Best Gardenia Perfume – review of gardenia perfumes, are they the best?

Best Gardenia Perfumes – what is a good gardenia perfume?

gardenia perfume billie holidaySaturday 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.

  • Sara Cole says:

    Hi March! Thanks for the great reviews! I’m honored my package generated this whole article and especially glad you enjoyed it. I have so much fun reading your perfume writing.

    I have never actually smelled a Gardenia, but it’s my Mom’s favorite scent. She had one or two gardenia perfumes. When I got into perfume, all the great info available and friendly swappers allowed me to gather a HUGE sample collection of all the Gardenias I could find for her. I still don’t get Kai. 🙂 I love gardenia, and make it my duty to regularly supply Mom with Chanel Gardenia, Jo Malone, and Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion. I know for a fact she uses Gardenia perfumes as a room spray every morning when she goes to her computer and starts work. But I can’t wear any ‘true’ Gardenias myself! Only the Chanel– always smells, in my mind, like a picture of a fantastical PINK Gardenia. You know what I mean. 🙂

    Yves Rocher are startlingly good for the price, if you like soliflores. To me, YR Gardenia smells like the other fragrances people TELL me are the truest gardenias.

    However, I grew up with lilacs and peonies. I found YR Lilac is very well done, and peony even better. The lilac, unfortunately, is the lilac FLOWER, NOT the smell of the whole plant. This is a failing in every lilac fragrance I’ve ever encountered. In nature, you can’t stick your face into lilacs without also smelling the leaves. But this is a good one, especially if combined with a decent green/watery scent that’s NOT fresh or ozonic. Incidentally, their bamboo is also spot on. If you like Peonies, YR is really nice and a great price.

    Don’t ever pay full price for YR. They’re ALWAYS going on sale. 🙂

    March, I always think I smell tobacco in the JM. My imagination? Is there something in there that would give that impression to an untrained nose? Incense, maybe? I never noticed before that was one of the notes.

    Also, your reaction to Demeter and (ack) the Liz Taylor are identical to mine. Demeter is full of indoles, whatever they claim. Lol. I’m so sorry I inflicted that LT on you– I also read positive reviews and thought I was missing something. Now it’s in my ‘give away’ box. Not even the ‘swap’ box. Just the ‘give away anywhere you can get rid of it’ box. 🙂 Anyone want a bottle of Liz Taylor Gardenia? lol.

    • March says:

      Well, thanks for all the goodies!

      I know YR has a strong perfumista fan base. I think it’s just one of those (previously) unexplored nooks for me, nobody had sent me any in a swap, and right now I’m not in a big floral phase, so I hadn’t been hunting them down.

      I’ll go back and re-smell the Jo Malone and think about tobacco. I wonder if the cardamom/sandalwood is giving you that impression? OTOH the notes listed by a manufacturer are not a picture-perfect representation; it could be in there.

      The Demeters … I love the line as a whole, but some of their scents are really off, and they have quality-control issues (batch to batch.) I got some Olive Blossom once that was a dead ringer for licorice, and Christopher Brosius (who started Demeter and then sold it) said if you put 5x the right amount of a particular note in there, that’s what you’d get. Some of the Demeters are great for what they are — easy, inexpensive fun scents. Since they last on me (and that’s the #1 complaint) I’m happy, particularly with their ginormous samples. I just avoid the candy-booze stuff and pick the weird ones.

  • minette says:

    well, my favorite part of this post is definitely the exchange between you and hecate. that was priceless. old soul in a young body. best of luck. it should be fun.

    for gardenia i seem to prefer annick goutal’s gardenia passion. and i gets lot of gardenia out of songes, as well. and of course, my favorite is the real thing – i also love to stick my nose inside the flowers. and i love the visual contrast between the thick creamy white petals and the dark shiny green leaves.

