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.
Oh, you had me laughing with the comment about your husband (being a point of measure for non-perfumistas).
I really love Cruel Gardenia which is why I never use my decant (that probably only makes sense in my head) so I will definitely try this. 🙂
It makes sense in my head too! 😉
It’s a lovely scent, perfect for spring and summer!
I liked (and used up) my sample of Jo Loves Gardenia and after my second sample is gone I’ll seriously think about buying a bottle (maybe by that time they’ll have a local distributor: I just can’t justify L20 for S&H 😦 ).
What a beautiful review, Birgit!
Thank you, Undina!
I know the S&H is a lot, I hope they expand their distribution eventually.
Really lovely review. I completely agree about loving perfume because it lets us explore many different aspects of our personality. You sum it up for me so well.
This sounds like a gardenia that even non-gardenia lovers like me should try out, as well as non-perfumistas like The Husband 🙂
You should try it (and you are the closest to the source after all! 😉 ), I just can’t imagine anyone disliking this perfume. Even the white-floral phobic Lady Jane Grey enjoyed it.
I could read words like yours for hours. And as for pictures that one is worth 2000 words.
You flatterer! 🙂
It is a really gorgeous picture though…
Completely agree, Fragrant Man…B truly has a way with words 😀 !!!
Thank you, dear Brie! 🙂
I agree with Fragrant Man and Brie. I always love reading your reviews, dear Birgit.
Thanks so much, Jim! ❤
My pleasure. ❤
Oh, you are lucky! On me it lasts 20 minutes. Is is a lovely 20 minutes, though!
Aww, too bad, I’m sorry. 😦
B., dearest, I’ll be at Jo Loves on May 3rd – if you want a bottle pls just let me know !
Good for you – London calling! 🙂
I’ll email you.
Jo Loves makes great perfume, I love their Green Orange & Coriander and Pomelo
I agree, I’m currently testing the range and find many to love among them.
Pomelo is fantastic and Green Orange & Coriander smells fabulous on my husband.
Oh this sounds just lovely. Gardenia is such a lovely flower. Thank you for the beautiful review.
It is lovely indeed, you would be a fan for sure!
Perfume as freedom, I hadn’t thought of it that way. It’s like music; you can listen to Debussy or Led Zeppelin, whenever you want, choosing your mood or enhancing it. I’ll spend some time today contemplating freedom.
Oh, and the gardenia sounds beautiful 🙂 That photo is amazing!
It’s like music – exactly!
There are definitely days when one wants to feel like an innocent and carefree girl with a ponytail (especially if she’s outside and the sun is bouncing off of that ponytail … and a cute boy is walking her home from school). 🙂 Naturally, I haven’t smelled this but I’m glad you have, as your review has me smiling and in a good mood! Thanks for the lift, Birgit!
You are very welcome, dear Suzanne!
Your comments always give me a lift. ❤
Sometimes we just need something so undemanding like this. It is good to have one like this always at hand. Not that I know the perfume, but I have picked the feeling from your lovely description.
Then I’ve succeeded! I’m glad I could transport the feel of this perfume. 🙂
I am guessing there is no patchouli in this
fragrance?? Seriously …… brilliant writing.
Perfume for every character that we are. Love
Nope, entirely patchouli-free. 😉
But I’m sure there is a (hidden) side to the Cookie Queen that could love Gardenia as well…
Well it is surely time to find out I guess. My mother used to have one growing in the windowsill. The smell was well, Exquisite. Besides, I thoroughly enjoy lily and tuberose, so
why not gardenia …….. xxx
Why not indeed! Have fun exploring, V!
Ooh, I haven’t tried any of this line but am very tempted by your rapturous review – with a Dr O endorsement no less. I am always on the look out for a pretty white floral and gardenia is a favourite note – and a tricky one to get right. I completely share your take on Vintage Gardenia, an early albatross that I managed to swap on MUA. I may have even referred to it as a ‘wasp trap’.
I must catch up with some serious sniffing if and when I make it to London some time! This is firmly on the list, thanks to you.
I just know that you will like this (it’s really hard not to!). I hope you get to go to London soon.
I’m looking forward to discovering Jo Malone’s new range. I haven’t been enthusiastic about anything the Jo Malone brand has done for a couple of years now, so hopefully the real Jo Malone will take me back a time when I was crazy about Nutmeg & Ginger.
I must say I’m very pleasantly surprised, Clayton. The line is very well made. While being easily wearable and very mainstream-friendly, the perfumes are niche-quality (both when it comes to ideas and materials).
Fantastic news. I am even more eager to seek them out now : )
This sounds 100% like a Neil work scent for me. I have never been convinced by a Jo Malone scent, but will have to check this out. Lovely review.
The Japanese will love you even more when you wear this, dear Neil! You are right, this would be a perfect work-scent for you.
I’ve got a friend who loves the smell of gardenias, and we’ve been exploring the note. I’ll definitely add this to the list. (Is it just me, or have several gardenia perfumes debuted in the last little while?)
I thought it was just my perception, as I pay more attention to the note now as well, but maybe…