By  on December 3, 2004

PARIS — Hermès’ olfactive garden keeps on growing.

The venerable French leather goods, apparel and fragrance house will introduce Un Jardin Sur Le Nil (A Garden on the Nile, in English), a unisex scent, next spring.

The fragrance is the second installment of the Garden-Perfumes collection first introduced in 2003, with the launch of Un Jardin en Mediterranée (A Garden on the Mediterranean). The series is part of Hermès’ strategy to offer a panoply of scents and falls image-wise between the superselective Hermèssence collection, which is sold only in the brand’s stores, and Hermès’ more widely distributed fragrances, including Eau des Merveilles.

“We’re not always addressing the same people in the same way,” explained Veronique Gautier, chief executive officer of the house’s fragrance division. “When you walk through an Hermès store, there will always be something you just have to have.”

Of course, the fragrances are also about business. While Hermès executives refused to divulge projections for Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, industry sources estimate the scent could generate $12 million at retail in its first year.

To create Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, Gautier whisked a team — including Hermès in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, herself and photographer Quentin Bertoux — to Egypt.

Ellena recalled he had no brief for the fragrance, but rather was encouraged to use Egypt as his source of inspiration. “I lost all of my points of reference,” he said, adding the first few days of the trip were disconcerting. “The ideas I had in my head [about Egypt] and reality didn’t match.”

Finally, Ellena found what he calls “the spine” of the fragrance while strolling through a mango tree grove in an island garden. The shade of the trees and their proximity to the Nile meant the air was cool, and it inspired a fresh scent. The green mangos’ acidic aroma also tickled his fancy. So the result was a fruity, green, woody juice with notes of green mango, lotus flower, aromatic rushes, incense and sycamore wood.

“If Un Jardin en Mediterranée is ice cream, Un Jardin Sur Le Nil is sorbet,” said Ellena, adding that, in a whirlwind, he wrote the juice’s formula on his flight back to France.In Egypt on the photo front, Bertoux snapped pictures for a book, called “Encounter Along the Nile,” which will be sold with a limited-edition gift set containing the fragrance and incense sticks. Together, they are to retail for 110 euros, or $146.50 at current exchange.

“There was major alchemy [between Ellena and Bertoux],” said Gautier, noting the perfumer penned the text accompanying the photographer’s shots.

The Un Jardin Sur Le Nil eau de toilette will be available as 50- and 100-ml. sprays that will sell for 55 euros, or $73 at current exchange, and 76 euros, or $101, respectively. Its heavy glass bottle created in-house is tinted green and yellow, meant to recall Egypt’s contrasting vegetation and desert. The scent is packaged in a white-and-green box decorated with a floral design inspired by an Hermès tableware collection. A 200-ml. body milk also will be available for 37 euros, or $49.

The fragrance will bow in Hermès stores in February 2005 and will be introduced in the brand’s full distribution worldwide in March 2005.

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