Monday, 29 June 2015

Hermès - Le Jardin de Monsieur Li

In 2003 - under the guardianship of in-house nose Jean-Claude Ellena - Hermès invited us to stroll through a garden in the Mediterrannean; Ellena's first olfactory exploration in the Jardins perfume series. Since then, we have been taken to examine the garden oases of southern Egypt; the fragrant lawns of India after the monsoon; the verdant green of a rooftop Garden in Paris, and now - in 2015 - Ellena takes us for a stroll in a perfectly manicured Chinese garden... Le Jardin de Monsieur Li.

'Monsieur Li' is a purely fictitious character, but it is a name that communicates a sense of maturity and of even-handedness... of an individual whose efforts and dedication to cultivating his garden with such precision and love, culminate in a retreat that is every bit as gratifying to the eye as it is to the nose. It is a name with a certain charm and whimsy... a collision of East meets West; "Monsieur" being devoutly French, and 'Li" being resolutely oriental. Not surprisingly, the name Monsieur Li speaks well of what one can expect in the bottle... that is, a tender olfactory essay in Chinese gentility and refinement, which has been approached in a conspicuously French way; a way which is unquestionably Hermès.

In retracing the route of the inception of this perfume, Ellena visited countless Chinese gardens. He recalls:

"I remembered the scent of the pools, of the jasmine, the wet stones, the plum trees, the kumquats and the giant bamboo. It was all there, even the carp in their pond, taking their time to live to a hundred. The Sichuan pepper bushes were as thorny as roses and the leaves gave off a lemony scent. All that remained was to compose this new garden, one which contained all the others."

The flight of this perfume is a bright citrus with an unusual aromatic green undercurrent... it dances between notes of bittersweet kumquat and jade-colored aquatic accords. There exists a sense of balance and refinement right from the outset... a curious symmetry between components that feels effortless and precise; Ellena's very own Chinese 'masterstock', perhaps. Jasmine is listed amongst the olfactory notes declared on the outer packaging, and indeed one can find it there, but there appears to be an assortment of flowers that are not mentioned in the accompanying pyramid; rose? peony? magnolia? Again, Ellena has woven them all into the tapestry of this perfume with such mastery, that they are difficult to distinguish. The overall feeling however, is one of tenderness, filtered light, and an accomplished marriage of the elements, earth, water and air.
Monsieur Li feels incredibly diaphanous - as thin as Chinese rice-paper lanterns, and as semi-transparent as blooms of coloured ink dropped on wet watercolour paper. Over the hours, it tapers into a fine mist of clean musk and blonde woods.

As far as the Jardins series goes, Le Jardin de Monsieur Li takes up residence comfortably amongst it's older siblings and feels very much a part of the broader picture. Collectively, Ellena's Jardins creations form an aria to genderless perfection, each with a proficient sense of lightness and harmony.

Le Jardin de Monsieur Li is available internationally from March 2015, and will launch here in Australian department stores, Hermès boutiques, and on the Australian Hermès website this September.

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Different Company - WINNER!

CONGRATULATIONS to our competition winner CurlyJo, who has won herself a 10ml The Different Company manufacturers sample of the delightful "I Miss Violet" eau de parfum!

CurlyJo, please send me an email or private message via the Sorcery of Scent facebook page with your details and it shall be sent off to you this week.

Thank you to all those who submitted their entries and recommendations via the blog and facebook page - I shall endeavour to try them all!

Stay tuned for more perfume banter and giveaways!
Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Different Company - I Miss Violet Review + Giveaway

I'm the first to raise my hand when my knowledge and experience is lacking, so I'll confess from the outset and declare that my exposure to The Different Company perfume portfolio has been very limited. Living in the most isolated city (of more than 1M people) in the world, Perth has it's geographical challenges, so its really only whilst vacationing or ordering online that I have access to certain brands. With a small decant sent to me by a fellow perfumisto of the delectable Bois d'Iris notwithstanding, earlier this year I was offered the opportunity to experience my first fragrance from The Different Company, so of course I was enthusiastic. With Sorcery of Scent now well into its seventh year, I'll also plainly proclaim that these days it takes rather a lot to wow me, but when my tidy 10ml sample of TDC's newest offering arrived a few weeks ago, I must announce I was pleasantly surprised.

The offspring of master perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, "I Miss Violet" is a colourful feather to add to The Different Company's vast back-catalogue of fragrances. To date, my appreciation of Duchaufour's oeuvre has been a little hit and miss; to my nose Amouage's Jubilation XXV is an epic thrill, whilst Enchanted Forest for the Vagabond Prince made me recoil in disbelief, however I Miss Violet has restored my faith somewhat and allowed me to dig my heels in as more of a fan. In 2015, Duchaufour's muse is Violet, a globe-trotting young woman who gives in to her fancy and traverses the world following her heart, her work, and her passions. In a sense, this inspirational figure translates well into what we smell in the bottle... I Miss Violet feels carefree (but not reckless), lively, vivacious, self-assured.

The perfume's flight is dominated by the powdery prickle of violet, a champagne accord, and nutmeg... a delicate powdery softness with an effervescent sparkle - like a sassy glance, or wink from beneath feather-like lashes. There is a vein of silver/green rising from below... a viridian balloon of perfumed air pressing up from beneath; violet leaves, husky iris and aromatic basil. The dry orris accord swims parallel to a growing seam of soft napped suede; a gauzy leather facet that steps forward, but remains courteous and well-behaved. I Miss Violet is the embodiment a young woman who has just stepped across the threshold into adulthood... one who has found her feet, and her insatiable apetite to collect experiences. As the scent evolves on skin, the powdery soft floral accords start to recede and a warm, balsamic - dare I say animalic - component shifts to the fore; a sassy and seductive ribbon of ambergris make's Violet's intentions clear... she is passionate person, and despite her worldly obligations, longs for love.

Without much of a grasp on the Different Company's previous releases, I can only imagine I Miss Violet is aimed at a younger demographic, however that being said, I see no good reason why this perfume can't be enjoyed by men and women of all ages. In the same way perhaps Guerlain's Météorites or Chanel's Misia both enchant with their floral-powder semi-saccharine prettiness, I strongly predict that I Miss Violet will find a broad appeal.

I Miss Violet is an eau de parfum, available in 50ml size now available via select retailers online and offline. Visit for more information.


Sorcery of Scent has one 10ml spray sample of I Miss Violet to give away to one lucky reader. To enter, simply post a comment in the comments field below and tell me which other The Different Company fragrance you would recommend I try, and why.
To double your chances to win, you may also 'Like' the Sorcery of Scent facebook page and re-post your comment on the Different Company post that has been published over there.
The winner's name will be drawn and shared here on Monday June 22nd, 2015.
Good luck!