Its always a bummer when something we love is taken off the shelves. There are countless perfumes that have been discontinued and there is usually only one reason for this- sales. So I suppose the beautiful, soft and lush Kiehls Gardenia Oil was not a big seller for them. Pity, because to my nose it is one of the prettiest gardenia scents I have ever worn. It seems Kiehl’s has decided to stick to their signature musk for their perfume- which is a beauty on it’s own. I love Kiehl’s Musk & wear it often.
Beautiful authentic gardenia perfumes are rare- it takes literally thousands of kilos of gardenias to extract just one kilo of gardenia absolute. There are lots of gardenia “types” and combos that usually feature tuberose as the star scent. But gardenia is more gentle than tuberose and to my nose, more intoxicating. I have a few that I love and wear- Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, is one, and while it is stunning, it is mostly tuberose. Frederic Malle Carnal Flower is another stunner but I feel its more tuberose and green notes but definitely worth trying. Gorgeous. Tuberose tends to add a sweet yummy almost bubble gum note to perfumes- gardenia is more tart. Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia is a soft simple scent with some spices and tea notes with a touch of sweet gardenia that makes it quite pleasant and easy to wear. Another one of my bedtime perfumes.
Kiehls Gardenia was one I tried a few years ago and didn’t buy. One of those I tried at the store, then didn’t realize I loved it until I was home. By the time I decided to buy it, it was disappearing from the shelves. I finally got a little vial and well, of course I adore it. It is soft and sweet, but without the coconut beach notes that often makes gardenia perfumes too sweet. It has just enough green to be fresh and because it is an oil perfume, it wears very close to the skin. You have to snuggle in pretty closely to smell it…mmm. Although this gardenia is so lovely I wouldn’t mind a little more volume – it must be lovely if I’m left wanting more. Gardenia is a feminine beautiful scent and you can’t help but feel a little glam when you wear it. I imagine myself heading off to a candlelit dinner by the beach….with bare shoulders, my hair in sultry waves and a lush gardenia tucked behind one ear.

I was talking to my friend Tara last night- she lives in Florida and has these huge gardenia shrubs in her yard. When they are in bloom, she told me she fills every room in her house with vases of gardenia blossoms. Doesn’t that sound sublime? I think I could move to Florida just for the flowers. Because I know she also has jasmine in her backyard. I haz jealous.

No one wore a gardenia in their hair better than Billie….
So there are some simple gardenias out there to try. Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia for sure, Penhaligon’s Gardenia is quite pretty, simple and elegant. Kai perfume is a tart green gardenia, and Floris Gardenia is simple soapy and feminine. I have not tried Isabey Gardenia but it sounds sublime and is on my hit list. (edit: I tried Isabey Gardenia, it was too strong for me).
For a cheap thrill? Believe or not, Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia. I read somewhere that her Gardenia scent was created as somewhat as an homage to her favourite perfume, Tuvache Jungle Gardenia – you must read this post about this most legendary of gardenia perfumes. I tried Elizabeth Taylor’s Gardenia ages ago and kind of forget what it smells like but I plan to grab a bottle next time I see one. I tried Caswell Massey Gardenia and it was too thin and alcohol-y for me. Another one I want to try is Santa Maria Novella Gardenia- I love their perfumes and somehow think they would do gardenia well. So tell me- what are YOUR favourite gardenia scents? I’d love to hear more about my floral scent obsession du jour.
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