Gardenia Monday: What are your favorites?

gardeniaDon’t you just love it when you get an unexpected fragrant treat? Looking out the back door of my office the other day, I was thrilled to see that three of the four gardenia bushes at the edge of the patio were blooming up a storm — I mean, really going to town. Not sure what’s going on with poor No. 4 there in the back, but oh, well. Such a pleasure to step outside and stick my nose in not one, but many, lovely blooms. And to think that some years, there’s been not a petal in sight on those babies. I guess the stars just aligned perfectly this year.

Although there’s no perfume that exactly captures that lush scent, it got me to thinking about several that I do like, even if some of them tend to go off on their own little gardenia-inspired tangents (sorry, no bleu cheese or mushroom-y accords for me).

Among my faves: No. 1 for as close to real as I’ve found is Michael Storer’s Stephanie, although not sure if it’s even made anymore. Jovoy’s Gardez-Moi is high up there for me, and Arquiste’s Boutonniere and Van Cleef & Arpels’ Gardenia Petale are lovely and pretty, even if not totally gardenia-centric. And of course, there’s Estee Lauder’s Tuberose Gardenia, although the tuberose often seems to get a little pushy with the gardenia, and it’s a bit more potent than simply pretty, which is OK. It gets props for being very lush, which is what you really need with gardenia. And I’m sure there are several others that I’m forgetting.

Even in body products, I’m enjoying a hint of gardenia these days, via Red Flower’s Spanish Gardenia. The shower gel is quite nice (need to try the lotion); also have been grooving on the EL body lotion, which is great.

And let’s not forget candles: In my formal living room, I’ve been alternating between several evenings burning the Spanish Gardenia candle, and then several with Frederic Malle’s Tubereuse candle. No, not a gardenia scent, but still very pretty switched out with the Red Flower. Have not tried the Malle gardenia candle as it’s a bit too spendy for me right now, but I imagine it’s pretty amazing. If you’ve tried a great gardenia-ish candle (room spray, diffuser, etc.), would love to hear about it.

So come stroll down the gardenia path and share your loves, likes and even total misses (Chanel Gardenia, I’m looking at you) when it comes to this lush, intoxicating flower.


  1. Hands down, I still love Tuvache’s Jungle Gardenia — makes me feel like Joan in Mad Men when I dab it on! And I quite like SL’s Une Voix Noir, though it smells kind of cold to me — like a gardenia corsage in a florist’s refrigerated case. My Southern friends back home are all posting pics of their gardenia bushes in bloom, and I’m soooooooo jealous! But I made it to our new digs in Minneapolis (and found a lovely package waiting for me — MWAH!!!), so I’m too busy getting settled to garden. Which is why I’m doubly glad to have such pretty flower-scented perfumes to sniff!

    • We lived in the South when I was very young, and the flowers were/are so unforgettable that even now I long for them. The gardenias, magnolias and dogwoods!

      • Howdy, Deb! Yep, that trio really is one of the joys of living in the Deep South. And I love seeing practically the size of dinner plates, ha! Y’all come back and visit anytime, you hear? 😉

        • Ooops — that should have been “magnolias the size of dinner plates.” Brain moving way too fast for fingers, it seems.

    • I went through a gardenia sampler, and it was one of the most pleasant experiences ever. There wasn’t a single scent in there I didn’t like.

      The gardenia fragrances that I loved enough to purchase were JAR Jardenia, VC&A Gardenia Petale, Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia (although since sold), and the vintage Tuvache Gardenia. To my (unhappy) surprise, however, I found out that the vintage Tuvache Gardenia EDT is not the same as the vintage Tuvache perfume. The latter is what you what for absolutely exquisite Gardenia.

      This has to be one of my favorite notes ever.

    • I went through a gardenia sampler, and it was one of the most pleasant experiences ever. There wasn’t a single scent in there I didn’t like.