    • March says:

      Yes, the visual! A very important point! The contrast, those dark shiny leaves and that fakey-looking flower. It’s amusing if you look at the silk ones online, they look great (same deal as fake orchids) because the real flowers look so bogus. 🙂

      You know what I wanted out of life? I wanted never to be bored. And I got my wish. :)>-

      • BBliss says:

        How lucky to have your wish granted! Yep, small children do not leave room for boredom, or any other self-centered emotion…but they are so clever and funny – and in such blinding flashes. Hecate sounds like a gem.

        And so does that Vintage Gardenia which I just read the notes on somewhere else…Allure? Though generally I prefer my gardenias on the bush, or floating in a bowl on the table.

        • March says:

          You’re right, I think it was in Allure. JM is generally not my thing, but I do like that one, very much.

      • Sara Cole says:

        This is so funny: coincidence. My husband and I had a debate in my Dr. office on Friday because there was an orchid so well done I went up to smell it, was confused it didn’t smell, and walked away without realizing it was fake. He said he knew it was fake instantly, because of the thick, waxy, dark leaves that were a little dusty. I kept trying to explain to him that’s EXACTLY what orchid leaves look like and I’d never seen such a good fake. I just thought it had gotten dusty like all my houseplants. 🙂

        • March says:

          Exactly! Real orchids look fake, and fake orchids look just like them. The two I have look completely fake, with a little dust on those big, plastic-looking leaves. :”>

  • Malena says:

    i think i love gardenia mostly in summer when it blooms in the heat – i´m like that with tuberose as well, carnal flower i wear strictly in summer.
    AG songes has gardenia as well, hasn´t it? it´s a nice scent, too, so is gardenia passion, but that one can get too sweet for me.
    i should dig out my sample of the TF gardenia – or probably i shouldn´t as i might like it & i´ve already TF noir de noir & moss breches on my to-buy list.
    a sample of NM gardenia for men has arrived a week ago as well (so has rose for men) but i haven´t had time to test them, yet.

    • March says:

      I have a bottle of regular Passion today. I resniffed it; I forgot how much I liked it.

      Songes goes a little sour on me. That was awhile ago, though, and I need to retry it. It’s one of the very few AGs that doesn’t seem to care for me.

      That NM gardenia sounds wonderful.

  • Robin says:

    But must know: did Hecate have an equally good reason for putting honey on the doorknobs?

    JM Vintage Gardenia was a surprise to me too. I actually ended up buying it, and it layers nicely w/ all kinds of other stuff. Would love to know who the perfumer was.

    • March says:

      Well, she didn’t offer an explanation. What she did was, she poured all the honey into a bowl (creating a huge mess) because she is all about making messes. It’s her … metier, or something. The doorknob thing was secondary, just a result of her having honey all over her hands.

      I ask you, what good is having a medium-size dog if he won’t lick the honey off a doorknob?

    • March says:

      PS The perfumer was Jo — of course! 😉

      Do you like ANY of the other JMs? I mostly don’t. Except the Blue Agava Cacao (sp) which I can’t decide whether I like or hate.

      • Robin says:

        Well, I don’t know why, but it seems “better” that the honey wasn’t purposely applied to the doorknobs?

        I would love Black Vetyver Cafe if it lasted longer. Pom Noir was nicely done but not my cup of tea. But in general, I’d say I don’t rate the line as highly as many people seem to. Even Vintage Gardenia, you know, it’s just too sweet…I like it, but I like it way better layered w/ something else.

        • March says:

          I am still reeling from that fact that you bought a bottle! And wondering what you like to layer it with…

  • Denise says:

    Haven’t tried any of these; just wanted to chime in and echo: Hecate is completely adorable and clever. Loved that story.

  • Tigs / Erin says:

    Just chiming in here to say that I love that whole exchange: your question, Hecate’s answer, your weary analysis. I am just starting this stage with M – telling her she doesn’t want to do whatever she is doing because she is a big girl now. All I have succeeded in doing is making her angry about wearing her diaper (although I have not managed to toilet train her…) *sigh* Is Hecate your nemesis? I call M “Nem” sometimes. My mother, who is otherwise a lovely, gentle woman, laughs maniacally everytime my daughter becomes intensely defiant. Payback time.

