For years, I thought of Clarins strictly as a higher-end French cosmetics company; then, a friend shared a few gift-with-purchase items with me, and I had the chance to try the brand's "Relax" shower gel and body lotion. I've been interested in Clarins' fragranced products ever since then, so I looked forward to trying Eau des Jardins when it was launched in May. Eau des Jardins is recommended as an aromatherapeutic product, created with "more than 10 essential oils and three bud extracts (beech, blackcurrant and sorbier)"; the plant-bud extracts are also reportedly beneficial to the skin.
More specifically, the notes of this "treatment fragrance" are listed as an opening of grapefruit, citrus, bergamot and orange; a heart of mint, laurel leaves, rose and blackcurrant bud absolute; and base notes of cedar wood, patchouli, vetiver, white musk. Eau des Jardins' bottle is visually appealing, with shades of ruby and chartreuse that complement the fragrance well: it's a blend of tart red fruits and crisp green leaves. The fragrance's initial phase reminds me of some summer cocktail that involves citrus fruits, especially limes and orange slices, mixed with a little pomegranate juice for color. The citrus idea fades into just-ripe currants, and despite the mentions of black currant buds in the official descriptions, this note seems more like red currant to me. Then Eau des Jardins reveals a transparent woody core; and I don't get much of a floral note, with the possible exception of a dry rose behind the currants, so the overall composition feels like more like a sunny, leafy orchard than a flower garden. In the dry down, the sheer wood turns lightly musky, prolonging the effect of the currants and the leaves.
Over the past week of warm weather, I've been alternating Eau des Jardins with Diptyque L'Ombre dans L'Eau, a berries-and-greenery classic, and Creative Universe Vita, which features plum and black currant in its tea-based composition, and it has held up well against both fragrances. It has above-average staying power: the sillage dies down after an hour or two, but I could still detect the fragrance on my wrist four hours after I'd applied it. It's a versatile fragrance: casual but not juvenile, straightforward but not dull.
My only, small quarrel over this product is its placement within the Clarins line. Like the cult-favorite Eau Dynamisante and its fellow "treatment fragrances," Eau des Jardins is classified as a "Well-Being" product on the Clarins website, and it's lumped into the "Sunshine" section with the summer-oriented Eau Ensoleillante (Sunshine Fragrance). It deserves its own sub-category, and I'm hoping it will eventually gain some matching body products too. In the meantime, I'll finish off my sample vial and consider purchasing a full bottle for late-summer into early-autumn wear.
Clarins Eau de Jardins is available in a 100 ml size for $48.