Gardenia Perfume – Guide to the Best Gardenia Perfumes

Gardenia Perfume.

gardenia perfume best

Billie Holiday

Let’s just all give a huge sigh before we start.   Those of you that hate gardenia perfume or thought you hated them, have hope!  I used to hate gardenia perfume, and I have some old posts/reviews to prove how much I loathed it. I wanted my gardenia buried under enough tuberose and jasmine that I could pretend it was there and was, um, real gardenia.  Now?  I love it, and I’m obsessed by finding the perfect realistic gardenia perfume.  I must note that the several days I’ve spent trolling through gardenia perfumes, trying them on, day after day, have been some of the happiest of my life. With some notable exceptions – not days, gardenia perfumes!  You’ll see.

Those of you that love gardenia and are still searching for the best gardenia perfume, I feel ya.  The gardenia lover has a long, lonely road through many bottles of perfume, dashed hopes and broken gardenia dreams.  The best ones that come the closest?  Major bucks for them or discontinued.  The reasonably priced ones?  Not so much gardenia.  On the day Serge releases his gardenia perfume, Une Voix Noire, and before I have my gardenia dreams dashed on the rocks of reality, and without thought to cost, availability or any other practical matter, we’re going to go through the best, the pretty decent but a little lacking on the gardenia, and the downright awful that should be sent to the… 


Gardenia Hall of Shame.

Warning, this will be long, you might want to bookmark and come back later or just suck down another cup of coffee and get that “hide browser window quickly” button at the ready.

Breaking Gardenia hearts, this is my list of the best gardenia perfume  –

Tuvache Jungle Gardenia (discontinued)  – Damn.  I have so much to say on this one, but when I researched it, I found a quote that referred to it as one of those “old drag queen perfumes.”  And that pretty much sums it up, and I mean that in the absolute best way.  There was a time when women weren’t afraid to be uber-feminine and sexy, pin-up Betty Grable, full-throated Jane Russell, Joan from “Mad Men” feminine – all dangerous curves hugged by clinging fabric and take-me-now looks that smoldered until the loins of men combusted.  

tuvache jungle gardenia perfumeIn those days teenage girls were innocent, but they wanted to be grown up, and they’d save up their baby-sitting money and buy their own bottle of Tuvache Jungle Gardenia, or they’d steal their mother’s bottle, gardenia-bomb themselves, sneak out in the middle of the night in their clingy cashmere sweater and tight jeans to smoke cigarettes and neck with inappropriate young men.  Their vision of being grown up  was their moms dressing up for dinner, full-on makeup, beautifully coiffed hair, pearls, heels, tight dress with a nipped-in waist and pointy bosoms and smelling as feminine as you can get.

 I’m not sure what’s gone wrong, but today’s teenage girl knows everything about sex, most lose their virginity before they can drive, and there doesn’t seem to be any boy that is labeled as inappropriate – hey, just watch “Teen Mom” if you don’t believe me!  What do they choose to wear for perfume?  Vera Wang Princess, Victoria Secret Cake ‘n Vanilla Sweet Cream Batter with a heap of Sugar on Top Body Spray (I did make that up, but I’m not convinced it doesn’t exist).  Not smelling like women, smelling like cupcakes of the non-sexual sort.  Or just young.  Really young.  I wonder why.  Is it that they grew up too fast and they are clinging on to the little bit of little girl they can?  Is that the smell that’s viewed as being sensual?

When did gardenia go out of vogue?  

Or is it that the women they have as examples smell like fruity florals because women sometime during our liberation turned in our “go-all-out-feminine” card and are embarrassed or afraid to put on a clingy sweater, false eyelashes, heels, a real gardenia tucked behind our ear and put on enough Jungle Gardenia that we leave gardenia bombs in our wake?  

When I smelled Tuvache Jungle Gardenia, I busted out laughing, because it is everything we aren’t anymore. And we should be. I wanted to find a pack of Chesterfields, do my hair up in a beehive and head out to see if there are still inappropriate men at my age to neck with.   Well, I do that anyway, without the Chesterfields, but it was a compelling urge.

Maybe that’s why gardenia perfume is difficult. When it is done right, unrestrained, and makes no apology for being a big-ass white floral that’s earthy, skanky, bleu cheesy and over the top, we feel, um, what?  Out of control?  Like we are signaling that we are DTF?  Sorry, Jersey Shore is a guilty pleasure.  

My only regret with the Tuvache Jungle Gardenia is that it’s a pure parfum and I’m dabbing instead of spraying. But if it’s this big and blowsy and beautiful with two dabs, spraying might kill someone. Plus I’m not sure which bottle on eBay is for sure the most vintagey, and I don’t want those hateful Coty and other versions.  

If you hate gardenia perfume, Jungle Gardenia will just kill you on the spot. You’ve been waved off, so don’t come back here and blame me later – or send your heirs and assigns to blame me.

JAR Jardenia – More expensive than most reasonable people would be willing to pay.  A few hundred for 30 mls.  You can almost justify it because you really only need a drop or two. Hey, best argument for gardenia perfume, they are, um, inexpensive!  You never need much!  Jardenia is bleu cheese and a little tangy on the open, and I remember reviewing this after March and me went to NYC and had our JAR “experience.”  Hated it. And Ferme tes Yeux, which Tom did such a lovely review on last week.  Now?  Love them both, adore them both, like to wear them together!  Well, yeah, it’s pretty much Olfactory Suicide, but so much fun!  So sharp bleu cheese, then mushrooms meander in just to make things a lot more interesting, and your gardenia is now sitting outside in the sun wafting its splendiferousness like a white floral gone super-nova.  As big as it starts out, just wait about an hour, and there is that creamy gardenia sweetness that emerges, making this incredible.  It’s not as big as I like at this point, but it’s just mesmerizingly beautiful.

 I had this to say about it back after I smelled itlike that crazy uncle you love that pees in your closet while he’s alive, but leaves you a bundle in his will, and you are quite sure you’d rather have him alive and peeing in your closet than his money. A slice of heaven at the end.”  Huh, I liked it more than I remembered!  Well, it seems like I just thought the sharp bleu cheesy part lasted a lot longer. 8 hours?!@?@?  Must have been prone to exaggeration back then. An hour tops, and I’ve learned to love that open and be sad when the sharpest parts smooth out.

Other reviews at Nero Profumo, The Non-Blonde covers the whole line
Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia (discontinued) – You can still find this on eBay for now. So it’s discontinued, but don’t get all despairy, it’s still available for about $130 for 50 mls on eBay!  I’m going to go snag one as a backup. I kinda remember hating this when it first came out, and I’m afraid to go look now.  Oh, dear, I wasn’t very nice.  During my anti-gardenia phase.

“Do I hate it?  Looooooathe  this little beastie, but it’s just a little hypnotic in its over-the-top slightly rotten lushness.  If Tom were trying to make a perfume that would appeal to me not at all and that I would find borderline to completely revolting, he could not have done a better job.”

Glad I cleared that up!  Well, I was wrong, I didn’t like strong notes back then or I was repressed sexually or something.  Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia is a beauty! And I used that term “floral roquefort” like that was a bad thing! Sorry, Tom, and if I’m the one that caused the murder of this gardenia perfume that deserves to be called a gardenia perfume, I’ll be saying Our Fathers and Hail Marys until the end of time. Can’t you bring it back and call it something else? This was something you did that I really love!  Black gardenia, orange, jasmine, rose muguet, tuberose, dark plum, honey, beeswax, incense, labdanum. Now someone follow that recipe and whip some of this up!  Marina loved it, as did Victoria, Pere de Pierre hated it, then had the same change of heart.. I feel better now.
Ajne Fleur Blanche – not cheap,  but it is natural!  Scent Hive reviewed it in 2009, and I agree with her.  Smoky, heady, and long-lasting. I didn’t find this the closest to the gardenia, but I’m not really talking about the actual gardenia, just the one in my head, my ideal gardenia.  I’m sure those of you that have been reading me for a while followed that.  If springing $135 for 1/2 ounce of parfum is too much, you can get your hands on 4 ounces of Fleur Blanche-infused lotion for $45!  It’s beautiful, it’s big, and, hey, it’s not discontinued!  WE are now moving in the right direction.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Lady Day (discontinued) – Just insert a bunch of weeping here.  It was ridiculously expensive. I think the last time I had them make me up a little 1/4 ounce bottle, I had to pay over $300, and it was a special order. Now you can’t get it at all, the raw materials are not available.  It did get renamed at the request of the Day family, and became known as (untitled).  It opens with a similar sharp, heady gardenia in all its glory, but it has a softness early on that is breathtaking. The gardenia isn’t always there, it moves around, and as your mind follows it, it becomes melancholy.  Not that sad melancholy, but melancholy that regrets nothing, especially the pain.  

