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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Penhaligons's Gardenia: Perfume Review

Four things surprised me about Penhaligon's new rendition of Gardenia, re-introduced this year with the help of Bertrand Duchaufour as part of the Anthology Collection:

1) Its tangy and subtly sweet fruitiness, which I first imagined to be alike freshly cut green apples, but then, looking at the list of notes recognized as the result of mixing the fruity magnolia and the tart rhubarb;

2) Its natural, simple feel. By "natural" I mean the impression that all ingredients (simplistically speaking) had been picked in an unkempt, windswept little garden and put together in a pretty and unassuming fashion, miraculously, right there on an old wooden kitchen table...and not in a big fancy lab...and put together in a "simple" manner like a talented child's naturemort done in transluscent, pastel colors;

3)...Paradoxically, after the above statement... its "perfumey" and classic quality, which somehow goes alongside the simple naturalness from about 1/3 into the composition, when orange blossom and jasmine start to kick in, and intensifies with the appearance of tuberose and musk;

4) The fact that it does not smell very gardenia-like...Which, I suppose isn't that much of a surprise, since not too many gardenia perfumes do.

None of these observations are meant as criticism. I find the verdant fruitiness unexpected and appealing; the pastel naturalness of the blend makes me nostalgic for the dacha of my childhood; the perfumey-ness brings the lady-like refinement which I always appreciate, and as for being true to the smell of gardenia...oh well! I already have Lauder's Tuberose Gardenia and Ford's Velvet Gardenia. As a side note, I do not remember the 1976 Penhaligon's Gardenia, so I can't compare. The 2009 is pretty, oh so pretty- the kind of slightly fresh, girly-feminine, genteel, almost "weddingy" (yes, that is a specific quality in a scent) blend that I have been in a mood for for awhile.

Available at, £95.00 for 100ml.

Image credits, Tim Walker, Penhaligon's.

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Blogger Alyssa said...

Wow, Duchafour seems to be giving Penhagalion a much needed goose! I look forward to sniffing this one.

1:00 AM EST  
Blogger Flora said...

Uh-oh - the White Flower Queen is sensing a lemming coming on....I think I will really love this. Magnolia, rhubarb, gardenia, "verdant fruitiness" - you are hitting all my notes here! :-)

1:24 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think it's all very much in keeping with the spirit of tradition, but not..boring? :-)

6:39 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am sure you will like this. And you and I should try Amaranthine too.

6:39 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

WHY did I lose my bottle from the 80's ????

While this sounds divine, I truly loved the 'heavy' original.

Oh well.
Next time, at Sak's ;-)

Thanks, sweetie, for the lem update :)

8:02 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Very smart move on Penhaligon's part to bring Duchaufour in. This sounds extremely appealing and, for me, this is the perfect season for it. I crave fresh, sunshine and flower scents as the weather turns cold. Desperately need the olfactory proof on my wrist that spring and warm weather *will* return. The White Witch will not remain in power forever.

6:14 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow this sounds lovely - I do love heavy white flowers but in the warm weather I long for those fresh, airy white scents. I will definitely check this out :)

10:51 PM EST  
Anonymous Jon said...

sounds nice, lets hope this doesn't conflict with my natural skincare.

2:37 AM EST  

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