Best Gardenia Perfumes – what is a good gardenia perfume?
Saturday morning was the best kind of morning – rainy. The general routine is, the twins wake me up, I stagger downstairs and pour them two bowls of cereal, let the dog out, get the coffee going, and go back to bed. The sound of them puttering around downstairs, the rain beating on the window, the smell of coffee, and drowsing under the comforter is a pretty great combo. Of course, there are drawbacks to leaving them unattended. Last weekend Hecate put honey on the doorknobs. Also, she drew a smiling clown on the wall, with a ballpoint pen.Our conversation went like this:
Me (exasperated): “Don´t draw on the walls! You´re five years old! That´s ridiculous! Only babies draw on walls! Are you a baby?!?”
Hecate (thoughtfully): “Cavemans draw on walls.”
Well, I think we can safely say both of us learned a lot from that exchange. Anyway, this Saturday, March the first, when I went outside, there it was – the faint, unmistakable smell of spring on the way. I admired the snowdrops and the very early hyacinths.
We got off to a rocky start fragrance-wise when I put on Serge Lutens´ Santal Blanc and realized that for some reason, it was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I tried to mitigate the pencil smell with some Barbara Bui, which sounded like a good idea but resulted in complaints in the car (“you smell yucky,” was Buckethead´s verdict.)
Things improved mid-afternoon when I got Sara’s package (thanks, Sara!); she´d said in my Gardenia post awhile back that she´d send me some Yves Rocher Gardenia, which she thought was a really good dupe of the flower. Well, she sent me a whole bunch of other things, too, including several other Yves, and several other gardenia scents.
Yves Rocher Gardenia perfume (which I think is properly called Pur Desir de Gardenia) is, in my opinion, a fine dupe of the flower. I tried to conjure up my smell-memory of the gardenia flower, and I think the YR had pretty much the perfect amount of balance between the creamy white notes and the stinky cheese.It was also (blessedly) absent the common, balancing tuberose note. It doesn´t last forever, but while it´s there, it´s great.(It occurred to me, smelling it, that I can´t have a perfect dupe, because part of my olfactory satisfaction is sticking my nose — literally — in the gardenia flower, for a feel of those velvety petals.)I know several of you complained about a peculiar, plastic-y note in the YR gardenia shower gel, but I didn´t smell it here.
Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia was a bit of a surprise. JM and I don´t seem to get along; several of her fragrances wear a bit sharpish on me. Vintage Gardenia perfume, however, was a keeper — a pretty, pleasantly spicy take on gardenia. Notes are: gardenia, tuberose, cardamom, sandalwood, incense and myrrh. I think if she´d nixed the tuberose and amped up the incense and cardamom, I´d have been in heaven.
Chanel Gardenia brought back all sorts of memories, as I worked through half a bottle years ago when I was trying very hard to be somebody else. It´s sparkling and greener than I remembered – I get tuberose and jasmine and probably some other florals as well, resting on gentle musk.It is a lovely fragrance; however, it doesn´t particularly call up the flower for me as a gardenia perfume.
Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia perfume – and thanks so much for taping that vial shut! In fact, with all these sample vials of gardenia on my desk, the air in the office is getting a little close. The opening is some rough road – sweet, sharp, green (LOTV?) and plastic-smelling. It´s not a scrubber – it´s sort of cheap-soapy, but I´ve smelled worse, believe me. Then I get a mildly indolic tuberose/gardenia. This has a number of positive reviews on MUA and Basenotes, but to me it is way too sweet and too green to be a good gardenia soliflore. Still … if you are a total gardenia/tuberose freak, and you see a bottle at TJ Maxx, where apparently it can be found for chump change, knock yourself out.
Demeter Gardenia perfume – here, let me crib from their website: “Indole is the culprit (!) in Gardenia, in the sense of it causes the rotting meat that some flowers of this type leave behind. Without Indole, you get a big, lovely, creamy, happy flower. Consequently, Demeter´s Gardenia is a unlike traditional gardenia perfume. Demeter´s Gardenia is the delicate scent of fresh blooming gardenias still on the bush. Instead of being overpowering, we have created a classic, rich and creamy floral scent.”Hmmmm. To which I respond, are you sure? Because maybe it´s my own natural stink, but I swear, it smells cheesy to me, and not tuberose-tainted, which makes me happy. It doesn´t last long, though, and leaves me with a faint, unpleasant ashtray note on the skin. Next, please.
Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia – I went back and re-sniffed this since I was exploring gardenias. It was nice to smell on its own, rather than blasting through the Tom Ford Collection. Maybe it´s my skin, but those TFs can be overly sweet. Velvet Gardenia starts out sweeter and more multi-floral than I’d like. The drydown, however, is a smell to behold, and having sniffed a bunch o´ gardenia perfume, my respect for this has grown. It´s more complicated than the others – much deeper, certainly richer, with a honeyed aspect.It also has a note of the Tom Ford-ade, that Black Orchid base (did anyone ever confirm that some/most of the Collection were drafts for the original Black Orchid, or was that just rumor?) Here, though, the piercing sweetness of gardenia actually works beautifully within the framework of incense, labdanum and other florals. The stinky cheese is there but muted. I wouldn´t call this a gardenia soliflore; although gardenia´s the dominant floral, I get a lot of jasmine. A little of this goes a very, very long way on me, and I think a heavy overspray of this might kill me.But it is, in its own, louche way, quite lovely.