What I enjoy most about perfume is the fact that it is possible to love complete opposites.
It is not only possible but also allowed to adore a perfume like Vero Kern’s Onda one day and go for something completely different like Jo Loves Gardenia the next.
Onda is probably the most difficult perfume I own, one that has not many fans, but those who love it, do so with a passion. Those who don’t, hate it with equal fervor.
Gardenia is the Anti-Onda in every respect, light-hearted, pretty, tender, sweet, it smells good to almost anyone I assume, but you know what? I drained my sample in three days and am seriously contemplating a bottle (actually, were it not so hard to get, I’d probably already have one).
People, I’m smitten with the joyous, pretty darling that is Jo Loves Gardenia.
Gardenia includes notes of Italian bergamot, gardenia leaves, ylang ylang, gardenia blossom, white narcissus, Sambac jasmine, coumarin, heliotrope and musk.
I think of Gardenia as an all-American scent, nevermind its British heritage. I see a wholesome 50ies image of a cute blonde wearing a pony-tail, white socks and a full skirt. What sounds like a horrible cliché, is not meant as such. I actually like that idea of that innocent, joyful and as-of-yet-unbent-by-life girl very much. She is not real, but she does exist in all our lives at some point, even if it is only for mere moments.
Gardenia opens with a citrus-enhanced cloud of white florals, abstract and pretty. It smells natural, no plastic detectable unlike in the discontinued overly sweet Vintage Gardenia Cologne by Jo Malone (Jo’s old company, now owned by Estée Lauder). It reminds me of Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia and the also sadly discontinued, wonderful Yves Rocher Pur Désir de Gardènia.
I love the opening, but what really reels me in is the drydown. The white floral accord is enhanced by the creamy warmth of almondy heliotrope and buffered by a pillow of softest musk that smells comforting, without being overly clean or soapy. Gardenia lasts for at least eight hours on me and has moderate sillage.
It is a hit with my husband too, which most of the time is a pretty good measure of how most (non-perfumista) people think.
As I said above, the beauty of perfume is that you don’t have to pick sides, you don’t have to declare yourself and stick with one thing to the exclusion of others. Unlike politics, love or professional life, perfume allows you to live all aspects of your personality, no matter how diverse and contrasting and plain antagonistic they may be.
Onda today, Gardenia tomorrow, perfume is freedom on a small scale.