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. And 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. Not only damp gardenia, but lavender and (lots of) bergamot contribute to the fresh, watery feeling. 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 mostly simply of gardenia. But up close and with more attention given to it, it smells of the deconstruction of gardenia that I’ve tried to describe.
The fragrance gets earthier and more mineralic as it dries down on my skin, but mostly maintains the subtle complexity of the opening rather than making a complete transition over the course of the day. The official notes are lavendar, bergamot, Italian mandarin, gardenia jasminoides-citriodora duo, genet absolute, vetivert, and oakmoss.
Sample of Boutonniere No. 7 was provided by Arquiste. As always, reviews are not compensated, and my opinions are honest and my own. Information on my review policies is on the Media & Disclosure page.