Gardenia fragrances ~ a few more to consider


Following up on yesterday's article about Kai, here are a few more gardenia fragrances worth considering:

Monyette Paris: Another perfume oil, this one with gardenia, lily of the valley and nag champa incense. This is creamier and sweeter than Kai, and when worn right next to each other, the Monyette smells very much like vanilla sugar with a hint of incense and a dollop of suntan oil. Very beachy and tropical. I prefer Kai, but if Kai is too green for you, Monyette may be what you are looking for.

Creative Scentualization Perfect Gardenia: A very sweet gardenia with a touch of vanilla and musk. None of Kai's greenery, none of Monyette's nag champa, just a basic, sweet gardenia. Too plain for my taste, but might be nice for layering.

Chanel Gardenia: A lovely fragrance, but it only smells like gardenia to me for a very short while, after that, it is a dewy jasmine with a bit of orange blossom and tuberose. Worth trying, but probably won't satisfy you if you are looking for lots of gardenia.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Essense oils: Bonnie has the same notes as Monyette, but is drier and smells more like incense to me. I prefer it over Monyette personally. Gardenia is a basic gardenia with a hint of green, reasonably true to the flower but not at all heavy or cloying. Sweet Gardenia is a tropical beach scent with coconut. It smells like a creamy, sweet suntan oil with floral undertones. Spicy Gardenia is an interesting scent, meant to mimic vintage gardenia perfumes. It is very rich and lush, and has the best lasting power of the DSH gardenia scents I tried.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Parfum de Beaux Arts: Nouveau Gardenia has bergamot and mimosa top notes, and a musk and sandalwood base. This is a pretty scent, and more delicate than any of the Essense oils, although that may be because I am trying the Eau de Parfum version rather than the oil. It has a fresh, summery feel that is reminiscent of Kai, but without the heavy green notes. Not terribly long lasting.

I have already reviewed Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia. Marc Jacobs and Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion are also worth a try, but I haven't smelled either in such a long time that I cannot comment on them.

Have I missed anything wonderful? Please comment!

Note: image is Gardenia 1 by chidorian at flickr; some rights reserved.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello R! Thanks for the reviews. I love Chanel Gardenia because it is easy to wear and pretty. I am an orange blossom kinda woman so love it. Have tested Monyette a while ago – nice but I did not want to buy it. The others have not tested so rather ignorant here.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I like Bonnie much better than Monyette too–it's not so caramelly sweet.

  3. Anonymous says:

    NST, this will make me dig out my Chanel Gardenia parfum, for sure. As far as I'm concerned there is no true gardenia fragrance (bottled)–they're either way overdone and loud (Monyette) or lovely, but no gardenia (Chanel's). That deep, transporting, sensual velvetiness of the flower is in a class all by itself. Sniff.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey N, Just remembered the Isabey Gardenia which I should have included. Will do it next week. What did you think of it?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yep, exactly.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I can only imagine the parfum is far, far better than what I've tried…although come to think of it I'm not sure what I've tried except that it certainly wasn't parfum.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I have to agree with L–I have not found a single gardenia fragrance that actually captures the true beauty of the flower. All are so disappointing that I shy away from anything that calls itself Gardenia. One would think that with the current head space technology, etc. they would be able to replicate the scent well… However, I do not suppose that the NSF funding goes for those types of projects. Alas!

    Now, I adore Chanel Gardenia, even though it is a gross misnomer. It smells like a perfect blend of radiant orange blossom and dew drenched jasmine, and I just cannot get enough of it. Even EDT is beautiful. Dear N layers hers with La Chasse, and it is a perfect combination.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, R, I've never smelled any of these! In fact, the only gardenia frag I know for sure I've smelled is Marc Jacobs, which does nothing for me. So I don't know whether I like gardenia or not… N

  9. Anonymous says:

    Thank you again and I will test this very soon – it smells lovely from the bottle! :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Darling V! It was such a great layering accident and it is my way of enjoying La Chasse as it gives it some depth!


  11. Anonymous says:

    N, Personally, I am not looking for a “true” gardenia scent. I find the flower lovely from a distance, but unbearable up close….it is just too strong. Kai is really the only one I wear on any regular basis, because it is so much lighter & greener than the real thing.

    Can hardly remember MJ, so I suppose it didn't do anything for me either ;-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ooo! I'm not a fan of Kai but I adore Monyette Paris and will now have to seek out DSH Bonnie.