Robin reviewed it, March reviewed it, and I reviewed it, and I didn’t change my mind from that day to this when I said “There is a richness to this perfume, hinting at dark longing, mixed with regret, but never toppling over into the abyss of despair.”    Hmm, I used to suffer more from the occasional round of poetic melancholia, didn’t I?


Not great Gardenia, but pretty perfume that’s kinda gardenia!!

Van Cleef  & Arpels Gardenia Petale – I really love this perfume. I can’t move it up a category because it’s not the gardenia perfume that I think is the most realistic or goes over the cliff into gardenia-dom. This is more restrained.  It’s like a gardenia puzzle with all the elements running around – little mushroom, little bleu cheese (just a teensy bit!), lush florals, deilicate lily, it’s all there. They just never get sucked down into the smutty, dirty, dirty spot I’d like this to land.

Isabey Gardenia   – it’s not exactly gardenia, more like tuberose, but it sure is pretty! I used to like it more when I liked the realistic gardenia less.  We had a little flippiness on that opinion.

Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion – Oh, this was so, so close!!!  Slightly bleu cheesy open, but it was restrained and went plasticky for a while, and when we came out of that stage, it was a little too proper of a gardenia for me.  But this fits the Goutal vibe, and I wouldn’t expect them to make something approaching the embarrassingly tacky beautiful Jungle Gardenia, though, you know, they did do Eau de Fier and Sables.

Estee lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia – the best of the middle of the road “pretty” gardenia perfume.  This makes a better grab at the gardenia, and it stays sunny and bright, but never gets too sweet, and it has a nice lushness that fits better with a gardenia perfume, even though this really is more a tuberose perfume for me than a gardenia. I would have moved it up a category, if the gardenia had been a little stronger and headier. But it’s really pretty!!!

Gardenia Hall of Shame


Kai –  Every list has this on it that you must try.  I realized when I did this post that I’d never actually tried it.  There was a time when I couldn’t swing a dead cat in this house without hitting a Kai sample, but I did have to paw through a lot of big boxes of samples to find one.  Just nope.  Tries, then tries too hard and gets all body oil and coconutty and boring.

Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia – it huffs around gardenia, makes a really good try at it!  Too sweet, a little plastic.  It doesn’t go in the Hall of Shame, but it comes close. It only avoids it because it made an attempt.  I dunno, I may still move it down.  Okay, changed my mind, down it goes!  

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia –  Hey, I really love this little thing.  But it doesn’t smell of gardenia!  it smells of some Picasso-like white floral that might have been a gardenia at one time, changed its mind, drfted into an amazing alternate universe, extracted some other floral that was better, managed to be a creamy white floral that was ice cold, and returned to earth and tried to pass itself off as a gardenia.  Or something like that. I LOVE this perfume, it’s only due to the lack of gardenia that it made it into the Shame Hall.  I’ve smelled this thing so many times, willing it to flash some bleu cheese leg at me so I can move it up a category, but just nothing, it sits there in petulant ice queen silence and dares me to stop loving it.  Bitch.  In the Gardenia Hall of Shame you go!  To be fair, Guerlain doesn’t list gardenia as a note, but, you know, it is in the name.

Chanel GardeniaOh, what?!   While I don’t detest Chanel Gardenia as a perfume, I just can’t figure out why it has the name gardenia in it?  And I don’t detest it, but I really don’t like it. The vintage Gardenia is better overall, but it’s still not, um, gardenia!  So this one really just pisses me off.  Chanel has the budget and resources to get this right, and they usually do. When they re-orchestrated it a couple of times, they could have gotten the gardenia right, and they didn’t. And they suck for treating gardenia like it was some prim, boring flower. If I had never smelled gardenia and smelled this?  I would have stayed far away from the gardenia. This isn’t heady, this isn’t sensuous or earthy or lush or overripe or! or!!!  or!!!!



I deeeeespiiiiiise it. That is all.

Yes, yes, I know there are a bunch of other “gardenia” perfumes out there.  I’ve sniffed most of them, and more of them are really white floral accords that list gardenia as part of that, with varying degrees of success. Many of them are stunning, beautiful perfumes, but they are not gardenia-centric, so I ignored them – mostly because I just don’t want to go sifting through a bunch of white florals to tell you what small percentage is gardenia. If I can’t detect real gardenia (not some tuberose/jasmine shell game that makes you imagine it’s there because, well, it should be, gardenia is in the name!) shortly after the open and at least track it for 30 minutes, it’s not a gardenia, even if it says it in the name..  Sue me if you disagree, YMMV, and now you can all chime in and tell me why I picked the wrong ones and which ones I missed.  Some I know I missed, and I just couldn’t hunt down the sample vial or never had it –  Soivohle Acoustic Flower, DSH’s gardenia, Ava Luxe Gardenia Musk.  Others? I’m open to adding in some and revising my list.


But I am NOT budging on the Chanel Gardenia


Information on Tuvache Jungle Gardenia and other gardena perfume found at – Timeless Perfume –  Yesterday’s Perfume – Vanity Fair – Surrender to Chance

  • Linn says:

    And my big love is Monyette Paris *runs away*

    …but am hoping to expand my gardenia universe sooner or later. I just have my 105 or so wish list absolute must-have-items on STC to deal with first… I might have to let one or two gardenias from this list skip the line and head directly into my basket.

  • Joaquim says:

    It’s too late to enter in the draw? I’m just crazy about Jardenia, a few drops would be awesome!
    Thank you for the draw anyway.

  • hd says:

    I’m with samsara313, hoping it’s not too late to enter the draw. But this was gift enough…dtf and chesterfields? Snort!

  • samsara313 says:

    Am I too late for the draw?? PleasePleasePLEASE tell me I’m not! I think I neeeeed this set!

    • Patty White says:

      Nope, not too late! It’s open until sometime tomorrow, 9/17/12, and I’ll close it for entries then and announce the winner in a separate post on 9/18, Tuesday!

  • Alyssa says:

    Hey Patty, waaaay late to the party here, but had to mention Michael Storer’s Stephanie. It always gets left off the gardenia lists for some reason but it is a true blue gardenia. Too much of one for me, actually, I ended up giving away my decant but the recipient was extremely happy. 🙂

    I see someone else mentioned the Enfleurage butters–the tuberose is even better, bte. They also have real enfleuraged gardenia oil for astronomical prices (understandably). It is so worth trying on the back of a hand when you’re in the shop even if you don’t spring for a little 2 ml bottle. Remarkable project.

    • Patty says:

      Hi!!! Okay, now I know I need to go check out Stephanie if you’re telling me to!

      The Tuberose too? That’s like $100 just to try the two of them! I may have to stop in when I”m in NYC in October. 🙂

  • Kym says:

    I adore gardenia and last summer started looking for one. I live in SoCal and gardenia are a-plenty here. I’ve been known to pass a plant and pluck a flower to put behind my ear. On a warm day, the scent wafts each time I turn my head.

    I have not, however found a gardenia scent that “does the trick.” The EL is too big and sweet and the VCA is nice, but a little too sweet. However, I love to layer By Killian Beyond Love with the VCA. There’s a weirdness about Beyond Love that tones down the sweetness of VCA. Give it a try – you might like it.

    Also worth looking into for a green gardenia is Enfluerage’s (a shop in NYC). I’m sure you can order online, though I got mine in person two years ago. Cheap and hits the spot – alas it doesn’t last long.

    Please do enter me in the draw.

