Book and Hermes Un Jardin Apres La Mousson

First, a quick perfume review from my favorite series of perfumes and perfumer, the gorgeous, brillian Jean-Claude Ellena:  Un Jardin Apres la Mousson, the newest editionin the Un Jardin series from Hermes.  Notes of cardamom, coriander, pepper, ginger and ginger flower, with a vetiver accord Ellen created.   Meant to create a monson in India smell, I’m going to have to get off on whether he succeeded precisely, never having gone to India or smelled any time before, during or after a monsoon… just your standard Kansas/Colorado dusty rain shower.  Mousson is spicy earth – yeah, exactly my thinking…huh?!?! It lacks any real sweetness, which I like. There’s a dry vegetal nature to it that leans in and nods to Terre d’Hermes briefly, then the pepper and ginger shoulder up and nudge the other notes to the side.  It is spare and minimal, as JCE does, but it does not lack character, it is its own creation, not just another Un Jardin clone with slight modification, but yet it fits in the series perfect as another viewpoint.  I find it leaning to the masculine side of the scale.  I suspect this may not have the broad appeal of the other two, Mediterranee and Sur Le Nil, but as a dryer, earthier entry, I think it is done well, but I’m not finding anythin really ground-breaking. I do know I’ll enjoy wearing it during the spring/summer months, much like I enjoy Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan.

March wrote a great review of this book already, soI’m not going to rehash it, even though I had on my plane here while I was whacked out on Xanax trying to calm my breathing (see below on flying nightmare) Both Luca and Tania are witty, concise, smart, evocative writers with a well-developed sense of humor that I enjoyed very much, finding myself laughing hysterically at some of the descriptions. They are never overwrought or given to a lot of purple prose, which I also like, though they capture the elegance and beauty of scents they love poetically. The opening chapters cover some very useful information on how to try perfumes, the history of them, etc.

Once you get to the actual reviews themselves, they are rated on a scale of 1-5 – 5 being a masterpiece. Some of the reviews are short, pithy and hilarious. Others are longer, full of history and information on that scent. You will find much you will agree with in their opinions; some you will be going, What? Are you out of your mind?!?!?” For those of us who have been reading reviews online and on MUA and Basenotes for a long time, we can easily sift through and maintain our sensibilities of what we like and don´t like and won´t immediately glom onto the Masterpieces and discard our favorites.  Exhibit A for me is the Caron trashing.  Disagree vigorously. I’ve smelled the vintage of many of these and the new versions, and there is very little difference between them.  It perplexes me.  Now, the edts are a different matter, but not the urns.

My fear on this rating system is for the new perfumista, so this proviso is for them: Take it with a grain of salt. Tania and Luca are gifted writers and have an excellent sense of smell and great taste in perfume, but theirs is also an opinion, given the same weight as Freida down the road who likes things that skew to her own taste. If you try some of the Masterpieces and 4 star perfumes, you may find some new loves, or you may wind up puzzled about how they got that rating.  Listen, I’m going to take a shot at a few of them that I’m unfamiliar with, including, yes,  Tommy Girl. So as with my opinion, March´s opinion and all the other perfume blog writers and reviews on the various boards, we simply have our own taste too, which may or may not coincide with yours. If it intersects, great, you´ve got a good starting point. If not, then discard it.

Now, we totally are not talking about my flight to NYC on Thursday.  Suffice it to say I got caught in the canceled flights, found myself on another airline that was delayed, the confiscated about $200 worth of crap from my suitcase, which was supposed to be checked, but the lines were taking so long, I missed the 45 minutes before departure cut-off  for baggage check, so she told me to take it through security and check it at the gate.  They took my cleansing cream, my big bottle of hairspray, my great hand lotion, my toothpaste and something else, that was after they pulled me aside for a complete check by TSA… when I’ve got 15 minutes to make my flight.    Okay, one Xanax later once I got on the plane, and I’m feeling better now.

43 Comments

  1. Hey, first comment! I really want to try the Osmanthe Yunnan, but I can’t justify it, being a broke college student and such. I have so many perfumes to try. Is it better to try a few expensive, standout ones or many more less expensive ones? It’s a dilemma. What d y’all think?

    • Elyse,

      If you’re near an Hermes boutique, go smooch up one of the SAs – they can be incredibly nice (at least the ones I know are)…often they will give samples (and the ‘essence samples are lovely, like little test tubes). That’s how I tried Osmanthe Y and it’s how I fell in love with Poivre Samarcande, which will result in them taking $180 of mine for a full bottle, dang their hides:-w

      JCE really needs to cut it out – I’m going broke on his fragrances alone$-)

    • Sampling can be don pretty inexpensively or expensively. If you want to try a bunch of lower end things, head to your local Sephora or Nordstrom, take some ribbon with you and baggies, and you can spritz those, label them and take them home, if they won’t give you any samples, but most Sephora and Nordstrom are pretty great about that.

