Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia: A Review

Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia has been on my wish list for a few months and I finally bought some and gave it a test drive today. Sometimes I like a good gardenia note, but gardenia this is not; this is even better. Oh, this is much better than a typical gardenia fragrance. This is a gorgeously crafted, spiffy-spicy floral dream.

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 Comoros and white musks. These lingering notes, present from the beginning, form the backbone of the composition. Essence of Tonka Bean sustains the white musks and moves into a sensuous note of vanilla and sandalwood"

No comments: