Gardenia Perfume – Strange Invisible Perfumes Lady Day

My obsession with Strange Invisible Perfumes continues. I swear, I will one day move past it, but I’m having too great of a time exploring them to stop yet, so indulge me for a while longer. After March and Elle kept making reference to Lady Day – which is now just called Untitled on SIP’s website or you can order it directly by calling them – I had to have it – gardenia perfume!  Notes of lemon verbena, blood orange, jasmine and sandalwood.  According to the crib notes, it was inspired by the “transcendent, velvet aroma of wild gardenia.”  I don’t know that I’ve ever smelled wild gardenia, so I won’t be able to say how close this is.  Further proviso — I don’t generally like gardenia perfume and detest most of them.  Further further, do we all know that there is no such thing as a gardenia perfume note? They have to make it up out of other notes to simulate it, which strikes me a bit like handing a child some fur and pipe cleaner and asking them to make a cat.

gardenia perfume billie holidayIt starts off a little tartish due to the lemon verbena, just enough to give it some tang and then to wallow underneath the perfume all the way into the drydown to simulate that little bit of blue cheese note that gardenia has, but never pushing it over into really rotten blue cheese, which I can’t bear but I know many of you are quite fond of.  It strikes me as being a pretty happy medium gardenia perfume.  There is a richness to this perfume, hinting at dark longing, mixed with regret, but never toppling over into the abyss of despair. It is lush, almost too ripely indulgent at times, but manages to pull back before the serious decay sets in.  Mostly, it is beautiful and has sillage that wafts gently around you –  a soft, rich, velvety sillage.  Exquisite, unique and haunting.  Is it really named for Billie Holiday?  That’s probably up to your imagination.  For me, it captures the world-weary, mournful blues sung by like Billie and Etta James and Nina Simone, wanting a little sugar in their bowl, and I think any one of them would have happily worn Lady Day.  My most fervent hope is one day she’ll do Lady Day in an edp, it begs to be spritzed with abandon, though I may kill everyone with the gardenia perfume sillage wake I’d trail.

Many of the Strange Invisible Perfumes I don’t recommend to those of you new to nonmainstream perfumerie, they can be an acquired taste, even though I’m absolutely enraptured with most of them at this point. It’s gone beyond bordering on ridiculous into completely obsessive.  Lady Day (Untitled) is one of their scents that is much more approachable for newbies.  March covered a lot of gardenia perfume yesterday, and Lady Day is an essential gardenia scent for gardenia lovers and even those who don’t think they like gardenia.

Let’s have a drawing today.  A sample of Lady Day, Heroine, and Persica or some other SIP substitution if you already have one or more of these.  Just drop a note in comments with the question of the day:  Have you tried any SIPs, and did you fall in the “ew, not for me” camp or in the “love some, hate others” camp or the “Love ’em all, even if I can’t wear them all” camp?

The New Yorker jumped the gate with an early review of Luca and Tania’s book. Lord, it’s going to be wretched waiting another month or so to get our hands on it.

  • Roland says:

    Hi Patty, thanks for all the great reviews. I’ve learned a lot from you. And, I’ll keep reading, drawing or no.

    I’ve never tried a SIP, and at this point, it’s easier to list the few dozen scents that I HAVE tried. I’m hoping that I’ll love them… or at least learn more.

    Thanks again,


  • Linda says:

    I haven’t tried any of them yet, but I would love to. I am just starting to explore niche houses, and this one sounds masterful.

  • Jennifer S. S. says:

    Enter me in the drawing please. I’ve never tried this brand.

  • Solander says:

    Haven’t tried any but I’d love to! 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    Nope, haven’t gotten that far yet. I’m getting ready to place a large order on TPC, but I’m having trouble deciding between a few samples. Might have to go through the SIPs and pick a couple out to try. Please enter me!

  • Lavanya says:

    I tried SIP some time ago..I remember finding black rosette interesting and
    liking a couple of others..But I was trying to sniff everything at once so
    I don’t know if some of them could have been ‘love’ if I had maybe spent
    more time with them..They didnt ‘reach’ love in the time that I did..wait
    there was one I really liked..don’t remember which..:(
    Must try them again..more leisurely..

