This is a rather mutable fragrance, which I've found to be true of the other Strange Invisible Perfumes I've tried. The top notes came across as a rather dark floral, and I thought, "hmmmm, interesting." Then the petrol note Tovah talks about made its way in, at about medium-strength, so while not pleasant, it wasn't like being bathed in gasoline. Not being a fan of the petrol note, at that point, I figured that it wasn't wearable on me, so I stopped sniffing. Much later, I sniffed the drydown, which was lovely and smelled like that night garden after all. Worth a try, and I agree that this has the potential for being gorgeous on the right person.
Toluene is a chemical solvent produced catalytically from crude oil to make high octane gasoline. It can dissolve many substances, such as paint, glue, and rubber. It smells like benzene, whose odor is commonly associated with paint thinners. Toluene was first isolated from Tolu Balsam, which is a natural resin with a complex, warm aroma. The Strange Invisible Perfumes website describes Moon Garden as "luxuriant tuberose, jasmine, and pikake, bejeweled with African resins". After one whiff of Moon Garden, I guessed that the "resins" of the scent description must be Tolu Balsam, because my first thought was, "This smells like gasoline and paint thinner." I had my son sniff it, and he said, "It smells like minty ammonia." My husband said, "I can see why they named it after a garden on the moon..." The title actually refers to night-blooming gardens, redolent with the blossoms of Night Blooming Jasmine, tuberose, pikake, and other white flowers that take advantage of night pollinators. I adore these blossoms, so I was excited about trying Moon Garden. I hoped that, like the infamous but beloved Tuberose Criminelle, or the camphory Carnal Flower, the harsh, jarring topnotes would evolve into an enchanting perfume. Unfortunately, Moon Garden refuses to be what I'd hoped for. Rather than the mystique and romance of a moonlit garden, Moon Garden evokes the time I struggled with a gas pump, and lost. I'd been soaked to the skin, and I couldn't get rid of the acrid odor for days. On a happy note, Moon Garden is one less fragrance for which I have to pay $135.00 for a 1.7 oz. edp. I would love to smell this on a person for whom it works, because I think it can be a fascinating, gorgeous work, if one can make it bloom.
It started out as a less than interesting patchouli. Then it faded and turned into something strange, not really unpleasant, but not pleasant either. I’ll try again in the summer heat to see if it blooms.