    I have the Yves Rocher Gardenia shower gel. I think it’s *fine*, but I prefer the peony (Bambo’s good, too.) Never tried the EdTs.

    And, oh, those paper-marking days. The time I will always remember is the introductory survey course final papers I had to mark where 80% of my students revealed that Hills Like White Elephants is a discussion about ABORTION! An ABORTION, can you believe it?!? It reminds me of that Onion article my brother sent me: “Freshman Term Paper Finds Something Totally New About Silas Marner”.

    • March says:

      My lame advice on the potty front is, the fight isn’t worth it. The girls were earlier, the boy was later, but it was all when they were ready. How old is she? They all got out of diapers eventually, although with Buckethead we had to do the gross thing (in the summer) where you basically just take the diapers off and deal with the fallout for a week or two. We had to, because he was going to preschool and HAD to be out of diapers. He knew what we wanted, just didn’t do it.

      The Onion makes me laugh so hard. That’s my other great child-rearing tool. Humor. :d

  • Patty says:

    Gardenia is tough. My favorite is still Isabey Gardenia, but I’m doing the SIP Lady Day tomorrow, which is themed around gardenia, right?

    I remeber the cavemen days. I finally gave up and just let them have at the walls in their own room, then painted over it all once they outgrew it, only to have the oldest decide to do some artwork with a big black magic marker when he was in his teens.. Well, he got to clean that one up. /:)

    • March says:

      You’re doing Lady Day?!?

      Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! <:-p Black Magic Marker. Yikes. I bet that takes a couple coats to cover up.

      • Patty says:

        Six coats of primer and about six coats of paint about covered it up.

        • March says:

          I remember hearing (reading?) this story once, about how a paint crew got all liquored up and painted the ceiling of a big-box store (like a Wal Mart) red as a joke. And it took them, like, 12 coats to cover it. And the red bleeds through every couple of years.

  • Joan says:

    Just saw this on Scented Salamander = From Dolly Parton’s new album “Backwoods Barbie” – the song- So You Ask Me Not To Wear Cologne”

    Should she give up the guy or the perfume??:-?

  • Debbie says:

    ….must get a gardenia sampler at some point….

    We lived in Louisiana for five years when I was young, then three months in South Carolina. I can remember huge, gorgeous, white flowers with a divine fragrance. I love the velvety feel of their petals too.

    • March says:

      They are such a special flower. I think my favorite way to experience them is in the garden, as fun as it’s been to sniff.

  • Flor says:

    I really love the smell of fresh gardenia flowers, it’s one of my favorites, along with “Lady of the Night” (I think it’s called?). They have it here in Brazil a lot and the smell in the air is just breathtaking. Anyway, I have a hard time with gardenia perfumes. Many of them nauseate me. I don’t have any at the moment because I just haven’t found “it” yet, but I’m still looking. My sister loves Kai, and to me it’s a beautiful gardenia on her. She wears it in moderation and it suits her well. Maybe I’ll love Cruel Gardenia?

    • March says:

      I too think that the smell of gardenia in the air is my favorite way to enjoy it. We live too far north to have them in the climate, but I used to visit my in-laws further south and enjoyed their gardenia and jasmine very much.

      You may like Cruel Gardenia a lot, it’s lovely, but it’s not cruel. It’s very Guerlain (which from me is a compliment.) 🙂

  • kathleen says:

    I enjoy a number of the JM fragrances (including Pom Noir 😮 ) I wear the body creme with most. It tends to vamp up the spices and incense. Also, on me, the floral fades quicker than anything else. The Vintage Gardenia on a summer night is lovely. The bees like it too. I was spraying it on near an open window and was distracted by some buzzing. I looked up to see that quite the mini swarm had gathered to enjoy the gardenia with me.

