Billie Holiday was the inspiration for two gardenia perfumes that were launched last year: Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire and Lady Day by Maria Candida Gentile. A coincidence, obviously, but it also means that the two fragrances are going to be compared and contrasted often. It's unfair to both, as they're nothing alike. Instead of discussing the obvious, I'll just say that Une Voix Noire doesn't shy away from dealing with the darkness in Billie Holiday's life and character, while Maria Candida Gentile and her gardenia are a quest for the hope and beauty the singer had created and gave to her audience.
Only three official notes are given for Lady Day: galbanum, gardenia, Peruvian balm. The opening is, indeed, green but barely bitter. It's stemy, leafy, and airy while the gardenia slips in smoothly. The flower has just bloomed and it's slowly releasing its scent into the morning air. The galbanum is joined by an herbal medicinal note that morphs into a full-on spice cabinet. I could swear that Lady Day is pretty heavy on cinnamon as the fragrance warms up and develops on skin. It's a striking contrast- the young gardenia and the smell of yesterday's spices still captured in the closed off room. For a while the astringency of the green blades and the pungent space overwhelm the gardenia on my skin. Slowly, the windows are opened and the air begins to shift.
The result is a dry-down where the sweet gardenia and its promise hover just above the warm skin. The perfume is captured there, between the body and the clothes. It's the late afternoon of a good day. Your dress is slightly crumpled but still clean, a lot has happened and you're still energized and ready to go. There's a full evening ahead and it's full of joy.
Maria Candida Gentile- Lady Day ($165, 1oz EDP) is available from Parfum1 and Indiscents. Samples can be ordered from both. The press sample for this review was sent by PR.
Art: Billie Holiday by Jaxable on DeviantArt.