    Would love to be entered in the draw!

    • Patty says:

      That’s always the danger with doing a whole bunch of frags at once. I’m awash in Neil Morris frags today and had a spritz of all of them up and down my arms. I’ve showered now and am trying to be a little more sane.

  • sweetlife says:

    Ohhh yahhh…

    Come to me darling Lady Day…

    And all your little friends, too.

    Please put me in the draw, Patty! Love, love, love all those singers you mentioned. Got to see Etta and Nina in person. Wow.

    • Patty says:

      Color me green. I would love to have seen both of those in person. They both seriously just tear/tore it up.

  • noyna says:

    Have never tried any SIPs, would love to be entered into drawing.

    Bacon, mmmm. But crispy. I like crispy fat, not squishy fat, hoity toity!

  • March says:

    P, I am so glad you posted on this. And anything to remind me of Billie and Etta is a good thing … got some LPs (those weird giant, round things) going around in the background.

  • Molly says:

    Hi Patty,
    I’ve never tried any of the Strange Invisible Perfumes, although I think they sound fantastic!
    Please enter me in the drawing!
    Molly 🙂

  • Sara says:

    I’ve never tried any of the SIPs, but the notes on Lady Day (Untitled) sound really interesting…. I’d love to be entered into the drawing so I can finally sniff some!

  • missy says:

    I’ve never tried SIP! I’ll have to add these to my ever-growin’ list of frags to try.

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, that list never exactly seems to get whittled down, but the new releases at the first of this year are much slower paced than last year this time, so I almost feel like it’s… well, slow!

  • Robin says:

    I loved Lady Day. So thrilled to see SIP has FINALLY revamped their website, but still, can’t find “Untitled” anywhere, what is wrong with me?

    • Patty says:

      You know, I just took her word for it that it was on there, but I don’t see it either. YOu probably need to e-mail her, which is how I got ahold of it.

  • dleep says:

    I have been curious about this line for a long time and your review makes me want to sample it even more. I would love to be entered into the drawing. Thank you for that beautiful review.

  • PlaysbyScent says:

    Thrilled to see someone else enjoying trying the SIP’s as much as I do (beams happily!), which isn’t to say that I can wear all of them, but with all the talk of searches for the unusual and well-made perfumes, etc., I’ve never understood why they’re so over-looked.

    (Don’t need to be entered in the draw, I’ve bought samples of most of them.)

    • Patty says:

      Well, you can join me and Elle in the corner mumbling about SIPs. 🙂

      I think they are unusual and well-made, though the price point is offputting, though it’s not as bad as some and for something a lot more unique as far as composition.

  • Disteza says:

    Hi there, figured I’d post as I’ve tried a few of the SIPs. My last moment of weakness got me samples of Arunima, Tosca, Black Rosette, Vine, Fair Verona and Magazine Street. Inital impression: really enjoyed them all, but Tosca and Fair Verona seemed almost interchangeable to my nose. Also Arunima was yummy for the gourmandettes out there, but on me it was PG Un Crime Exotique with more cloves. Black Rosette foments some dangerous fantasies with all that cold leather; if only it had some lasting power on me! For Vine, though, I had much higher expectations–I think it just doesn’t get along with me. The clear winner for me was Magazine St., being a slighly more cost-effective replacement for my previous white flower addiction CB IHP Cradle of Light. Magazine St. is one of the full heady florals I could see wearing around in the Virginia summer heat.

    • Patty says:

      Yeah Mag Street is a CB CoL similar-to, though I still can’t give up my CB at all. 🙂

    • erin k. says:

      no kidding about the Black Rosette? on me it lasted 24 hours easily, and only came off when i took a shower. maybe because of the natural base they use, it varies more on different skin?


      • Disteza says:

        Yup, no kidding–I get about 2 hours at most if I apply heavily. I think it’s another case of the personal skin chemistry demons. My broken heart is, however, somewhat consoled by my less-than-broke wallet.

