lundi 3 juin 2013

Gardez-moi by Bertrand Duchaufour for Jovoy: Mistress Gardenia

Is gardenia the new tuberose? It’s floral, it’s green, and since there are no extracts, can be reinvented to suit any purpose, from fresh-cut water-gorged bud to decadent diva: what’s not to love? It’s been claimed as a note by quite a few mainstream launches (Jour d’Hermès, Nina l’Eau, Bottega Veneta Eau Légère…), and featured as a soliflore in a cluster of niche products. In Une voix noire, Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake plucked theirs from Billie Holiday’s hair, and dipped it in jam and tobacco. Carlos Huber and Rodrigo Flores Roux splashed Arquiste Boutonnière with aromatic cologne and pinned it on a dandy’s lapel.

With Gardez-moi (pronounced “gahr-day moo-ah”, meaning“Keep me”), Jovoy owner François Hénin asked Bertrand Duchaufour for a full-out vampish floral with a vintage vibe, as a tribute to the original fragrance of that name, launched by Jovoy in 1926. The perfumer responded with a soap-meets-petal aldehydic composition amped up to the highest retro setting, which is to say it veers into the modern, with an unusual tomato-leaf green note on top. This is gardenia as dominatrix stalking the Place Vendôme rather than bruised blossom. The whiff of mushroom gardenias give off as they ripen is kept in check (this isn’t Tom Ford’s late, lamented Velvet Gardenia).  The scent veers more towards the moist and green, with a slight undercurrent of fruitiness (a drop of melon juice, a hint of unripe banana, and what the notes list calls a “raspberry bouquet”).

According to the charming monsieur Hénin, gardenia used to be a flower offered to mistresses in the Roaring 20s, though certainly not intended for discreet back-street affairs since its scent can tattoo itself all over a gentleman’s person. Gardez-moi does what it says on the bottle. It clings to the skin and flaunts its sillage like a lover who just won’t be thrown over. Hence the above illustration: Mila Parely’s secretly sentimental aristocrat hanging on to Marcel Dalio’s urbane marquis de la Chesnaye in Jean Renoir’s masterpiece The Rule of the Game. Because one can never mention Renoir often enough. But also because the feline Parely brings to mind the black cat designed by Baccarat to house the original Gardez-moi (cats do have a way of demanding to be kept like mistresses…). And wasn't one of the greatest gardenia-themed fragrances Carven's Ma Griffe. When a flower inspires a scent called "my claw", there will be blood...

9 commentaires:

  1. I was lucky enough to try Gardez-moi the other week - and to score a sample.
    I was baffled at the opening and the heart, which to me conjured a vegetal moist fruity white flower (I didn't necessarily smell gardenia, but the perfume had a gardenia-ish vibe). I really liked/loved it.
    However I am on the fence on the unexpected incensy twist of the base notes (or expected, given the author ;)). It makes the fragrance interesting, but...maybe it's not the conclusion I was looking forward to?
    The feline retires its claws and starts meditating (=sleeping) in the open air. Hmm...
    Must try it again, though!

  2. Zazie, I guess that only goes to show that there's a difference between a rendition of the flower and a perfume... I see a connection between Gardez-moi and Fleur de Liane, though I no longer have the latter to compare. It's probably more a vibe (the fruitiness and moistness) rather than a similarity in formulas though.

  3. I love gardenia-based scents. I'll take 'em in any gothic, bright, lurid, old-lady-dowager or tarted-up-modern dandy style the perfumiverse can toss my way. It's the only white floral scent I can wear without feeling overly feminine.

    There's something innately dark and mysterious about the scent of gardenia. It conjures up shadowy humid streets and ancient secrets. Like the way that fair-haired woman always appears at her window at dusk as you pass by the creaking porch of her family's silent estate.

  4. Stefush, you really have such an evocative way with words -- I'd wear *your* gardenia any day!

  5. Wasn't the best gardenia the since discontinued, ultra-inexpensive soliflore Gardenia by Yves Rocher??? I haven't smelled anything like it since except maybe Estée Lauder's Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia... but I preferred the YR version. Too bad it seems to have disappeared here in Canada.


  6. Very happy with Boutonnière no. 7. Gardenia is the new white! Love the name of this new Bertrand.

  7. Normand, I never wore the YR (created by Annick Menardo) but I know it's still the standard. To my nose, the truest to the note was the Tom Ford, but I'm loving both of the new gardenia-centered fragrances Boutonnière and Gardez-moi.

  8. Jordan, it's a good thing Jovoy could re-use the name of the original 1926 fragrance. Often they no longer belong to the company: look at Scandal by Lanvin!

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