Barbara Herman notes this as premiering in 1932 from Tuvache and re-appearing under different guises, including Coty.
These notes refer to the original Coty of 1950. To my nose pure overkill - loud and vulgar gardenia and tuberose oil mixed to the point of inducing nausea. The kind of cheap smelling stuff Stella Dallas or Sadie Thompson would have worn. You can smell this coming a mile away.
04th March, 2014 (last edited: 20th April, 2015)
I can tell that this is still a much-loved fragrance. Not by the reviews, but by the high prices even the small, plain, bottles fetch at online auctions. I am guessing many of today's buyers of this hard-to-find scent have been devoted fans since their youth, perhaps with raunchy tales to rival Cathodera's.
Apparently the 1995 re-release by Coty was not up-to-scratch. For a fabulously detailed article about the history of Tuvache and Jungle Gardenia, this is a must-read: http://www.timelessperfumes.com/Jungle%20Gardenia%20Perfume.htm
The above web page and the Perfume Intelligence (PI) database both date the launch of Tuvache's Jungle Gardenia to 1932, not 1950. According to PI, Jõvan created their own perfume called Jungle Gardénia in 1950, which may explain the date confusion.
PI describes the original JG as: "A crisp floral parfum with notes of bitter orange oil, Clary sage, cyclamen, heliotrope, tuberose, tarragon, violet leaf, gardenia, lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang-ylang, oakmoss, benzoin, sandalwood and musk."
Ever curious about the vintage classics, I managed to acquire a small spray parfum of original JG. To my nose, this fragrance is just as much (if not more) about tuberose as gardenia. The first time I sprayed, I got a big whiff of 'Fracas'. But on subsequent applications, I found JG to be more distinctive, with a heavy, medicinal edge (maybe from the herbs?). Actually, there's a certain note in JG that I've also smelled in Lutens' Tuberose Criminelle -a note which I liken to the scent of purple passionfruit flowers (truly).
This stuff is really growing on me the more I spray and inhale. Gardenia or actually tuberose, this is an intoxicating white floral.
I think this is the right one, the bottle said Tuvache, not Coty.
It didn't smell a bit like gardenia to me - or on me, but I think the previous reviewer's characterization of it as "excruciatingly sweet and cloying," and "scary stuff" describe it much better than I ever could.
Nevertheless, I miss it. With no offense to anyone's mother who wore it, I remember it as being the fragrance of choice of twelve year olds who, it was hmmphed, were "trying to grow up too fast."
But Jungle Gardenia was much more than that. It was what even the nicest girls from the finest families wore to sneak out, to skip school and ride in cars driven by children without licenses. It was the only perfume that could be counted on to camouflage cigarette smoke.
It was the go-to perfume for steamy, hormone-and-stolen adult beverage-saturated nights of clandestine summer vacation resort rendezvous, when secret things happened that no one would ever, ever tell.
Because as strong as it smelled, it would wash right off, and you could spray your Good Girl Ambush back on and smile and be polite to all the grownups and hear them boast about your grades as you quietly excused yourself and went up to "study," washing the Ambush off with Sweetheart soap and reaching down under your awful schoolgirl knee-socks in the third drawer of some venerable and giant carved thing, and lift her out almost reverently, because in that long long ago of near and far and east and west and secrets and meetings of twains in city after continent, she loved them all, did Jungle Gardenia, loved to come out of the drawer at night, to play and make more memories, keep more secrets, forever...
Horrifyingly strong stuff. My mother liked (still does, but it's easier to deal with these days) perfume that would knock you down. Among her various faves was this scary stuff. Back in the 70s I would practically pay her not to wear it. Yeah, it was Gardenia all right. Like a baseball bat to the nose! Excruciatingly sweet and cloying.