      The gardenia fragrances that I loved enough to purchase were JAR Jardenia, VC&A Gardenia Petale, Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia (although since sold), and the vintage Tuvache Gardenia. To my (unhappy) surprise, however, I found out that the vintage Tuvache Gardenia EDT is not the same as the vintage Tuvache perfume. The latter is what you what for absolutely exquisite Gardenia.

      This has to be one of my favorite notes ever.

      • Sorry; left one note for you, Heidic, and then this last one refused to post in proper place.

    • Yay, Heidi! So happy to hear that you are getting settled in your new place. I can’t remember if I ever tried the Jungle Gardenia, but I’m glad you mentioned the Serge. Remember liking it but need to give it one another try. And yes, lots seem to be blooming this season, so perhaps it’s turning out to be the Year of the Gardenia.

  2. Gardenia, my favorite note! First last and always, Tom Ford’s Velvet Gardenia. The best ever. Jeffrey Dame’s gorgeous gardenia oil roll-on ( the edt refuses to work for me.) Monyette when I’m in the mood for something juvenile, beachy, and fun. Forever Florals gardenia oil when I’m working in the garden and want gardenia to accompany me. EL Tuberose Gardenia for radiant sunniness. And on soft summer mornings, I wear the Malle room spray Un Gardenia de Nuit as a perfume. It is lovely and fresh to my nose. I suspect that the clean musk would not suit me at other times, but on clean early mornings it’s simply perfect.

    • Hi, dear! Must try that Jeffrey Dame — sounds great! I’m so glad you mentioned the Malle gardenia room spray; I had forgotten all about that one. And you wear it yourself, you say? Hmmm … maybe I’ll try a little drop soon. Thanks!

  3. I should add that the Malle room spray is also awfully nice as a room spray?. And I have heard that the gardenia candle from Amy’s Country Candles is very good. I just ordered one so I don’t know yet.

  4. One day, I’ll get my mitts on some Jungle Gardenia… however, I really do like Jovan’s Island Gardenia for now. 🙂

    • Oooh, sounds yummy! Is it readily available or is a vintage, must-track-it-down scent? Either way, I need to sniff it.

      • Amazon, around $11. It came highly recommended from fragrantica and while it’s no real gardenia bush or Tuvache, it’s shockingly decent for the pricepoint! 🙂

  5. I agree on Jovoy’s Gardez-Moi. It does smell of real gardenia to me, but – I need to sample it again. I love Isabey Gardenia. The tangerine bark opening is lovely. A lot of people say it’s not a true gardenia perfume, but who cares. It’s gorgeous. Right now I have been sampling MDCI Nuit Andalouse and am liking it more and more. This one is fun. It’s as though all the supporting notes are at the surface but not the gardenia which regularly pops up, says “here I am”, and gradually goes down again.

    • Yay — another Gardez-Moi fan! Glad you mentioned the Isabey; think I might have a sample tucked around here somewhere. And I’m right there with you on the MDCI; it really did grow on me after several tries. Now to find it and wear it again.

  6. My only gardenia perfume is Elizabeth Taylor’s Gardenia that I bought in a thrift store and it’s lovely, very smooth and a little bit fruity. I’m looking forward to trying some of the perfumes mentioned in this post.

    • Hiya, Neva! I did not know that Liz did a gardenia scent — how cool is that! I love that I always seem to learn something new every week here on the Posse. Enjoy your vintage find!

  7. Hey there Ann,
    Gardenia is one of my favourite floral scents on the bush. The people down the road from my childhood home had gardenia hedges, lovingly manicured and every year they had an enormous amount of flowers. The smell would waft dizzyingly up and down the road. I’ll never forget it.
    The closest I’ve ever found to the smell is an Australian outfit called Perfume & Skincare Co. Their Gardenia is out of this world. Feral and ferocious.
    Portia xx

    • Howdy, Portia! I can’t even begin to fathom the scent of lush, sultry gardenia wafting up and down the road. Ahhh … I think I would have died and gone to heaven. Now must try that gardenia you mentioned — thanks for the info for us.