    • samsara313 says:

      I’m in NorCal and I’m with you Kym…plucking randomly is a God-given right for those of us that brave the hectic Cali life! Luckily, because Gardenias are not long lasting in their plucked state and that rotten gardenia scent isn’t cute, there’s another bush just a few more steps down the path! Aren’t we the lucky ones?

  • Lavanya says:

    Oh- I wish I’d smelled Lady day when I’d had the chance.. I think I thought I didn’t like gardenia- but that might have to do with the fact that I didn’t really like Kai (which I smelled long ago in early perfumista days)..but I did try SIP’s Epic Gardenia recently and it smelled lovely on my mom’s skin so I might have to reconsider my stance on gardenia..

  • Isayah says:

    I buy gardenias for my summer patio for a long time now and always enjoy them a lot.
    Few perfumes I know really capture its magnificent. I am looking forward finding my ultimate gardenia! Please enter me in the draw and wish me luck! Thanks for your wonderful post
    and generosity!

  • Patty says:

    You’re not too late! I don’t do the drawings until sometime on Monday the 17th!

  • I’ve been searching for the Tuvache JG for a while but can’t afford it just now. Thanks for the drawing–if I’m not too late…

  • Farouche says:

    I love gardenia and have purchased a bottle of the VC&A Gardenia Petale, which is lovely but not very long lasting. It is also rather prim and proper.Please enter me in your generous draw so that I can expand my gardenia horizons!

  • Lorinda says:

    Thank you for interesting reviews! I love gardenia flowers, which I find are hard to grow, and I have not found most perfumes to be close. I do like the Estee Lauder tuberose, sort of like the Tom Ford and slightly remember Jungle Gardenia.

    • Patty says:

      You are so welcome, Lorinda, thanks for reading it! It is a tricky note to get right because they really can’t use the real thing, they get a small amount of absolute out of the flowers, so it’s so expensive and impractical. They just have to combine notes to get there. Really tricky!

  • Devon H says:

    I HAVE NO GARDENIA FRAGS! Cry with me. Say some Hail Mary’s for me. You have singlehandedly made me long to sniff them, something I previously had a preconceived notion about that I wouldn’t like gardenia (eh I can be picky about white florals, especially if they smell too cloying on me). Dear God in Heaven I need this sample set. You had me at blue cheese and inappropriate necking. Now I’m sweating like a whore during Shore Leave.

    • Patty says:

      OMG!!!! This is just horrible. I think I may be the cause of you worrying that you don’t hve any, though! I feel a teensy bit guilty, but not that much. Every girl needs a gardenia fragrance, unless they just can’t bear the smell of them.

      sometimes people think of them as overbearing and rude and intrusive and heady and suffocating. And they are so ALL of those things, and therein lies their beauty. If you fight them, they bother you. If you just close your eyes and let them pull you under, and then you learn to love the little monsters.

      If you can use the phrase “sweating like a whore during shore leave” you are so down for the gardenia! 🙂 :In-Love:

      • hotlanta linda says:

        Patty- THANK YOU for encouraging Devon H. – we are friends till the end, and your comment is LOL cause it`s sooooooo TRUE!!!! 🙂

  • BB says:

    I loved this post. I recently ordered a boatload of gardenia and magnolia samples. My favorite is still Tom Ford’s Velvet Gardenia. Like you, I thought it was revolting at first but was so fascinated, I kept going back. I am a glutton for punishment but sometimes it all works out in the end – like here. I thought VC&A and AG Gardenia Passion were pretty but lacked something – like edge, funk, or weirdness. I think ELPC Tuberose and Gardenia is lovely but I just get tuberose. I also like the new Ineke Hothouse Flowers which has a beautiful green gardenia note.

    • Patty says:

      It’s the most revolting things that can surprise us when it all turns around, huh?

      Okay, I’m going to concentrate on that new Ineke. It’s really beautiful, but I’ve had so many strong things on me the last ten days, I couldn’t get it enough attention!

  • Amy M. says:

    Reading this was the highlight of my month, Patty!!
    I’m very very fond of EL’s TG as well as AG’s Un Matin D’Orage (although I’m not sure if the latter qualifies as a gardenia….) I’m super excited about Juan Perez’ work in progress Gardenia. It’s honeyed and crisp and, well, exuberant!

    Thanks so much for the draw!

  • LindaB says:

    I LOVE gardenia scents…all time fave is EL Tuberose Gardenia. I wore the crap outta that during the ENTIRE summer of 2010, lol. Good and bad memories but it was the most lovely scent….

    Thank you for entering me in the draw.

    • Patty says:

      ELTG is really a great perfume. It still surprised me how much I loved it. I hadn’t felt like that about an EL perfume in decades!

  • Cynthia L says:

    i wear the VC&A Gardenia Petale and it is a very ladylike, restrained gardenia, when you don’t want to WOW them

  • Audrey H. says:

    I’ve always loved gardenias, years ago I had a plant in my yard and would fill a bowl with water and float them. My house smelled so beautiful. Until one of my dogs dug up and thrashed the plant *cries* I tried growing another but it never took. I think my Mom had a bottle of Jungle Gardenia when i was a little girl, I dont recall her ever wearing it out though, she seemed to wear No.5 all the time. I have and love the Estee Lauder gardenia but wish I could have tried Velvet gardenia. Well… I wasn’t sure what I wanted for my b-day in a couple of months, now your article has given me some ideas of what to ask for 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Oh, no! i can’t even imagine how heartbreaking that was! My nephew rented my old house for a while, and he tore up my daphnes that were in front, except for one. I cried. The next year when the remaining daphne bloomed, he cried! Once he smelled why I loved them so much.

      It’s always good to have a birthday wish list! 🙂

  • Francesca Belanger says:

    I remember Tuvaché Jungle Gardenia was part of the goody bag (they didn’t call it that back then) given to the contestants on Queen for a Day. I

    I’d love to find a true Gardenia. I got some of that Enfleurage oil that LT was raving about, and really, all I got was washed out mushrooms. In fact I was wondering how it might go in a viniagrette.

    • Patty says:

      I think that’s awesome, Queen for a Day should have some Jungle Gardenia in their gift bag. 🙂

      Okay, I was all on board with the Enfleurage. Just mushrooms? I mean, that’s there in a great gardenia. Never morphed?

  • Joy Silva says:

    Still like my Kai. Very nice in the summer-!

  • farawayspices says:

    Oh my am I ever obsessed with trying this Tuvache Jungle Gardenia sometime. I love the description of it being an over the top, hyperfeminine perfume of the days when women were not afraid to be glamorous (and girls aspired to be)!

    I would love to enter the draw!

  • Tama says:

    I am with you on the Ford. Lush to the point of rotting, I love it! Nice rundown on this elusive scent.

  • hotlanta linda says:

    Chuckle from the belly!! My early perfume purchases in Junior High !!**##!! were Jungle Gardenia – the original – in the very early 70`s!! Purchased – and still have! the 1 dram gold purse flacon, the 1/2 oz perfume, and 2 oz ~skin scent~ NOW – I have a fair amount due to a dab was all I needed, and when I saw it change to cheaper scent and package, it became treasure buried in my maple dresser`s perfume drawers!!! PLEASE try Goutal`s Gardenia Passion in EDP – you won`t be sorry 🙂

    • Patty White says:

      Awesome!! I have no idea where I was or if our local drugstore didn’t carry JG – must not have.

      So the sprays are the skin scent? I’m trying to figure out which bottle is which! don’t want the new version or the Coty one.

      I do love Gardenia Passion. it’s great, but it’s just not feral enough for me. 🙂

  • Daniel W. Z. says:

    a big fan of Gardenia, Also a Jasmine lover, thanks for the Blog!

  • Anna says:

    Oooh I would love to smell a bunch of gardenia perfumes! Wow.

    Well yes, Chanel’s Gardenia was a disappoiment. A HUGE disappoiment. It’s so plaa plaa, and light and and. I want my gardenia as creamy and heavy and truly beautiful, like a queen it looks like.

