Hermes Un Jardin sur le Toit : Fragrance Review

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JardinSurToitpic

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

With Un Jardin sur le Toit, Hermès in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena recreates not just the scent of wet soil, green leaves and flower buds, but the joyful atmosphere of a garden party. There is something joyful and vivacious about this newest fragrance from Hermès which is inspired by roof top gardens. While the composition plays with some interesting green apple and mossy-woody ideas, it essentially reads as a crisp, sheer rose on the skin.

The first few minutes of Un Jardin sur le Toit are all about the effervescence of green and aromatic notes. Then the initial sparkling freshness of verdant basil leaves and grass slowly turns into the mouthwatering, juicy impression of a green apple and pear. While the fruity accord is an obvious one, it is rendered as an abstract idea, rather than as the photorealistic fruit salad that we see on every single fragrance counter. As I wear Un Jardin sur le Toit, I find that its fruity-floral orchestration oscillates beautifully between sheer petals and tart fruit flesh–jasmine becomes a green apricot, rose turns into a lychee and violet suggests raspberries. The balance of fruit and flowers in Un Jardin sur le Toit is similar to Hermès Rose Ikebana and Yves Saint Laurent In Love Again (rose-rhubarb marriage,) while the sheer, delicate outlines of the composition place it in line with other fragrances from Les Jardins series (Un Jardin en Méditeranée, Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, and Un Jardin Après La Mousson.)

Although I very much enjoy the idea of Un Jardin sur le Toit, I find it unexciting to wear and lacking the comparatively strong character of the previous Les Jardins. Moreover, as time goes on, Un Jardin sur le Toit loses its charm, and the flatness of soft woods and vetiver wrapped in musk makes it rather less enchanting than the initial brilliance might suggest. While the fragrance gives its wearer a pleasant aura, it is quite ephemeral. After a couple of hours, I cannot detect much on the skin other than a whisper of musk, moss, vetiver and tart fruit. Die-hard fans of Jean-Claude Ellena’s crystalline style will find it lovely, while those of us who prefer more voluptuous compositions might find Un Jardin sur le Toit too ethereal and pale.

Hermès Un Jardin sur le Toit includes notes of apple, pear, magnolia, rose and green herbs. It has been launched at Hermès boutiques; wider distribution will follow later this spring.

Sample: my own acquisition

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30 Comments

  • RH: Hmm… don’t know about the fragrance itself, I’m hoping the department stores will have it when I go this weekend- but I love that image. It’s nice to see illustrations instead of the usual photography! April 7, 2011 at 3:56am Reply

  • Olfactoria: I find myself wearing Toit often these days, even after I reviewed it, because I am drawn to its carefree exuberance. I also find the drydown quite long lasting on my skin. I am happy with this newest Jardin. 🙂 April 7, 2011 at 4:01am Reply

  • Victoria: I love Hermes illustrations in general, so lovely and delicate. They actually match the fragrances well. April 7, 2011 at 7:29am Reply

  • Victoria: I'm so glad that it works for you. I have been wearing it a lot lately, but I just do not find it that compelling. Oh well, lots more from Hermes to enjoy! April 7, 2011 at 7:30am Reply

  • Irina: I wasn’t impressed by Ellena creations at all, except by Un jardin apres la Mousson, but I’m always ready to fall in love with something. As said RH, hope department stores give me that chance. April 7, 2011 at 8:16am Reply

  • Austenfan: I actually like quite a few of his creations. First, and Eau Parfumée in particular. Of his Jardins Mousson is probably my favourite. I am bound to try this one as well. It seems that you more or less share your view of this scent with Octavian who reviewed it a couple of days ago. Liking it to a certain extent but not exactly loving it. April 7, 2011 at 8:30am Reply

  • nstephens: Thanks for the review and its lovely illustration. I’m not going to seek this out, delightful as it sounds, at least to begin with. And now I apologise in advance for a little rant. JCE composes some beautiful scents but why are they all so anorexic! I wore Brin de Reglisse the other day, 2 hours tops, and my other Hermessence favourite, the Osmanthus one is just as bad. I got home and lavishly applied MDCI Invasion Barbare on one arm and Enlevement au Serail on the other and felt much better. I know, you can’t have everything and I am acting spoilt, especially when there are beauties like the MDCI’s to fall back on when you want something more full figured, but I wish JCE would compose something with more flesh! April 7, 2011 at 9:05am Reply

  • Victoria: That's my favorite Jardin too, the others I'm not crazy about either. April 7, 2011 at 9:09am Reply

  • Victoria: You and I agree then. Those are my favorites from Ellena too (and Cartier Declaration.) Un Jardin sur le Toit just seems like an etude, not a fully finished perfume.
    Off to read Octavian's review, I usually agree with his perspectives, and I'm curious what others who have tried this perfume think. It must have its fans. April 7, 2011 at 9:13am Reply

  • Victoria: Very warranted rant, IMO. I feel the same way–these are beautiful ideas, but I miss some flesh too. Even the ethereal The Vert has more substance than some of the Hermessence. Still, I love Osmanthe Yunnan and Ambre Narguile. April 7, 2011 at 9:15am Reply

  • mals86: Sur le Toit has some of the same notes as Goutal’s Petite Cherie (which I love as a summer bedtime/comfort/childhood memory sort of scent), though I’d imagine JSlT would be more apple than pear, and possibly more earthy than PC. Can you compare them, V? Thanks. April 7, 2011 at 9:46am Reply

