Here at The Sniff we are increasingly of the opinion that ‘garden’ should be a category of scent; more than just florals, not just green in tone, these scents transport the wearer to another time and space. Gigi by Jardins d’Ecrivains is a lovely example of a garden scent that is easy to wear and will delight in long winter months.
Cut grass, neroli, orange blossom, blackcurrant, jasmine, tuberose, sandalwood.
Jardins d’Ecrivains are one of the lines created by Anaïs Biguine, which also includes the Gri Gri range of which we have reviewed Tara Mantra. The company is French, having its headquarters in Paris and priding itself on producing fragrances that use ingredients from Grasse.
The Jardins d’Ecrivains fragrances use novels as their inspiration, and take iconic characters as the figurehead for the scents. In this case, Gigi refers to the heroine of the Colette novel.
The first notes you get when wearing this scent are, rather delightfully, reminiscent of cut grass. Who doesn’t like the smell of cut grass? It seems almost universal in its appeal and is surely a scent that appears in most people’s top five. Although it is green in tone, there is also a very hay like quality here which just gives the perfume a drier and sweeter feel than you would expect from straight-up lawn clippings. This has the effect of making the scent rather more sophisticated than it could have been, whilst retaining that gorgeous, nose-tingling lusciousness scent that cut grass has. Beware that this is very fleeting though, lasting only a couple of minutes before it’s gone.
Once the grassy green notes have fled, a more robust flowery strides on to the stage and unfurls confidently. The neroli comes through beautifully and gives that bold-yet-delicate sense of floral. It gives the overall perfume fluffy edges, soft and powdery, which contrasts nicely with the green notes of the grass. The clever part is the echo of the sweetness in the grass with the sweetness in the floral which provides the thread that draws us deeper into the fullness of the scent.
The perfume gradually becomes both powdery and creamy – think along the lines of an orange blossom handcream type scent. It has those powdery nuances, but at the same time you can also smell the creaminess of the lotion in it as well.
The heart of the scent owes a lot of its punch to big white florals but there is a slight green dampness to it too, which gives it more interest than a basic, run-of-the-mill floral.
The tuberose appears in the heart and, along with the jasmine, there is a real swirl of those big white flowers. There is definitely something restrained about this scent, however. It has similarities to Dusita’s Melodie de L’Amour but where that scent is bold, blowsy and full on, Gigi is much more demure, it flirts with being a full on floral, and just when you think it will commit to that, it eases off and a hint of greenness or dampness becomes discernible. This rather lovely shifting means that it is an incredibly easy perfume to wear. Yes, it is white and floral, but it is also green. Yes, it is powdery, but it also has a creaminess to it, even a dampness at times. We could really imagine this being a good seller for Jardins d’Ecrivains because it never fully goes one way or the other, never risks alienating potential wearers by committing too far either way.
Whilst Gigi isn’t the boldest, most confident scent we have ever reviewed, it manages to smell very contemporary and not at all old fashioned like some big white florals can. It has a lot of class about it, and it is very easy to be charmed by this.
The blackcurrant starts to come through in the base of the scent and it’s a really interesting inclusion. You can definitely make out that it is blackcurrant and it has a fascinating amonia-like hint to it. It really gives the scent some depth and a bit of bite. In the base it becomes less of a push over, has a bit more character, and a stronger backbone. This has the overall effect of making it easier to like, there is definitely an added dimension of personality here which we really liked.
There is a musky quality to the base but it doesn’t overpower at all, and is balanced with the sweet nuances of sandalwood. We couldn’t find much in terms of what could be described as woody notes, but there is just a sort of warm roundness to the finish of the scent, spiked through with that slightly more challenging blackcurrant.
The other stuff
Unusually, for niche scents, Gigi is marketed as a scent for women, and we can’t say we disagree – it does sit towards the more stereotypically feminine end of the spectrum. You should wear what you like though, regardless of gender, and ignore these constructs.
The longevity, of the scent is moderate to low. It was discernible throughout the morning, but post-lunch it faded. The traces that did linger were just a sweet, fairly nondescript hum, not unpleasant at all, but also not that identifiable.
The sillage, or projection, of the scent was also moderate. We did catch whiffs of it throughout testing, but it never seemed that obtrusive or noticeable. You’d have to get fairly close to someone to tell the they were wearing it, we felt.
This scent, being so ‘garden’ in tone, would be best suited to the summer months and daytime wear, although again, if you love it wear it whenever and however you like!
Gigi by Jardins d’Ecrivains is available from Bloom Perfumery, London, who provided us with a sample of the scent. It is priced at £85 for 100 EDP. You can also buy the fragrance from Jardins d’Ecrivains online.