A flower growing alone may not smell differently than one growing in a garden, but I do think there are fragrances that suggest a flower in a landscape that is otherwise sparse of flora. L’Air du Desert Marocain by Tauer, Iris Silver Mist by Maurice Roucel for Serge Lutens, and En Passant by Olivia Giacobetti for Frederic Malle are a few. So is Rodrigo Flores-Roux’s new gardenia soliflore for Arquiste, Boutonniere No. 7.
Gardenias have a reputation for being intoxicating and indolic. Beautiful, but the downside of all that heady beauty is that the flowers can smell overblown (i.e., as if they’ve gone off). In avoiding this, some perfumes take gardenia into greener, cut-wet-flower territory (Marc Jacobs by Steve Demercado and Loc Dong) or clean it up and smack it down somewhere on a spectrum that extends from elegant (Opardu by Annie Buzantian for Puredistance) to prim to uptight (Gardenia by Ernest Beaux for Chanel).
Boutonniere No. 7 tends toward the fresh, green, cut-wet-flower feeling at first. It introduces not only damp gardenia, but lavender and (lots of) bergamot. But edgier notes are featured too. To my nose there are hints of wet glue, licorice, and a mineralic/earthy combination that suggests cold metal, wet pavement, and dirt all at once. Despite how it may sound, Boutonniere No. 7 isn’t weird or unsettling. The sillage smells nicely and simply of gardenia. Up close, it smells of the deconstruction of gardenia that I’ve tried to describe. Definitely an interesting and unique fragrance.
Sample of Boutonniere No. 7 was provided by Arquiste. Reviews are never compensated, and posts are never sponsored. See my Media & Disclosure policy for details.