      Once you find some things in the lower cost areas that you like, or notes, or styles, often that can help you find out what you like in the higher end lines. There are a LOT of awesome inexpensive perfumes. Being a college student and watching your money, I’d recommend finding some excellent things there, and then you can sample one or two things in the niche lines you’re dying to try once in a great while.

      I hope that helps!

      • Patty, what would you think about doing a post on your favorite inexpensive fragrances?

  2. Oh, what a horrible flight! What a dreadfull experience. Thanks goodness for Xanax, huh? I’m flying on Saturday, and hope I can get the suitcase checked, or I’m a goner for sure.

    I am dying to sniff the latest Jardin–I didn’t imagine it dry, although Nil has that papyrus-lotus dryness that is great in the heat. I love cardamom and pepper, so what’s not to like? But really, Jean Claude Elena has impoverished me, ever since he did the green tea number for Bulgari, then the gorgeous ones for Frederick Malle. Sigh. I know I’m a goner. I’m on my second bottle of the Nil body cream.

    • I suspect you’ll like this one, then. March sniffed it and pronounced it interesting and she likes it. It’s got the same garden-like feel to it, but different. The Vetiver is dry, but the vegetal notes feel wet. Overall to me, it feels drier than it does wet, but not dry like the desert. That probably makes zero sense. 🙂

      • If the eskimos have 70 names for snow, those of us who live in the desert have at least as many for variations of dry, arid, hot and dry, dry with wind, and our favorite grumbling season: monsoon season. Now before you laugh, you have to see one of these walls of black clouds come towering in over the mountains, drop four inches of rain in 14 minutes, have the arroyos fill up with roaring water and drain again. In half an hour. And yes, we have a “stupid fine” for the people who think that they can drive their cars through the low spots even when they turn into rivers. Your car can wash away in 6 inches of water. [clears throat. Ahem] So I get “mostly dry with spots of vegetal wetness.” Still can’t wait to try it. Any idea who will get it first?

  3. Oh this pistses me off! This total bullshite reaction to the fact that we have no real screening of our ports of our shipped goods: please take my tube of Denblan and let that container full of anthrax infused cocaine get by. Makes me crazy! Since I don’t have Xanax I might have been a statistic..

    • They have turned airports into personal war zones. There is nothing even remotely pleasant about flying, except your destination. In the future, i’m taking a Xanax before I even go to the airport. It should be mandatory at the front door before you want through into that horror show of stupidity.

  4. Oh my god thank god they didn’t take any perfumes!! With the airlines the way they are these days, I wrap mine up in socks, then hide them in pockets, hidden zipper pouches, jackets, sweaters, rolled up and out of sight. I know I need to start decanting so as not to worry so much but these days I leave my really expensive things at home which is always a gigantic headache when packing… I mean, I literally sit there for an hour trying to decide what I’ll want with me. I’m sorry about your ordeal. It’s really so ridiculous. The only reason I’m writing is to commiserate because I had the same experience on my last international flight just 2 weeks ago, AND, my luggage (and all my Perfumed Court samples I was dying to be reunited with) arrived FIVE DAYS after I myself arrived. Xanax sounds like the key but a woman in line in front of me on my flight from Florida to LA said, and I quote, “Benadryl… works every time!” I think I’ll take her up on that.

    • Anthony,

      See my Fedex comment to Patty – that started with an heirloom stiletto (long story). I actually got out of the security line and walked down to Fedex and shipped it home (this was before they would pretty much shoot you for having any sort of weapon and it was in Dallas, which was a bit easier-going about that sort of thing back then). Then, when the second London airport scare freaked everybody out here I once again got out of a security line I’d been in for nearly an hour and walked down to Fedex to ship a bottle of vintage Joy Parfum (along with my other stuff). I figured, with all the airport madness that morning my flight was a wash anyway – might as well not lose my stuff. Got to LA a few hours later than planned….but I kept my vintage Joy!

    • OMG, that’s horrible!!! Benadryl does work. I always forget that I have a couple of Xanax in my purse for emergencies during travel until I’m so stressed out that I want to just bite off then rip to shreds someone’s head.

      At least they got there!!!

