Kate Middleton’s Perfume- Review: Illuminum White Gardenia Petals

UPDATE October 2011: This review is of a batch of Illuminum White Gardenia Petals that I purchased shortly after the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William. It has come to my attention and nose that the current perfume sold under that name, is a different one. I had the opportunity to directly compare my version with a more recent one and the two are nothing alike. In my humble opinion these are two entirely different scents, and it is clear that I prefer the older version (as witnessed in the review below). The new WGP is a very, very unfortunate musky fragrance that conjures up images of plastic dolls and toilet cleaner at best, therefore I want to make it very clear that what is written below, is not about what is sold now as White Gardenia Petals. The company admits that the batch my bottle comes from is indeed different, but maintains that the fragrance currently sold is the right one and the same Kate Middleton has worn at her wedding.

I’ll say it outright – I was drawn into all the wedding hoopla, but only on the day itself. Before that Friday I was quite relaxed, bordering on indifferent, but I watched the TV live broadcast and as I did, I grew to admire the bride. Admire her style, her relaxed and natural attitude, her beauty, and I began wondering about her perfume, because that is what we fragrance nerds are wont to do.

I was also reminded of my own (decidedly more low-key) wedding five years ago. Although I am normally a very nervous person, and somebody who starts crying the minute a wedding commences, I was calm and poise personified at my own wedding. I could relate to how Kate seemed calm and collected and able to enjoy the moment. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened to me since…;) Also I’d like to state for the protocol, my dress was quite similar in style.

But many people are not reading this to hear about me – at all. So on to more important things:
What is Illuminum?
Who is Michael Boadi?
And most importantly, how does Kate’s wedding perfume smell?

Illuminum is a relatively new brand launched in 2010 by Michael Boadi, a British celebrity hairstylist, whose first line of perfumes is the interestingly named Boadicea the Victorious (after Queen Boadicea, is anybody but me finding the name excellent – Boadi/Boadicea?), an extensive line inspired by the namesake strong and powerful woman.

Illuminum comprises of four fragrance groups, each made up of four perfumes, Musk, Floral, Citrus and Oud, sixteen perfumes in all. Boadi seems not to be a man who thinks small.

White Gardenia Petals allegedly only contains eight ingredients (as do all the perfumes of the line), and is meant to be for casual wear, for days when one doesn’t want to think about perfume. (I paraphrased here). A wedding does not seem to be exactly such a day, but I can identify with the thought of not wanting to be distracted or distracting on my wedding day by perfume.

White Gardenia Petals smells good. And that is about it. It is fairly simple (it didn’t pretend differently after all), there is not much of an evolution. After an initial citrus note, that is slightly screechy (Vanessa called it plasticky, which is spot-on) that fades away quickly, thank goodness, there is an almost demure and rather subdued, but elegant bouquet of white flowers.

Not exactly gardenia, but more muguet, ylang-ylang and jasmine to my nose, but lovely in any case. It slowly dries down into a low-key, musky and slightly powdery base. It lasts for quite a while (six hours on me), but wears close to the skin. It is never heady or cloying as many white florals can be, and for which I have a low tolerance, which is why I really like White Gardenia Petals, although it is not one of those “smell and sink to your knees in awe” perfumes. But those are rare and far between.

When I wore it over the weekend, it worked as a subtle mood lifter, I liked smelling it on myself and I got compliments for it as well. It is a lovely spring option for every day, where you would not want to to sink to your knees on a regular basis anyway, except for fitness reasons, but then again this perfume is just fine for that kind of activity.

The Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton, does not need her perfume after all, for people to go to their knees in front of her.

If you want the people around you to do that, it is either marrying a Prince or looking for another perfume. ;)

But if you want something easy, that is simple but capable to put you in a good mood, White Gardenia Petals is a good choice.

Illuminum White Gardenia Petals is available through Roullier White, where I got mine, and soon at Luckyscent (available for pre-order now).

Image source: fashionnews.com, roullierwhite.com
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25 Responses to Kate Middleton’s Perfume- Review: Illuminum White Gardenia Petals

  1. lady jane grey says:

    I want to try this one since I first heard about it. In spite of the fact that I’m not a white-floral-type, not at all – I’d rather keep myself in a distance like Vienna to London from a heady cloying jasmin, tuberose & ylang.
    BUT ! I’m anglophile, I like Kate, I found her stunning, cool & nice on the wedding day – she manages to be down to earth and graceful the same time (I wasn’t a fan of Diana…). And her white petals sound rather nice – the understated elegance & class I adore so much.

  2. Alice C says:

    I did not get up before dawn to watch the wedding, but did find myself drawn to it that day. I watched bits here and there on television and looked at pictures online. I did wonder what perfume she chose for the occasion and at some point will try to get a sniff of it. I’m learning (slowly) that white florals have their place in the perfume world and that I can enjoy them in small doses! ;)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Alice, I would not have gotten up in the middle of the night either! Thankfully I had a very comfortable lunch in front of the TV. :) White Florals in the form of Fracas and its cronies will never be my thing either, but I have learned that there is such a thing as a wearable white floral (Ormonde Jayne is probably the best starting point).

  3. vanessa says:

    I LOVED reading your review and getting your take on this one. Fragrant Reviews tweeted a quick description of it as “like Dove shampoo”, and whilst I see where they are going with this, ie soft, muted, pretty toiletry territory, I don’t think that “shampoo” is the word to describe the softly musky trail this leaves. Shampoo says to me more a big soapy cloud like Magnolia Nobile or Gucci Envy and other scents that escape me for the moment.

    Anyway, I am with you completely on your description of this scent, which seems like definitive proof – though I have suspected as much for a while – that we have similar skin and/or noses?, though obviously we may like different things, plus your nose is better at pulling out the various notes. This will be a great help when reading your reviews of scents I don’t already know!

    • Olfactoria says:

      V, I am glad you liked my take and I agree that we are mostly on the same page when it comes to tastes and perception, a very good thing, indeed! :) I see the point of the shampoo description, there might be something to it, and while 70£ might be a bit much for shampoo, since when is it wrong to just smell good? I don’t think it is soapy at all though.

      Here’s to a happy scent twin future! :)

  4. Georgy says:

    …..but even more important, what did piper smell like????????

  5. Georgy says:

    Sorry typo pippa middleton, what perfume did she wear???

  6. Georgy says:

    Ok I’m gonna try, are there any handsome princes left?

  7. Georgy says:

    Unfortunately Google isn’t very helpful considering this special issue, princes seem to be ungoogleble……

  8. Undina says:

    Enjoyed reading your review.
    If you want the people around you to do that, it is either marrying a Prince or looking for another perfume.
    The best part! :)

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  12. Ines says:

    I see I never commented on this post. :)
    I wasn’t very interested until that Friday when I followed the whole wedding. It was like one of my romance novels come to life. :) And the best thing is, I really like them, they seem like such nice people obviously in love.
    I need to re-try my little decant you sent but yes, it didn’t smell like what you updated now, I actually liked it a lot for what it was supposed to be and could imagine it provided a low-key nice smelling cloud around Kate on the day of her wedding.
    I wish I could meet her and talk to her. (not that I think I will ever get a chance to do that)
    She just seems like a person one would like as a friend.

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