intermission of the other day, I’m ready to get back to Hermes, and it occurs to me that I didn’t mention before why I was so interested in smelling things from that particular house.

Back when I started this little experiment in scent, my friend Julie told me that her partner Dick was in love with Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil. In fact, Julie wrote a wonderful blog entry last spring all about Dick’s experience with the perfume. I’ve only met Dick once, but he seemed to be a man after my own heart; he struck me as smart, compassionate, casual, earthy, and friendly. Plus he’s adorable, with a warm smile and kind eyes … I suppose I should stop there, before Julie gets the idea that I’m planning to switch teams and pounce on her man. The only reason I relate all of this is that, after reading about Dick’s ecstatic encounter with the fragrance, I thought, “If that’s how this great guy, who has never worn a drop of cologne in his life, reacts to Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, then I need to smell this stuff!”

While I was looking for a sample, I became intrigued with the descriptions of a few other Hermes scents, so I decided to just sample them all – or, all of the unisex and masculine scents, anyway. Good move. Two other Hermes scents – Terre d’Hermes and Eau d’Orange Verte – wound up becoming my two favorites (so far). But today, I’m blogging about Un Jardin Sur Le Nil.

When I first opened the sample vial, the Nil smelled very promising. It smelled like orange peels, and was very bright and cheerful. Sort of a lighter version of Eau d’Orange Verte. Once I put it on, though, the orange peels faded pretty quickly, to be replaced by flowers. It reminded me of stargazer lilies and other very strongly scented flowers. Lotus is listed among the notes for this fragrance, so I’m guessing that’s what the most insistent floral smell in there was. Immediately, I was glad I'd gone light on the application. Even after a few short minutes, that heavy floral smell seemed overbearing.

Un Jardin Sur Le Nil is most definitely a “garden,” a very large, deep one on a warm, wet June day. I’ve never been to northern Africa, so I can’t comment on the “Nil” part of the name. I did read that Ellena was trying to mimic the smell of green mangoes. I can’t comment on that resemblance either, but there was a definite impression of ripening fruit - of green bananas, specifically. Rather than carrying me along the Nile, this fragrance left me with an impression of the Amazon Rainforest, with massive, bright, bold flowers growing amid banana trees, where monkeys and parrots and toucans make their homes.

At the beginning, I liked smelling this fragrance well enough, but didn’t like smelling like it. Though I’ve been trying to avoid making judgments like “masculine” or “feminine,” I found it to be a very womanly smell, at least on me. I decided I would probably enjoy smelling it on an attractive woman on a warm summer evening. As the day wore on, though, the scent seemed to get stronger and stronger until, by lunchtime, I felt like I was being choked to death by malevolent sentient flower beasts. What started out in the morning as an attractive - if a touch too feminine for my tastes - perfume had become a total scrubber by noon.

When I shared my impression of Un Jardin Sur Le Nil with Julie, she was surprised. “On Dick, it’s a bracing citrus scent. Not feminine at all.” Lucky Dick … he got the bright tangy citrus, and I got stuck with the gaggy florals. Oh well. Ellena had me with Terre d’Hermes. I guess you can’t win ‘em all.

Image note: The Amazon Rainforest.


Julie H. Rose said...

As the late Paul Harvey used to say, here's the rest of the story: We had a 2ml sample of the scent. Dick would put a TINY amount on his hand (not his wrist) and ecstatically bring it to his nose on and off all day. It smelled heavenly on him.

I bought him a bottle for Christmas, as you wrote. He was surprised and delighted. He opened it up, pulled out the bottle and gave himself a large spritz. It all happened so fast, I didn't have time to say "go easy on that!" Within an hour, the smell had taken over the room and I had a headache. I asked him to go scrub and he did, happily.

I never wanted to smell Jarden sur de Nil again. But of course, Dick did. He discovered that it is sickeningly strong unless the tiniest amount is administered. In tiny quantities, it's still lovely.

I was about to write that I'm sorry I hadn't told you this bit, but if I had, perhaps you wouldn't have gone on this scented adventure!

TMC said...

Well I don't know anything about all this scentism and perfumery but a description like "a garden of malevolent sentient flower beasts"... that I totally get.

BitterGrace said...

I wanted to like this one so badly. When it first came out, I kept sampling it, thinking I just needed to "find" it. Never did, though.

I'm fascinated by the different responses to it. To me, it's actually a bit blah. I love florals, but UJSLN's flowers don't seem to have any individual character. I just get a sort of artificial generic blossom note.