  • Sariah says:

    mmmmmmmm, bacon

    Great New Yorker article, the author really gets why I love LT’s writing and am so looking forward to the book!

    Only SIP I’ve tried is Magazine Street at Barney’s – it wasn’t particularily strange or frightening like I was expecting. Please include me in the draw – thanks.

    • Patty says:

      Naw, I don’t think they are frightening at all. I find some of the note combinations really strange and unusual, which I think is where my fascination comes in.

  • Musette says:

    Well that’s weird…I just posted, complete with ‘bwaaahahaha’ and emoticon (and a plea to be entered in the drawing)…and it just vanished! Poof! gone…


    Okay – here ’tis again, in short-form.

    Went to SIP website. Intrigued

    Going to Barney’s on Thursday (I hope) for SIP spritzapalooza

    Going from there to huge industry get-together. Reactions may vary.

    Beggin’ for an entry into the drawing.

    That’s it! Let’s see if it likes me this time!

    • Lee says:

      For some reason it’s probably been caught up in the spam filter. I could go fish it out, though last time I went there, I got panicked by a spampost about gay diapers… (wtf? :-& )

      • Musette says:

        Huh? What on earth are Gay Diapers? Happy diapers? Diapers with cheerful images on them (appealing to whatever demographic they’re intended for)? Diapers, in my experience, serve a particular function ONLY, no matter one’s age, emotional temperment or sexual orientation…but maybe I’ve missed something in the passing years? Oh, wait…..I seem to remember there is a segment of the population who enjoy particular role-play (no need to go into details here)…perhaps these are those sort of accessories?

        We should probably stick to SIP – safer that way!:”>

        Don’t worry about the post. I did a recap above, minus the emoticon. Maybe the spam filter was lonely…

    • Patty says:

      Oh, need to hear more about spritzapalooza and industry get-together! Are you going to sniffapalooze in April? We need to post on that soon and find out how many regular comments and lurkers will be there so we hopefully can meet up.

      • Musette says:


        Sincere apologies. very misleading post! The spritzapalooza is of my own making – I figure I’m going to be in the City, might as well go torture my peeps at Saks and Barneys and sample some nichies whilst there…then I have to go to a non-fragrance event, alas; I figure I will be smellin’ “like a wh*rehouse on payday” (to quote my mother, whose aunt actually ran a high end ‘house’’s a great opportunity to get some reactions to whatever fragrance(s) I end up wearing, assuming I’m not so oversaturated that I clear out the room. At home I either get ‘nice’ or he just pretends he can’t smell it, if he doesn’t like it!

        Sniffa definitely sounds like something to aspire to. Right now I’m lucky to get to Chicago but one never knows…do one:-) I’ll definitely pencil it in and await further Posse instructions!

  • IrisLA says:

    Just when I thought I was all sniffed out, the Barneys fragrance counter manager said his favorite scent in the store was SIP Fair Verona. So, of course I had to try. It was exotic, sultry and very expensive smelling. If not for the high price and having to sample more of the line before deciding, I would have purchased Verona. I’m eager to try other SIP. Please enter me in the drawing.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, dear. I haven’t tried Fair Verona yet. Now I need to move it up on the list! I didn’t think I would like Tosca based on the notes, but it’s pretty great.

  • Kim says:

    Haven’t tried them yet but an intrigued by the name and the concept. Please add me to the draw. Interesting to see that a perfume book is being reviewed in the New Yorker – who’d have thought? I hope it sells well and am looking forward to reading it – the press excerpts I have read so far are great.

    • Patty says:

      I know, that is cool. I thought it was interesting how he started out talking about wine. I think perfume sniffing is following that, so it’s progress!

  • Linda says:

    Hi, I haven’t tried any SIP’s yet, but am anxious as they sound thrilling!
    Please, please, please include me in the drawing–I’m too po’ to get them for myself.:((

    • Patty says:

      Not sure I’d put these or any perfume in the thrilling category. /:) But they are definitely interesting. Will put you in the draw!

  • Theresa says:

    I haven’t tried a SIP yet, but the Lady Day sounds wonderful. Please put me in the drawing. Thanks!

