Michael Storer won my heart a long time ago with Monk. I’m pretty much always in the mood for deep, dark, balsamic, woodsy, musky and patchouli laden gems and Monk is most certainly a lot of these things. Truthfully I was so taken with Monk that I sadly ignored the rest of the Michael Storer line.
About two weeks ago I was decanting some Michael Storer Stephanie and I decided to give myself a spritz, not remembering what Stephanie was all about. I knew it was a white floral of sorts and I thought perhaps it was heavy on jasmine (not my thing) but that was all I recalled. When the fragrance first hit my skin it smelled of metallic alcohol. Ewww, I thought. But less than 2 minutes later the most gorgeous green gardenia jumped up and swatted me from the back of my hand. Whoa! Stephanie is not to be missed – she is one feisty little diva of a gardenia fragrance.
I then sprayed myself a few more times and settled in for the ride. Stephanie is an absolute must-try for anyone who loves the scent of gardenia. I think Stephanie is meant to be a real-life gardenia – a photographic olfactory image of gardenia blossoms. On me, it’s one better than that; it’s more like the dream of a perfect gardenia. A gardenia that is green, sweet and slightly clean but with the overall impression of perfume and not a bouquet of gardenia flowers. Think of what Frederic Malle Carnal Flower does for tuberose – this is what Michael Storer Stephanie does for gardenia.
I’m more of a tuberose-aholic than a gardenia fiend but I do have my share of gardenia scents. Kai is a lovely green gardenia but Stephanie knocks it out of the park. Isabey is a nice enough gardenia (actually I like the bottle more than the juice) but again Stephanie is the sultry winner here. The Annick Goutal I’d offer as being closest to Stephanie is Songes in EDT. I love Songes (in both EDT and EDP) too much to say Stephanie is better but it’s definitely in the same realm (and I adore Songes, it’s one of those desert-island scents for me). I also like Jo Malone’s Vintage Gardenia but after taking Stephanie for a spin, well, she makes Vintage Gardenia seem a little thin, waif-like, basically a tad Kate Moss-ish. A bottle of Van Cleef & Arpels Gardenia Petale is on its way to me so I can’t compare it yet. Basically, what I’m trying to communicate with all these comparisons is that Stephanie holds court with the crème de la crème.
Stephanie seems to me to be one half gardenia and one quarter each tuberose and orange blossom. These floral notes aren’t all listed, but this is my guess, because Stephanie has aspects of tuberose and there’s a bright clean quality that reminds me of orange blossom. I’m thankful for the slightly clean quality because real-life gardenia flowers can stink, I won’t mention like what (ok, fetid cheese and feet). Stephanie starts with a beautiful green floral burst, thanks to the galbanum, but then she quickly veers more floral than green. The greenness reminds me of Carnal Flower. There is pepper amongst the notes and even though I don’t detect the pepper prominently, I know it’s there, giving the fragrance some pizazz and vivaciousness. I’m glad the pepper doesn’t stick out because I’ve decided I do not like white florals with an obvious pepper note (I’m thinking of La Chasse aux Papillion Extreme and Rochas Poupee where I find the pepper completely jarring).
Michael Storer Stephanie is flat out gorgeous. She is a sultry, sweet gardenia with a little spice. Longevity is very good and sillage is nice (not too much, just enough).
Incidentally, we carry Michael Storer at The Posh Peasant. But you can also go directly to Michael Storer's main site.