It is approaching the end of the teaching term now as the colder weather descends and I have done quite well, been fairly obedient (for me) in not wearing too much perfume. We are not allowed. And yet there are days when the scent of clean laundry detergents and the latest fruit fresh shampoos just won’t cut it. I at least need a furtive squirt of scent on my cuff-covered wrist. Just something to rise up during the day and affirm that I am there.

The other day I suddenly thought yes, a bit of Gardenia, why not. As I have previously written in my review of the eau de toilette, unlike many people,  I love this scent – its crisp, spiced piquancy, even its ‘safe’ aspects that worked quite delightfully throughout the day when I wore it last Thursday. That is what I love about Chanel: the construction, the science behind the art, the way that the scents, from the classics to the contemporaries, have a balanced and layered architecture that lingers and assures.


The parfum, a 28ml vintage bottle of which I found at a Tokyo antique arcade, housed in a glass cabinet chock full of old perfumes, was one of those treasures that I was so delighted to have found that I used half the bottle up in a couple of weeks. That hedonistic indulging in perfume where you just plunge in and USE and fill your head, sucking up the fumes. A gardenia, yes – the flowers; this a very different creature to the edt, very different indeed, one of those occasions where they are almost separate perfumes. The parfum, rich and textured,  is much closer to the smell of the real blooms than the eau de toilette, which only bears a very cursory resemblance. No, the extrait version is more thickly petalled; musked and velveted; sweeter and deeper: NARCOTIC.


I am about to jump in the shower, iron my shirt, and get ready for work. I wonder which one I will wear today….









Filed under Flowers


  1. Nancysg

    A “furtive squirt of scent on my cuff covered wrist” brings such a strong mental and emotional picture to me. So many men no longer have that crisp ironed cuff, let alone the ones with cuff links that I enjoy seeing. Do you wear cuff links?

    • Oh dear lord don’t get the wrong picture. I so wish I was that kind of old fashioned dandy, I really do (Duncan comes much much closer though, and does actually own cufflinks).

      No. I am a scumbag sartorially. Just white shirts. But ironed. And with perfume safely succumbed beneath.

  2. veritas

    and which one did you choose?

    • Mainly La Eau De Toilette. Not sure if it worked today, though.The thing is, the atmosphere is so dense with teenager and soy that when I get home my clothes completely stink. What the hell is the point?

  3. janeykate

    My mum has always worn gardenia perfumes. One of my earliest memories is of her dressed in midnight blue velvet and pearls with the scent of gardenia trailing in her wake. I can’t remember where she was going that evening, but I can remember the softness of her dress and the scent of gardenia. I had a short stay in hospital recently, and as I was coming out of the anaesthetic, I knew my mum was there because I caught the scent of her perfume. It was hugely comforting even in my half awake state! Jane x

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