    Perfect Gardenia was much too sweet for me. I remember liking Marc Jacobs in theory, but it wasn't “me”.

    Do you know if Child has gardenia in it at all? When I tried Kai I couldn't help comparing it to Child, and for me Kai suffered in the comparison. Although really, the two are not very similar when I think about it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hi Badger, I think Child is mostly pikake. It smells tropical like Kai, but not really of gardenia so far as I can remember.

    If you adore Monyette, wondering if the Bonnie will seem like a tamer copy? I like it better mainly because it isn't as sweet. It is probably cheaper too, although I didn't think to check.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Coty's Jungle Gardenia is an interesting drug store fragrance that I used to wear as a teenager and was pretending to be a blowzy Elizabeth Taylor. Five years ago I went to the London Jo Malone store and bought the original Gardenia cologne and body lotion, and I liked the body lotion a lot but only used up 1/5th of the cologne because it was just too overwhelming. Like the Red Roses lotion and body cream, the Gardenia lotion was potent enough to wear on its own. I don't know if the VGWCAM has replaced the original Gardenia in the London shops.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Jungle Gardenia sounds like a blowzy Elizabeth Taylor! And now Liz Taylor has her own Gardenia, which I keep seeing in TJ Maxx.

    I am pretty sure the original JM Gardenia is discontinued.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Love the flower and scent, but not really to wear…speaking of La Liz, her Gardenia is worthy!

  17. Anonymous says:

    What a great list! Chanel Gardenia was not my cup of tea, sadly.

    Ruth: I am using your blog to keep up on all the updates in fragances. (just for your information…no pressure, ok??)

    Thanks for all your wonderful information.

    All best,


  18. Anonymous says:

    Gigi by Lulu Beauty is the gardenia I'm currently obsessed with, and is my fave. And I'm all alone in my obessession. (I suppose everyone's patience is quite tried by my constant declarations of love for it.) I find Monyette a bit overmuch somehow, and I've not tried the others you mention…. I must get around to trying those DSHs now!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Will have to try it — so far, it is not one of the already-opened-and-tested bottles at TJ Maxx, and I don't like to try them unless someone has already ruined the bottle ;-)

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thanks B!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Have never tried anything by Lulu Beauty! Who is selling samples of those?

  22. Anonymous says:

    I don't know, sorry! Does have a sample program?

    I've got three of their scents, Gigi, Lulu Mae, and Marlena. All are quite nice, but Gigi is a really tender beauty, and particularly stands out as a piece of art. Lulu Mae is a lovely freesia and skin musk scent, and Marlena is an earthy cinnamon bombshell type frag, but since it's parfum oil, it has little sillage. Moreover, Marlena is too similar to Galimard's Galimar, and I really prefer the depth and no-holds-barred character of the Galimar. I am still trying to track down someone who has tried the Billie (named after Lady Day and is another gardenia). I'm willing to wait to see if I can get an opinion on it, but I think I may give in and risk getting it eventually. Lulu Beauty is connected with Olivine Atelier.

    I love your description of those DSHs. Now I'll have to add those to my entirely too long list of things to seek out for a sniff… and I'll have to get over my hesitancy to order only samples.

    I got my Jeanne Arthes in the post yesterday, btw.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Ok, I am adding Lulu Beauty and Jeanne Arthes to my list. Haven't tried the Galimards either. It never ends!!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Marc Jacobs – I occasionally enjoy the “Hair Shine” version. Along with gardenia, it has watery notes (which I normally hate. nicely done here, though) and a bit of coconut to my nose.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I will have to try the MJ again. I didn't know there was a “hair shine” — will look for it!

  26. Anonymous says:

    I enjoy the hair shine because it's subtler and “quieter” than the 'fume. I usually can't handle big big heady florals wafting off my skin. My husband adores this scent.

  27. Anonymous says:

    What a lovely article. I am a huge fan of gardenia, and of the gardenia perfumes mentioned, I particularly love Monyette. I wore Chanel Gardenia for a long while, too. I like my white florals sweet and creamy–Kai is way too green and soapy for me. I can't smell Creative Scentualization Gardenia too well–it's as if the molecules slip away from under my nose. I must try the DSH gardenias soon. I didn't care for Jo Malone's first Gardenia which was never sold here but only in the UK, but I haven't tried the new Vintage one. That's all I could think of writing about gardenias for now.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I can't go without mentioning To Twirl All Girly. This is a melon-coconut-gardenia with a slight incense-like feeling, a sort of Monyette light.

