Hermès, Un Jardin Sur le Toit

Eating an apple at the family orchard in Massachusetts, 1981

Who loves Jean-Claude Ellena?

***roar of applause***

But… not from my little corner of the internet. I can appreciate his work; I love Kelly Caleche, and I like and wear Eau des Merveilles happily. I’m getting to know Eau d’Hiver, Ellena’s masterful piece of cold for Frédéric Malle, and I more than like Bois Farine for L’Artisan Parfumeur. But I’m just not, overall, a fan. When I hear of a new JCE fragrance release, I don’t get worked up wondering what it’s going to smell like, or whether or not I’m going to like it. If I come across a sample, cool. If I like it, great. If I don’t… meh. No big deal. There just isn’t an emotional connection for me with his fragrances—even the ones I like best. The Jardins series, which I sought and sniffed after reading Chandler Burr’s book, “The Perfect Scent,” didn’t work for me at all. They turned sour. Or something.

If you’ve read my perfume reviews, you may have observed that I go for “everything + the kitchen skank” kind of compositions with heavy, resiny, balsamic, bases, and JCE’s style… it is not.

But that hasn’t stopped me! I want to love an Hermès, specifically a Jardin, because I love the idea of them. I love the bottles, I love the stories, I love the concept of the line. Birgit, my best-friend in blogging, loves monsieur Ellena, and I want to love him because she does.

Enter Sur le Toit.

This playful, guileless scent has caused me to change my mind umpteen times since the first day that I tested it—and that’s a good sign. I love an interesting fragrance, and while Sur le Toit is bright and fruity, it is also, most definitely, interesting. While Toit teeters on too-sweet for my tastes, an electric green vibe keeps pulling me back in— It has a slight oddness to it that saves it from the land of “blech.” Sur le Toit smells like the above photo: I’m transported back in time, and am once again a toddler in an orchard, eating a crisp, just picked apple— the world is a simple place, and all there is is this happy moment.

Each time I’ve worn it, I’ve made a definitive decision about it, and with each subsequent wearing, made a different decision. Lucky for me, lovely Birgit sent me a generous decant, so I’ve got plenty more days of wear ahead of me before I have to make an actual buying decision. 🙂

18 thoughts on “Hermès, Un Jardin Sur le Toit

  1. You’ve uttered a couple of words that are of great interest to me:

    I know you are a fellow addicted-to-OJ-Woman gal, so I’m paying attention here. From the notes list alone, I probably wouldn’t have thought to try this, but I hope to give it a sniff in the near future.

    Behold! The power of ‘fume blogging!

    1. Carrie, if you come across it, ask for a sample to take with you, because it is a changeling!!!
      The oddness is, at least partly, due to a “wet” sensation that it gives off (no aquatic here!), kind of what I would visualize an apple core on damp grass smelling like…

      I love the “oddness” of OJ Woman, but this is a very different oddness—I guess you could take that apple core and wet grass, and illuminate them with a neon sign stolen from the local pub, and you’d have Toit.

      Have I sufficiently obfuscated my response?

    2. Yes, ‘electric green’ and ‘odd’ get me in too. I’m certainly going to give it a try next month.

  2. Nope, I think I hear you loud and clear! And I must admit, I’m even more curious now. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever tried an Hermes fragrance, ever. I’ve just never been moved to, so I’ll make this my first.

  3. I like the idea of this perfume. I do not like what I read about it either in your or Birgit’s reviews. I hope I’ll like it. I don’t think I will.

    1. Haha, it’s an odd one! If you come across it, I would ask for a sample, for the experience if nothing else. You may not like it, but it will certainly make you cock your head in wonder 😉

  4. It is at least an interesting perfume, that much is clear I believe…;)
    I love that Ellena’s creations are so essentially likeable but NOT simple at all, he manages to unite appealing to the masses with keeping it interesting and challenging, he is the only one doing that at the moment as far as I can see. Everything else is either clearly niche or decidedly mass market and we know how that goes.
    I’ll be waiting for your final judgment (and Carries and Undina’s).

    1. You make a very good point—he’s making decidedly interesting stuff for a larger audience, and that is unique. I guess I need to keep that in mind; I don’t make huge demands on Cinema, or on Stella (both mass market frags), so maybe I should take Toit as I would a YSL release, rather than like an Artisan release.

      If that’s the case, than it is a resounding, YES! Wonderful stuff!
      hahaha 🙂

  5. Cute pic! I too have had a lack of interest in Jean-Claude Ellena owing to his work not being “my style”. I only have Ambre Narguile in my collection which is not really very Ellena-like at all.

    This does sound like it could turn me though, I did like it a lot when I had a brief sniff in Harrods. I do agree that a bit of oddness is attractive because it makes things interesting. Birgit has made me want to better appreciate JCE too – like Carrie says that’s the beauty of perfume blogs. 🙂

    1. Yes and Yes! Now that I’m adjusting my filter to think of Toit as a mass-market fragrance, my opinion is shifting again—for a mm release, it is out of this world—original, interesting, odd, yet accessible and pretty. I really don’t need to have an emotional connection to it, because it won’t be setting me back $250!!!


      Oh, and the Nazgul, I still haven’t tried—but very much want to!

  6. I’m not much of a JCE fan either – not because I lean towards “kitchen skank” (HA! I LOVE that phrase) so much, but because I like “perfumey.” Sometimes skank and perfumey overlap, sometimes not, but my real issue with JCE is the thinness, the where’d-it-go-ness, the Classic Cologne-ness, of many of his compositions.

    They tend to bore me. I liked Jardin sur le Nil, sort of, but found I wasn’t really wearing it much, or enjoying it, and my mini found a new home. I liked Eau de Merveilles when I smelled it in a Duty Free, sort of, but I think I wouldn’t wear it often either: just, you know, not my thing.

    This one I think I might like to smell. The notes list reminds me a little of AG Petite Cherie, which I love as a summer comfort scent (like you, I’ve got happy childhood memories of orchards and wet grass, though mine also include roses). And electric green is usually up my alley, too.

    1. Yes, “perfumey” is a good term—I think I do tend to look for a greater weight, even in transparent fragrances (Giacobetti does a nice job of this), and there certainly is a sheer quality to JCE’s work for Hermes.

      Eau des Merveilles is interesting: I bought a 12mL travel spray, tried it and thought, “meh,” but have used more than half of it up. Sooooo… it’s very easy to wear! It’s one of those “pair of jeans” perfumes that I like to have, because sometimes I don’t want to think about what to wear—which is when POJ perfumes serve 😉

      I’m interested in your feedback on this; I hope that you get a chance to sample it, and share your thoughts!

  7. Well, here’s another JCE fangal chiming in…and this goes on the Try Before I Die list. One has certain obligations…since I’ve tried all the other in the ‘Jardin’ series, but only ‘Sur le Nil’ made MY grade…And they even have them at the Hermès store in Copenhagen…Apple? Cool! Green????? Yes, yes and yes! Grass! Oh, hell yes! Neon-green? (Dee, you did write neon, right???) I can’t wait! I can think of few others who do green and transparent quite so well as JCE. His stuff might not be for everyone – like Mals said, not enough oomph – but I’ve loved and still love a few of his. (Thè Vert Extrème, In Love Again, Sur le Nil). And whatever else they are, they’re not very linear. Like I said – I can’t wait!

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