  5. Concerning Caron and Vintage.

    It will be more straight to say :
    “I dont like the work of the current Caron nose”
    Now I am quite sure that for the 2 next years I will read often the current sentence :
    “My favorite perfume is Tabac Blond, but the Vintage not the current one”
    The Turin’s effect

    Comparing a Perfume with a Vintage is a Luxe. And with Caron … one can ask “Please with which Vintage ?”. In the chaotic history of the brand. I have 4 version of Tabac Blond vintage and they smell quite different from each other … even if it is not a crash.

    15 years ago, (when the juice were still so good according to Turin) Caron was in really difficult situation. Because they where no more able to sell perfume in the world.
    They were owned by a holding who owns only second rank supermarket in France, the financial situation was difficult. (beleive me except in Perfumista world nobody know Caron in France)
    It has been sold to a small brand who is directed by a passionate autodidact. But at least they now sell perfume and Caron is now present in french department store. They have even be able to make a good ad’ campaign around Montaign relaunch.

    We can now be in the snobbery saying that we prefer the “ready to dead” Caron that the current one …

    • Really interesting, thanks for that perspective. I think you are correct. The other problem is smelling vintage to current is there is normally some destruction in some notes — not always, but sometimes, and in varying degrees.

      my fear in reading those reviews of Caron in their book is that people will do as you say or not try them. To me, they are classics to be familiar with, regardless of whatever iteration they are in. That was my major irritation with the book – dismissive reviews, which if it’s a perfume I don’t like or care for was funny, but from the Caron, I think it was pretty cavalier.

    • Concerning Vintage, I am quite sure that L Turin has access to top quality vintage perfume from the different brand.

      Concerning Caron, in fact since 2000 Caron is owned by a small french group : Groupe Ales.

      This group was created by Patrick Ales a kind of autodidact specialist in hair care (He has cut hair during a lot of years before creating a society). The trouble is to know if Ales different noses have taken in hostage the different old Caron by doing what they want or if they take into account the history.
      The original Nose was Richard Fraysse.

      The Ales Group doesnt come from the classical “royal way” of french perfumery (Chemistry school) and can be considered as “outcast” who control one of the perfumery jewel.

      I dont have the book so I dont really know why L Turin has destroyed all Caron. (Too much organic product ?) …
      Patrick Ales was a kind of precursor in Organic Hair Care.
      When I look at the Jean-Marie Martin-Hattemberg book, I still beleive that this group has a great respect for Caron History.
      They have opened shop in NY, a second in Paris … always in the “Caron Luxe Spirit”. The have exported the Urn concept. In term of image and Tradition it is OK.

      In term of juice, L. Turin seems to have a trouble. So What ?
      As I have said I cannot have the book, but behind the star ranking I hope there is a kind of explanation.
      Put one star to Tabac Blond is not the trouble, the trouble is to have no explaination.

  6. Oh, Patty, I’m sorry about your flight troubles. I keep hearing on the news about the American cancellations. Knowing someone who was affected brings it home. I hope the fun you have at the Sniffa will help you forget.

    Turin-Sanchez arrived in my mailbox today. Certainly it is interesting. There is going to be a lot of arguing! To those of us who see a loved fragrance trashed, I’d like to point out one fragrance that got 5 stars: Secretions Magnifiques. If that doesn’t make us take their ratings as simply opinion, I don’t know what will.

    • Oh, agreed! SM is a mess, I still can’t figure out how it got five stars. Caron gets 1 or 2 maybe, and SM and Tommy Girl gets 5. :((

    • SM received a 5? I tried that one. I had the mindset that I was strong and that I could stomach something which made others nauseous. Wrong. The first topnote wasn’t bad, the metal was a real turnoff, but when it got to the blood and milk accords coming in at the same time, I felt the nausea starting to kick in on me too. I washed it off twice. The scent that was left was good. Maybe they did that? 😉

      Anyway, what all of this means is that it is just someone else’s opinion. It’s a published blog. Fun, but that’s all.

  7. Oh dear, so sorry you had to go through all this craziness. I wish you many fun encounterts at the Sniffa and lots of experiences to recount later on :-ss

    I agree with you on everything you said about the guide: why take it as a mantra? Fun to read though.

    • Oh, thanks!

      I think most of us are in the same place on the book. But it’s a definite must-read, but just with people firmly knowing that it is an opinion.

  8. When you are in doubt,especially on airplane problems,you may think of Turin-Sanchez, Secretions Magnifiques,Caron and Vintage.
    or not at all only need sweetly and sourly great soften smell of aromatic fragrnce like a mix bouquet from the fareast as jasmine,yalang yalang,turborose, pepermint,and a smell of peeling fresh mandarin mix with smell of honey(wild or from tropical forests )even you can try a zip of honey with tangerine soda mandarine with great smell….. now you already feel better.:x

  9. Poor Patty…one stressful season at work, I wanted to invent Xanax dipped in dark chocolate; I thought it would be the biggest hit, the ultimate stress reliever. :d

    Relax now, and go have fun. Sniff lots of wonderful things for me. Hug and squeeze all the Posse People.

