I can see how the people who love this can love it. I can see how the people who hate it can hate it. I'm somewhere in the middle, but I definitely enjoy it.
So what does it smell like? The first few minutes are the best, an explosion of Chanel's trademark lemon over glorious orange blossom while a quiet but insistent tuberose paints the background. Meanwhile, soapy white musks and chypre greens fill in the cracks. It's a joyous, exuberant mixture - happiness perfectly expressed as a smell.
Given time, the lemon fades, taking a lot of the cheer with it, leaving room for hints of bleu cheese gardenia to come in and render the feeling more grey in color. Meanwhile, the sweet orange blossom and tuberose fuse together to give a Giorgio Beverly Hills effect, while the soap becomes more powerful.
In all, the chilly drydown doesn't really excite me (though the artistic expression of moody grey flowers is interesting as an intellectual concept), but I simply HAVE to give a thumbs up to anything with such perfectly engineered topnotes. Very much worth a sniff. As a side note, if you want literal gardenia, in all its gross cheesy glory, please try to sniff Jar's wonderfully twisted Jardenia.
I have always found the scent of the gardenia flower very akin to the tuberose, and I believe the latter has always been the center of all gardenia perfumes, since gardenia oil cannot be extracted and tuberose oil can. The one does the work of the other.
This is a soliflore to my experience - a very light and gentle tropical white floral with a mix of jasmine to support the tuberose and keep it from becoming cloying. I don't experience the vanilla.
This is quality all the way and for 90 years it's been the best gardenia on the market. Worth the investment.
Gardenia opens thick, sugary and cloying like a thousand other generic tropical flowers fragrances, fades quickly into cheap shampoo fruity musky tones to writhe at last in a super synthetic candy-like vanilla. Embarassing fragrance, I spent the whole day of my wearing it (from a sample) wondering where that unpleasant smell came from – me! Nothing like the scent of real gardenias, nor an original or interesting rendition, in my opinion.
Your Emperor is Naked
First review, and I have to defend this perfume. Although the commenters on this board are relatively kind, I am sick to DEATH of the haters of this perfume. I am a girl who was raised on Joy and No.5, so I like to think my palate isn't COMPLETELY unrefined. But certain "experts" have rejected this scent out of hand, and obnoxiously I see his voice echoed in some of the comments here. "This isn't gardenia" Well no sh**, Sherlock. Gardenias are un-extractable. And anyone who read ANYTHING about the development of the scent knows it was meant to be an ode to the EXPERIENCE of the smell of Gardenia. After reading what fragrance "experts" have to say about this lovely, creamy white floral scent, I know can saftely say that Emperor Turin has no clothes. Everyone needs to put down the Guide and start smelling for themselves.
Pros: creamy, light, soft white flower, evokative of gardenia without going soliflore
Cons: poor longevity/sillage, only EDT mass released
Pretty, but Boring
I received this as a free sample with a Chanel order (thank you Chanel!) and was rather nonplussed. The gardenia is pleasant enough, but the setting is rather uninteresting. I though I would like this one more since I love the smell of gardenias. I gave it to my wife, but she didn't like it either.
Pure white flowers blend that smells wonderful. Gardenia for sure. As said, creamy and sweet, although very linear.
More feminine than unisex.
Sillage and projection are soft... but present.
Lasting power is weak, around 2 hours.