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"By Ellen Groves
PARIS — India in monsoon season inspired Hermès Parfums' latest eau.
The scent, called Un Jardin après la Mousson, or a Garden After the
Monsoon, in English, will bow in May as part of the French luxury
brand's yearlong tribute to India.
For the third fragrance in the Jardins series, Jean-Claude Ellena,
Hermès' in-house perfumer, traveled to Kerala, in southwestern
India, where he was inspired by nature's revival following the
region's annual rainy season. The global introduction of the unisex
scent, which features vegetal, floral and spicy notes, will coincide
with the beginning of the monsoon period in Kerala.
With the latest addition, Hermès executives expect the Jardins
series, which also includes Un Jardin en Mediterannée and Un Jardin
sur le Nil, to generate a quarter of its fragrance sales in 2008.
Last year, Hermès' fragrance sales grew 20 percent year-on-year to
118.9 million euros, or $163 million at average exchange. Industry
sources estimate Un Jardin après la Mousson will generate 16 million
euros, or $24 million at current exchange, at wholesale in its first
"The Jardins series' particularity is that it's a meeting between
Hermès' yearly theme, its perfumer and a place," explained Catherine
Fulconis, Hermès Parfums managing director.
For Un Jardin après la Mousson, Ellena wanted to capture an
unexpected aspect of India, so he visited Kerala several weeks after
the long-awaited monsoon rains ended when nature had started to
spring back to life. Though Kerala is a region renowned for its
spices, Ellena eschewed hot spicy notes in favor of cooler vegetable
notes such as cardamom, coriander, pepper, ginger and ginger flower.
He also included a vetiver accord of his own creation.
"In India, your senses are arrested everywhere, you have a desire
for calm," explained Fulconis. "This was the idea of après la
Mousson. While India abounds in colors and noise, with this
fragrance, one has a moment of rest."
The fragrance's heavy glass bottle resembles those of the other
scents in the Jardins collection. Its graduated green and blue color
recalls the clouds of a monsoon and the vivid green of nature
reborn. A frieze on its outer carton, designed by artist Karen
Petrossian, who has also created Hermès scarves, is a playful take
on nature, featuring elephants and monkeys taking refuge under
The eau de toilette will be available as 100- and 50-ml. sprays,
priced at 83 euros, or $122 at current exchange, and 60 euros, or
$88, respectively. The fragrance's ancillary line includes a body
lotion and a bath and shower gel, priced at 39 euros, or $57, and 33
euros, or $49, respectively, for 200 ml., as well as a body mist for
42 euros, or $62, and a dry oil for 40 euros, or $59, both 100 ml.
A gift set containing a 100-ml. fragrance, a scented home decoration
and a book by journalist Sarina Lewis, published in eight languages,
including Malayalam, the language of Kerala, will be sold in Hermès
boutiques and select department stores for 115 euros, or $169.
Single-page advertising, created by the Publicis agency, shows an
elephant's trunk shielding the fragrance from monsoon raindrops with