    There is a lot of gardenias I haven’t smell yet. I also love tuberose <3 So tuberose-gardenia frags are a heaven for me ^_^

    Thanks for the draw! xoxo

    • Patty says:

      You are so welcome, Anna! The Chanel Gardenia was tragic. It was light and frothy! Some thing just don’t go together. Gardenia is, yes, creamy and brooding and feral, like it may kill you in your sleep. 🙂

  • JulieT says:

    I ADORE gardenia..even bad ones. Please enter me!

  • ElizabethC says:

    Please enter me in the drawing so that I can find out if I really like gardenia. I have a sample (in the cute little bottle) of the Chanel Gardenia and do not like it. It has a texture (yes, perfumes can have texture) that reminds me of a can of really bad, all artificial ingredient cake frosting. Not good to eat and not good to smell like.

    • Patty says:

      Well, you clearly have good taste already in gardenias if you are rejecting the Chanel Gardenia. 🙂 It’s just awful, isn’t it? It needs a label on it – Gardenias on the label are no assurance that there are any gardenias in the bottle. Or! No gardenias were used/harmed/spindled/folded or mutilated in the making of this perfume, it is gardenia free!!

  • Maureen says:

    The only gardenia scent that I know I have experienced was Michel Storer’s Stephanie…I did not like it on me, figured I just didn’t like gardenia, and traded it away. I would like to find a gardenia that I liked, that smelled great on me. Please enter me in the draw and thanks.

  • Rena says:

    Love JARdenia and if I didn’t have to pay rent and such I’d buy it. In a heartbeat. Wore a lot of Central Park West this summer when I wasn’t working–it’s huge on me but a pretty good gardenia

    • Patty says:

      yeah, I know. And eat and things. which is why Jungle Gardenia was such a revelation, it was a drugstore perfume that was accessible and smelled great. Sad, I want something else like that, and I want it to cost sub-$100 so I can spray it with enthusiasm.

      • samsara313 says:

        Oh YES…paying rent and eating is soooooooo much a part of why I’m not indulging fully in my “juice passion”! But I can’t deny my passion anymore and so I’m going all in through the sample and decant door! Now I just have to figure out where the time it takes to comb through the reviews and narratives that will entice me to try this scent or that scent is going to come from! I can see this passion could go from a hobby to a full time obsession (if it hasn’t already!) AND…I fully love/blame the perfume posse for my little problem! Thank you!! Thank You!! THANK YOU!!!

  • Scenterella says:

    I was actually on vacation in Paris last week, and they already had bottles of Une Voix Noire at the Palais Royal. I’m going to start by saying that I really liked it, but freaky it is not. If you’re expecting the gardenia version of Tubereuse Criminelle, you’re going to be disappointed. It is a very pretty, slightly sweetish gardenia, and it dries down with a little bit of that weird woody skank that Cedre and some other Serge perfumes have. I don’t really think it’s like any of the other gardenia perfumes listed above, but it isn’t weird in the traditional Serge sense. I did like it, though, and I found myself oddly craving it later. Now I wish I had a sample.

    • Lisa D says:

      A gardenia version of Tubereuse Criminelle was EXACTLY what came to mind when I heard news of the scent! A bit of a disappointment that it lacks that certain freakishness, but from what you experienced, it might be worth a sample, anyway.

    • Patty says:

      Oh! I didn’t need it to be Tubereuse Criminelle, just some skank and lustiness with it would be awesome! I mean, big, weird and freaky is better, but great gardenia makes me absolutely happy!

      Can’t wait to get my hands on some! I need to go bug Denyse, I bet she’s had her hands on it.

  • Lauren B. says:

    Oh, I do hope Andy Tauer makes a Gardenia scent….you have me excited over the possibility!

    • Patty says:

      I am just aquiver! I knew he was playing with gardenia, but I thought he was just messing around with it! I think I’ll go ask!

  • dremybluz says:

    My favorite will always be Jungle Gardenia, but I also love Michael Storer’s gardenia based- Stephanie perfume. In many ways, Stephanie reminds me of Jungle Gardenia. Please enter me in the draw.

    • Patty says:

      I keep hearing about the Stephanie. Is he still selling his perfume? I haven’t seen it in a while, and I’d love to try that one! Thanks!

  • Ninara Poll says:

    I *ADORE* gardenia, so this post has made me swooningly happy! :Approve: I do wish big traditional florals would come back into style, but if they did, would I soon start complaining about how there are too many and there needs to be a new trend? 😉 And thank you for confirming for me that Chanel Gardenia really has nothing at all of the gardenia about it; I’ve been wondering if it was my nose or the juice, and it turns out it’s the juice! (Although, for some reason, I’m positive I’ve read somewhere that Chanel Gardenia is supposed to be an abstract or impressionist portrayal of gardenia rather than a realistic one?)

    For quite a while now, I’ve thought that the sweet white dessert pastry trend in perfumes wasn’t so much teenage girls trying to be cute/innocent as is it their mothers/older sisters/older female relatives and friends following societal trends and fixating on unattainable, unretainable youth, and buying such scents because they remind them of childhood. The kids of such purchasers therefore think that smelling sweet and edible is a sign of maturity and sexiness, and seek out similar scents. I know the target market for the vast majority of scents is teens, but given that the older female is the one who has the money, tends to do the purchasing, and probably shares bottles with the younger one(s) (I know my mom and I share, as did she and her sisters and their relatives, and most people I’ve known share), I wonder how much of that marketing to teens is actually marketing to the older woman who wants to be a teen/tween again?


    • Patty says:

      Oh, I love swoooooningly happy over gardenia!

      Of course we would! Then we’d be lamenting no green chypres or fougeres.

      you know, when I did the research, it doesn’t appear that Chanel was even going for gardenia. It was just in vogue around then, so I think you’re right. But I can’t even say abstract. Cruel Gardenia is abstract, but I still get a sense of the gardenia with it.

      What a good question! I’m pondering it and thinking there is truth in that theory. Maybe it is all of those things. Adults encourage those scents for young girls as a denial of how sexually aware they are at a young age. Mom and older sisters and aunts wear those sweet scents, so the young woman thinks that is what mature women smell like, and everyone is happy.

      Well, except us. I keep saying that I’m not a niche/luxury perfume snob, and I’m not. It’s just so damn hard to find something that doesn’t smell like cotton candy in the economy perfume market that it’s flight to the higher priced stuff just because there’s better options. I still have a LOT of economy perfumes from times past that I adore and I can buy for, seriously, like $40 for a vat of it, and that makes me so happy, but they keep disappearing with nothing new in the economy perfume market it replace it.

      Well, that was a dissertation! sorry! But I loved reading your thoughts on this!

  • RVB says:

    My favorite gardenia is a real Gardenia oil extracted through an enfleurage process and sold at Enfleurage in NYC.It’s made in small batches in Columbia.Organic palm oil is used as the medium and the resulting extract is amazingly realistic with a pronounced mushroom note.Thanks for the draw!

    • Patty says:

      Okay, I’m all overthis Enfleurage thing, but Francesca! down below says it’s all mushroom to her. I expect mushroom for sure, but we get beyond that, right? 🙂

  • Kandice says:

    AG’s Gardenia Passion has long been one of my favorite perfumes – in fact I was contemplating buying another bottle last night. How disappointing to find that it’s not a “true” rich gardenia perfume. But then again, I can’t wait to explore all the other gardenia perfumes out there that I haven’t tried yet. Thanks for providing some wonderful suggestions.

    • Patty says:

      It’s pretty darn close! And compared to most of the stuff that passes for gardenia, it’s excellent! I just have some that I love more, that are dirtier and skankier and appeal to my personal taste more. But I think Gardenia Passion is great, and it’s really accessible, which is a huge bonus. 🙂

  • Eldarwen 22 says:

    I have a difficult time with gardenia perfumes. Mostly because a lot of them are so tuberose laden that is suffocates me. Amouage Honour women is a nice gardenia that the tuberose doesn’t suffocate me. Probably the best one I have smelled was Bath and Body Works Gardenia Lily but it’s sadly discontinued. Gardenia Lily costs a small fortune no matter where I go.

    • Patty says:

      I think I played with the Honour recently, but I may need to revisit!