    • Brilliant! that would have been perfect. Because the worst thing of this was I love to fly Midwest, they give yout two warm choco chip cookies on your flight, which is such a sweet touch. and I didn’t get that, I got the nice, cold, impersonal love of United. Bleah.

      Will pass out plenty of hugs for everyone! I’m so glad I got here.

  10. Nothing makes me angrier than stories like this – I flew last weekend (happily, not on American) and went through the whole liquid rigamarole at security. The ironic part is, you can go into the terminal into the duty-free shop and buy as much perfume as you want and take it on the plane with you after your own perfume has been duly confiscated at the security gate. The waste this represents makes my blood pressure rise – can’t they even use those items at homeless shelters?

    /rant off

    • I know. And why they pull me out for special screening when I’m already late for my flight. I couldn’t look any more like a normal mom. I reek of mom, it comes off of me in waves. but I guess I was running late, but why I’d decided to take a great big suitcase full of creams through security unless the gate agent had told me to must have been… suspicious. Arghh!

  11. Oh dear, Patty, that flight sounds just awful.:( Personally, I always take the train from Boston to NY; it’s not really cheaper, but it’s very restful and I can get work/reading done (plus, since it takes you to midtown, it’s not as much longer as it may seem).

    Speaking of reading–I got the Guide yesterday, and I have been enjoying reading it. No, I don’t agree with everything–but if I did, I could just read my own mind, as it were!8-|

    Rest up. Looking forward to seeing you again!!

    • I would vote for Satan if he would promise to put in high speed train travel in the U.S. like they have in Europe. 🙂

      I can’t wait to see you too!!!!

      • Me, too!xo>:) I take the train to Chicago now; without fail it is a pleasant experience.

  12. So sorry about your horrific flight experience. I hope your weekend is so much fun that you’ll forget all about it! The new Jardin sounds different than what I’d imagined and I look forward to smelling it; sometimes dry works for me, but sometimes not. And a word about Tommy Girl: it was my daughter’s first real perfume, bought for her at Lord & Taylor by her father, while we were having a family weekend in Chicago. I think she was 13, and it smelled heavenly on her. I plan to grab a sample somewhere just so I can revisit that time. 🙂

    • We’re trying to define this dry. It’s not dry like arid, but it’s vetiver dry. Does that make sense? It’s also surprisingly long-lasting, I put it on last night, and it still smelled quite strongly this morning… AFTER my shower. So JCE managed to get the longevity right, at least on me. it’s interesting, to be sure.

  13. Patty,

    Glad you made it through that madness. One word to lessen your stress: FedEx. Once the whole ‘no creams/no liquids’ mania started I began sending my cosmetics/etc ahead via Fedex. Seriously, it works like a charm. Your carryon bag contains your socks, underwear, a couple of bars of chocolate and the Turin/Sanchez book and your valuable perfumes and lotions await you at your destination. Five billion business trips later b-( my sanity and ‘stuff’ is saved! If I know my timetable ahead of time I can also send it UPS Ground which is cheapola! If you acquire a lot of perfumes, samples, etc in NY (and you know you will), get a box and send ’em off before you – your hotel concierge can ship it right from there!

    And do have a good time! Sniffa will blow all those bad airport memories away :-ss (he’s supposed to be wiping away the Bad Airport Memories but I’m not really sure what he’s doing!)

    xoMusette

    • That’s a great idea. What made me mad about this one is that I WANTED to check my bag, but their rules about not checking a bag after 45 minutes before departure time, even though my plane was delayed, it was either don’t get on the plane, get on the plane without my bag or take my bag through security and hope for the best.

      It just sucked.

      Already having a great time!

      • Ooooh! It’s enough to make you want to smack somebody, isn’t it? Don’t, though – I believe it’s now a Federal Offence!>:p

  14. Hand lotion! Cleansing cream! Now there you have some lethal weapons! All I can say is, we have it all wrong when it comes to security and safety in the country. It’s a joke what’s going on with the airlines and these airports nowadays.

    But you made it to NYC, and Sniffa is about to begin! Ooh! Have a wonderful time, darling, and spritz a little bit for all of us perfume voyeurs! 😡

    Hugs!

  15. It’s stories like yours that make me never want to fly again. I’m serious. I think it is insanely stupid.

    I’ve ordered a sample of the new Jardin and can’t wait. I finally have a bottle of Nil. The scent is okay…a little too much mango for my fruit-amplifying skin, but I *love* those bottles. I think I’m going to have to get the Med. one just for the bottles.

