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.
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).