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  1. #1
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Two niche gardenias - Stephanie and Gigi

    Today I thought I'd do a comparison of two niche gardenia fragrances - Michael Storer's Stephanie and Ayala Moriel's Gigi.

    Originally it was going to be three, but I've misplaced my Kai sample. Probably for the best really - I've tried all three before and Kai was by far my least favorite of the three ( I have only tried the EdT, but if the oil smells anything like it, it's really not my thing - and not gardenia ).

    Gardenia is my favorite flower. I had one as a houseplant for ages until it died an unfortunate death while I was away for my grandfather's funeral. To both my surprise and my satisfaction, it reliably bloomed in my dark bedroom every year.

    I am a very harsh judge when it comes to fragrance accuracy, and gardenia is a note that has often disappointed me. Neither of these fragrance attain the hyper-realism of the rose in Sa Majeste La Rose with their gardenia note. Now, to be fair it must be said there is no gardenia absolute available, but then, there isn't a lilac absolute available either, and that didn't stop Olivia Giacobetti from making the true to nature En Passant.

    Stephanie goes on aquatic and green, a sharp pepper note emerging a few seconds after it's applied. Soon after the florals take over, a green floral accord that my nose perceives as a mixture - maybe hybrid between - lilac, muguet and tuberose. Through the heart the florals gradually lose their power, and in the base disappear entirely, leaving a rather synthetic watery green accord. This fragrance has one of those "circular developments" I've seen people speak of, where, excluding the pepper, the top and base smell the same but the heart varies.

    It's quite pleasant overall, though it's hard for me not to be slightly biased against it because of a general distaste for aquatics. It's certainly not gardenia to me, but rather an aquatic green floral. It's not for me, but if you like this I highly recommend checking out Eau D'Italie's Magnolia Romana, a rather more complex and interesting take on the aquatic green floral theme.

    Gigi and me get along better. It's not quite gardenia either, though in the top notes it comes closer than the aforementioned. The top is a very piquant and creamy white floral accord - I smell tuberose matched with a slightly spiciness probably attributable to the cardamom, though cinnamon is what first came to mind. As this unfolds the sandalwood and vanilla becomes more prominent, pushing it towards a more oriental genre.

    I've been informed by its creator that both this and my favorite Ayala Moriel, Razala, share an accord of tuberose, jasmine and myrrh, so I guess I'm just a sucker for this combination. Funnily enough, even though I've worn this before, I never noticed the myrrh until it was pointed out to me. It's covered by the florals in the top, but in the base it's definitely there. It would be quite misleading to say this is like her Razala though. Razala is a spicy oriental with all sorts of things going on, where as this is more of a floral with an oriental touch.

    Unlike some of the Ayala Moriel's I've tried, both the sillage and longevity are very good.

    If it weren't for the cost, I'd be thinking of picking up a bottle, as this is a limited edition. As it is, I appreciate its quality and I'm glad I had a chance to try this beauty before it exists in name alone.

    I have Ava Luxe's Gardenia coming in the mail - I'm intrigued as to how it'll compare to the above two. I also may be getting a sample of Tom Ford's Velvet Gardenia, a fragrance I'm totally hyped about!
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 26th December 2008 at 08:09 AM.

  2. #2

    lilybelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Two niche gardenias - Stephanie and Gigi

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love gardenia, but there are few fragrances (that I've tried) that seem true to the actual living blossom. Tom Ford's Velvet Gardenia is one. It's gorgeous, I know you'll love it. Estee Lauder Private Collection Gardenia Tuberose is very nice as well. The thing about gardenia is that it is very fleeting, too. That intoxication just doesn't last, but if you spray it on your clothes you can enjoy it a little longer.

  3. #3

    purplebird7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Two niche gardenias - Stephanie and Gigi

    I have smelled both of these and I liked them both, but Gigi was more classically pretty.
    Stephanie was the whole gardeina plant: flowers, leaves, roots, dirt and all. Very vigorous and lively.
    Gigi was sweet and lovely all the way through, creamy and spicy, very voluptuous.

