Post by FeralJasmine
My Gardenia Fetish, Part 1
It’s part of my nature to periodically become happily obsessed with a new subject or experience. While the obsession lasts, I must know everything I can find out about my current love, experience it in as many ways as possible, think about it day and night. I’m lucky that I have a profession and a husband that have never run short of new aspects for me to explore, and my obsession with perfume is turning out much the same way, because every note is the start of a million potential symphonies. Will any riff on a theme of jasmine ever be exactly like any other? In one respect my usual fascination with variation fails me, because I firmly believe that when you’ve smelled one mainstream fruity floral, you’ve smelled them all. However, that does not negate the principle.
Photo Stolen DeviantArt
My current happy fascination is the scent of gardenias. There is no more beautiful floral scent in the world, and no scent harder to capture. As all avid gardenia fanciers know, the scent can’t be captured from the blossom by distillation or other standard methods, and has to be created through combinations of other scents. This is more or less successful, usually less. I enjoy all the scents that play with various aspects of gardenia, but I want the whole: the fleshy breathing mesmerizing flower in front of me, with its fascinating undertone of death, usually described as a fungal tone. I have heard it called the blue-cheese note, but I don’t smell it that way. To me it’s the scent of humid decay that rises from the moist Louisiana earth where my mother’s gardenias grew, the scent of old life being transmuted to new.
The most photorealistic and completely gorgeous gardenia perfume that I know of is Tom Ford’s Velvet Gardenia, and curses on the TF corporate hyenas for discontinuing it. But it isn’t healthy to go around cursing people, and besides it wasn’t hurting them a bit, so I turned my attention to finding other gardenia scents. Today and in my next column I want to talk about two that you may not have come across.
Olivine by Olivine Atelier: Perfume Oil
Photo Stolen Olivine Atelier Etsy
Today I want to introduce you to Olivine, from the indie scent company of the same name. It’s the love-child of perfumer Julie Wray, who may be more obsessed with gardenias than I am. She sells EDP and oil, and I strongly recommend the oil even if you usually prefer to spray. This is luscious creamy gardenia, bridal and yet very sensual. It is one of the most purely pretty things that you can put on yourself, and at 40 US dollars for 5 ml of potent oil, it’s a bargain. The fungal note is present but it’s very subtle, as if wafted away by the clean ocean breezes of Hawaii where the perfumer spends her free time. This gardenia goes everywhere in my purse, and at bad moments a dab on the back of my hand will remind me of the beauty of the moment, the shimmer of Now. She makes four other scents, all of which contain (surprise!) gardenia. Olivine is my favorite, but Oxley is a lovely take on the same theme, rounded out with other tropical flowers. I smell definite plumeria in Oxley, and I like it, but generally will opt for the pure gardenia.
Julie can ship her oils to Oz, although not the edps, and has a number of Australian customers already. You can find her on Etsy, and her shop is named Olivine. I love supporting Indie perfumers when the juice is good, and this oil is a pleasure to recommend.
Do you have a favourite gardenia fragrance?