Garden of Eden Discovered by Perfumer Christine Nagel, of Hermès
The head perfumer at Hermès Paris found the garden of her dreams, Un Jardin Sur La Lagune.
Last week, Christine Nagel, the head perfumer of Hermès was in town to share the inspiration behind her latest creation, Un Jardin Sur La Lagune. And in her honor, Robert Chavez, the U.S. President and CEO of Hermès Paris hosted a fragrant garden-filled dinner at Hermès flagship on Madison Avenue.
Three years ago, Nagel was dreaming of a garden, but she didn’t know where it was. Her curiosity was piqued when she came across a story about a long-forgotten garden in Venice, which was first discovered by English Lord Frederic Eden while on a gondola excursion, surrounded by water and longing for a natural oasis.
Legend has it that this lush garden had grown out of a lagoon, and, as this dream was realized by Lord Eden, it came to be known as the Garden of Eden. Nagel was so enchanted by the tale that she began to research, discovering that the garden was real and truly secluded, completely shut off from the world by russet-ochre walls. She had to somehow see and experience it with her own eyes and nose, with the distinct possibility that her next fragrance might be inspired by this place, where the curious greens are enveloped by salt water and touched by the warmth of the Venetian sunlight.
With great diligence, she wrote a letter to the estate of Lord Eden and three months later, they replied. Nagel succeeded in finding the key to this garden which took a little time as the proprietor of the garden resides in Vienna.
“When I finally got to visit the garden, it was much bigger than I imagined and resembled a real jungle,” Nagel explains. Her first visit was in January, but when she was allowed to return in April she smelled magnolia against the salty air and thought, C'est celui-là! This is the one. Then she returned in June and discovered more fragrant notes, from pittosporum shrubs, with their little yellow buds, to jasmine, orange blossom, and Moscato (Muscat) grapes. The inspiration came to fruition with Un Jardin Sur La Lagune, a lush bouquet of green goodness, blooming flowers, spring in the woods.
“When I created this perfume, I really liked it,” Nagel says humbly, with the hope that everyone will agree. “I was so touched by this garden, and creating this perfume is my way of sharing, to open that door and discover the garden.”