Cruel Gardenia opens with a lush, creamy spicy tuberose note, to my nose. There are hints of neroli and violet and a light spiciness that make you stop everything and pay attention to it. I sniffed and sniffed and kept doing so every 5-10 minutes trying to understand this beautiful creation. Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia is like a dominatrix, she orders you to pay attention, and you do. Once Cruel Gardenia settled in, I was smitten. This is a subtle, sophisticated masterpiece. It doesn’t smell very much like other Guerlain fragrances that I’m aware of, at all. Cruel Gardenia has a smidgen of powder, just the teeniest dusting once it’s completely dried down. It is most definitely floral but in a very confident and non-attention seeking way. The floral notes eventually blend together to create a unified floral scent that is indescribable, it’s like a newly discovered flower growing in Bali that no botanist has ever seen before nor smelled. Yes, there is a slightly prominent gardenia note with hints of tuberose, violet, perhaps ylang and neroli but they all blend together into this gorgeously jaw-dropping aroma. The unified floral scent is perfectly balanced, it isn’t sweet and it isn’t dry. There is a musky spiciness that envelopes the overarching floral note which gives it complexity and a “grown-up” sophisticated quality. There is a little sillage, but it's definitely not a heavy or overpowering scent. It lasted about 4-5 hours for me, so I'd call it average in this regard. I'm smitten.
I’m thinking that the name, Cruel Gardenia, is dead-on, because now I want to buy a full bottle of this stuff, and that’s just cruel.
Per Guerlain, the list of notes and description of the fragrance is as follows:
"....Essence of damask rose with hints of peach and neroli create a refreshing initial burst of florals. Gradually, the scent of gardenia develops with the grace of violet, warmed by ylang-ylang from the