  • Shari says:

    Hi – I am yet another person who has not tried their fragrances. Please include me in the drawing.

    Thank you!

  • BBliss says:

    I’m also in the “never-explored” camp on these – please include me in the draw.

    Cannot wait for that book – I loved L.T.’s defunct blog – fascinating man!

    • Patty says:

      Will do!

      I loved his blog. Agree or disagree with him, he has a great turn of phrase. I expect there to be a lot of laughter reading this thing.

  • moi says:

    I’ve never tried the SIPs, but please include me in the drawing. I need the possibility of something, anything, to get my mind off the Djedi sample that’s been lingering on my wrist for the past 24 hours. It is, quite simply, perfect. And a lover I’m unlikely to ever have again. Damn it.

    Oh, and thanks for linking to the New Yawker review. I’ve had my copy reserved at Amazon for a month. I think the book’s due out in April?

    • Patty says:

      Hear ya on the Djedi. It’s really a unique scent. It’s probably way too strong for me to wear regularly, but I treausure it.

      Yup, due out I think the second week of April.

  • Christine says:

    I have yet to try the SIPs, but I long to. Alas too many perfumes, too little time (skin space, and money).

    Would love to be entered in the drawing though. Maybe with any luck I’ll land the job of my dreams that will allow me to pay off student debt and indulge in perfume.

  • kathleen says:

    I want to try everything! Especially ‘fumes that are strange and unusual (or invisible). Would also love to be able do describe what it is I am smelling the way you all do. Please include me in the drawing.

    • Patty says:

      I still think our language needs more words to describe smell, and it takes a while and thinking to find the right words to describe it, and then I think most of the time, it’s still not right.

      I like my husband’s barometer better — Yuk and nice.

  • Debbie says:

    I haven’t tried any of them yet either. I must try Vine because I’m a zombie fan, and now you’ve added Lady Day to the list also. Please enter me in the drawing.

    I love Billie. I had a boxed DVD collection until one day I sold it off. I don’t know what I was thinking.

    • Patty says:

      I was just thinking about Vine and Lady Day next to each other. Hmmmmm.

      Sold off your Billie? yikes, you need to get it back!

  • sybil says:

    back in the day, I looked at (and hated!) their website, and it totally put me off the ‘fumes. So, I haven’t tried any. (no Barney’s access!) But if all I have to do is comment, sign me up!

  • Susan says:

    I was sufficiently intrigued by comments here about Vine & Black Rosette to go to the SIP website but was put off by something, shipping cost maybe(?).

    Please enter me into the drawing. I would love to sample one of their fragrances.

    • Patty says:

      For me, it’s the music on their website. I just hate music automatically playing on any website with no place to click to turn it off. 🙂

  • rachael says:

    I’ve never tried anything from SIP. Would love to though, please include me.

  • Carol Sasich says:

    planning a side trip over to Barney’s in April to get my nose around these, I have yet to try. I would love to be in the draw…!!

  • Elle says:

    Sitting down happily next to you on the “completely obsessive about SIPs” bench. Most strike me as being soul satisfyingly complex and interesting – never a moment of boredom w/ them. The only ones I can’t wear are Narcotic and Dragon Pearl. And Atlantic is just too forcefully masculine, but would love it on DH if he wore scents. Adore Lady Day/Untitled. Woke up Sunday morning thinking I need to get a full bottle of Persica next – the richest, most full bodies lilac scent I know of for spring. I’m just hoping Barney’s has it, because the shipping from SIP’s boutique is obscene.

    • Elle says:

      Just ordered the Persica (not available at Barney’s) and must retract the hostile comment I made about SIP’s shipping. They have added more options and it’s now back in the very reasonable range. Phew!

