Illuminum White Gardenia Petals

It was inevitable that I finally got to White Gardenia Petals–or, ever since the royal wedding happened–the “Princess perfume” that Lady Katherine Middleton chose to wear on her wedding day. There’s been a lot of buzz about it and even a little bit of scandal. But when all was said and done, Kay is once again late to the party.

White Gardenia Petals

White Gardenia Petals

In Bottle: A rather pleasant gardenia with a touch of screech in the background.

Applied: I feel as if it’s fair to say that this is the only version of White Gardenia Petals I’ve ever smelled. Which could be a few steps away from the version Katherine Middleton wore on her wedding day. Some perfumistas say that version smells different from the one I’m sampling right now and I haven’t had much luck getting a hold of the old stuff so I only have my new stuff and previous accounts to go by. Without further ado, White Gardenia Petals opens up with a lovely light gardenia with a touch of green. As it wears on, the gardenia gets stronger, a bit of a different progression from what I experienced with last week’s Hothouse Flower. This is heavier handed, better projection, more floral in a sense with a denser concentration of gardenia. Its mildly powdery, but mostly strong. I get occasional whiffs of plastic where the gardenia gets overzealous, but it’s overall fairly nice. I rather like the strong approach White Gardenia Petals chose to take. At its base is a clean white musk which makes me think White Gardenia Petals might work really well as a luxury soap.

Extra: By now, I think we all know why and who wore White Gardenia Petals. I’m no expert on fashion or trends. I’m certainly no expert on the Royals. All I know is, this stuff had a very nice, balanced projection in my opinion so Katherine Middleton must have had quite the gardenia-scented aura. White Gardenia Petals can be purchased on LuckyScent and Illuminum’s Website.

Design: Designed in much the same way as the other Illuminum fragrances. I’m starting to wonder if these things have gotten to me or what because I find their design a little more pleasant now than I did initially. It’s still functional, though not my favorite look by any means.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Bergamot, cassis, gardenia, ylang-ylang, jasmine, woods.

I actually quite liked White Gardenia Petals for what it is. It was plainly simple, but in a nice way. It’s not my favorite gardenia, but it’s not a bad interpretation and I think I’m a little biased because I just had a gardenia I loved in Hothouse Flower. Otherwise, this was quite nice.

Reviewed in This Post: White Gardenia Petals, 2012, Eau de Parfum.

Disclaimer: The fragrance reviewed in this post was provided to me for free for the purposes of review. In no other way am I receiving pay or compensation for this review. This review was written based upon my personal experiences and opinions of the product.

Ineke Hothouse Flower

As I went through the list of FiFi Indie nominees, my eyes caught on Hothouse Flower by Ineke as the information was transmitted into my brain which made my hand shoot into the box of samples in my desk drawer. Hothouse Flower was a fragrance I had intended to save for spring, but with its name coming up on the nominees list, I couldn’t help the curiosity.

Hothouse Flower

Hothouse Flower

In Bottle: Green and floral, lots of gardenia but smells like dew dappled gardenia.

Applied: Hothouse Flower reminds me of days where the rain only lightly mists everything. It’s fresh and green like the smell you get when you pinch a leaf. The gardenia is very present, but it works well with the greenness and the freshness. It’s tame, not crazy or overpowering. I don’t smell much of the tea, but there’s a small mention of incense in the fragrance. The scent ages with a more noticeable cypress but always remains true to that lovely, green gardenia. Very nice, conjures up beautiful images of tall trees, pretty flowers and dew–just the kind of imagery I could fall in love with.

Extra: Ineke Ruhland is an independent perfumer operating out of San Fransisco. Hothouse Flower was released in 2012 and found its way to my desk drawer via a friend’s recommendation.

Design: Nice, simple packaging. Cylindrical vessel with nice elements etched on glass with a tasteful, equally simple cap. Nothing glaring, nothing too obvious, just plain old good work.

Fragrance Family: Soliflore

Notes: Earl grey tea, leaves, cypress, gardenia, galbanum, fig, frankincense, guaiac wood, corn silk, musk.

After experiencing Hothouse Flower, I want to go out of my way to get more of it thanks to the imagery it inspires. Or, better yet, get my hands on more house samples. Best of luck to Ineke Ruhland in the FiFi awards.

Reviewed in This Post: Hothouse Flower, 2012, Eau de Parfum.

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Up until about a year ago, and thanks to a friend with an Etsy shop, I wouldn’t have known what a black tourmaline was. Olivier Durbano apparently has a gemstone inspired line of fragrances of which Black Tourmaline is a member of.

Black Tourmaline

Black Tourmaline

In Bottle: Dark, smoky with a lather of leather and woods. Very dry and reminiscent of fallen autumn leaves and incense.