    • March says:

      I could see the bees totally liking the gardenia. In fact you’ve touched on one of my more serious seasonal issues — I have to be really careful about separating my gardening and fragrance, because I’ve attracted the unwanted attention of bees before. :-ss

      • kathleen says:

        They aren’t so attracted after it is on, though. It’s just the initial spraying that seems to get their attention.

        • erin k. says:

          for me, it’s my cats that i attract.

          you should’ve seen them when i tried Bal a Versailles for the first time last week. one cat freaked out on it so much, that after i finally got her to stop licking my arm, she sat next to me for at least 20 minutes just staring at my arm.

          i guess beasts recognize each other! :d


  • Judith says:

    Have to admit that I’m not a Gardenia girl. I like Chanel’s just fine (though I never wear it), but it doesn’t smell like Gardenia to me. Need to try that Lady Day, though (I’m convinced that somewhere out there is the SIP for me, though I haven’t found it yet; Black Rosette, which you would think would work, um, doesn’t).

    Go Hecate!

    • March says:

      Patty’s doing Lady Day tomorrow!!! Yay!

      I still haven’t tried it, so interested in what she says. And I haven’t found my SIP either.

  • Elle says:

    Brilliant child!
    I really, really have to at some point explore the YR line. Love the JM VG and am sorry to hear that the Demeter doesn’t work – would be such a nice budget balancer. I could somehow justify a purchase of a full bottle of SIP’s Lady Day by considering how much I’d saved going w/ a Demeter first…or something like that. Could you run that by Hecate and have her come up w/ a decent justification for me? Pre-coffee brain is not up to it yet. I have never been able to determine why Chanel Gardenia doesn’t work for me, but it doesn’t. It’s a beautiful scent, but maybe lacking enough base notes for my tastes. Adore the TF.

    • March says:

      Well, the YRs (whispering) make me think of something between … I don’t know … Avon and L’Occitane? Not sure the earth will move, although give me time. And it’s not like I can’t appreciate a lower-priced scent either — look at me and Demeter most of the time, among other lines. Although, ugh, that cigarette ash note was horrid.

      Is the lady day that good? :-ss It is, isn’t it? Isn’t it? I neeeeeed to try it…

      • Sara Cole says:

        I think this is pretty apt– although I’ve only tried one or two l’occitane. I’ve been wondering about their neroli and iris, two of my favorite scents.

        The main thing about YR that gets my attention is the several true soliflores. I adore soliflores. 🙂 Mainly because I adore flowers, I suppose, but don’t enjoy ‘floral’ perfumes as much as ones where I can identify a single flower.

        Other than that, I think they’re an less expensive pleasure– a nice bargain. I’m the opposite on the Demeters. I ordered a ton of the samples when they changes sizes. Really neat line, and some are great, but some seem too weak, especially if I already know the scent, like their LOTV. Myrrh, Neroli, Ylang, for instance, I can hardly smell at all. But flower show and pruning shears are spectacular.

        So for what they do, I like the YR better. But I love the idea of Demeter, I wish some of them were a teensy bit better quality. I like some of their scents so much and the range is so spectacular, I wish some of them were stronger.

        • March says:

          Sara, see my Demeter comments at the bottom. Regarding L’Occitane — I really love some of their scents (one of the men’s ones is great, and their new lemon/honey) but their “soliflores” are very perfume-y to me, a lot of other stuff going on in there. Not sure how satisfying you will find them (and I think they’re way more expensive than the rest of the line?)

          I have some clean skin this morning, need to go give Pivoine a go while my nose is fresh. Thanks again for all the goodies!@};-

    • Musette says:


      I’m so glad to know you love JM’s VG – I love it too! Alas, I cannot wear it any longer – I developed an allergic reaction to it: it makes me SNEEZE! a LOT! I thought I was imagining things but I was in Saks awhile back, chatting with one of my peeps and the SA at the JM outpost sprayed some VG for a lady. I was about 15 ft away and it’s not like she did a room-spray thing…but the next thing I knew I was sneezing like it was ragweed!

