On first spraying, you can immediately sense a fine-quality, "layered" perfume with many nuances. A whole bunch of different flowers, but with a warm, powdery spiciness. l can pick out orange blossom & something like lilac, but not really gardenia. The drydown is more powder & musk; l was expecting something a little richer & deeper in the base, but it just seems to flatten out on my skin. l think it's a classy, quite sexy evening scent, but l'm not excited enough to purchase this.
This is another gardenia that uses actual gardenia extract instead of gardenia accord. Jalaine's is the other one I know of, but Isabey is nothing like Jalaine's! I don't think most people, maybe not even most basenoters, could name either one as a gardenia fragrance. I'm not sure there would even be another common guess.
Isabey is traditional French perfume, unlike the uber green Jalaine. Isabey is soft, rich, and warm. There is a lusciously deep sweetness that balances the clear floral freshness of the extract. It's like hearing a piano chord, two hands across two octaves, smooth and satisfying.
The floral notes is different from anything I can bring to mind. None of the supporting notes are identifiable to my poor nose, they blend with the extrait to be one. I tried to find the rose in Isabey and it seemed closer by far than any other floral, but, eh heh, without any rosiness. The floral note is of that character I think-- it's petalesque.
The support is classic and luscious, not perfumy at all, but not translulent either. I would believe anyone who said not one synthetic was used. The base pulls on musk the most, but again well blended with ambergris(I could not pick this note out) and touched with sandalwood. It is not listed as a note, but I get a tonka impression as well--that slight hint of softness before you can say slight powder and a comforting hint of vanilla.
It must rank near the top for longevity, as I write this the next morning my skin still smells sweetly of tonka musk. That comes in at 16 hours.
One day is not enough to appreciate the facets of Isabey. It's complicated, and I have the other 1/2 ml to try another day--perhaps I'd have more to say, but I have the urge to review it today.
Isabey must be the defination of 'fine French perfume.'