      I had never heard of that Bath and Body Works, darnit. A cheap gardenia is even better. I almost picked up the Liz Taylor gardenia because people referenced it, but I just couldn’t, I figure an old version probably did pretty well, but whatever they are selling these days probably isn’t even close.

  • Tom says:

    I got gardenia from JAR Bolt of Lightning, as did Gaia when we hit Bergdorfs together..

  • Elizabeth T. says:

    Patty, what a fabulous, thoroughly entertaining post! I enjoyed every second of it. I’m a personal fan of VC&A, but haven’t tried any of the ones on your “best” list. Looks like I need to hop to it!

    • Patty says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth! I think the VCA gardenia is just lovely. It’s got a shimmering gorgeousness that makes it one of my favorites of that soliflore series.

  • FearsMice says:

    Great post! I got broken in well and early by a childhood teacher who wore Tuvache Jungle Gardenia (her husband joked that she only wore it when she hadn’t had a chance to bathe…). TJG WAS AWESOME!! I haven’t really bothered with trying to find a realistic gardenia scent other than that; I figure I’d just be disappointed. Though I admit to wanting to smell JARDENIA… and an Andy take on gardenia would surely be worth trying…

    • Patty says:

      Oh, hell yeah, if I couldn’t jump in the shower, I would just splash on some, JG, it would cover up everything! I’d use that if I had bodies buried in my basement too.

      Jardenia is really amazing. Lady Day was my favorite, but since it’s gone down the rabbit hole of history, Jardenia is my new bottom gardenia bitch after JG.

  • maggiecat says:

    Trish McEvoy has a Gardenia Musk that isn’t half bad! I have a love/hate thing with gardenia, hating it when it ventures too far into tuberose territory (tuberrose and I do not usually Get Along Well). I find the Tiare version of scents tends to be closer to my tastes. I grew up in South Florida and miss growing real gardenias – I used to pick a flower and put it in my office, where it would perfume the entire suite for a good week. Beautiful! Thanks for the lists of scents to try.

    • Patty says:

      I have one Trish McEvoy around here I think i smelled at one point, and it didn’t leave an impression one way or the other. the #4? You know, it’s all right! I wouldn’t have put it on one of the lists because it just doesn’t seem very gardenia to me, though certainly better than the Chanel or Guerlain in giving you a small whiff of one!

      You southerners are just killing me with these “oh, i picked gardenias on the way home from the corner grocery every day” stories. 🙂 xoxo

  • rosiegreen says:

    I love the scent of real gardenias. They were the only flower I wore at my wedding. I have tried numerous times to keep a real gardenia plant alive but when it comes to gardenia’s I have ‘black hands’ not a green thumb. Please,please, please let the rumors about a Tauer Gardenia be true. That is one that I would really love to smell. Patty, thanks for a really fun post and the draw.

    • Patty says:

      Your hands and mine both like to kill the lovely gardenia.

      Yeah, Andy doing a gardenia would be amazing. Vero Kern doing a gardenia would be amazing! Maybe they could do one together and we’d all die of happiness.

  • Cyn says:

    Hmm, I am new to the site and commented earlier, but don’t see it here. Love the post and am bookmarking it for future reference. I love Gardenias. My daughter also wore them in her wedding. They smelled divine!

    The only time I have smelled bleu cheese in a scent was Golden Orchards by Dorothy Parker. I need to get my hands on this!

    Thanks for the draw!

  • MotherCourreges says:


    I’m so happy you love Tuvache’s Jungle Gardenia as it was one of my earliest perfume loves! I remember plunking down forty bucks for an ounce of the perfume in the late seventies, that was real scratch back then! To me, nothing smells as realistic; just like sticking your nose into a real gardenia blossom.
    Many famous women wore it as their signature frag back in the day: Torch singer and scandalous woman Libby Holman for one, Joan Crawford adored it as did Natalie Wood and Elizabeth Taylor. Even Michael Jackson as I’m sure you are aware.
    I actually like Kai (to Musette’s chagrin), but, it can’t compare. I bought a large quantity of Nature’s One Gardenia which is also discontinued. To me it’s light and fresh without that hideous air freshener note most gardenia fragrances have, but TJG was the bomb!

    • Patty says:

      40 bucks? That would have been suhweet!.

      I know, the list of poeple that loved it is long! I need to put a link at the bottom of the post to Yesterday’s Perfume, which is one of my research spots for this, she had a great write-up that was hugely entertaining! With some links to the Vanity Fair article. It was great history1

      I’m going to get some of that Enfleurage gardenia absolute, I have to. I just needs it.

  • Lisa D says:

    If Serge is making a gardenia scent, then I’m all in.

    Ah, Jungle Gardenia – that takes me back. I remember it as being about as “in your face” as a scent could get (or perhaps I should say “up your nose”).

    I’ve tried the Jo Malone, which I did not care for, as well as Kai, which was too beachy. One gardenia scent that didn’t make it onto your list that I do like is AG Matin d’Orage, which starts out all dewdrops and gardenia and green leaves, and then gets surprisingly dirty in the drydown.

    • Patty says:

      It really is, I have it on now,and I think it’s great. I think some other people might be asking me to leave the room, but for me, I think it’s amazing. It needs some alcohol with it, though, I think Champagne, but nothing expensive, the cheap stuff.

      I need to go hunt down that Ag. I just don’t remember smelling it!

  • helenviolette says:

    Fun Gardenia-post….and I have not had the pleasure of sniffing a bunch of these…bleu cheez legz….hrmmmm….I will join in the Lament for Lady Day. I wish I had sucked it up and bought a bottle back when.

  • samsara313 says:

    According to MANY, Versace’s Crystal Noir is a gardenia scent!?!? Not saying anyone who’s got a clue says this but it’s been said. Being new to this addiction you all share…to the “juice”…I don’t know if the statement’s true or not but I’d love to know, because I loveLoveLOVE this scent! And I soooooo love gardenias that my wedding bouquet was all about white flowers and gardenia was the star! So perhaps if gardenia is part of Crystal Noir that would explain why I’m soooooo drawn to the perfume that one of the Perfume Posse referred to as a “skanky” scent (skanky in a GOOD way!).

    • Patty says:

      You know, I’m not sure I’ve smelled Crystal Noir. Most mainstream perfumes that use gardenia tend to blend it pretty well with jasmine and tuberose, so it’s typically more of a blend that you do get reminders of that one note, but it’s not centric.

      for this, I was doing gardenia centric perfumes that are all about or supposed to be all about gardenia.

  • mim says:

    Thanks for the lovely and vivid reviews–and the draw! my fave gardenia is the real gardenia plant my mother keeps outside near a bench in the summer and inside in the winter. I used to take one or two of the blossoms that were tinged with brown, ready to drop off the plant, and put them in a hot bath. Divine!
    I have no idea what bleu cheese smells like but now am intensely curious.

    • Patty says:

      Thanks, Mim! I would kill to have a gardenia plant that I didn’t kill and especially if it grew outside of my window.

      Bleu cheese, sharp, slight rotting note because,well, it has been aged! Ripe is a good word for it.

  • monster says:

    I just went on a gardenia binge and came out enjoying Dolce&Gabbana’s Velvet Desire, though the price makes me cringe. Thanks for the entertaining roundup and draw.

    • Patty says:

      You know I forgot about that dolce being gardenia until after this post was done. It might need an update.

  • Jen says:

    Great post! I like gardenia but the best one I’ve found so far is Estee Lauder’s Tuberose Gardenia. I like Jo Malone’s Vintage Gardenia but it’s not gardenia. I like it for the cardamom and won’t likely repurchase a bottle when I run out. I would love to try the ones on this list that I haven’t smelled yet.

  • yash says:

    Waiting impatiently to try Lutens Une Voix Noire at Palais Royal but terrible rain disturbing my plans all day…Jardenia is definitely the closest to a gardenia enfleurage I smelled a while back and its blue cheese skankiness so photorealistic gardenia ish is to be glorified..vive le fromage bleu!