    • Patty says:

      Persica is amazing. Love, love, love that one. That is a lilac with some serious kick to it.

      when you first said that about the shipping, I kinda freaked thinking, did i Not notice obscene shipping, which I usually do. So good to hear they have changed it and I really wasn’t asleep at the check-out stick. 🙂

      So we’ll go sit in the corner and mumble about our SIPs together. 🙂

  • Judith says:

    Well, from reading descriptions and knowing who likes these, I’ve always figured I SHOULD like them–but so far, no go.:( Either they come out bad on me (e.g. Black Rosette, which by all rights I should like, but not only do I not, I was unable to find anyone who smelled it on me and did):(–or they seem simply nice but not not special (not sure which ones here, but I think Fair Verona and the one that has something to do with ballet–MORE COFFEE). So I feel, um, lacking–and desperately uncool! I want to find my own SIP, and who knows, maybe Lady Day is it! (Although I said I didn’t generally like Gardenia yesterday, I do like Isabey). Please enter me in the drawing!

    • Patty says:

      Well, maybe the line just doesn’t work for you at all? I could be! That’s a blessing for your checkbook, trust me. 🙂

  • MarkDavid says:

    I have not tried these. I probably should. I always bitch and moan about how there aren’t enough odd-balls out there and how Im always on the quest for something truly unique and different.

    But every time I approach them at Barneys, I get cold feet. I know, I know – what good am I?

    Everything in its time, though. I dont rush to smell anything anymore. I’ll get to it, eventually. Despite it being my number one love and, I feel, the very reason for my being and quite possibly the meaning of life – its still just perfume. I dont move mountains for it, anymore.

    I might have to listen to a little Billie and Ella on the commute, now. Even though I just loaded 20 new discs on to my iPod last night and they are old residents on there.

    Lady – be Good!

    • Patty says:

      I think that’s actually very wise, taking your time. With the exception of the Gobin-Daudes, most things hang around long enough to eventually get to them, and I sure wouldn’t rush through sniffing these.

      Love the old Blues singers, they shouldn’t be rushed through either. 🙂

  • elve says:

    I’ve never tried any of SIPs, they seem out of reach from the place where I live. Please, enter me in the drawing.

  • You do intrigue me with this, you know!
    Haven’t experience any of the Strange Invisible Perfumes (and not because a friend of mine in the business disparages them!)

    Please include me %%-

    • Patty says:

      Really? That surprises me, that someone disparages them. I can see definitely that they wouldn’t appeal to a good number of people, but I think they are well done and interesting.

  • A says:

    It’s on again off again ….. I’ve had some on my TPC wishlist but then I take them off. I dunno… for that wishy-washy reason I’d love to be included in a draw for these. :)>-

    • Patty says:

      Totally get that. I was the same way forever, just kept ignoring them, would look at their site,put things in the cart and then close the browser. For my wallet, it would have been better if I had kept doing that.

  • Malena says:

    i´m glad you like the SIPs so much – up to now, they don´t do a lot for me & i WON´T NEVER EVER test black rosette again!!!
    anyway, i´ll give the others another chance, perhaps they´ll grow on me.
    please, include me in the drawing, thank you 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Poor Black Rosette. 😉

      You know, I have a hunch that if someone has tried 2-3 and not liked them at all, the line probably isn’t going to work. IN the reverse, it’s agony to have ALL of them working for me.

  • Lee says:

    This line intrigues me more and more…

    • Patty says:

      I sent you a couple of things. 🙂 Don’t they carry this at Harrod’s?

      • Lee says:

        I dunno. If I go to Harrods, I rush up to the Roja Dove place on the fifth floor. I hate the main perfume hall – my idea of hell. Too pushy and all that. It’s one of the few places (like Selfridges) where they treat you like an idiot and run at you with Juicy Couture or somesuch. Yuk.

      • Lee says:

        And whoopee! to the couple of things.

        (round these parts they say ‘couple of three things’. Silly East Anglian dialect talk).

        • Patty says:

          We took the of out and just say “couple three things.’ And then there’s the ubiquitous “fixin’ tah” that no sentence can be without.

          • Musette says:

            down here they say ‘fittin’ tah’ – very insidious. I actually said ‘fittin’ tah’ in a sentence (at a museum benefit in Chicago) and watched my friend’s mouth drop open.

            …never saw anybody actually do that before…

  • Maria says:

    I’ve never tried a single SIP on my skin. Include me in the drawing please. I wonder why the took away the name Lady Day; it’s excellent. The review on the Turin-Sanchez book makes me long even more for it.

