Spending one’s Saturday afternoons poking around perfume blogs and websites brings one to a small and perhaps completely obvious conclusion. Many perfumers and perfume lovers alike are also gardeners. This makes sense when I think of it, that a love of fragrance might be born out of a love of nature and the bounty of odours within. Or perhaps having a living reference to hand is useful when attempting to evoke through scent a childhood memory of long summer nights and fragrant breezes. OR, maybe we’re all just natural hedonists for whom the feel of one’s hands in wet soil or the sun on bare skin is just as irresistible as any foray into gluttony or lust.
All of the above?
I have neither a green thumb, nor a garden in which to put it to work. My personal smellscape is limited to the urban, the gourmet and the grotesque. To my knowledge, I have never smelled a gardenia. So, when I sat down to write this piece, I found myself at the mercy of the Royal Horticultural Society via Google. On the subject of gardenia, they have this to say: “(Gardenias are) grown for their attractive foliage and highly scented showy flowers. (They are) often considered to be difficult.”
Attractive, highly scented and possibly difficult could easily apply to Andy Tauer’s latest release, Gardenia Sotto La Luna. To be fair, you could apply the same to most of his fragrances and you wouldn’t be lying. They are not fragrances for the faint of heart, nor do they make small talk. They should only be sprayed when you’re in the mood to listen.
Gardenia gets straight to the point as it takes the stage. This is a heady, intense floral with no aldehydes or bergamot to soften its seductive message. The flower is laid over a creamy base of tonka and vanilla, which peek through its spicy facets of gingerbread and clove from start to finish. But lest you thought you were getting a freshly baked confection, warm from the over, you should also know that this gardenia always keeps its feet planted firmly in the more earthly scents of overripe banana and tiny mushrooms pushing through the forest floor.
There is a telling scene in Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises in which Montoya, the bullfighting aficionado and hotel proprietor, walks into a bar in search of the young bullfighter Pedro Romero and finds him:
“with a big glass of cognac in his hand, sitting between (Jake) and a woman with bare shoulders, at a table full of drunks. He did not even nod.”
Sotto La Luna Gardenia is that bare-shouldered woman, Lady Brett Ashley. Nominally an upstanding fragrance that you could introduce to your grandmother, but ready (and more importantly, willing) to fulfil your most carnal urges behind closed doors. Or, as that noted 21st century philosopher Usher noted in his 2004 treatise entitled Yeah!, “a lady in the street but a freak in the bed!”
The Fine Print: Sample sourced from Les Senteurs
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