  • Lily says:

    I had a SA pushing TF Jardin Noir explain that the fact that he only used “natural” ingredients is the reason Tom Ford never made a gardenia. WTF? “Ahhh … but he did make a gardenia. It’s been discontinued,” I said. I actually said it just like that, like I was on Sesame Street explaining what the letter Q looked like. “Yes, that’s right. But you can only extract a tiny amount from a gardenia and it was too expensive so he had to stop making it.” WTF x 2? Crazy talk.

    Did you know Cruel Gardenia is based on a Lebanese relative of the gardenia with more solar notes? I still see a relationship btwn CG and the gardenias on my gardenia plant but with certain characteristically “gardenia” notes absent from the perfume in favor of others.

    • Patty says:

      Omg. Just when you think you’ve heard it all. Yeah that’s it. Like a reflection or close relative that reminds you of ardenia but not everything.

  • Lauren S says:

    Great post! I am still in the I don’t-like-Gardenia-phase of my perfume existence. I like it on others (a lady in my office wears the EL private collection, and she smells beautiful), but I can not stand gardenia on my own skin . . . But that does not stop me from wanting to win your sample set. 😉 Thanks, Patty for the give away and for the entertaining morning read. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Ha ha. That’s. Great sign. When you hate something bu you must smell it anyway. Perfumistas crack e up.

  • Elisa says:

    In perfume I sometimes love and sometimes hate gardenia. My favorite so far is PCTG which I love for its gasoline-like note up top. The Gardenia Passion made me laugh and laugh, it smelled like appetizers. Would love to try some of the better ones!

    • Patty says:

      The octg is really good. Gardenia is a hard note to get and that’s why there are so few great ones. How jg got it just right so long ago it just seems like we could get more floozy gardenias!

  • rosarita says:

    I am fonder of gardenia than tuberose, so maybe it’s time to sample again. Your post was fun to read. Thanks for the draw!

  • sherobin says:

    I adore the scent of real gardenia. For my sister’s wedding a few years back, my mom , my sisters, our daughters and I each wore a real gardenia in our hair. It was absolutely intoxicating and dense. A few girls found the fragrance too overwhelming after awhile, and had to remove it after awhile – not me, though! I was in love! TF Velvet Gardenia, to my nose, does the best job I’ve smelled of capturing that dense spiciness pinned onto a delicious, creamy pillow of floral whiteness. Love it. But I would love to sniff any other rendition I haven’t tried. I also love Un Matin D’Orage, but it is like gardenia scent wafting on a wet breeze. Perfect in it’s own way.

    Also, just tested Ineke Hothouse Flower over the weekend. It is near perfect, but in a very different way. Green, woody, a tad smoky, with a meltingly sweet and creamy gardenia underneath. The earl grey note is awesome. Definitely need a full bottle.

    So many more I want to try. Thanks for the draw!

    • Patty says:

      Omg. I did that for the mom corsages at one of my weddings!! They were clawing them off in abou 40 minutes. I thought they were amazing. I haven’t smelled he d’orage in a long time. I need to put that on the list. Hothouse flower in first sniff seemed pretty great. I need more time with it.

  • Teri says:

    Jungle Gardenia. Wow, that triggered an immediate scent memory of my mother’s hairdresser back in the day. She was a larger-than-life type, with hair so red it was a color not known in nature, and always smelled of a combo of Pall Malls, Sen Sen, and Jungle Gardenia. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that she spent time with inappropriate men. 🙂

    I bought some of the wonderful Lady Day by SIP when it first came out (thanks to your review here, as a matter of fact). I just knew I’d love it and oh boy howdy did I. I so agree that it’s a tragic loss to the perfume world that this lovely juice is no longer available. It is incredibly special and will probably always reign as my top dog gardenia.

    These days, when I want serious gardenia, I usually go for the AG. You’re right that it’s not balls-to-the-wall gardenia, but it satisfies the craving while still being relatively office friendly. I admit to liking Kai, too, as a weekend shorts-or-sundress-casual kind of thing. It’s tropical lite, sure, but I don’t always want to unleash my inner Carmen Miranda when I hit the Safeway.

    • Patty says:

      Pall malls! I bet she did have a few inappropriate men in her life. Lady day is heartbreaking. I wish I knew for sure why no go on making it. I assume price or the lack of materials did it in. Epic gardenia is nice but it just doesn’t capture that soulful loss like lady day did.

      Kai is great!! Just not gardenia. I couldn’t figure out why it kept showing up on all those best gardenia lists.

  • jirish says:

    Now I want to try that Jungle Gardenia! I started out my perfumemania as a young teenager (just 15!) wearing the old Chloe, so I started out loving big white florals, but I’ve spent the last decade or so in the land of smoky incense and dry woods. Lately though I feel myself coming back to the white florals, even if I’m not at the point where I could see myself wearing them every day. I love the drama of their femininity – drag queen perfume indeed! It makes me sad that I have three teenage nieces, but they are all fragrance shy. I’ve taken one on a perfume shopping trip and got her L’Artisan’s The Pour Un Ete, which is a beautiful scent, but on the restrained and delicate side. I’m taking another one shopping this weekend for her first ‘real’ perfume, but I think we’ll be starting out with something simple and similarly restrained, perhaps something from Jo Malone.

    • Mals86 says:

      You are that Good Enabler Aunt. Every girl needs one.

    • Patty says:

      There is very little that can compare to a dramatic white floral. I’ve done what you did. Meandered around in iris and incense and woods. I love them but I miss those über femme perfumes that cream Mae west.

      You are a god perfume sun. Jo is a great plac to start. You dont even have to like florals to find something.

  • LCT says:

    The only one of these I’ve tried is the Jo Malone so needless to say, I think I hate gardenia! I love having my mind changed – thanks for the interesting post and the draw.

    • Patty says:

      Jo Malone isn’t terrible. You may really hate gardenia. But even f you do the experience f a really rank gardenia is so much fun.

  • kathleen says:

    Cruel Gardenia is still available on Neiman’s website.

    I am a gardenia lover. Always looking for ‘the one’. The Enfleurage is a very true gardenia, but then it would be, wouldn’t it. It’s nice as a base for some of those ‘lesser’ gardenias out there. My favorite, Velvet Gardenia. I would sure love a sniff of that Jar, tho.

  • Musette says:

    No draw. but wanted to say WHAT A GREAT POST!!!!!

    I always buy a gardenia plant at the beginning of the season and hope to nurse it through the winter (FAIL) but often, right about November, I get one or two blossoms……..and I remember the Glory What Is Gardenia.

    Tuvache is Da BOMB! It’s almost too big – for me, that’s saying something!!!

    xo :Devil:

    • Patty says:

      I kill my gardenias too! I didn’t get one this year because it’s just too damn sad!

      JG is not for the faint of heart or with a lung problem.

  • Well, I feel obligated to say that if you really loved the old Tuvache, you may want to check out for the “original formula” edp. Jeffrey Dame of Perfume of Life fame is still the owner, and he did own the formula. His reproduction of Yardley’s Oh de London is spot on! $48. is a steal for this if it’s half as good as the OdL reproduction!

  • Lemon says:

    I just learned a LOT in this post.

    My closest to real gardenia is a tiny pot of gardenia butter I bought at Enflourage a few years ago. It was pricey so I used it sparingly and now it’s starting to fade.

    I’d love to be in the draw.

    • Patty says:

      Uh-uh, I just googled Enfleurage. this can’t end well. Thanks!!

      • Lemon says:

        I know what you mean. The b & m store is even worse – stuff that they don’t sell on their website and you’re welcome to sniff to your heart’s content with never any pressure or interference.

  • Mals86 says:

    Patty’s back, Patty’s back! Good lord, woman, I missed the way your voice really comes out when you sit down and give us a whole post. Moar pls. 😀

    I love gardenias. Haven’t found a gardenia scent to Absolutely Love, probably because I tend to get distracted with tuberose (which I also adore). Seems like I might have a sample of the Tuvache, the real thing, somewheres… it’s just, Do I want to go on safari looking for it right now? And the answer is, Not today. The Isabey was nice, but too – flat, or something. No narcotic tendrils pulling me in, which is what I think the essence of gardenia is. Cruel Gardenia is definitely NOT gardenia, but it IS really really pretty. My sample’s gone.