      Hope that’s not a harbinger of things to come, as I love gardenia!

      ps. is Lady Day still being sold? I thought they had some legal issues there…

      • Elle says:

        It still is available, but currently is just going by the name “Untitled” and is not available on their website. It is available at the boutique, however, and you can call and order it. I’d be SO upset if it had been d/ced like Heroine was.

        • March says:

          Giggling … I always thought it was Heroin. And I thought, that’s kind of a nasty name, who’d wear that? :”>

          • Musette says:

            So, SO glad I’m not the only one – only I have problems with Hermessence. Not Hermes, which I fling off the tongue with abandon.

            Hermessence, for some reason I first read as… Hermanessence, which has stuck and now always brings to mind Herman Munster, which makes absolutely no sense..but eyeball tricks are weasles that way!

            Hope JCE doesn’t read this!

          • March says:

            Okay, the second I got to Hermanessence?

            I too saw Herman Munster.

            Takes some of the glam off, doesn’t it? :)) I hope I’m not stuck with that in my mind forever!

          • Musette says:

            JCE’s gonna kill us for sure!

      • March says:

        What Elle said. And Patty’s reviewing it tomorrow, and I think/guess they’ll be selling it on TPC.

        That’s so interesting. Wonder what you’re allergic to? The only fragrance offhand I can think that did that to me was Boucheron Trouble.

        • Musette says:

          I think there’s a spicy note in there that’s causing the sneeze. I have tried other gardenias since, with no problem. There are a couple of scents that really irk my sinuses. Fresh/index Pom Anise is one – it actually brings on a sinus headache…and now this thing with JM VG…luckily most other fragrances are either lovely or neutral – no sensory attacks!

          • March says:

            And I am sad for you, not just because VG is a nice scent, but because a heavy sneeze attack ruins a sniffa. 🙁

          • Musette says:

            I know, dangit…and I just LOVED that scent and wore it with great glee for awhile. Maybe my senses willl come to their senses and let me enjoy it again.

  • Louise says:

    My son’s early wall art was largely confined to newly painted surfaces. Something about the virgin canvas.

    I am now convinced that I’ll never meet the Gardenia for me. Sad, but in acceptance there lies comfort :)>-

    • March says:

      Yes! All that open space to defile!

      Magic Sponge ought to send me a free case, I’ve been through so many in the last four years. My kids’ memory of mom when they were young will all involve me on my knees in front of some surface, wielding a Magic Sponge. ;))

  • sylvia says:

    im not generally a white-flower kind of gal, but i recently smelled red flower’s spanish gardenia line (more specifically my housemate has the conditioner and the lotion) and i was in heaven! super creamy with a smidge of indole and with none of that marc jacobs-ness that frankly im bored to tears by.

    • March says:

      That sounds lovely! That’s the part of the flower I like anyway, not the top notes they’re always emphasizing with the tuberose. I like another red flower a LOT — cardamom?

      Which now that I’ve remembered am *dying* to layer with gardenia, based on the Vintage Gardenia scent.

      • sylvia says:

        i haven’t smelled it, but i loooove cardamom. i used to buy cardamom flavored chewing gum but i havent been able to find it in years.

        • March says:

          That’s funny, I just saw cardamom gum … where was it? Because I remember thinking, what an interesting idea. If I chewed gum I’d have bought some.

          Gardenia and cardamom seem like a match made in heaven, but I am a little gardenia-d out right this second. :”>

  • Lee says:

    My neighbours’ twins swap clothes to trick the staff at their playgroup. They’re three. Twins *are* preternaturally sophisticated (though these two boys also love talking about their willarks – their word – and trying to get naked at every opportunity. They’re still boy toddlers…)

    Love your story. As for gardenia – it remains an impenetrable mystery to me!