  • linda fey: I was first drawn to this house of perfumes by the beautiful bottles and illustrations. The colors made me think of the sea and sky, beautiful and warm places. The first bottle I bought was Un jardin apres la Mousson, after reading your review Victoria and seeing the lovely bottle on a shelf at Nordstroms. Having been to India once (I must go back!) I thought it just perfect. I love it. (I do enjoy hermes les merveilles on occasion as well). Un Jardin sur le Toit sounds interesting. I’ll have to try a sample. I love the illustration, and as always, your review. Thank you 🙂 April 7, 2011 at 11:48am Reply

  • Victoria: They are not at all alike to my nose. Jardin is a crisp, green rose-apple, Petite Cherie is milkier, creamier peach-pear. If you imagine Rose Ikebana with a green apple, you get the idea of this new Jardin. April 7, 2011 at 12:15pm Reply

  • minette: haven’t liked any of the jardins, and frankly none of ellena’s recent work has inspired me to buy… but this one sounds worth at least a try. voluptuous is more my style 🙂 (wearing amaranthine to prove it!) April 7, 2011 at 2:27pm Reply

  • mals86: Ah. And I thought RI was sort of… boring… so guess this one is not going to be me, either. Good to know, thanks! April 7, 2011 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Victoria: I like Un Jardin Apres la Mousson very much–watery fruit with a rich cardamom note. It has such brilliance and vibrancy. I wish Un Jardin sur le Toit had some similar memorable twist. It is a bit too well-mannered. April 7, 2011 at 3:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: I would be curious what you think. While it is certainly not voluptuous, if you like green fruity-florals, it can work. April 7, 2011 at 3:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am not a fan of Rose Ikebana either. I much prefer YSL In Love Again for a similar idea. April 7, 2011 at 3:42pm Reply

  • Elisa: I would love to see the formulas for Ellena’s fragrances from the past 15-20 years. So many of them smell so similar to me, I assume it must be that he uses large quantities of the same aroma materials over and over. April 7, 2011 at 4:03pm Reply

  • Robin: V, sounds like you liked it even less than I did. April 7, 2011 at 4:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: I think that it is common for a perfumer to find a certain key accord and play around with it. It gives a certain fingerprint to the finished fragrance. On the other hand, many of JCE's fragrances do feel very similar to me. Granted, he is still among the most talented perfumers working today. I always look forward to exploring his new fragrances. April 7, 2011 at 4:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: I thought that you might not like it that much.
    I just wish it had a stronger character. April 7, 2011 at 4:20pm Reply

  • Elisa: Yes, I love when perfumers have a clear vision or signature … but I’ve realized that JCE’s signature isn’t one I really care for. 🙂 This is good, it saves me a lot of money! There are a handful of perfumers I tend to obsessively stalk, and I don’t need another one, especially the in-house guy for Hermes, not exactly a bargain brand. April 7, 2011 at 5:03pm Reply

  • k-amber: A few Hermessence have given me good impressions, Among them, Vanille Galante is a mystery for me, as I am not particularly fan of each note but the total turns to be totally unexpected. Fragrance is fascinating, isn’t it? I am wearing Vetiver Tonka today.

    Kaori April 7, 2011 at 9:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: I have to agree. I admire his talent, but many of the recent fragrances just do not resonate with me. Still, I always look forward to smelling them. April 8, 2011 at 6:43am Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, I completely forgot Vetiver Tonka! Another marvelous Hermessence. My recent favorite has been Ambre Narguile, which also gets lots of compliments for me. April 8, 2011 at 6:45am Reply

  • Capucine: I didn’t like Toit at all. I can only smell thyme on my skin! October 20, 2011 at 6:05pm Reply

  • Clockw0rkCat: Jardin Toit is amazing *^_^* Sweet and sour fragrances are really my thing (Petite Cherie and Mitsouko are other favourites of mine). I love Jean-Claude Ellena’s recent work, I think he’s a genius and these Jardin fragrances are the first to peak my interest in a while. I do wish people wouldn’t give JC such a hard time, there are other lines out there for those who don’t ‘get’ these fragrances. Like any niche, they cater to a specific audience instead of trying to please everyone through being inoffensive or having too many notes. Some of us really like these scents 🙂 Wearing it now, I think of green gummy bears, green roses and juicy sour pears. Despite the ‘gummy bear’ association, it also feels very natural to me. Not a bit artificial. It’s amazing how pears and roses really bring each other out with their similarities, I heard somewhere that Annick Goutal created CSoJ on that premise. January 6, 2012 at 1:52pm Reply

  • mabel: devine essence indeed February 27, 2012 at 2:41am Reply

  • Barcares: I found it a really great flagrance for this spring. It smells to a sunny morning, and I am really missing it in always rainy Belgium. I know that lots of people find it dull and expanding rather apple-pear fluids, but I truly fall in love with it now (although I didn’t like it at all when it just appeared!) and in this stunning magnolia layer to which it turns rather rapidly on my skin. Strangely enough, I even enjoy a very distinctive smell of a wooden chair which was left on a sun for a while. I know it sounds not very poetic, and it isn’t, but it smells just so great and relaxing like Easter holiday ))) April 17, 2013 at 3:03am Reply

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