The 5th Element: Jardin de France

“In the beginning there was earth, wood, stone, metal and leather…”

These are the primal elements according to Mr. Bertrand Sonnier, owner of this artisan perfumes company for twenty years. The work of Jardine de France began more than 100 years ago in Amboise: still manufacturing, still featuring an in-house perfumer – Justine Brivet, always giving tribute to Burgundy/Bourgogne, the heart of France – a magic place with a long and proud history.

Jardin de France is all about tradition, authenticity, craftsmanship and the quality of raw materials.

Sources d’Origine Collection features Terre Initale, a woody-aromatic-fruity tribute to Mother Earth, Bois Premier – a woody-spicy-green ode to ancient woods and primordial trees, Pierre Originelle – a woody-spicy-powdery fragrance, Metal Absolu – a woody-aldehyde-spicy perfume and Cuir Eternel – oriental-woody-leather eau de parfum.

Some months ago I received two samples of new Sources d’Origine perfumes. They did present them at ESXENCE Milano earlier this year, I remembered. The package was interesting. Simple glass vial samples. No perfume notes written, no inspirational text, no interpretations or suggestions: just fragrances and a note saying that these two will complete the collection in September 2018. I like that, that’s how I prefer to meet a new perfume: in my own time, exploring it and listening to its fragrant story. Giving the perfume a chance to speak for itself.

Primal elements. When I think about primal elements, I automatically think about the ancient concept of the famous 4: earth, water, air and fire. All ancient cultures had their lists, trying to understand and explain the world surrounding them, paving way for modern science.

Another association: scenes from the Luc Besson movie “The Fifth Element”! I think we all remember the Diva/Plavalaguna song!

Which leads me to say: with perfumes, WE are the fifth element! 

Air. What does air actually smell like? Air itself has no smell. Well, it does to you, regardless of what chemists say. Yes, it is odourless – odours we feel are produced by airborne particles released by things in the environment around us.

It all depends on your perception, place where you live, your surroundings and olfactory impressions. It might smell like fresh grass, wild lands, seaside, woods somewhere high up in mountains, mornings just before snow falls or moments after rain fall. You might already have your set of associations due to all the perfumes with “Air” in their name you ever smelled, too.

Fire. What does fire smell like? Fire itself has no smell, but things it burns give it smell we feel. If you try to imagine or recall smell of fire, what will you feel? The scent of dry wood burning in fireplace, paper vanishing in flames, rubber in clouds of smoke, autumn leaves, mrryh or tobacco: some are pleasant, some not…

Your perception. The olfactory impressions you gathered in your life. They matter.

Your skin, mood, feelings. 

Olfactory impression of fire and air? You are the fifth element defining it!

Let me tell you more about these two fine perfumes: I feel that Jardin de France really should be mentioned more! Sometimes it seems to me that the same names, houses and perfumes are constantly talked about, and some really fine perfumes almost neglected, not given enough attention.

I think Jardin de France deserves it and these were my impressions after several wearings:

AIR ELEMENTAL

Well, this will certainly make you stop thinking “fresh and light” when you see “air” in the name of a perfume in the future! This air is breathing heavy, like wet earth during a storm! Thunder and lightning and that sensation when you are looking at a storm approaching, even before it starts to rain. You see dark clouds moving in, wind rises, thunder is rumbling above your head yet it feels so good to sit beside an open window and breathe this moment in, before lightning bolts scare you and heavy rain drops start hitting on window glass. This potent rumbling of thyme with pepper notes is pleasing but what I find most enjoyable is this tuberose -ginger relationship! I will say this now: whatever. Forget the notes list and just follow your feeling! The opening felt impressive, but let me reassure you: the smooth and hugging amber dry-down will soothe your soul.

The Perfumer’s Note: “If the creation of an air-themed perfume was obvious, we wanted to take the opposite of the fresh and light air that everyone expected to create an intense and powerful “air” which astonishes and disturbs”.

Notes: Bergamot, Thyme, Pepper – Tuberose, Ginger – Patchouly, Amber

FEU PRIMITIF

Very uplifting at the beginning, a wake me up call, quite sparkling. Later on it becomes more quiet in a very refined way, and I can’t explain why it feels like Indian Summer to me: there’s warmth and there’s coldness. Rose is felt in the air, with a surprise: you cannot see roses in your garden anymore, it’s too late in the year for that, yet that makes you enjoy even more the one you bought this morning at your local florist’s. This rose is big, pink, and just when you are placing it in a vase you can feel a small whiff of it’s scent. That makes you feel good as you look at it, hoping it will last for more than couple of days.

Incense dances slowly around it, swirling in the background, a back vocal on a small and intimate stage, like a thin, silver, functional picture frame. What I feel is a deliberate play with light and shadows, bitterness and sweetness, finely blended with evidently high quality ingredients.

The Perfumer’s Note: “Timut Pepper is used for its frank and fresh attack that perfectly illustrates the bright and sparkling element that I wanted to create. I also tried to break the codes of incense in order to get away from the sacred aspect that is often associated with it.”

Notes: Timut Pepper, Orange, Elemi- Black Tea, Rose – Incense, Cypress, Cedar of Virginia

These two new additions to Le Jardin de France’s Sources d’Origine Collection are presented at Pitti Fragranze 2018:

These two new additions will be available from October 2018. You can find their chosen retailers on Jardin de France website!

Do take a look at my Instagram account: I will report from Florence! My Pitti Report will follow as well.

Elena Cvjetkovic

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl archive, Le Jardin de France

Samples: Provided by Le Jardin de France, opinions of my own.

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