A nostalgic white floral in all its summer glory.
Tangerine, ylang ylang, orange blossom, rose, jasmine, gardenia, iris, musk, sandalwood, grey amber.
White floral scents are always going to have a special place in perfume canon, and whilst they may not always push the envelope in terms of weirdness or uniqueness, a good white floral is a versatile scent which will take you from day to evening with ease. There’s something timeless and enduringly successful about white florals, so adding one to your collection will likely not date quickly or go out of fashion before you have time to work your way through a bottle.
Gardenia by Isabey is a very nostalgic and classic white floral, a strong example of its type. The opening notes of the fragrance are a veritable cacophony of soft citrus, heady ylang ylang and uplifting orange blossom. The citrus rises and falls away very quickly, and as it fades the ylang steps into central stage. Ylang ylang can be a difficult note for some people because it is so punchy and focused. Here it is definitely one of the star players, and it adds a certain sense of nostalgia to the scent as well as giving it a lot of oomph.
In the middle phase of Gardenia, the fragrance mellows and becomes softer. The ylang ylang which added so much movement at the start calms down a touch, but it is a while longer before it completely goes away. A thread of something a little greener and more stemmy enters the composition, and it serves to both anchor the perfume and also hold the floral bouquet aloft. The rose is sensed, rather than directly smelled, and it gives a fleshy, petal-like, dewy feel to the overall balance of the scent.
At this stage, the jasmine and gardenia take central stage from the ylang which opened the piece. There is something very “grande dame” about the way these two components play together especially taking over the space left by the ylang ylang. This effusion of white flowers feels frothy, ebullient, summery and unrestrained. It is decadent and delightful in its excess. There are no half measures here, and no mistaking that Gardenia is a white floral scent; you are not left guessing, this is stated and underlined in every sniff of the fragrance.
Both creamy and powdery aspects exist in Gardenia, and they do so comfortably side by side. The scent has a dreamy feel, and it makes me imagine women in tea dresses after the war has ended, wafting about the bucolic English countryside. Gardenia is both romantic and nostalgic for another time when the summers were longer and lazier.
In the base of the fragrance, the florals continue to shower the wearer in their rainfall of petals, and a muskier, more sensual tone creeps in. The sandalwood doesn’t appear as very woody in its own right, but it does add to that creamy tone we described earlier.
If you’re looking to add a white floral to your collection then you can’t go far wrong with Gardenia by Isabey. The scent is satisfying, summery and elegant with a good dose of something nostalgic thrown in there for folks who like their fragrances with a bit of a vintage slant on them.
The other stuff
The longevity of Gardenia by Isabey is moderate to good – I get about six hours or so from an application of the scent. The sillage (or projection) of the fragrance is very good. The scent is diffusive and seems to go quite a long way – to perhaps a little further than handshake distance or so.
Gardenia feels to me like the sort of fragrance which is best worn in the summer months. Because it is so joyful and lively, I consider it a scent which is most suited to daytime into early evening wear – the sort of scent that would work well to a dinner out whilst on holiday, perhaps.
If you liked Gardenia, then you may also wish to check out Melodie De L’Amour by Dusita.
Isabey are a house with an interesting history. Originally started in the 1920s in Paris, they achieved success in Europe and America before being forced to close in the early 1940s. The house lay dormant for almost sixty years before, in 1999, it was acquired by the Panouage Group Company and resurrected. This group now includes notable brands such as Jacques Fath. The scents available as part of the line today reference that history and pay respect to the perfumers and scents which have gone before. You can read a nice potted history of the brand on the about webpage.
The general feel of the modern house is fun, flirty, French luxury. Timeless, these are fragrances which will endure and hopefully be revisited by new generations.
Gardenia by Isabey is available from the Isabey web boutique where it is priced at €139 for 50ml of EdP, or €41 for a rather sweet 10ml.
We were very kindly gifted a bottle of this fragrance by the brand and their Korean distributor. We thank them both for their generosity.
Header image by endro lewa from Pixabay. Images of the product by The Sniff.