I blind-bought a bottle of this about 2 years ago on the strength of the positive reviews here. Big mistake! And a lesson learned. This does not smell remotely like gardenia to me, (& I have smelled real gardenias many times) all I get is chrysanthemums & that dusty, choking note of pepper that Shycat so eloquently describes. This is followed by a very buttery, cloying tuberose, (& l usually love tuberose) & a hint of jasmine after 5 long hours of resisting the urge to scrub. l gave this a few wearings as l really wanted to understand why it gets such high praise, but eventually gave the bottle away. Sorry, but this is simply one of the most unpleasant fragrances l've ever smelled.
This is one of the most realistic gardenia fragrance I have ever smelled. First comes the galbanum top note (and I love galbanum) which is then overtaken by pepper. (Who would have thought to use that in gardenia?) The heart consists of a sumptuous but admirably delicate blend of florals (jasmine and tuberose are listed.) And the whole is tucked in by root-scented angelica and green, dusty chrysanthemum. It smells like a live gardenia with green leaves and dirt still hanging off the roots. I am impressed. Having said that, I wonder if I would appreciate it more as art or as perfume. I ask myself, would I tire of the rooty, dusty notes? In the long run, would a completely floral gardenia be more wearable? If you have this, please clue me in after a year or so.
OK. Here we go. I recall a year ago the discussion of what kind of gardenia was missing from the fragrance world. Oh, says me, the truer the better, fresh and green. I believe I also chirped in with excited anticipation when the word 'spicy' was tossed about. My God, I could barely contain myself, and eagerly ordered the three samples from this line, just to get my hands on Stephanie.
What a brutal awakening. I didn't know what I was talking about! Stephanie is indeed the truest to blossom gardenia I have ever smelled, because I was soooo disappointed I called around to nurseries to find a blooming gardenia to visit. There's more similarity to tuberose than I recalled. Stephanie also captures a ephemeral freshness-- but it's barely discernable to my nose because of the chosen spice -- BLACK PEPPER!!! Once again, in stunned flabergasted-ness, I say BLACK PEPPER! Who in their right mind came up with this??? The unctuous, soap in the throat nature of tuberose is crossed here with dry black pepper -- just like the dusty top of an old red and white can of ground McCormick's. The combination causes a reflexive throat clearing in me, which unchecked by my genteel nature, would progress to harking. I try, but cannot block out images of old dusty pepper on a cake of cloying soap. It seems to be in my mouth. I'm gagging and scrubbing at the same time, thinking about all the colorful curses I should say to justify this apparent punishment.
I gave it another try, but began the gagging immediately and I stomped off in frustration to scrub again--of course, this stuff won't scrub off and it lasts forever. I whimper fearfully now as I sidle by my Stephanie sample.
It's totally unique. The quality is unmistakable. It's lasting. It makes a strong impression and is unforgettable. I refuse to give Stephanie a thumbs down because I see the same quality of genius here -- yeah, you heard here first, Michael Storer is a genius -- that knocked me to my knees in the sister scents Genvieve and Yvette. I tip my spritzers to you, dear Quarry, in respect and gratitude, for though our chemistry and noses are indeed polar opposites I'm delighted another appreciates exactly how special this line is.
GO MICHAEL! Just when I thought nobody was ever going to make a new stunner-- here are three!
:D Try it before you buy it. :D
I'm infatuated -- and so unexpectedly. This is MY gardenia, girls. Take your Kai, your Fracas, your what-have-you. I don't have the real flower to test Mr. Storer's claim that his mixture comes close to matching the headspace of a real gardenia, and I don't care. Stephanie DOES have a natural air about it, and I think MS may have improved on nature anyway, so who cares where the inspiration came from. Stephanie smells sooo floral and slightly green and, admittedly, fairly sweet. I just mentioned elsewhere that I allow myself to fall into its big flowerhead unflinchingly, like leaning into a big wooden roller coaster's first drop with eyes wide open.
Stephanie's intoxicating and delivers great sillage to me (but doesn't throw too far, according to DH). It's a bit more expensive than I generally venture, but there's nothing comparable. At first I thought it similar to Montale Jasmin Full in some ways, but upon actual comparison, the Montale is like a rough, raw diamond, and Steph's a rare, polished gem.
If you read other reviews I've written, you'll see I seldom rave. Well, I'm raving now.