    • March says:

      Their willarks! Snerk. And when do they outgrow the naked thing, I want to know… and the fiddling. My friend who teaches preschool once told me that they had the kids sit with their hands on the floor beside them to keep the boys from playing with themselves constantly … and scurrying back on topic, that’s the way I feel about tuberose, with the weird exception of Carnal Flower.

      • erin k. says:

        real gardenias have such a strong smell, i imagine that your memories of encountering the plant would dictate how you feel about it, even more so than with other, less dramatic scents.

        i’m a southern girl, so for me, gardenia is all hot summer nights and vacations and gorgeous antebellum mansions with oak-lined driveways. i find it very intoxicating – if you’re sitting on a porch with gardenia bushes nearby, you can get sort of high off the fumes!


  • MarkDavid says:

    Im not at all a fan of Gardenia. In fact, I would have said I hated them. That is, until Neil Morris insisted on sending me a sample of his Gardenia [for men] and I flipped for it – hard. Its out of this world amazing. Its very androgynous, but definitely wearable for men – geared toward them in fact. Its a bit reminiscent of a CDG in its avant-garde approach and feel – Gardenias in a Garage with a lawnmower that just cut grass is how I would best describe it. Its worth a sniff. Shot to my top 10 list real fast.


    • March says:

      Yum! I have a whole list of those Neil Morrises to try now.

      • kathleen says:

        I do too. Just “jonesing” to get my hands on some of the Neil Morrises. Was hoping that TPC would be getting them in. But I may not be able to hang on much longer!

  • Kim says:

    There is something about twins that is amazing – like there are two brains in synch, somehow plotting their twin logic together. And the logic that they have for their explorations and adventures is always clear, definite, and indisputable. Spending time with my twin nephews (5 years old like yours) always leaves me in awe (as well as exhausted!). Don’t know how you do it AND do this blog!

    I agree with ‘you smell great’ above about Chanel – but it is the Gardenia that is somehow not me. I love all the Beaux Chanel’s, and I love wearing the Gardenia, even though it is somehow not me – for that I turn to No 5 and Bois des Iles. But Gardenia is so lovely, even if, as March says, it doesn’t call up the flower for me.

    • March says:

      Those two kids can get up to the most amazing shenanigans — way worse then the two older kids. The combined brainpower is a little scary … Hecate’s definitely coming up with a lot of the ideas.

      I think the Chanel Gardenia’s tricky. It is so emphatically what *it* is, and doesn’t yield an inch.

      • Debbie says:

        Watch that kid, March. That comment left me in awe of her reasoning abilities, being so young. Make sure she doesn’t become bored in school. (A problem with gifted kids, and she definitely may be one.)

        • March says:

          Um, if I had to pick which of the brood is going to get real creative and require some extra attention from either her teaching environment or the authorities, it might be Hecate. She keeps me on my toes. She’s a love, though. Very independent thinker.

  • erin k. says:

    well, when i was about 5, mom turned over one of the arm cushions on our 70’s white velour sofa and found a strange, unintelligible pencil drawing all over it. she showed me the cushion and asked me what it was, and i burst out crying and said, “it’s new york city!” i … have no idea why. but i turned out to be an artist, so there you go…

    the velvet gardenia is sounding really good to me, stinky cheese and all! i love real gardenias, and i love Black Orchid, so this is definitely on my “to try” list.

    two random perfumes i’ve just tried that have been mentioned in previous posts:

    first, Santal de Mysore. loved it! lee, you’re totally right about this, it is a wonderful comfort scent – although i find it sexy at the same time – and the spices turn this wood scent intriguingly gourmand.

    second, Bandit. crazy, but beautiful – i loved it! debbie, if you’re reading this, i didn’t get anything sharp from it, but i did get a green chypre, even more so than the leather, and a lot of patchouli. i’m wondering if either the patch or the myrrh might’ve gone wrong on your skin?


