We need to talk.
I must confess I was a bit surprised when I got your limited edition Gardénia Grand Soir: hadn’t you told me you wouldn’t be adding any more scents to your collection for a while after Papyrus de Ciane? Still, who was I to turn down what I thought must be an invitation to a gala opening at the very least? I sent my floor-length bias-cut velvet 1930s gown to be cleaned and pressed, and took grandma’s diamond brooch out of hock, fully prepared to swan around the ballroom like Joan Crawford before she fed steroids to her eyebrows.
But I can’t help feeling you led me down the garden path. If your gardenia is “grand soir” (in French, “tenue grand soir” means “formal wear”), then I might as well show up at a society wedding in a silk nightie. Unless you meant to allude slyly to the Marxist/Anarchist notion of the “Great Day” of social revolution? No, I guess not.
Granted, you couldn’t go the decadent, creamy, mushroom-tinged way of le beau Tom’s Velvet Gardenia (though since he pulled it from his line-up, I could’ve done with a substitute). Your gardenia grows in the same spot as your jasmine in Drama Nuuï, and similarly lacks in drama: it’s a subdued green-tinged wisp of a white flower with, it seems to me, a tiny ozonic crackle; more bud than blossom, on a spring evening too cool for it to release its full scent. As it warms on skin, it releases the barest smoky-lactonic whiff of sandalwood with a hint of caramel.
Perhaps in summer Gardénia Grand Soir’s lightness of touch and natural, unadorned prettiness will be just perfect: I’m rather hoping it will, because it seems you aimed for a low-key, natural feel, almost a headspace capture of the flower… But I can’t help thinking I could’ve stood a little more commitment. Of course, unlike her heftier white floral sisters, this gardenia couldn’t interfere with the aroma of the truffle shavings if it tried. Thank God you’re a good conversationalist, because I couldn’t get much more than a whisper out of that gardenia all night.