There is something alien about gardenias : the pallid translucence, the sensual coldness of their ardor. I love these flowers , they are in full bloom now ( these photos were taken just round the corner from our house ), but I know that I will never quite fully GRASP them.
I don’t think any perfumer truly has either. The closest I have come to smelling a photorealistic , bottled gardenia was in a Hawaiian soliflore – just gardenia, very lifelike – Gardenia by Royal Lei.
Miller Harris’ Secret Gardenia is a pleasant new variant on the theme, though it smells less natural – more ‘produced’. If tuberose is Diptyque’s ozonically wood-fresh, Hanoi raining courtyard-inspired Do Son, this is the London gardenia equivalent, married with the restrained Englishness of an unthreatening and easy to wear floral such as Floris’ Nightblooming Jasmine. Pear and ylang ylang grace the cool if full bodied demureness of gardenia : the whole generally quite pleasing, clean : coyly suggestive
17 responses to “SECRET GARDENIA by MILLER HARRIS (2019)”
The closest I ever smelled to a real gardenia, bottled, was Jeffrey Dames’ soliflore.
Yes I have heard great things about this one : what was the drydown like ?
Gardenia is so hard to capture. My favourite gardenia scent is SL Une Voix Noire, but it is not at all a soliflore.
Ooooo, I’m a gardenia fan! Gardenias were my mom’s favorite flower.
I’ll have to try the Miller Harris scent & Royal Lei. A recent favorite of mine is Pacifica’s Tahitian Gardenia. It is a surprisingly fresh gardenia with tea notes, I picked it up in a drugstore in Miami last summer and enjoyed wearing it throughout my trip.
I got your book a couple weeks ago and I’m so happy to have it. Your book is so vivid, so artfully written, so helpful. It’s been a wonderful companion and gone with me on numerous little trips. I’m newer to your blog but really happy to be here and to go through the archives I’ve previously missed.
I wanted to ask for your recommendation. I’m looking to begin perfumery after a lifelong fascination and a long time reflecting on this calling. I’m trying my best to figure out a personal course of study/research. So I’m looking to get a kit of single fragrance notes, but I’m not sure where to get a high quality kit like this. Would you have any suggestions on anywhere or anyone for this?
Oh, the idea of gardenias growing right around the corner! Sadly, we will never will experience that luxury here. I would never get tired of it. There is something unknowable about that bloom. I’d be paying that bush a daily visit just to try to unlock its secret(s).
I’ve given up on trying to find a gardenia that Ric likes better than Chanel’s. In a way, no real reason to bother anymore. Ah, the law of diminishing returns. I’ve already tried (meaning often blind-bought at some expense) so many that he has disliked: things I thought couldn’t fail to get his thumbs-up. The only other gardenias Ric really likes are Parfumerie Generale Gardenia Grand Soir, a grape-bubblegum-and-greens oddball I like too, but so hard to get here, and — crazy surprise — Jovan Island Gardenia, an eight-buck drugstore cheapy that has got a bit of a nice pina colada tropical drink vibe going on. Which goes a little way towards mitigating all the money spent chasing the others. I’m pretty sure Secret Gardenia, as attractive as you make it sound, would be another one to hit the reject pile. (Yes, of course I should go ahead and buy fragrance I like and not worry about Ric’s fickle nose, in principle. But since of the too-many bottles I already own Ric tolerates maybe 25-35%, I don’t relish seeing that figure go any higher!)
I mean lower. 😶
A partner’s revulsion can rarely be overlooked.
I have always been curious about Jungle Gardenia as I have never smelled it. I remember Gardenia Grand Soir – at least it was a bit different, but it never entirely grabbed me.
This perfume would be too Marc Jacobs for Ric.
“This perfume would be too Marc Jacobs for Ric.” Eight words say it all. Oh, you are brilliant, my darling N.
Just the closest reference ! X
Your gardenia pictures are beautiful. The first two are so lush they remind me of the stunning, carnal flowers Georgia O’ Keefe painted. My favorite gardenia perfume is from a small niche house, Pilar and Lucy. To Twirl All Girly. It’s very sensual and warm. The inspiration for it was that famous picture of Marilyn Monroe in that glamorous white dress, her skirt blowing up over the subway grate.
I hadn’t thought of the O’Keefe similarity, but you are spot on!
Thank you, I’m glad you see the similarity as well!
I love her work, particularly the flower paintings.
I love that idea – sounds like a rounded gardenia.
Re the pictures – I think when you hone in on the swirl, it can’t help but be a bit Keefe-ish. I like the calm of being inside the flower.
I have never smelt the Miller Harris Gardenia, I guess I never really got into their fragrances too much; even though I smelt all of them at Barney’s decades ago.
The only two gardenia scents I have had are Gardenia de Chanel and Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion, both of which are idealized versions of a gardenia. I have never smelt any scent that truly captures the divine essence of a real gardenia, although the Goutal does smell as if someone beautifully parfumed is wearing a gardenia in their hair.
If you think this one would be interesting for me, well I shall have to try and find it.
I don’t think so – I way prefer the two you mention here, both of which I own and wear. I might try a bit of Secret Gardenia on a soapy clean wrist at work when the sun comes back again, but it would be too bright and chemical for you, a bit 18-30 Wedding Resort.
I shall enjoy what I have.