    • March says:

      Wow — quick response with the NYC answer!! Good thing Hecate can’t read yet …

      If you love BO and gardenia, you really need to check out the Velvet Gardenia.

      Can you believe I still haven’t tried Santal de Mysore?!?! It sounds perfect. I’ll run across it eventually.

      • kathleen says:

        Oh My God, BO is Black Orchid! That is not how I’ve been reading it.

        • March says:

          Well, BO is BO when it’s Black Orchid…. the rest of the time it’s BO like body odor. Which is why I tend to write it b.o. or B.O., but not everyone follows the rules of March the Maleficent. [-(

          Any way you slice it, though, BO is the perfect abbreviation for Black Orchid. 🙂

    • Debbie says:

      How did you know I’d be reading this? 🙂 Yep, I am here.

      What was the top note(s) in it that you noticed? That’s what struck me over the head. Myrhh can go either way on me, but by and large it seems sweet to me–the question being whether it’s sickly sweet or blended with other sweet things to create an overall impression. I don’t think it was patch either, because alot of Neil Morris’ fragrances have that it them, so that can’t be it. However, my ears perked up when you said “chypre”. I love Jicky, but a lot of those I don’t because my nose clogs up and/or the smell seems like just too much. What is in that for the topnotes? I’ll have to go check, but if you know…..

      :-l Zombie Debbie (sick with a cold)

      • erin k. says:

        oh no! i’m just getting over a throat infection, the bug has been going around like crazy here. hope you feel better soon!

        the top in Bandit is all about the galbanum. the “green monster” as i’ve seen someone here describe it. that could very easily have been what went wrong on you – it’s a tricky note. in Bandit it started out as fresh leaves and grass kind of smell, but then got kind of tangy as it mixed with the chypre elements in the base.

        have you tried Chanel No. 19? it’s got a big dose in galbanum in the top, too, and i have to be careful not to put too much on or it’ll give me a headache.


        • Debbie says:

          Galbanum! Okay, thanks for that warning. Whew, what a note. I may have smelled No. 19 years and years ago, but I can’t remember. Um, knowing that it might share anything with Bandit, I don’t think I’ll be searching out that one.


  • tmp00 says:

    Gardenia? Not a fave for me. But I love the description of your Saturday…:)

  • sweetlife says:

    P.S. Have you tried Annick Goutal’s Gardenia, and Gardenia Passion? Somehow they never seem to come my way.

    • March says:

      Gardenia Passion I like very, very much — although I might like regular ol’ Passion a little more, or at least I used to. They’re heady and grand, yet charming and sweet at the same time. The line works for me.

      I didn’t even know they made a gardenia soliflore — will have to investigate.

  • sweetlife says:

    And thus we learn how Hecate earned her alias… 😉 *Love* the caveman comment! That girl is on her way to fame and success.

    Have to give the Yves Rocher a spin the next time they send me an email about giving away all their stuff to me (with FREE GIFTS!).

    • March says:

      Their sales are ridiculous! Yeah, I think they send you some boatload of swag, and everything else at 50% off … and I’d never tried any. But I have others now — iris, bamboo, peony, amber, I think a couple others.

  • Anthony says:

    I just wanted to quickly say your description of Saturday morning was amazing. 🙂

  • you smell great;what is it? says:

    Having just read and graded 17 analyses of “Dover Beach,” five of which insisted the poem took place on a sunny day, I’m over the moon (moon, children, the thing we see at night?)to read a post where someone uses “louche”. Thank you.

    As for the gardenias, the only thing I hate more than tuberose is tuberose with, etc. (The Chanel, though. So far I haven’t found a Chanel that hates me, although Bois des Isles sometimes makes me feel like I’m faking. It’s more…something than I am. Some days I’m amplified; others, I can’t catch up.)

    • March says:

      You’re welcome! Sigh. Grading papers. Dover beach. Maybe Arnold didn’t sprinkle the word “night” in there enough times? But you’re right, combined with “moon”…

      Totally with you on Bois de Iles!