I saw Illuminum White Gardenia Petals Eau de Parfum ($140 or $190) at LuckyScent and was captured by the description. I fell in love with it after its arrival, even though it's not at all what I expected.
As fragrant as a vase of white flowers, quivering in the breeze by an open window, this is a delicate and refined perfume. The top note of lily evokes a tropical seaside location, while the heart notes of white gardenia, muguet, and jasmine bring a trio of white flowers into play. Amber wood underscores this light and capricious bouquet.
With lilies, gardenia, and jasmine in the blend, I anticipated a sweet and possibly heavy white floral. The description did give me a hint that White Gardenia Petals is light, but I didn't pick up on that at the time. I focused on the notes. Additionally, I can't imagine why lilies would evoke a tropical seaside.
At first spray, White Gardenia Petals is fresh, effervescent, and citrusy or green to my nose. As the fragrance dries down, it develops into a refreshing light, soft white flower scent. I read on one site that there is ylang ylang among the notes, and that makes sense to me in its opening. Others detect coconut, but I don't smell that beachy note at all.
During the eight hours it lasts on my skin, there is never an intoxicating live gardenia scent - one that I love. If the scent comes from the petals, they were detached from the flower long before the perfume was made. I have many gardenia-based fragrances, and this one isn't similar to any of them. It does remind me of my beloved Aqua Universalis. I'm not sure why because lily of the valley appears to be the only note in common. Regardless, the fragrance is delightful. Since I ordered it unsniffed, I was thrilled to love it.
White Gardenia Petals lasts eight hours on my skin. It exits with a soft musky refinement that is comfortable. I can detect white flowers through all phases of wear, although no one note takes the lead. I never experience the same intoxicated sensation I have when I stick my nose in a blooming gardenia plant. I've read that others have swooned over the gardenia in White Gardenia Petals, so who knows? I can tell you what I do smell: a light floral that's different from my others. It's elegant and understated.
Illuminum was founded in 2010 by Michael Boadi, a former celebrity and runway hair stylist, who decided to pursue his love of fragrance. The line features minimal, expertly crafted perfumes, each of which is restricted to eight ingredients - whittled down to the bare essentials to conjure a purity faithful to its origins. Constructed using the finest essences and extracts, the fragrances take their inspiration from geography, history, flora, and fauna. The Illuminum regular collection is comprised of four color families: floral, citrus, musk, and oud. Within these families, there are fragrances that are delicate and ethereal and robust and pungent. It make sense to me that I chose delicate and ethereal for my first Illuminum purchase. Now I have to decide what's next. Any recommendations?
It has been reported by numerous media outlets that White Gardenia Petals was the perfume that Kate Middleton wore to her Royal Wedding, and it immediately sold out. Whether she wore it or not (another British line is claiming that distinction), I'm very pleased with White Gardenia Petals.
I bought mine at LuckyScent. You can order a sample for $4 if you aren't as willing to order an untried fragrance as I am.
Photo courtesy of LuckyScent