  • Veronica says:

    I tried Magazine Street which has knocked my socks off and Tocca that was nice. Black Rosette didn’t do much for me:( Would love to be in the drawing, thanks!

    • Patty says:

      Black Rosette is an acquired taste, at the least. I’m still surprised at how much I love it because it totally shouldn’t work for me.

      Agree with you on Magazine STreet and Tosca, really great scents. I keep looking at their list of perfumes and how many more I want to try.

  • Gina says:

    Strangely enough, I’ve never tried any of the SIPs – but would dearly love to. Do enter me in the drawing, please Patty.


    • Patty says:

      Will do! You should check them out next time you’re around Barneys, I think they have most of them.

      • Gina says:

        Thanks again, Patty. If anything, I’ll order samples from perfumed court, if you have them. And…it’s a realllllly bad idea for me to go into Barney’s right now – credit card burning a hole in purse.

  • Janet says:

    So many perfumes, so little money. The SIP’s sound different and interesting. I love gardenia perfumes and would liketo try this one. Please enter me in the drawing.


    • Patty says:

      I know! These put a serious dent in the wallet, so I don’t recommend falling in love with more than one and count yourself lucky if none of them do it for you.

  • sylvia says:

    i haven’t tried any of the SIPs. i have a date with them next time im at barney’s in san francisco (they do have it at barneys right? or am i mistaken?) since last time i basically dedicated my time to the new le labo station because it was right before closing.

    why is it that there isn’t an actual gardenia note?

    i’d love to be entered in the drawing btw.

    • Patty says:

      The definitely have them at Barneys in NYC and LA, so assume they are in SF too? Well worth sniffing, have fun! Will be interested to see what you think.

  • tmp00 says:

    I tried a couple once and I liked them but I wasn’t moved enough to buy. I’d love to be entered into the drawing..

    Has their website gotten any better? It was horrific the last time I went, but that’s been a while.

    • Patty says:

      It worked okay for me when I’ve used it several times, so not sure if it’s changed or not?

      I don’t think these have a broad appeal. I think the cost factor puts people to needing to be seriously in love to get them, but I do find them really interesting, just the combinations she does.

  • CindyN says:

    I purchased some samples from them about a year ago. I purchased Galatea, Persica, Moon Garden, Narcotic and Untitled and one more (whose name eludes me). I liked Untitled, Galatea and Moon Garden the best, but to me, it seemed more like the sum of the parts was greater than the whole–and therefore none were FBW. However, they have thankfully re-vamped their website. It was so convoluted before that I finally had to email them, and then they called me back. Appartently the web design caused headaches for more than just me.

    • Patty says:

      There is a sketch feel to them that appeals to me, but I’m absolutely certain it doesn’t appeal to everyone or works a little, but not enough.

      I didn’t find their website too bad to navigate, so not sure if they revamped it or my computer just played nicely with it, but I know she’s been great responding to e-mails on items that aren’t on the website.

      • erin k. says:

        a “sketch feel” – i’m so glad you mentioned that, because that’s how i felt about Black Rosette, the only SIP i’ve tried so far.

        i thought it was a pretty genius juxtaposition of notes, and i loved the weird turpentine or whatever in the opening. it was a fascinating “smell experience,” but … i’m not sure i’d ever wear it. it wasn’t too weird or anything, just – unfinished. i mean, sketches can be wonderful, like for example, Vetiver Tonka. a “haiku,” as JCE put it. still …

        and i read that book review, i can’t wait till it comes out!

        i would love to try some more SIPs, if you’d please put me in the drawing!


  • perfumequeen says:

    I have yet to try SIP though I have been hovering over the send button on an order ever since you reviewed Vine and it gave me the Evil Dead image in my head. How could I resist?? Oh right…I’ve already spent diaper and food budget on perfume for the month and half to wait….

    disclaimer: the baby is well fed and does not leave puddles and piles about the house

    • Patty says:

      That’s my big complaint about this line, is the cost, but I think that the line tends to draw that they either work for you or they don’t, so that’s a good thing!