Puckrik on Perfume

Katie Puckrik ON Jan 08, 2010 AT 1:05 pm

Katie Puckrik: Photographer Martin Shaw

Katie Puckrik: Photographer Martin Shaw

Viewer Mail: I’m a Chump for Gardenia

Dearest KP,
I’m looking for a few good scents and can’t seem to find the right match.

Here’s where I’ve been lately:  Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse was NOT any tuberose I would wear. Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower — gorgeous but a little too cold for me, like a flower shop fridge full of perfect tuberoses.  When these flowers cool down too much, I feel as though a funeral’s about to start  — and I’m the one in the silky lined box. 

Let’s see, I’ve tried Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia and it was too sparkling for my nose.  Oh, the complaints!  Maybe I don’t like tuberose after all? Or gardenia? But I suspect I do.

Maybe I like watery fragrances? Lotus blossom? Orange?  Does Comptoir Sud Pacifique have any watery, flowery, earthy scents you would recommend? Do they make suntan lotion? Anything powdery is out, and I’m afraid of musk. My brain can’t disconnect any musk from the first musk that my mother spritzed all over her body on every nauseating car ride to church…I’m a heathen!

There’s no higher-end department store nearby. I’ve sampled a few fragrances from LuckyScent’s mail order, but without much luck. I thought I DID like “Mediterranean cliff-sides” and “warm salty air”. Where do I keep going wrong? 

Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia

Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia

For now, I’m wearing Kai.  I feel like such a chump!

Forever yours,
JP

Dearest JP,
Two things: if you’re wearing Kai, you’re not a chump, and you do indeed like gardenia, because Kai is a very lovely green gardenia scent. And as you’ve indicated by your other excellent gardenia perfume choices, tuberose is the power behind the throne on any gardenia accord. This is because it’s impossible to distill the fragrance from actual gardenia blossoms. It’s a flower that holds onto its secrets. But tuberose is happy to jump in as the understudy — many “gardenia” fragrances are tuberose in a wig and falsies.

I’m surprised that you didn’t cotton onto the EL Tuberose Gardenia, because I find that one a mellow, accessible, lush gardenia. And not to tease your pocketbook, but the parfum version is even more divine. And the FM Carnal Flower doesn’t do it for you, either? Hmm, you’re a tough customer, because you’ve just fired my two top tuberoses.

Ormonde Jayne Tiare

Ormonde Jayne Tiare

Given your Goldilocks level of pickiness, I don’t feel confident about recommending another favourite of mine, Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. That one is so pretty, but has a few more twists and turns than your beloved, uncomplicated Kai. (But if you see it, check it out, because I hear that it’s going to be discontinued. A damn shame.) Voile de Fleur is more sophisticated and interesting than Kai, without being as crackers diva-tronic as Fracas, by Robert Piguet. Fracas goes full bore on the drama, its blowsy, heady tuberose theatrically sweet. No greenery in that showgirl’s garden.

Okay, let’s do a process of elimination. You like gardenia and tuberose. You want watery, flowery, earthy. You can’t do musk, powdery, sparkling. (Which is tricky, because an element of “sparkle” in a perfume is the corrective to powdery.) And then you throw suntan lotion into the mix. Lemme guess, were you a fussy eater as a child?

Well, I’m playing “pin the tail on the donkey”, here, but I do believe I’ve hit on a few smells that might make you smile. Get ready to do some more sample mail ordering:

By Kilian Beyond Love (creamy, rich tuberose; sensual with a touch of coconut for that suntan lotion effect)

Ormonde Jayne Tiare (sheer Tahitian gardenia, crisp white florals and citrus with a mossy drydown; reminds me of my old favorite Chanel Cristalle)

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Eau de Naphé (one of my favorite orange blossom scents; full without being cloying or sickly sweet, as can happen with this accord)

LesNez Manoumalia (carnivorous tiare, salty, thick and frankly sexual; as earthy as they come)

Penhaligon’s Amaranthine

Penhaligon’s Amaranthine

Le Labo Neroli 36 (soft white floral, a bit beachy)

Bobbi Brown Beach (nostalgic suntan lotion perfume)

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess/Azurée Soleil (white florals, coconut, amber; a sensual suntan oil smell)

And here’s the one that I really want you to try, because it’s so different to the tropical florals you’ve encountered so far, and it hits all of the keywords on your wish list:

Penhaligon’s Amaranthine (a fascinating white floral that is fresh and green while also smelling milky, spicy, and a bit bestial)

Good luck on your tour of the tropics. And if you don’t like any of them? Well you said it yourself – you’re a heathen!

Smell ya later,
Katie

For more of Katie’s fragrance rants and rambles, visit KatiePuckrikSmells or click here

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