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Mystery of Musk

Perfumes By Nature: Craving & My Gardenia

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Craving opens with a singularly delicious accord - coffee, chocolate, and toasted hazelnuts. Sweet but not syrupy, it's the olfactory equivalent of drinking a capuccino and eating a box of hazelnut chocolates, with none of the calories that come with that.

Coffee and me have had a rough history when it comes to fragrances. For some reason, the lightest whiff of coffee turns my stomach, even through freshly brewed coffee is a smell I find quite pleasant. This may be the first coffee fragrance that I enjoy. Whether it's due to its natural origin or not, I have no clue, but it's delicious.

In the drydown, a good deal of the sweetness retreats, becoming drier and more nutty. A delicate amber emerges, and subtle woody nuances play in the background, with a hint of something rooty - vetiver, perhaps?

Perhaps worthy of note is what I don't smell. Namely, musk. Not even a little. That being said, I'm very happy this project allowed me to sample this delightful gourmand oriental.

My Gardenia

I found myself quite enjoying My Gardenia, sent along with Craving. What can I say? Throw a white floral in my direction, and you've caught my interest.

Like nearly all gardenia fragrances I've smelled, My Gardenia doesn't immediately smell like it's namesake flower. Here, the top note is tuberose.

After smelling many natural tuberose fragrances, I can always recognize the smell of tuberose absolute from the rich, buttery quality it has, together with a certain graininess that perfumers often minimize with synthetics, but is left exposed in many all naturals. It's fascinating how one essence can smell sweet, floral, lactic, fresh, grainy, and at times even rooty, fungal, and stony. Floral absolutes are strange characters that often deliver something rather different than the living flower, and the adept perfumer can tweak them one way or another for quite a variety of results, or leave them unhewn, with their odd edges intact. Here, I smell the latter treatment.

Gradually the gardenia note emerges, and I have to answer the perfumer's question posted on her blog and say yes, she has succeeded in a true gardenia. To my nose, this is a first in a natural fragrance, as the natural "gardenias" I've smelled deliver a buttery tuberose that almost - but not quite - crosses the line into gardenia territory. Though this starts with that approach, a gardenia successfully emerges in the drydown. I suspect it helps that this is the only fragrance I know that uses gardenia absolute, despite a number of perfumers being disappointed with the absolute available.

In comparing this with other gardenia fragrances, I'd say its charm is somewhat akin to Yves Rocher's now lost Pur Desir de Gardenia. It is an airy, ephemeral flower, that blooms beautifully and fades quickly on the skin.
Tags: floral, gourmand


  1. Mimi Gardenia's Avatar
    Yummy Craving ,Suga ! My Gardenia sounds fabulous- you know me - Gardenia mad.
    Great review !
    Updated 6th July 2010 at 09:52 PM by Mimi Gardenia
  2. Ambrosiawomble's Avatar
    I'm delighted you like the fragrances!
    It's always fascinating how different notes surface over time from combinations of ingredients isnt it....

    Your description of the layers in "My Gardenia" delighted me...esp that I have managed to create a real smelling Gardenia scent...
    (BTW there is NO tuberose at all in the perfume...)
  3. Ambrosiawomble's Avatar
    I should probably add that there are a number of flower absolutes that have similar makeup to tuberrose....which is what you detected here....the particular gardenia absolute at the heart of this fragrance has many notes in common with tuberrose, but it is softer and "rounder" to my nose.....Gardenia is a fascinating flower, and I spent months playing with different ingredients trying to capture all of the elements of it's magic and comparing the fresh flower to the potion....and spraying them on unsuspecting friends and family to see what elements different skins brought out...
  4. Sugandaraja's Avatar
    Fascinating to read this doesn't have any tuberose! I would have sworn it's in there, with all its richness, but I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise. If there are fragrances that smell like gardenia with no real gardenia but natural tuberose, then I suppose it would make sense for the opposite to be just as possible.

    Really enjoying your work, Ambrosia - I'll be reviewing Goddess shortly, which I just love.
  5. PerfumedLady's Avatar
    Oh,they both sound fantastic!I haven't much experience yet with coffee notes,but I'm extremely interested in finding one I can wear.I really enjoy the aroma of coffee brewing,too,and your description of Craving makes me think I definitely need to try it!
  6. Cyrana's Avatar
    I am on a quest for a Gardenia scent that doesn't have vanilla in it...My Gardenia sounds lovely and I didn't see mention of vanilla!
  7. pancks's Avatar
    A true Gardenia, now that truly is a holy grail and one I've sought for some time. Would love to try this one.
  8. Ambrosiawomble's Avatar
    There's a link to my blog under my profile where you can order samples of "My Gardenia" and "Craving"...


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