Hothouse Flower is the eighth fragrance in Ineke's alphabet series. It's a gardenia soliflore, and I admit I was a bit worried: aren't there more than enough gardenia perfumes on the market, not all of them that great. But I should have known that perfumer Ineke Ruhland will have something new to offer, and that it's all good. Ineke's Hothouse Flower is a very green gardenia but not "wet". It has a crispness in the top notes that later softness into a lush and more traditionally creamy body.
Hothouse Flower announces its intentions from the very first blast. It's gardenia, alright. But as you tune in and let Ineke's work speak for itself the intricate greenery emerges. There are tender leaves and a green fruit on the verge of ripening but not quite there yet, so the feel is fresh but firm. I can't say that I get much galbanum or absynth (I wish), but my nose zeros in on the beautiful green fig note. It gives the fragrance a freshness that balances the lush and bosomy gardenia that follows. It's not particularly sweet or humid despite the "hothouse" effect.
When the gardenia reenters the scene it's creamy and sultry but within the boundaries of good taste. Hothouse Flower doesn't go to dirtier realm of gardenia and there's not a hint of Stilton to be found. It remains a flower: petals, leaves and all. The dry-down sees the gardenia become smoother and muskier. The fragrance yields to the skin and melts into it, dropping several levels on the sillage scale. Longevity is moderate- I get about six solid hours from 3-4 sprays, but traces of soft gardenia and musk are still detectable here and there under my clothes.
Notes: Earl Grey Tea, Green Foliage, Cypress, Absinthe, Gardenia, Galbanum, Fig, Frankincense, Gaiac wood, Musk, Cornsilk.
Ineke- Hothouse Flower ($95, 2.5oz) is available from ineke.com, BeautyHabit.com, Woodley and Bunny and Henri Bendel NYC. A sample for consideration and review was supplied by the company.
Top image: Smith students pinning a gardenia corsage before the Supper Dance, 1937 via Vintage Seven Sisters on Tumblr. Photos of HothouseFlower bottle and the Normandie houthouse that inspired the creation of the fragrance courtesy of Ineke Perfumes.