Gardenia by Penhaligon

Gardenia is a magical flower and so many fragrances that attempt to emulate its enchanting scent fail badly.They’re usually either sickeningly sweet to the point of smelling like rotting gardenia (I’m looking at you Black Gardenia!) or miss the mark entirely. Penhaligon’s Gardenia is the hypnotic and vibrant gardenia at it’s finest and joins the ranks of my beloved Kai and Monyette Paris.

If you’re not familiar with the brand, Penhaligon’s is a venerable British perfumery established in 1870 by William Penhaligon. The brand has served as perfumer to royalty and is known for fragrances that evoke places and journeys. The company is known for its commitment to fine, traditional perfume ingredients and techniques. Penhaligon’s is owned by Puig, which also owns niche brand L’Artisan Parfumeur among others.

I remember the grand opening of the NYC flagship store at Rockefeller Center not long ago. The store had opened with playful fanfare honoring the company’s UK heritage for the entire opening week, the second week in October 2015. British telephone booths were set up on either side of the rink entrance inviting guests in for light spritzes of scent and natty British guards were stationed outside the store inviting visitors into the store.

Penhaligon's NYC

But back to my beloved Gardenia, lest I get swept away to memory-land!

What I especially love about Gardenia is that it smells so uplifting and happy:) The opening is really green with notes of violet, hyacinth, bergamot and rhubarb – a very pronounced rhubarb that cuts through the violet and hyacinth. In the heart, there is a lovely mix of lily of the valley, orange blossom, rose, tuberose, jasmine and glorious gardenia.  The dry down: a very nice musk and vanilla.

I’m supposed to also be smelling cinnamon, cloves and benzoin – according to Fragrantica – but I don’t.

I see this as an ideal wedding day scent. Perfect for someone who wants to feel happy, feminine and gorgeous on her special day but also mild and refined enough to wear every day.

gardenia flower

“I love things that are indescribable, like the taste of an avocado or the smell of a gardenia.”  – Barbara Streisand (BrainyQuotes)