Un Jardin en Méditerranée Eau de Toilette by Hermès Review

Collage of Un Jardin en Mediterranee and notes including juniper, cypress, pistachio, oleander, neroli, lemon, and bergamot.

On me, this is soapy like a bar of scented milled hand soap you absentmindedly take a whiff of in the cashier line at TJ Maxx. In the first few seconds, the soap has a welcome, refreshing green twist; within a minute, however, the convincing green freshness evaporates, and what’s left is a run-of-the-mill (ha ha) French milled soap with a mild fresh edge.

A pile of four square white bars of soap.

Un Jardin en Méditerranée is a classic of Hermès’ Jardin line, a delicate aquatic-aromatic fragrance that’s meant to evoke a Tunisian garden filled with fig trees and Mediterranean citrus. On me, this regrettably falls flat, landing me in conifer-citrus hand soap land.

In warm weather, the faint florals in Méditerranée overtake the freshness more and more with each passing minute. Faint orange blossom and gentle white nerium oleander create a generally soft floral soap base. It’s quiet, setting the stage and filling in the spaces.

Cluster of light blush pink five-petaled nerium oleander flowers.

This is a faint sort of scent with light performance, suitable for stuffy warm weather. It would make an interesting and nostalgic hand soap to use with hot water in the winter when longing for warmer days.

In cooler weather, the quiet floral notes never emerge at all on me. In the depths of winter, Un Jardin en Méditerranée is a citrus-and-cypress bar of French-milled hand soap without any floral base.

Regardless of temperature, in its first moments, Un Jardin en Méditerranée is bright and citrusy. The intense clean soapiness develops in minutes, but at first it’s a citrus soap, mostly lemon and sparkling mandarin orange with only a hint of warm earl-grey bergamot.

Within ten to fifteen minutes, the citrus notes are still present, but fade to the background, letting the aromatic, snapping fresh coniferous notes take center stage. Cypress, red cedar, and juniper make up a cool, crisp sort of breezy clean accord. Is it green? Kind of. It’s a dark blue-green, like sparkling pine needles iced over in winter.

A branch of the evergreen juniper bush, with large blue berries covered in pale dusty bloom.

I do love a good cool woody scent. Right now my absolute favorite daily wear perfume is Sarah Jessica Parker’s Stash. But something in here has a tang that doesn’t sit right on me. It’s not quite bitter, more of a sort of aftertaste hidden among the junipers and cypress. It’s not metallic, but it has a timbre that’s similar, simultaneously tangy and flat.

Hints of milky, sappy fig leaf and nutty pistachio add dashes of light summer green to the mix, but this is largely a cool, aromatic, coniferous array of notes on a backdrop of soap. The pistachio adds a nice warm touch of texture, lending some depth to the otherwise fairly flat coniferous woody and citrus notes.

As for fig, I don’t get anything that suggests fig fruit at all, nor very much that smells like a fig tree. Un Jardin en Méditerranée just isn’t green on me in that fresh, snapping way. This is nothing like the crisp dewy freshness of the fig tree in Diptyque’s Philosykos. No, the green and aromatic notes on me are all cool conifers: cypress, juniper, and red cedar (which, confusingly, is also a type of juniper, and not a true cedar at all).

Cool and refreshing and aromatic, yes. But this is less of a deciduous forest of large papery leaves and more of a bed of pine-like needles. Cool and fresh, this is the most unapologetically cool and dry of the Jardin line.

Half of a bright yellow lemon.

There’s very little sweetness here. Even the citruses land more on the juicy sour side than the sweet.

This is an upscale soap that makes me think of hot summer days at some sort of pool, or maybe even the ocean, with a hint of chlorine or salt in the air and trees at the periphery of my vision. Maybe it’s a faint sunscreen that I’m smelling, perhaps in the milkiness of the fig leaf.

But no, it’s not just that. Something in the background of Un Jardin en Méditerranée is definitely vaguely salty. It’s not nearly as salty as something like Un Jardin sur la Lagune, but there’s a hint of salty or chlorinated water in the acquatic background.

On me, Un Jardin en Méditerranée lasts some six to eight hours. Eight is generous. The projection and sillage are modest but adequate for a workday or a day out. The last two hours are quite faint, with faint masculine aromatics and occasionally a sour citrus gust.

A tall wine glass filled with clean fresh water.

The translucent watercolor sophistication and serenity of the rest of the Jardin line is still very much present in Méditerranée. It’s a scent that pairs beautifully with a cool blue-green silk scarf cascading in layers down your shoulders.

This isn’t watery, per se. It has soft aquatic nuances, but they’re quiet. This isn’t at all a calone-blue fresh water scent. There’s nothing hard or agressively fresh here. Rather, the conifer cleanness of this feels like soap and clean water. It’s a nice restrained suggestion of aquatics without defining the entire fragrance.

This is a typically light and pretty Jean-Claude Ellena composition, silky and diaphanous. It’s not fragile or delicate, just cosmopolitan and refined. Like the rest of the Jardin line, this would make a solid office fragrance and an even better “visiting art galleries and museums” fragrance.

To me, Un Jardin en Méditerranée is perhaps the flattest and least interesting of the Jardin line thus far. It’s a conifers-and-citrus bar of soap. Perhaps Un Jardin de Monsieur Li is simpler in its notes, but it feels like there’s more of a sense of Gestalt there, a bigger cohesive picture of time and place.

Two green bergamot citrus fruits, one of which is cut open.

Un Jardin en Méditerranée has certainly received its fair share of praise, and I can see in others’ descriptions what is so lovely about it. It just doesn’t present that way on my skin. It’s not bad, just lackluster and flat, so much so I struggle to know what to write about it.

But my experience is not typical. Méditerranée is one of the most popular releases of the Jardin line. I believe Un Jardin sur le Nil is the most popular in the lineup so far, and Méditerranée is second. It’s my mom’s favorite.

Many reviews describe a certain mystical beauty, a serene Mediterranean spring with an embankment of fig trees. A hidden cove filled with nymphs, the misty air heavy with the smell of conifers and redolent citrus peels.

Two coniferous twigs of bald cypress.

I truly wish I got that sense of place here, but I don’t. On my skin, Mediteranee is simply lemon-cypress French bar soap. I struggle to find much else to say about it, so I won’t fluff this blog post with thousands of words of disappointment. This comes down to skin chemistry and personal taste, and Méditerranée just isn’t for me.

But don’t let me discourage you. If you love aromatic coniferous scents, mild aquatic notes, faint sprays of flowers and sparkly citrus, and you’re looking for something refined to spritz on your silk scarf, then Un Jardin en Méditerranée might have been made for you.

If you’re a fan of the light, aromatic, sparkly aesthetics of Un Jardin en Méditerranée, you might like to check out the rest of the Hermès Jardin perfumes, including:

Tall rectangular blue and yellow glass bottle with a silver cap of Un Jardin en Méditerranée Eau de Toilette by Hermes.

Where to Find Un Jardin en Méditerranée Eau de Toilette by Hermès

You can find samples and decants of Un Jardin en Méditerranée EdT at Scent Split.

Want more? You can find full bottles at HottPerfume, Jomashop, and StrawberryNet.

These are affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, the seller pays me a commission, at no extra cost to you. You can learn more about them here.

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