Hermès, the famous French luxury design house, has recently launched a new unisex perfume it says is an ode to the gardens, sunshine and wild seas of Greece.
“Un Jardin à Cythère”, A Garden in Kythira, was created by Christine Nagel, the renowned Swiss perfumer, who has worked in-house at Hermès since 2016, and who was inspired by the Greek island.
“It’s my vision of Greece through perfume,” Nagel told the luxury travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller.
The island of Kythira, south of the Peloponnese, is dotted with medieval architecture, abundant flora and tumbling rocky cascades with golden sands that feel both rural and picture-perfect at the same time.
Hermès perfume inspired by Kithira and Greece
Nagel drew inspiration from her first encounter with the island, and tried to encapsulate how she felt on that visit.
“My first trip to Greece was 20 years ago and I went from island to island by boat. I arrived at Kythira, left the boat, and was immediately captivated by the olive trees and wild grasses below them that were moving with the wind.
“I had such strong physical sensations; when I walked I could feel the cracking of the grass under my feet and there was a moment when the winds rose, and this amazing, delicate scent surprised me as the breeze went through the grasses,” she tells Condé Nast Traveller.
The key ingredients for the perfume were olive wood, golden grass and fresh pistachio, which are not available as natural extracts. Nagel had to recreate them from memory.
“I love the rugged trunks of olive wood used in Greece, they have a very refined scent. Once I had that as the backbone of the fragrance, I recreated the golden grasses, and then needed something that would bring it to life,” she tells the magazine.
That’s when Nagel opted for the warmth of fresh pistachio, which has a soft, watery texture and a surprising freshness.
Kythira (or Kythera) is a unique Greek island full of majestic beaches and green mountainous terrain, so it has something for everyone.
Kythira is a lesser-known Greek island, as it is overshadowed in fame by Antikythera and its amazing Antikythera Mechanism, discovered off its shores.
It was inhabited in ancient times, and has the oldest sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite.
Through the 19th century, it was a trade crossroads of several civilizations and cultures, including Greek, Venetian, and Ottoman.
If you visit Kythira, you will be surprised by the percentage of Australian tourists among visitors. The reason is that thousands of Kytherians went to Australia in the first wave of migration to the land down under in the early 20th century.
It is estimated that there are over 60,000 Greek-Australians of Kythirian descent living in Australia, and the Kythirian community of Sydney is one of the oldest communities in the country.