Guest Post by Madeleine
Hello APJ friends! Hope you are all well and enjoy my contribution today.
I’ve loved gardenias even longer than I have loved perfume. The velvety white blooms have been a constant in my house over summer ever since I was a little girl. As a result, I associate their heady scent with freedom, happiness and good times: summer holidays, splashing around in the backyard pool, savouring a cold ice cream, sultry starlight evenings and Australian Christmas. My adoration is so big that I’ve developed a little ritual each time I visit my parents at Christmas. As soon as my suitcase is unpacked, I cut some of the creamy buds and arrange them in a vase to put in my bedroom, their intoxicating scent allowing me to forget my work stress and delve deep into joyous memories.
Gardenias may be my perfumed perfection, but sadly, as many have encountered, it’s difficult to obtain a perfect gardenia perfume. As most will know, scent can’t be extracted directly from the flowers and needs to be created via synthetics. In addition, most great gardenia perfumes have been discontinued: Tuvache and the wonderful Velvet Gardenia by Tom Ford (which in my estimation is the most exquisitely lifelike rendition of the flower ever). Others are good, but miss the mark in my estimation: Chanel’s is more jasmine and a little uptight, Isabey’s is more of a floral bouquet, Il Profumo’s a much stronger rendition of the Chanel, Van Cleef’s is more lily and not narcotic enough.
Thankfully, the perfume gods were listening in 2012 and a number of perfumes featuring gardenia were released: Ineke’s Hothouse Flowers (which I haven’t tried yet), the dark, brooding gardenia of Serge Luten’s Une Voix Noire and
Boutonniere No 7 by Arquiste 2012
Photo Stolen beyondblackwhite
Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Lavender, pettigrain, gardenia, vetiver, genet, oakmoss
Interestingly enough, Boutonniere was conceived as a gardenia fragrance for men. This intrigued me, as when it comes to the flower, I can’t think of anything more femme fatale other than gardenia. According to the copy, the perfume is meant to evoke the scent of a group of gentlemen gathered at intermission at the Opera-Comique in Paris in 1899. They are wearing gardenia boutonnieres; the heady scent from the lapels intermingled with the bergamot and lavender colognes the men are wearing.
Boutonniere does have the crisp feel of cologne and I can see some men wearing it, but it is still decidedly feminine enough to satisfy this girly-girl. What Boutonniere brings to the aforementioned gardenia line-up is a luminous, very green rendition of the flower. The aromatic bergamot and lavender temper the creamy, ripe quality of the velvety petals and give them a soft incandescence. The fragrance has the lush quality associated with the flower but remains bright and soft.
When wearing it, I have been thinking of a young woman on summer holidays at a country estate. It’s almost dawn and she can’t sleep, restless with excitement about long languid days ahead. In her ivory nightie, she slowly opens the French doors to a luxuriant private garden filled with gardenia bushes, lavender and huge lemon trees. She breathes in the cool air, steps out with grass crunching underfoot. The daybreak sprinklers are on: petals and roots washed fresh under a sky of milky lilac; the air filled with hushed promise of new possibilities.
Boutonniere to me is the first part of a triptych of the perfect gardenia. If Velvet Gardenia is the flower in full bloom, ripe and voluptuous in the midday sun and Une Voix Noire the flower with petals gone sweet and overripe, then Boutonniere is the bloom yet to be born: tight white buds softly creamy and earthy green.
You can purchase a 55ml bottle directly from Arquiste for US$195.
SurrenderToChance has samples starting at US$5/.5ml