A Garden in Venice
Like the taste of a madeleine in Proust, scent too can be extremely evocative in conjuring up memories from our past. The smell of our own grandmother’s house, our mother’s perfume, the smell of diesel on our father’s work-wear, the aroma of our lover’s cigarette. Fragrance then too, like great writing, can also evoke places in our imagination — even those we’ve never visited. During Jean-Claude Ellena’s career at Hermès his creativity resulted the Jardin range — an olfactory evocation of gardens real and imagined from around the world all perfectly distilled in bottle: From Hermè’s own rose garden atop their home in Paris, to the jasmine-scented water-garden of an imagined Monsieur Li in China. When Ellena retired Christine Nagel took on the reins and released this, the first Jardin of her tenure. Fuelled by research, Un Jardin Sur la Lagune was inspired by the true story of a hidden secret garden on Giudecca in Venice. This literal Garden of Eden was the work of English gentleman Frederic Eden and still exists in a form to this day. In a testament to the perfumers art form Un Jardin Sur la Lagune brings to mind a Venice just like those chapters in Brideshead, the Wings of the Dove, Anthony Powell and indeed Proust too.