    Here's an interesting story by Luca Turin. It seems that he has found some gardenia absolute that smells very much like a real gardenia. I quote this from NZZ Folio:

    "Unlike many perfumery luminaries who claim to scour the world for exotic essences but never set foot outside Paris’s périphérique, Ms Harris really does ferret out extraordinary things from remote corners of the planet. She sent me a ml. of the gardenia oil, and a teaspoonful of the butter. The method by which these marvels were obtained is novel: an enfleurage in cold palm oil (there’s progress for you, classic enfleurage used pig suet exposed to vapors from the flowers). The fragrance oil is then extracted into alcohol and vacuum-distilled. The idea of this and all other low-temperature methods is to treat the flowers gently and capture the smell without loss or damage.

    I’ll admit one of the few things I am cynical about is gardenia: I’ve smelled too many, from Chanel’s eponymous mess to Guerlain’s cruel joke, that smelled nothing like the real thing. Until proven innocent, I regard all “gardenias” as I do footprints of the Snowman, engines that run on vacuum energy or good wines from Savoie. When I put this one on the back of my hand, I was ready to vent my spleen yet again. For a few seconds, the oil had me puzzled, with an intense herbaceous topnote that my daughter would have called pasta, i.e. thyme and laurel.

    Just as I was about to start griping, the most stunning gardenia hologram materialized before me, all present and correct, from bouquet de provence via tuberose to the famous mushroom note that makes gardenia so different from other white flowers."

    Here's the whole story:
    http://www.nzzfolio.ch/www/d80bd71b-...447c66840.aspx
    Last edited by purplebird7; 26th December 2008 at 03:48 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Two niche gardenias - Stephanie and Gigi

    Gardenia, and jasmine for that matter, is something that I prefer at a distance and scents with an i"n your nose" gardenia never do well on me. Hence the gardenia in Stephanie is lovely for me. I enjoy the greenery and don't mind the aquatic tone in this.

  5. #5
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Two niche gardenias - Stephanie and Gigi

    Quote Originally Posted by purplebird7 View Post
    Here's an interesting story by Luca Turin. It seems that he has found some gardenia absolute that smells very much like a real gardenia. I quote this from NZZ Folio:

    "Unlike many perfumery luminaries who claim to scour the world for exotic essences but never set foot outside Paris’s périphérique, Ms Harris really does ferret out extraordinary things from remote corners of the planet. She sent me a ml. of the gardenia oil, and a teaspoonful of the butter. The method by which these marvels were obtained is novel: an enfleurage in cold palm oil (there’s progress for you, classic enfleurage used pig suet exposed to vapors from the flowers). The fragrance oil is then extracted into alcohol and vacuum-distilled. The idea of this and all other low-temperature methods is to treat the flowers gently and capture the smell without loss or damage.

    I’ll admit one of the few things I am cynical about is gardenia: I’ve smelled too many, from Chanel’s eponymous mess to Guerlain’s cruel joke, that smelled nothing like the real thing. Until proven innocent, I regard all “gardenias” as I do footprints of the Snowman, engines that run on vacuum energy or good wines from Savoie. When I put this one on the back of my hand, I was ready to vent my spleen yet again. For a few seconds, the oil had me puzzled, with an intense herbaceous topnote that my daughter would have called pasta, i.e. thyme and laurel.

    Just as I was about to start griping, the most stunning gardenia hologram materialized before me, all present and correct, from bouquet de provence via tuberose to the famous mushroom note that makes gardenia so different from other white flowers."

    Here's the whole story:
    http://www.nzzfolio.ch/www/d80bd71b-...447c66840.aspx
    Wow! It's back!

    I am so very tempted by this extract. I'm thinking I might send away for the butter...

  6. #6

    Default Re: Two niche gardenias - Stephanie and Gigi

    I have a bottle of an old Houbigant Gardenia soliflore that is a nice straight up gardenia that I retried today and is still quite appealing. Houbigant scents tend to last quite well. Not wild about Floris' offering. I like AL' Gardenia Musk, too

  7. #7

    purplebird7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Two niche gardenias - Stephanie and Gigi

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Wow! It's back!

    I am so very tempted by this extract. I'm thinking I might send away for the butter...
    If you do, please report back...
    It would be amazing to find an all-natural that smelled exactly like the real thing!
    Last edited by purplebird7; 27th December 2008 at 01:51 PM.

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