It seems like I've turned a corner in my relationship with big white florals. Ten years ago the coupling of tuberose and gardenia would (and did) send me running for my life while simultaneously scrubbing myself silly. Five years ago I'd merely wrinkle my nose and walk away fast. Now? I've been wearing Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion and quoting the immortal words of Britney Spears: Gimme More.
Truth be told, Gardenia Passion is more tuberose than gardenia after the first green top notes fade. Also, the tuberose is of the very dirty carnal one. It's sexy, cheesy, almost naked and has steam practically coming out of its pores, and that's how I like my white flowers- not the tender blossom in a debutante's hair or placed in a porcelain vase. It needs to be real, mean business and bloom on the skin, especially on hot days. This Annick Goutal creation (from 1989, no less) does all that.
The tuberose smells more nutty than buttery and is far less sweet than in Fracas and its ilk. The green wet leaves from the gardenia in the opening lose their dampness and become quite a bit more dry and crisp. Older note lists mention oakmoss in the base. I'm not sure if or how much of it is left- my post-IFRA samples don't smell particularly oakmossy. I've been trying for days to figure out what was that raspy green stuff I was smelling- at times it was bordering on the edge of my consciousness but kept eluding me at the very last moment. Then I happened at Sali Oguri's review at Pink Manhattan and there was the answer: tomato leaf. Of course. I have no idea how something so light and naturally fresh as tomato leaf survives in this boudoir-ish toe-curling composition, but it does. I only wish Gardenia Passion (at least in the EDT formulation, not sure about the EDP which is heavier but also less interesting as far as I could tell from a couple of casual samplings ) would last longer. I need to spray myself silly in order to get a full day's wear, and that is a bit of an issue with a perfume I'd label as NSFW.
Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion ($80, 1.7 oz EDT) is available from most major department stores and smaller boutiques such as Luckyscent.
The 1950s photo of Gina Lollobrigida from from stirredstraightup.blogspot.com.