    Acoustic Flower does not smell of gardenia to me; instead, it’s just a pretty jasminey thing. Writing Lyrical Poetry, though – I might need to go recheck my sample, but it really has that lush/rotting quality that makes one think of gardenia decadence. And I think I am overdue for a few more DSH samples, so perhaps I’ll go chuck a few in my cart at her place. (OH HEY, it’s Dawn’s birthday today, btw.)

    Funny, you know, I always loved big blowsy white florals, even as a teen in the 80s. Inappropriate boys, not so much… well, not until college, and even then it was just nice boys with a naughty streak that appealed to me personally.

    • Patty says:

      You are so sweet! I know, I love to write, but my life gets so intense sometimes, but I’ve resolved to put more into my writing because I do love it, I just forget I love it when I’m busy! I promise1 I’m in this intense disciplined writing stage now because I have a ton of writing I have to do. It’s a great exercise for me!

      yeah, I felt the same way. I think the Isabey is a gorgeous, pretty perfume, it just doesn’t feel raunchy enough to be called gardenia.
      I have a Lyrical Poetry around here or not. Not so much for me. It has a lush sweetness,, but it veers pretty sweet on me.

      Big florals have always been my first love. I moved away from them for a time to experiment elsewhere, but I find myself drawn back. I have to admit, until everyone started wearing it, I adored Giorgio! 🙂 Talk about slap you around perfume.

  • Zazie says:

    I love gardenias – the real and the “perfume” ones.
    And I agree with most of your classifications!!!
    On my plants (I always have a gardenia, no matter in which part of the world I live!) I always anticipate the moment when the emerald green buds become soft with nuanced strokes of white: the flower will open up soon, and on the first day, it’s stark whiteness is just mesmerizing and the scent… heavenly.
    (If what makes the scent of gardenias so special is a mushroom note, I won’t argue, but I don’t get any!!!)
    The only gardenia perfumes that smell like gardenia to me are the Tom Ford and the E. Lauder. I dislike both. A caricature, the former, and a disguise, the latter.
    Would love to try those that make the top of your list!
    And can’t wait to read about and test the Lutens, when it will be released!

    • Patty says:

      You know, I love both too, for different reasons!

      Can you grow gardenia inside? IF so, what in the world is the trick?!?!

      the Lutens was released today, but I haven’t heard a peep about it yet, which is weird!

  • bookhouseshell says:

    Oh, how I want to try Tuvache Jungle Gardenia. Patty, you’ve been leading me around by the nose ever since I picked up that beginner’s sampler & what a ride it’s been!

    • Patty says:

      Goodness, I think I feel a little guilty! No, I don’t! Every now and then I think of renaming the blog to Perfume Pied Pipers – Over the scented cliff one fragrance at a time.

      Would that be a bad thing?

  • Stacy says:

    Ok…two LARGE coffees down, loved this post!!! Funny, I don’t even remember what I wore as a teen (maybe nothing!??) but my sister LOVED Jungle Gardenia and I remember that box vividly from when I would sneak around in her medicine chest. She ALSO necked with inappropriate boys so it all fits! I was the nerd who wrote for the school paper! I must go track down a nice vintage bottle for her, after all, she found for me the 1966 edition of “White Gloves and Party Manners”!

    • Patty says:

      Yikes, two large coffees, it was too long! I’m probably meandering around to all the other notes over the next weeks/months. I’m getting obsessed with compiling everything I know, all the things I’ve smelled and judging them. It feels so powerful and good!

      OMG, I would have totally hung out with your sister. so which bottle is the older one of the EDT? I think it’s the curved in one and not the straight up and down one, but maybe they are both the original Tuvache? Ask your sister, she’ll remember!

  • Hey Patty,
    I’d love the full set please,
    Portia xx

  • pam says:

    I haven’t tested a lot of gardenia frags, mainly because I have a huge bush in the front of my house and really love the real thing. But this brought back memories. When I was a kid, I saved up and bought my mother a bottle of Jungle Gardenia for her birthday because I thought it smelled so wonderful.

    • Patty says:

      I envy your gardenia bush. It’s my top reason for ever thinking about moving to the South, so I can have a gardenia bush of my own. JG is perfection, it really is, in that over the top way that apologizes for nothing.

  • Sigrun says:

    What a great post! As I live in Sweden I’ve never smelled the real thing, but i do love AGs Gardenia Passion with a passion (duh, that came out weird). In order to broaden my horizons I’d absolutely LOVE to be entered into this draw, I mean, what could be more enticing than massive white flowers combined with blue cheese 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Passion about your Gardenia passion? That’s funny! Well, yeah, big indolic florals with cheese and mushroom and green. I mean, who wouldn’t find that irresistible?

      I did put on the Jungle Gardenia and kept asking people to smell me, and then I’d laugh as they ran away. It is room-clearingly great.

  • Poodle says:

    I love gardenia and wish I could grow the darn things. As far as scents I have got a few white florals but none of them are gardenia-centric shall we say. Lots of jasmine and tuberose and they hint at gardenia. I did get a sample of Hothouse Flower this week and while I only tried it once I think I like that gardenia. Not because it’s super realistic but more because it’s tempered by green and I think I could wear it without it wearing me.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, growing. There is a long line of sad, empty pots around my house that used to have a gardenia growing in it. I finally made myself stop buying them, it’s too sad to kill another one.

      i have that Hothouse Flower, and it’s promising! It was too new to feel like I had enough time with it to go in this, and my nose was itching for those big ole things, so it didn’t seem fair to try and put it somewhere until I coluld evaluate it on its own. Plus that new Puredistance Opardu has me transfixed.

  • Sherri says:

    LOVED reading this, Patty! My first love and favorite is VC&A Gardenia Petales, but I love most of those mentioned! I even love the beachy ones like Monyette Paris and Sage Moonstone and a Lucy B. I also want to try Gardenia Grand Soir (Parfumerie Generale), and I am taking notes on new releases–thanks everyone!! So excited about that Arquiste!

    • Patty says:

      Love taht too!!! I could do Monyette or Kai for something else, it just didn’t seem to belong with some of those ball-busting gardenias. Like putting Brittney Spears next to Etta James. 🙂

      That Arquiste! I have started my full-scale launch with their PR company to get my hands on that along with that more feral first version he did that he scrapped. THAT’S the one I want.

  • Jillie says:

    Oh, Patty, thank you! You have made me feel so much better now that I know I am not the only one who can’t smell gardenia in Chanel’s Gardenia. I thought it was another case of getting the wrong juice in the bottle (like I experienced with Illuminum’s White Gardenia Petals), but no – this is what it really does smell like. I am now reassured that my nose is not finally giving up!

    • Patty says:

      We gardenia peeps need to stand together. I know I’m late to go all in for the gardenia, but better late than never!

      oh, that Illuminium? I’m not even sure where they hid the gardenia in that. I think they just liked the name.

      your nose is alive and well! 🙂

  • Alityke says:

    I cannot believe I decided not to bid on a BNWOB TF Velvet Gardenia recently on da Bay. It went unsold and could have been mine for a measly £10! Argh BIG error.

    What a lovely kind gesture the draw is. Please enter me, thank you

  • sonomavelvet says:

    “…broken gardenia dreams” Oh yes, snigger snort…..Sob! Funny but so TRUE! I say that looking at my Chanel gardenia that is not gardenia but I forgive it for that eh, once a month or so. And my Pacifica gardenia that doesn’t really smell like gardenia, or well sorta like a stick drawing would look like of a gardenia. And Vintage gardenia while I nearly threw across the room in an attempt to get away from it upon first snifferage but a year later decided well, hmmm, actually if I think of it as Candy Gardenia, like a cartoon of a gardenia then, once a month or so I’ll take it for a ride. Estee Lauder’s PCTG, well, I flip back and forth. Some days I like it, some days it smells like root beer to me. I know, PCTG is like a Georgia O’keefe painting of a gardenia, up close and huge and you really notice the folds and shadows, but then you realize the stamen is missing….ha ha…too clean, it’s been de sexed.
    Luckily I haven’t yet tried all of them, so I can sleep well knowing, that it might still be out there, that smell I want, crave… yet can’t ever quite quite seem to reach.

