Gardenia: 19 posts

Aerin Collection : Perfume Reviews


Aerin, the lifestyle brand of Aerin Lauder, recently presented five fragrances: Gardenia Rattan, Amber Musk, Lilac Path, Ikat Jasmine and Evening Rose. So what can you expect from the collection? Each fragrance is built around a distinctive theme and painted with delicate, pastel tones. The word that comes to mind is tasteful.


At first, I was a little disappointed to find such mild-mannered blends, but the more I wore the perfumes, the more the collection made sense as the scent equivalent of pret-a-porter. Wearing these perfumes is like slipping into a cashmere dress or silk camisole, a garment that may not look flamboyant but that makes you feel wonderful. The perfumes are not dramatic, to be sure, but they are a pleasure to wear.

While the perfumes don’t come cheap, Lauder didn’t skimp on high-grade materials when making Aerin’s collection. For instance, Evening Rose contains beautiful rose absolute and Amber Musk features a particularly luscious musk note. Overall, it’s a good fit with Aerin Lauder’s understated aesthetic and emphasis on quality. But if you want haute couture drama and panache, you’ll probably have to look elsewhere.

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Le Labo Ylang 49 : Perfume Review


Andy takes Ylang 49 from Le Labo to task.  

I sprayed on Le Labo’s new Ylang 49 with many expectations. As my first introduction to the Le Labo line, I wasn’t sure what to anticipate. But surely, with a brand name that evokes scientific paraphernalia and sterile-looking packaging to match, I reasoned, this “floral chypre” had to be some kind of cleaned-up, angularly modern twist on the classic genre. As it would turn out, I was pleasantly surprised—instead of whisking me through a laboratory, Ylang 49 took me on a nostalgic walk through a shady, rain-drenched garden on a spring morning.


True to its name, Ylang 49 opens with a glimpse of its namesake note, pairing the spicy floral with a touch of rose and some cool earthiness. I am reminded of the damp scent of a garden after a rainstorm, but as the fragrance warms up on skin, the rose takes center stage, and the damp earth transforms into a hint of warm, slightly mossy patchouli.

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A Heady and Refined Scent for Winter : Gardenia

I have a new article in The Financial Times “How to Spend It” Magazine. In A Heady and Refined Scent for Winter, I talk about some of my favorite gardenia scents. The opulent and complex scent of gardenias has been on my mind a lot lately.  If I had more space, I would have included Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose GardeniaBy Kilian Water Calligraphy, Parfums de Nicolai Juste Un Rêve (a gardenia kissed tropical bouquet), and of course, Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia (alas, discontinued).

Gardenia is a flower with diverse connotations, from sultry to innocent. The jazz singer Billie Holiday famously tucked a white gardenia in her hair; 19th Shanghai courtesans used its seeds to colour their undergarments a vibrant yellow; and in the Victorian language of flowers, gardenia symbolised purity and refinement. Its scent is heady and lush, marrying the seductive warmth of jasmine with the sweetness of peach and coconut. A single blossom is enough to perfume a room for hours with a fragrance that reminds me of a summer evening. But with winter approaching, it will be months before I can find fresh gardenias, and instead  I look for them in a perfume bottle. To read the rest, click here.

Do you have favorite gardenia fragrances?

Arquiste Boutonniere no.7 : Perfume Review


Gardenia is the flower with the most feminine of connotations. It’s a blossom that the jazz singer Billie Holiday tucked in her hair. Its seeds give a vibrant yellow hue that the turn of the century Shanghai courtesans appropriated as a signature shade of their lingerie. More innocently, it’s the preferred flower for a prom corsage–even without water it will remain fresh and fragrant for hours. When Arquiste Parfumeur announced that its Boutonniere no.7  will be a masculine rendition of gardenia, I was intrigued.

The idea behind Boutonniere no.7 was to create a fragrance for a vignette: a group of 19th century dandies standing in the foyer of the Opéra-Comique in Paris and wearing gardenia boutonnieres on their lapel. Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux received the commission to make this story come to life. Flores-Roux is a talented perfumer, but I still wondered if it’s really possible to create a realistic gardenia perfume and yet make it suitable to men?

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Marc Jacobs Woman (for Her) : Fragrance Review


Before Lola and Daisy, there was Marc Jacobs Woman, the designer’s first (and most sophisticated) fragrance.  While one can still find Woman on the shelves of Sephora, it has been eclipsed by the other two scents, the glitzier younger sisters wearing their plastic-flower cartoon collars.

Woman debuted at a time when gardenia/tuberose scents were just becoming fashionable.  While Michael Kors treated his eponymous gardenia fragrance to a second-skin suede, Marc Jacobs doused his in a cool rush of water that the marketing copy invitingly calls an “aqua mist.”

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