I just found some truly luscious perfumes by Van Cleef & Arpels, whose new Collection Extraordinaire appears to be playing catch-up with Cartier’s Les Heures du Parfum. I particularly loved two: Gardénia Pétale and Bois d’Iris.
Gardénia Pétale is pure and sheer and real-smelling. It’s like a Gardenia sorbet, rather than the Devon double cream ice cream of Estée Lauder Tuberose Gardenia or Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower. I could really get into wearing springy florals with this one.
And Bois d'Iris is like a dialed-down Cartier XII L'Heure Mystérieuse -- it's got the incensey wood and the mystery, but without XII’s perfumey jasmine. The iris is really married to the wood here, rather than standing apart as it can, a little remote and haughty.
I got samples of both so I can "pray on it", as my dad likes to say.
That Gardénia Pétale sounds nice, though I don't like Lucky Scent’s new gender bar. I already know when I'm buying a flowery feminine scent -- I don't need a chart telling me just how flowery feminine it is. It's the Internet equivalent of a sales assistant saying, "This isn't for you, is it?"
But what's lovelier than a sheer gardenia in spring? Problem is, too many gardenias give me a headache. The Chanel one, for example. And Tom Ford's Velvet Gardenia. Though I'm sometimes suspicious that's the intended reaction of TF fragrances. But a sheer gardenia? Count me in!
Why whenever you describe a scent (save for Tom Ford Noir de Noir), do I want to immediately go out and try it? I need hypnotism or something.
I'll let you in on a little secret: along my dreaded wall of perfume shame is a big bottle (300 ml, enough to satisfy a parched scout troop) of Marc Jacobs Gardenia Splash (pause for snicker) and it's great: slightly pale and probably synthetic, but also very green and surprisingly fresh and delicate.
These MJ splashes are no great shakes, but because they're blended for liberal use, they're disqualified from being disgusting. They're simply clean and cheap and some days that's all I want.
Do you own any primarily iris perfumes? I don't think I do, which is odd considering iris' prominence in the perfume world. But it often comes off a little formal and serious.
It's the Daniel Day Lewis of perfume ingredients: respectable, highly regarded, but not an exciting choice for a dinner party. Crazy as it sounds, I'd rather wear one of my Marc Jacobs splashes and bring along Ernest Borgnine. Still, let me know how Bois d'Iris wears, because if I have any interest in the horizontal, it's time for an iris.
All the recent talk of licorice and lavender resulted in me buying Caron Third Man today. I've never tried it, but I do own Caron Pour un Homme, which is a soft and sweet lavender, and I like it a lot. Plus, Tania Sanchez gives The Third Man five stars. And Luca Turin frequently mentions it as a benchmark fougère. And it's cheap. See, I've justified it five different ways.
Also, I noticed that the Van Cleef & Arpels Gardénia Pétale was created by the same perfumer behind your favorite Etat Libre d’Orange, Putain des Palaces: Nathalie Feisthauer. As if you need more encouragement with your eleven new perfumes from London. We both should be on perfume lockdown.
Read Perfume Pen Pals: Van Cleef & Arpels Gardenia Petale Part 2 here.