Applied: A bit of spice that darkens the instant the leather and oud rolls in. There’s a heady incense note that takes over after the initial spray and makes me think of leaves and autumn with its spicy, smoky woodsiness. The leather is well-behaved, it adds a bit of complexity to the fragrance without distracting from the rest of it. I get mostly incense with a bit of spice and plenty of woods. Very lovely, very complex and things get better as the scent continues to dry down as it takes on a warm mossy bit that adds to its spice and incense.

Extra: Tourmaline is this beautiful semi-precious stone that comes in a wide variety of colors. There’s some spiritual and healing properties that some people affix to it, but I prefer to look at it in a strictly scientific sense. Black Tourmaline, the fragrance was released in 2007 and is still available today on Luckyscent.

Design: A tall, square bottle. Not the easiest to hold or use, but not the worst, by far. Its simple design wins some major points from me as does the beautiful (and appropriate) color of the juice. Nice overall presentation.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Woodsy

Notes: Cardamom, coriander, cumin, frankincense, pepper, oud, leather, woods, musk, amber, moss, patchouli.

Strangely enough, I had been harboring some hidden love of rocks and gemstones that Black Tourmaline has resparked. As if the gardening I had taken up in my off hours wasn’t distracting enough.

Reviewed in This Post: Black Tourmaline, 2008, Eau de Parfum.

My Kingdom for a Candle

My candle obsession comes in waves, and I have the lack of choice and awareness of candles to thank for that. Most of my collection comprises of Bath and Body Works candles of varying degrees of fruity florally-ness. The rest is a perplexing medley of luxury candles that I use sparingly. And after about the hundredth time, lighting up B&BW’s Eucalyptus Spearmint candle, I decided it was time I gathered the old collection together and assess my candle needs.

Cire Trudon Candle

Cire Trudon Candle

One of my favorite candles of all time is aforementioned, Bath and Body Works’ Eucalyptus Spearmint. Of which, they must have realized was very popular because the last time I bought one, it was in a beautiful frosted glass container. Now it sits in a uniform, rather boring, clear glass container with a metal lid like their other candles. They also have a much larger line-up of products. I found myself somewhat intimidated by all the Eucalyptus Spearmint-scented products and decided I might file away the candle for now.

Another of my favorites was a pricy little piece from Diptyque. Their Chevrefeuille Honeysuckle candle brings a smile to my face and a nice, pleasant creamy honeyed scent to the home. I love coming out of the shower and getting a big whiff of Chevrefeuille. What I don’t like is the price tag. At $60.00 for a candle, I find it difficult to even take the thing out and use it most of the time.

Cire Trudon is another one of those candle makers with beautiful candles and crazy prices. Their Pondichery candle is one of my favorites. Lovely crisp and fresh scent, nice projection and the packaging looks great sitting anywhere. It’s a bit difficult to find their candles unless you head to a higher end department store, and when you do the price tag hurts even more than Diptyque’s candles.

What I wouldn’t give for a beautiful, less expensive version of Pondichery or Chevrefeuille. I’m tired of Eucalyptus Spearmint. So if anyone has any candle suggestions, I am all ears!

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

I want to believe that we aren’t smack-dab in the middle of January and that it’s going to be summer soon and I’ll have time to build that planter box I always wanted in the backyard to start a vegetable garden. But the truth is, we are smack-dab in the middle of January and to ease the winter blues a little, I tested out Bronze Goddess that Undina from Undina’s Looking Glass very kindly sent me.

Bronze Goddess

Bronze Goddess

In Bottle: Coconut, with a smooth floral and a hint of jasmine. Very nice and very summery. Just what I wanted.

Applied: Coconut top note with a lovely citrus backing it up. The citrus mellows out as does a lovely soft jasmine note flows in. The coconut is taken away from bubbly, girly, silly coconut scents and given this grown-up edge that reminds me of something expensive and the jasmine with the tiare notes really help give it that sophisticated feel. I get the suntan oil comparisons some people have for this, but suntan oil tends to be more one-dimensional and Bronze Goddess definitely has more going on than coconut. Bronze Goddess reminds me of clean, fresh linens, coconut, and a tropical holiday. It dries down with a more mellow coconut note and a classy white musk with sandalwood that keeps the fragrance away from “teenaged girl coconut” and more in the territory of “grown-ups coconut”, heck, I almost smell the salty sea air and the beach sand in this.

Extra: Bronze Goddess was an Estee Lauder limited edition and disappeared in 2011. If you want to get your hands on a bottle, some discounters still carry it, eBay has it, but otherwise, you might have to wait and see if Estee Lauder brings it back at some point.

Design: Simple and lovely. The design has this tropical, summer, beach vibe to it that’s very appropriate. It’s clean and bells and whistles free with a warm color palette. Just the way I like it.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Mandarin, bergamot, jasmine, tiare, orange blossom, magnolia, myrrh, amber, vetiver, caramel, coconut, sandalwood.

I really like Bronze Goddess. It is the quintessential smell of summer and the tropics to me. It’s light, it’s pretty, and it makes me happy! What doesn’t make me happy is the fact that it’s discontinued and really needs to make a comeback.