  8. Ahhh…gardenia. Such a lovely flower…so unholy on me. White Shoulders may be the first perfume I ever smelled…and because my grandmother always had a bottle of it, I love it to this day…right up until it hits my skin…then, let the skunk begin. For the longest time I stayed away from perfume because any gardenia/jasmine/tuberose that got near me turned screechy and urinous on me. It’s some sort of punishment from above that I love those big, white florals…and they hate me so much. Sigh. [grabs a bottle of Iris Silver Mist in protest.]

    • Awww, no, Ladona. Sorry to hear that. But please don’t give up — there’s got to be one out there that you can love and wear; just keep sniffing and sampling. And one day your BWF prince will come and you’ll be swept away. 🙂

  9. Still hunting for a realistic gardenia, so I’m interested in trying those mentioned here. Have found a very nice and inexpensive gardenia shower gel: Gardenia by Shikai (available on Vitacost). Gets the day off to a creamy, non-drying luscious start.

    • That sounds lovely, Caroline, and as you said, what a lovely way to start your day. Try a few gardenias and let us know which ones you end up liking.

  10. I love so many of the perfumes already mentioned.

    At the moment, however, my favorite gardenia perfume is Soliflore Gardenia by Dame Perfumery (in Scottsdale, Arizona). For me, it is perfection.

    This copy from the site is spot on (IMO)”A true floral, alive and in full bloom. Lifting off into the breeze, floating through the air;
    adrift in a garden of earthly delight.
    Pure perfume too perfect for this world.”

    In addition – DP makes a lovely edt called Lime, Gardenia and Benzoin. Very nice!

    (I’m NOT affiliated in any way with Dame Perfumery. I’m merely a very pleased customer)

    • Hi, Gwenyth! You are the second person here today to mention Dame Perfumery. I really need to get off my tush and get sampling some of their stuff. Sounds amazing — thanks!

  11. Not a big fan of gardenia in perfume. The tuberose always does me in. Tocca Florence is an exception though.

    • Sorry to hear that, Eldarwen, but I understand. Those notes can get way too big and blowzy. But glad you’ve found the Florence to love; it really is lovely.

  12. I’m going to be the third person to sing the praises of Dame’s Gardenia Soliflore. I have both the oil and the EDP and they smell exactly like the gardenias blooming out back. Several people have called it bleu cheesey, but I don’t get that at all so YMMV. I like Boutonnière No. 7 too, but it doesn’t smell like real gardenia to me at all. Can’t think of any others I love off the top of my head.

    • Whoo-hoo — another fan! Good things come in threes, so this must be some seriously fine juice! It has shot to the top of my “must sample” list. I wear the Boutonniere when I want something that’s not too bright or loud, as it has a subtlety about it that I often enjoy. Thanks!

  13. I’m so envious of your fresh gardenias, Ann! I love them, and tuberose, lily of the valley, etc all in their fresh, natural state. In perfume, white florals aren’t my friends, they hate me unless they are combined with other notes: the amber in DK Gold, the incense in Monyette Paris. Could be worse 🙂

    • Howdy, dear! Hope you are doing well. You’re so right — those flowers in their natural state are such a treat. You have nice choices there, and they’re good for those who find the single notes are just too much. Now I’m craving some DK Gold (must go dig up my sample, ha!).

  14. Look into Olivine Atelier. Got a sample pack recently and 5 of the 7 featured gardenia. Gardenia Batik, which is new from Soivohle, is a beautiful luscious spring bouquet.

    • What a cool sample pack, Rena! A gardenia for (almost) every day of the week. I needs me one of those 🙂 Hadn’t heard of the Batik, but that line is great, so a-hunting I will go. Thanks!

  15. One that I like and that I believe hasn’t been mentioned yet is Trish McAvoy’s Gardenia Musk 4. It is very realistic with good sillage and is long lasting as well.

    • Hi, Farouche — nice to see you! Glad you mentioned that Trish McAvoy; I had forgotten all about it. Now to sniff it again… Thanks!

  16. I keep hearing that Fracas is a tuberose and not a gardenia scent.
    It sure smells like real deal gardenia to me, and I love it.

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