Some people are on a quest for the perfect, be-all and end-all gardenia perfume -and they are still looking. So, when I realized that Bodycology have a body mist called Pure White Gardenia (my bottle is bilingual and reads in French "Gardénia Blanc Eclatant" too), which garners near-universal praise from its users, I had to review it for our readers...
The recurring compliments are: it smells natural; it's not soapy; it won't break the bank (editor's note : it's practically free); it's photo-realistic; it's got an emotional quotient: it smells exactly like that gardenia bush used to below my window in the garden, the one that has lulled me to sleep during my whole childhood.
I don't have the long line of Southern ancestors that would allow me to claim to be a thorough connoisseur of gardenias blooming past, present and future, but I can try to educate my nose even in temperate climes. I think that mugginess is key to the experience authentic of gardenias. What I do is add the tropical heat factor in imagination thanks to my very long experience of muggy tropical and equatorial weather.
In Paris right now, the weather is hesitating between summer and fall. It's not ideal for fantasies of creamy and wilting gardenias in need of smelling salts, but we'll make do. Also, at the core, I am more of a magnolia lover than a gardenia lover, although I find the latter interesting-smelling and elegant. I just don't relate to them the same way I do with magnolias. And don't ask me why exactly because the iconic magnolia tree of my childhood was creamy only in color, being scentless. I desperately tried to go beyond its lovely coloring, but it would remain obstinately mute.
How Does it Smell Like?
"Pure White Gardenia" is first of all a true soliflore. This means that it is a composition which is interested in capturing the nuances of the scent of just one flower rather than that of an ensemble cast held together by a ribbon to form a bouquet. It smells of gardenia, and nothing but gardenia.
Yes, it is also true that the blend manages not to end on the obligatory note of white musk - and even more expected, or dreaded - of laundry detergent or soap notes that the phrase "fragrance mist" might evoke for most. While a body mist is closer to a bath and body product - depending on the level of ambition of the perfumer - it can be considered a fine fragrance when the scent is subtle and complex enough.
This is what takes place in this case. The lightness of the fragrance makes it a body mist without equivocation yet something sophisticated about it makes it be a fine fragrance in spirit.
"Pure White Gardenia" is mostly linear yet subtle and multifaceted. Its white floral nuances are counterbalanced by green ones while a rubbery undertone gives the flower some tropical fang. The creamy, banana-like accents are never heavy, always freshened up by slightly mineral and airy ones; the outer orb of the fragrance smells more like freshly ironed linen. This photo-realistic capture of the buttery scent of gardenia includes spicy, clovey undertones as well. There is a hint of black leather in the drydown. It diffuses like the background sound of a tuned-down old-fashioned radio playing jazz songs in the afternoon.
The composition is discreetly floral, clean - like the scent of clean skin rather than that of a bar of soap. It smells like the lingering trace of a pure extrait of gardenia dabbed on skin... caught exhaling still 7 hours later. It's probably best to wear the body lotion underneath the mist if you wish to accentuate the overall effect.
America has a love affair with gardenia perfumes, so it's interesting to smell this one to gauge how far that infatuation goes. Apparently, it takes us to a belle's bathroom where even gardenia body mists know they might encounter noses demanding of authenticity.
Practical Tip: This is a gardenia perfume which is discreet enough to be worn at the office.