Reviewed in This Post: Bronze Goddess, 2011, Eau Fraiche.

Dog Perfume, What?

I have a friend, well-meaning, if somewhat misguided who was taking care of a particularly rank dog. The evidence of the smell itself inspired me to advise said friend on multiple occasions to take his dog to the vet when he proclaimed he had no idea why Sparky smelled so bad.

One day, said friend asked me if they made perfumes for dogs–you know, because they make perfume for everybody and everything else. And, he reasons, everything else is scented and the dog was smelling worse and worse. Sparky, to his credit, gave my friend a big floppy dog smile and wagged his tail at the suggestion that he tried some Eau de Mutt.

Perfumes for pets exist. I didn’t tell my friend this because there are a few things I don’t believe in scenting: New born babies and animals being two of those things. It didn’t surprise me much that pet perfume or fragrances formulated for pets exist out there. What did surprise me was that anyone would spray perfume on their pets to begin with–and often times, these people wouldn’t think twice about squirting Fido with a bottle of Britney Spears Fantasy, never mind a supposed specially formulated pet fragrance.

Now, I’ve never had the urge to spray down my canines or felines with scent whether it was made for them or not. Here’s why: your dogs and cats have a significantly keener sense of smell than you do. My dog could smell coconut oil whenever I moisturized my hands with it. To me, the coconut oil didn’t smell like anything. Imagine how strong perfume smells in the bottle and magnify that by 100x. Imagine that time someone who bathed in fragrance walked by you and it felt like they were ramming their perfume down your throat and that’s why I wouldn’t spray my pet with perfume.

While you might appreciate smelling like your juice of choice, Fido probably wouldn’t like it much on himself. It’ll likely irritate his nose, possibly irritate his skin, annoy him, and who knows what else. Perhaps the adverse effects could be even more serious. Besides, a fruity floral scented dog just sounds silly to me.

So please, keep the perfume off of your pets.

As for what was wrong with Sparky? Turns out he needed some dental work done and a good bath after a trip to the vet. Now he smells like a dog should. No perfume would have solved that.

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb

Considering the complete lack of flowers in Viktor & Rolf’s very popular, Flowerbomb, I had to try out Spicebomb to see if it lived up to its name.



In Bottle: In short, no, this isn’t a spice bomb. It’s rather pleasant though, sweet and warm with a hint of spiciness.

Applied: Initial spray of bergamot that settles into a sweet cinnamon candy scent that makes me think Spicebomb is taking the same “bomb” approach as Flowerbomb. Which also leads me to think Viktor & Rolf’s idea of a bang is something sugary. The fragrance ages into a more mature spice as I keep wearing it, but it never shakes the sweetness that it gathers in the top notes. The scent takes on a stronger cinnamon and peppery scent as it flows into its end stage with a wilting smoky tobacco scent and a bit of synthetic-smelling leather. Over all, I’m not all that impressed, but the longevity was fairly good, giving me a decent ten hours of wear.

Extra: If you were wondering what the elemi note listed below is, it is a resin from a tree. I didn’t get much resin from this.

Design: The shape is somewhat reminiscent of Flowerbomb, given more angles and straight edges to appeal to a more masculine audience, I guess. I don’t really like it and think this particular depiction is a bit lame. Sorry, Viktor & Rolf.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Leather

Notes: Bergamot, grapefruit, pink pepper, elemi, saffron, cinnamon, pepper, paprika, vetiver, tobacco, leather.

Spicebomb failed to impress me in numerous ways. The fact that it started out sweet and reminded me of a more gourmand Flowerbomb didn’t really help matters either.

Reviewed in This Post: Spicebomb, 2012, Eau de Toilette.

Scented New Years Resolutions

I didn’t set any goals with relation to perfume last year, but there were a few things I never got around to in 2012 that I’d like to try and accomplish in 2013 with relation to my New Years Resolutions.



1) Get a hold of a vintage Guerlain Shalimar. I’ve wanted one for the longest time. I especially think the bottle is beautiful and I’ve put it off long enough.

2) Try more Aftelier fragrances. I loved the few I did try, but I haven’t been anywhere near close to¬† the full range.

3) Try more from the Histoires de Parfums line. I know it’s a gimmick, but I love the gimmick and I liked what I already tried.

4) Revisit Soivohle. It’s been too long since I had anything from this house.

5) Get back into the habit of wearing something every day. I’ve been somewhat slacking this past year, sometimes going days without trying any scent or wearing any scent. I always felt like it was a wasted opportunity on the days I went without.

6) Visit the Guerlain boutique and see what shiny new things they have there.

Those should be easy enough to do. In truth, my News Years Resolutions list is mighty long for 2013 so in addition to the six above, I’ve got quite a lot of work to do. In the mean time, we’ll back to a regular schedule next week.