Based in Positano, its perfumes inspired by Italy — Baume du Doge (Venice), Bois d’Ombrie (Umbria), Eau d’Italie (Positano), Magnolia Romana (Rome), Paestum Rose (Paestum) and Sienne l’Hiver (Siena) — niche line Eau d’Italie’s fragrance names are in French (Perché? Do more people know how to pronounce French than Italian? Are French titles more “perfume-y”?) Eau d’Italie also uses a French perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour, to create many of its fragrances, and I’ve enjoyed (almost) all of his Eau d’Italie perfumes (Magnolia Romana excepted).
Working with Eau d’Italie’s owners, Marina Sersale and Sebastián Alvarez Murena, Duchaufour supposedly took two years of “intense development” to create Jardin du Poète:
The inspiration for this fragrance is a tale from a bygone era, when nations were ruled by poets, and poets were sacred to Apollo. In those days Sicily was a Greek colony, Syracuse was a fragrant court, and its gardens vibrated with the scent of citrus orchards and rows of aromatic plants. Thus "Jardin du Poete", the poet's garden, a luminous fragrance to evoke Sicily and all things Sicilian.
It would require another article to tackle the confused notions expressed in that PR blip, but I’ll take Eau d’Italie at its word when it states it wanted Jardin du Poète to be “deliciously original and uncompromisingly contemporary.” Jardin du Poète succeeds on one of those two counts.
Jardin du Poète’s listed notes include bitter orange, grapefruit, basil, angelica, immortelle (Helicrysum italicum), pink pepper, cypress, vetiver and musk. Jardin du Poète’s development proceeds from a tangerine peel-grapefruit juice opening to fresh, not musty, immortelle blended with some “greens” and crystallized angelica in mid-development, and ends with mildest vetiver mixed with faint cypress. At times during Jardin du Poète’s dry-down, I detect a ‘vegetal’ aroma that reminds me of bell peppers and tomato leaf. In the end, Jardin du Poète smells like a thirst-quenching, naturally sweet (non-alcoholic) cocktail — juicy, sparkling and cool at first sip, but with a “warm” herbal aftertaste.
Jardin du Poète is delicious, but certainly not “deliciously original.” (It’s no L’Artisan Timbuktu or Dzongkha, to name just two of Duchaufour’s more quirky creations outside the Eau d’Italie line.) Given many of its ‘Eau de Cologne’ notes, Jardin du Poète could easily have been a simple, old-fashioned fragrance — the type of scent I associate with Italian monks and monasteries via quite a few Italian niche lines — but Jardin du Poète’s bold freshness, its realistic ‘herbs’, its radiance and tenacity, do make it smell “uncompromisingly contemporary.” If my perfume cabinet didn’t already overflow with summer-y colognes, I’d buy Jardin du Poète.
Jardin du Poète has good lasting power and minimal sillage. On my skin, the note that is most enduring is immortelle. I love immortelle when it’s expertly blended into a fragrance, but many people I know consider this note “stale,” so your pleasure in Jardin du Poète may depend on your love, or dislike, of immortelle.
Eau d’Italie Jardin du Poète is available in 100 ml Eau de Toilette, $140; for buying information, see the listing for Eau d'Italie under Perfume Houses.
Note: top image is An Italian Garden by William Merritt Chase [cropped] via Wikimedia Commons.