Cruel Gardenia by Guerlain (2008) {New Fragrance}


Guerlain is releasing two new creations in early 2008, a feminine and a masculine respectively called Cruel Gardenia and L'Ame d'un Héros (see next post).

According to Guerlain, Cruel Gardenia, in the L'Art et La Matière collection, promises to be a highly unusual and novel gardenia composition playing with emotions and memories of childhood. This emotional trend in perfumery is extremely interesting we think. In 2007 Serge Lutens Louve and Humiecki & Graef Skarb showed that a perfume can literally aim to manipulate your emotions. Cruel Gardenia, reportedly, was not treated as a classic white floral at all. The perfume was composed by Randa Hammami together with artistic director Sylvaine Delacourte.......  

From the press release, 

"A fragrance on the verge of cruelty. It's like a wonderful childhood memory, often replayed in one’s mind with a lovely feeling of nostalgia very close to the threshold of pain. Cruel Gardénia stuns the senses with diabolical power. Its notes – sunny, silky smooth and lingering – can become an obsession. Counter to tradition, Guerlain avoided creating any impression of opulence by deploying the gardenia in combination with the finest and most precious white musks, for a soft, velvety aura. One encounter with this incredibly feminine fragrance is like a shot to the heart. And there it stays, forever.
How does the magic work? Essence of damask rose with hints of peach and neroli create a refreshing initial burst of florals. Gradually, the scent of gardenia develops with the grace of violet, warmed by ylang ylang from the Comoros and white musks. These lingering notes, present from the beginning, for m the backbone of the composition. Essence of Tonka bean sustains the white musks and moves into a sensuous note of vanilla and sandalwood.

This fragrance is like an encounter with cruelty, an inescapable trap that appears from nowhere...

You can read our review of the perfume

Cruel Gardenia:  $220, 80 mL

It is available at all four La Maison Guerlain locations:  at
Bergdorf Goodman New York, Neiman Marcus San Francisco, The Breakers Palm Beach, and the French Pavilion at Epcot."

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9 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. I'm a little puzzled at Guerlain's copy. Your point about fragrances aiming at manipulating/reviving childhood emotions is relevant and thought-provoking. But surely the *manipulation* of emotion is difficult: some scents are moving because they strike some mysterious chord, some because they revive an individual memory. For a scent to be "on the verge of cruelty"... It seems to be more of an interesting evolution in marketing discourse, than in fragrance composition. "Tubéreuse criminelle" stuck a little closer to its intention with its borderline unpleasant opening blast... Though I must admit I'm very, very curious!

  2. Oh, no - this is exactly what have been dreading - a Guerlain I could really fall in love with. This sounds just overwhemingly good. "very close to the threshold of pain" indeed - good grief, it has every single thing I love in it! Just kill me now.

  3. After Tubereuse Criminelle, voilà Gardenia Cruelle .... a nice twist for 2 white opulent flowers. Do you know when it will be available in France?

    Octavian Coifan
  4. CarmenCanada,

    I thought it might be an effect at the physical level. There are scents issued now that supposedly help you to focus, energize yourself etc...

    Tubéreuse Criminelle for me is not the most criminal, dangerous smelling tuberose I know actually. The I Profumi di Firenze one, which is vastly underrated and ignored, I find more disquieting.

    The marketing discourse here is closer to the one found in niche lines like Serge Lutens and Etat Libre d'Orange, but then l'Art et la Matière is a niche line within the Guerlain brand.

  5. Flora,

    Don't die just yet! Wait until you can smell this gardenia and see what it tells you to do with the rest of your life.

  6. Octavian,

    No, I don't. Yes, it's the maleficent floral trend: let's not forget Charogne and Les Fleurs du Mâle (although more a wordplay in the last case). But it is all about this Baudelairian idea about the flowers of evil that is being reactivated.

  7. After checking with the Guerlain people, this won't be out in Paris until April 2008 -but I've heard it's already out in the USA?


    Debi .T.

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