    I can’t wait to hear of your NY exploits!

    So if you can’t take toothpaste (!), exactly what can you take in terms of personal hygiene/grooming products? Hoping I never have to use that knowledge, but it would probably be good to know just in case.

  16. Thank you Patty, for your news. Now I have two things to look forward to: I’m almost sure that I’ll love the new Hermes (I love the notes, I like Jean Claude Ellena), and I just have to wait till about May 15th to read the book (that’s the approximate date Amazon gave me. And I know about airports. On Monday I was locked for more than an hour in a plane full of angry, sweaty tourists trying to find out what was going on and why we wouldn’t take off (they never did!) and I fear the next flight I have to take in a week. They’re all European flights, and I guess there’s not such an obsession with security as in the States, but anyhow taking a plane has become a (nearly always) unpleasant experience.

    • The Europeans have just as much of an obsession with security as the US, they’re just better at it.

  17. So sorry about the flight problem. I’m sure the overall trip will still be worth it. (At least you aren’t my brother and sister-in-law who came back from Mexico heading for Green Bay and got stranded by a blizzard at the Minneapolis airport last night.) Welcome back to winter!
    I got my copy of the Book today and want to thank y’all at the Posse for alerting me to the advance ordering. It’s a riot. I had to check on all my favorites right away and felt vindicated in many cases and a “huh” in others. I was most surprised by so many highly-rated Estee Lauder scents. (My mom will be so happy to hear their praise for her beloved “Youth Dew.”) I laughed a big burst- out laugh-out-loud when I looked up Boucheron Jaiphur Saphir (which I own) and saw notonly they gave it one star but their brief remark was it smelled like a “gum-ball.” !! Why aren’t there any Montales in it? And very very few CdG fragrances. Did they just not get sent those samples? That was my biggest disappointment with it so far.

  18. Hi Patty: I hope you had a blast at Sniffa! So, so sorry about your flight. I recently just barely caught a plane when I was battling shingles (looong story) and I got so stressed when security tried to hold me up that hives broke out along my neck and face. My husband said I looked like I had some fatal African monkey-transmitted fever, I was all blotchy, a mixture of angry red and dead pale, and sweating like crazy. They let me through and stopped questioning me over my stuff rather hastily. If only my conscience and body would let me get away with that sort of thing regularly…

    • Erin: Oh dear, shingles? You *have* to boost your immune system, sweetpies! And take the stress levels down a notch or two, woncha? Vitamin B is your best friend is what I learned last February when the blotchy suckers got to me 🙂 Do take care of yourself, E! (although shingles are hardly surprising considering you’ve been through a lot these past few months) 😡

      • Hey D! Actually this was last fall (I play fast and loose with the term ‘recently’…) but I was stressed out, then, too. :”> Really, it was very convenient to have everyone rushing me through lines, but once I got on the plane, for the first time in my life, I forced myself to do breathing exercises, because I was freaking out little M and was frantically itchy. She’d luckily just had her chickenpox vaccine, so she didn’t catch anything. I’d forgotten you had them, too – ouch! Sorry, buddy, they suck. Vitamin B, eh? Thanks for the tip. People are always telling me to take B12, because I’m a bug magnet and there are concerns about (mosquito-transmitted) West Nile virus here in the summer…

  19. I ‘M SHOCKED THAT A PERFUME BLOGGER WOULD WRITE THERE IS LITTLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OLD/VINTAGE CARON AND THE NEW ONES!

    I HAVE BEEN WEARING EN AVION SINCE THE 80’S, BY THE YEAR 2000 IT STARTED TO CHANGE A LITTLE, BY 2002 IT CHANGED RADICALLY AND IT IS STILL CHANGING EVERY YEAR!
    LAST TIME I CHECKED THE ONLY CARON THAT HAS NOT CHANGED AS MUCH IS N ‘AIMEZ QUE MOI, IT ‘S FAIRLY SIMILAR TO THE ORIGINAL.
    TABAC BLOND IS ANOTHER CARON THAT HAS CHANGED A LOT.

    ELLENA ‘S UN JARDIN APRES LA MOUSSON, UN JARDIN SUR LE NIL ARE NOTHING THAT TRANSPORTS ME WITH EXOTICISM, THESE ARE FRENCH STYLE REFRESHING EAU DE TOILETTE THAT HAVE LITTLE TO DO WITH THE IDEA OF INDIA OR EGYPT IN PERFUMERY. I WONDER WHAT SERGE LUTENS THINKS OF THESE INSIPID HERMES SCENTS! LOL

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