    • Patty says:

      Heh. 🙂 As long as there is gardenia hope, there is life! right now I’m pinning all my hopes on Serge’s gardenia and the gorgeous’s Carlos’ gardenia, which I had to beg shamelessly for today. 🙂

  • Janet in California says:

    I love gardenia perfumes. Tom Ford’s Velvet Gardenia is one of my favorites, I am rationing my decant and may have to head to ebay for a full bottle. I wish he would bring it back.

    Thanks for the draw.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, I dunno, if you love it, you might want to put that on a Christmas Wish List. My fear is it will get scarce, then the price will be ridiculous.

  • Bryan says:

    I laughed out loud more than a few times reading this. Thank you for that.

    I am also out a few hundred bucks after jumping over to the bay to pick up some jungle gardenia and another bottle of TF. So, yeah, thanks for that too. : )

    I fell for Jardenia the moment I discovered the JAR line. I thought the bolt of lightning was going to be “the one”. NOPE. Too much pear. Not enough tuberose. Jardenia sounded too good to be true. And it wasn’t!! When does that happen? Right?? I Love it. I seem to recall the blue cheese note lasting longer…maybe it’s been reformulated a bit. hmmmm
    I still adore it though.

    I am dying for Une Voix Noire. I hope it’s not a watered down Serge, but a big fun blast of waxy petals. Here’s hoping.
    Didn’t know Arquiste was coming out with one. I love the whole line so far. And is Andy really releasing the gardenia or is it an etude of sorts? I’ll buy it unsniffed most definitely if he’ll let me.

    Thanks Patty, XXOO

    • Patty says:

      Oh, Bryan, I would be just shocked if you didn’t love the Jungle Gardenia. I can’t believe you don’t already have it!

      You know, I had been playing in gardenias for so many days, my nose just might have been a little immune to the how long it actually hung around. 🙂

      Same here on Une Voix! I’ve been dreaming about this one for so long, a big ass freaky gardenia with bursts out with petrol and gas and flames and then gets bigger. 🙂

      don’t know about Andy, I hope it’s a release scent he’s working on!

  • TaffyJ says:

    My initial reaction to the Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia was not a happy one. I spritzed it, way too much of it, and then sputtered and gaacked! and promptly placed the decant in The Sin Bin, to be disposed of with a proper burial. My short-term memory ain’t what it used to be, so I pulled it out of that miscellaneous box and tried it again. This time,…hello, gorgeous!

    Thanks so much for the Gardenia draw!

    Is AG Un Matin D’Orage considered a gardenia, albeit a moist one?

    • Patty says:

      I know!! That was me! I couldn’t believe how much I loathed it,then went back and tried it, thinking it really was that awful, and fell head over heels in love.

      I think that one is, but I don’t think I have any of that around that I can find. I’m sure I have a sample, but digging it out will be, um, challenging.

  • Cheryl says:

    Thanks so much for reigniting my spring time gardenia -in-a perfume-vintage-or discontinued-or whatever obsession. It’s an itch that has evaded scratching. Of those you discuss I only know the Van Cleef…and it’s pretty ok. It’s bravely elegant. It doesn’t last too long for me or go in for the gardenia “kill”. I’d love to enter in the draw.


  • Cheryl G. says:

    Well now, I read the whole thing because I LOVE me some gardenia. I huff the real flower and become deliriously drunk as I moan and groan to the point where neighbors have peered over my fence. An. “I’ll have what she’s having” moment.
    I missed the Tom Ford gardenia but am soooo tempted to blind buy it. Will I regret it?
    Perhaps I’ll get lucky!

    • Patty says:

      Well, I knew all you gardenia lovers would,even if it was just so you could tut-tut and disagree. There is nothing quite so opinionated as one still on the hunt for the best gardenia perfume because, you know, it’s still out there somewhere, that little Pink Unicorn. 🙂

      The best is the real flower. I’ve tried to grow them, and ack, I kill them so quickly, but for that brief period of time that the blooms that were already on there open, that smell! I just put the thing on my coffee table and breath.

      there’s this place that sells wedding flowers,and you can get a whole bunch of gardenias in bulk for like $200. I’ve even toyed with getting that and strewing them around every part of the house in glasses of water. Think! The smell? Oh, I’d probably just wind up curled in a corner from happiiness. I still might do it in the middle of winter.

      If you love the bleue cheese in your gardenia and some mushroom, yes, just do the VG. There’s enough of it out there still, though, you can probably wait and just make sure!

  • Jennifer says:

    These all sound wonderful to try.Please enter me!
    Have you tried Michael Kors? Kim Kardashian’s first self titled scent?
    Vintage Houbigant Gardinia? Sonia Kashuk #1 Gardinia (for Target a few years back)
    Bill Blass ,and Estee Lauder Azuree sunshine cologne (a bit different from the regular Azuree or the Soliel/BG ).
    Hmm. If I win the draw I may end up doing a Gardinia sample pass on Basenotes .

    • Patty says:

      Jennifer, I have tried the Michael Kors, but it’s been a long time ago, and my nose’s appreciate for the ranker parts of the gardenia have changed since then. Have not run across the rest of those. Do you have a favorite among them? The vintage Houbigant sounds interesting, for sure, but of course impossible to find. 🙂

  • Also random question: can anyone speak to the differences between Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion in EDP vs. EDT? I’m contemplating a purchase… I’m not sure which version I tried (whichever was at the Austin Nordstrom, I guess).

    • Patty says:

      Um, hang on. I wasn’t sure if I had both EDT and EDP, but I do! They are pretty much the same formulation, the EDP has a little richer feel. If you were picking which one, I’d get the EDP, but I don’t know if that’s the one you tried. They’re not dramatically different in how they smell overall, so I don’t think you can go wrong here.

      • Thanks so much Patty! XD

      • hotlanta linda says:

        Is your Goutal Gardenia in a box w/ the brand name in script or block print? ANY AG scent in a script-ed carton is pre-IFRA. and there may still be the true perfume in a 1/3 oz butterfly bottle on Ebay. Yes, the Annick Freak here has that too – lol!! 🙂

  • It seems like there are quite a few gardenia perfumes coming out this fall – the Serge Lutens has me drooling. The new Arquiste is gardenia, too, right? The one that has me SUPER SUPER SUPER SUPER excited though, is the “Gardenia sotto la luna” that Andy Tauer has been chronicling his work on in his blog. I DIE!!!!!!!!!

    I like AG Gardenia Passion quite a bit, but haven’t tried most of the rarities from the top portion of your list – really want to try Jardenia and Velvet Gardenia but I am TEH POOR.

    Oh, I thought the Jo Loves Gardenia was really quite good. Definite mushroomy funk to it.

    • Mals86 says:



    • Patty says:

      You know, I have heard about this Andy Gardenia. Is he planning on doing a release with it, or just screwing around? 🙂 I mean, I just want to smell it, even if he never releases it.

      Arquiste’s new one is a gardenia too?? Oooooohhhhhh. Damn, when is that out? October, I’ll wager. I haven’t heard a peep about the Serge yet, which is weird.

      Gardenia Passion is really nice, and they walked that fine line like EL did, making it feel gardenia-like, but avoiding the more feral elements that I would have loved at this point in my life. I can’t believe I used to not love the whole of gardeniadom. 🙂

      • Well, Andy gave the gardenia a name, so it seems like he’s really thinking about releasing it, though nothing’s for sure yet obviously.

        I think Denyse’s blog was where I read about the new Arquiste.

  • Suzy Q says:

    I’m going to wear Cruel Gardenia tomorrow in honor of this magnificent post! It’s the best perfume name ever, but, yes, it’s sadly unrelated to the scent. Discontinued? God I hope not. It’s still available for purchase at least… and the price keeps going up.

    • Patty says:

      Okay, now i feel dumb. I was SURE i heard or read that somewhere. Was it one of the other matieres? I hope it’s not, but that was stuck in my head. If it’s wrong, I’ll correct the post so everyone that’s a huge fan doesn’t have an meltdown! 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Okay, NOT discontinued, I confused it with Iris Ganache. Sorrrrryyyy!!!!!