Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fragrance of the Moment

If Kate Middleton hadn't chosen Illuminum, she could have gone with Creed. I've heard a great deal about Kate Middleton's wedding day perfume, Illuminum White Gardenia Petals, how un-perfumey it smells, how comparable it is to the ubiquitous scent of household products you can buy at a drugstore. I am still waiting to sample what sounds like The World's Most Modest Fragrance, and I will weigh in on its actual scent here on the blog soon; meanwhile, I'm having loads of fun with one of my favorite Spring-Summer 2011 discoveries, Creed Fleurs de Gardenia. This obscure fragrance is a limited edition released in 2006. It is a unisex gardenia blend, a Floral for Men and Women. According to Basenotes, "Sixth generation perfumer Olivier Creed honors the unique style of Miami and south Florida with Fleurs de Gardenia, a new limited-edition fragrance for men and women that includes Miami Supreme gardenias and rare gardenias from Asia and French Polynesia in its notes." The notes are listed as follows:

Top Notes: Peony, Orange, Italian Jasmine, Bulgarian rose, Iris from Florence.

Middle Notes: Miami Supreme Gardenias, Rare gardenias from Asia and French Polynesia

Base Notes: Vanilla, Ambergris; Royal sandalwood from the City of Palaces in India.

Now, I am a white floral lover till the living end, and I love Creed, so I should have loved Fleurs de Gardenia. Alas, theory and reality don't always go hand in hand, and such was the case with our chemistry; no, not skin chemistry because it smells nice on me, but my attraction to this scent waxed and waned as it simultaneously smelled so pretty, like a dainty garden floral tea time scent along the lines of Chanel Gardenia with less sweetness and personality, but also like makeup, specifically like certain foundations and skin creams, this generic, strong, sharp and synthetic Fruity Floral scent not wholly unlike Kiton Donna, Donna Karan Gold or something or other by Estée Lauder (like Sparkling Gold or Silver). There isn't a trace of coconutty goodness whatsoever. It's quite green; in it, I smell lilies, not sweet tropical gardenias; the sharpness of it is almost a dead ringer for Dior Chris 1947, but the tonally softer, yet still synthetic, creamy (but unsweet and light!) musky aspect is like Creed Love in White. It shares qualities with Les Floralies which I also liked but perhaps not enough to buy. I wonder if it has any more gardenia in it than Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, which was an actual joke on gardenia lovers, since all I smelled was violetty face powder.

As with Les Floralies and Love in White, Fleurs de Gardenia is overall a well-crafted fragrance, soft but fresh, and with good projection but high-pitched and just ephemeral enough, not clingy and cloying. The issue I have is that many of these newer Creed fragrances seem to have a chemical, hairspray-like note that reminds me of Cacharel Lou Lou, a fragrance launched in the '80s I found pretty in concept (maquillage-powdery rosy musk) but so strongly chemical, I couldn't ever like it enough to use it. Of course there are synthetic-smelling perfumes I like, such as Van Cleef & Arpels Birmane, Agent Provocateur (more like nail polish in this case) and Paul Sebastian Design (although that's to be expected of a perfume by a hair designer with a line of hairspray bearing a similar berry-white floral scent), so using synthetics doesn't necessarily take away from quality. Maybe "synthetic and non-clingy" is the current compromise. I draw the line at smelling something potentially toxic - a modern vinyl, gasoline or turpentine note doesn't excite me in a scent. Besides, I just can't like everything a brand puts out any more than I'd like every song ever recorded or written by a single artist.

This one is for the people who don't want to rock the boat, who want to smell like skin creams and makeup, better yet their own clean skin under a freshly laundered and pressed shirt, discreetly amplified. It's as crisp as paperwhites and perfectly understated, this new generation of the white floral debutante perfume.