The dear constant reader knows how much I love to complete a set. With this review I’m proud to say that I have now reviewed the entire, gorgeous and exclusive L’Art et la Matiere line. Not bad for someone hundreds of miles from the next Guerlain boutique… 😉
Cruel Gardénia is the last of the eight perfumes and one of the few florals. Mostly gourmand-orientals (which is why I love them so), L’Art et la Matière offers beauty and opulence and is a worthy heir to the classic Guerlains in my unimportant opinion.
Most other perfumes in the line have won my heart, take a look at reviews of Angelique Noire, Tonka Impèriale, Cuir Beluga, Rose Barbare, Iris Ganache and Myrrhe et Délires as well Tara’s review of Bois d’Armenie.
But on to the topic of the day: Cruel Gardénia.
Cruel Gardénia was created by Randa Hammami and includes notes of damask rose, peach, neroli, violet, ylang ylang, white musks, tonka bean, vanilla and sandalwood.
I could say I saved the best for last, but unfortunately that would not be true. I am not a huge fan of white florals, although I found a few to love by now, but still, it is not my favorite genre. But, my fellow white floral skeptics, fear not: There is no gardenia in Cruel Gardénia, which, it might be argued by white floral lovers, is cruel indeed.
But misnaming is a bit of a tradition in the L’Art et la Matière line, since Angelique Noire is not noire, Cuir Beluga has almost no leather, the Rose is not barbarian in the least.
It must be said though that the heady scent of gardenias is very hard to replicate, since it can’t be extracted from the flower, but must be reconstructed. Which has lead to a plethora of fragrances bearing the name but not the actual scent of gardenia. Therefore Guerlain is in good company here.
Cruel Gardénia smells soapy, white and clean.
It is a white musk-heavy orange blossom and jasmine fragrance to my nose, that smells like soap and ummm, soap. It grows softer over time and try as I may, I am reminded of a decidedly more low brow smell – that of the original Nivea cream.
Cruel Gardénia evokes the image of gardenia, the pristine white flower, rather than the smell. Exactly the same image of clean and innocent beauty that the white cream of Nivea projects as well.
A soapy shower followed by the application of body cream or lotion, a pampering ritual with all its attendant feeling of comfort and care, is what I get from Cruel Gardénia.
Please forgive me (especially you, Undina, I know how much you love it) for this not very elucidating review, but, as hard as I’ve tried, Cruel Gardénia does not yield its non-soapy secrets to me.
What do you think about Cruel Gardénia? Did you slide down the soapy slope to love? Does it leave you foaming at the mouth? Or do you adore Cruel Gardénia’s clean scrubbed bouquet?