  29. Anonymous says:

    i really like annick goutal's gardenia passion- – a very green and not too cloying gardenia. alas, ag has problems with staying power. still . . i love it. i also used to like body shop's “indian gardenia” perfume oil. i don't think they make it anymore, but it was very inexpensive and a sparkling gardenia with lily of the valley and *gorgeous* sandalwood in the drydown. anyone know if they still make it? cheers

  30. Anonymous says:

    S, thanks, I haven't tried To Twirl All Girly. Perfect name for a gardenia fragrance!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Indian Gardenia sounds lovely. I don't know if they still make it, but TBS doesn't seem to keep fragrances around for long these days. I will take a peek next time I'm in the mall.

  32. Anonymous says:


    so what is a good Gardenia scent if I want a little spice with added to the gardenia perfume

    or just have the scent left alone?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hi Thelma, Welcome! For “the scent left alone”, try the DSH Gardenia (just plain Gardenia) mentioned above. For spice, use the search box on the right column to see the review for Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia, it might suit you.

    I have samples of several more Gardenias (Isabey, Floris, and Pas-Simple) and hope to post about those soon.

  34. Anonymous says:

    FYI, I rec'd an email notice today from Crabtree & Evelyn announcing that they were discontinuing their gardenia, which I've never tried.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much, will post about that tomorrow!

  36. Anonymous says:

    I am trying to find out the circa and value of an old Isabey-Gardenia bottle that I own. Would anybody know a resource to check it out? I did go io Panouge site(

    the company in Paris that has the rights to the re-formulation of Isabey-Gardenia and have created a LIMITED (1500) Pearl Bottle-simulated original packaging but have not recieved a response. Can anyone help me?

    Thx, JusMeLP

  37. Anonymous says:

    Best resource I know is:

    Good luck!

  38. Anonymous says:

    I'd say about 1925. I consider Les Senteurs an auhtority on fragrance and this is what it says on their website:

    Gardenia by Isabey

    The original 1925 luxury floral fragrance which set the trend for the gardenia craze of the Art Deco age. Exotically boxed and packaged in a square gilded bottle GARDENIA offers a sumptuous bouquet of creamy blossoms perfect for the belle of the Christmas ball. Soft, glamorous and incredibly long-lasting. 'The Rembrant of Gardenia Scents..'

  39. Anonymous says:

    Estee Lauder's Tuberose Gardenia is the closest perfume I've found with a true gardenia scent. All of the others smell like Tuberose which I love, so I don't mind, but Estee Lauder's Tuberose Garenia really smells like gardenias. I LOVE it.

  40. Anonymous says:

    The new EL is a wonderful scent, agreed!

  41. Anonymous says:

    DSH has changed Bonnie's name to Everesse, which is good to know in case anyone wants to order it, but have you tried DSH's Giardini Segreti? Dawn Told me that people describe it as “Fracas' gardenia cousin”, whereas Fracas is Tuberose with a little gardenia and GIardini Segreti is Gardenia with a little tuberose, but when I read the notes of this scent it doesn't seem like it could be like Fracas. She said it is very gardenia smeliing. Have you tried it? I know I have written to you alot today. I think i'm done. You have become my new perfume guru, cause we like the same scents and I agree with everything you say.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I have tried GS, surprisingly (have not tried most of the DSH line). But it was quite some time ago, and did not take detailed notes — just wrote that it was a pretty floral blend, so I'm not going to be any big help. To my mind, nothing beats Fracas so why try :-)

  43. Anonymous says:

    I must say Chanel Gardenia is unique among the Chanel perfumes. It is lighter without being too light, it has a wonderful floral esscence about it that is great for day wear.

    Sadly this perfume can't be found at perfume counters. Luckily a friend got me a gift of it off Ebay a couple years ago and it is one of my fav Chanel perfumes. I highly recommend it!


  44. Anonymous says:

    It is lovely. I don't know if it is exported to the US these days, but it can be purchased from Chanel in Paris I'm told.

  45. Anonymous says:

    They have it at the Chanel Boutiques. Here are 2 of them:

    Calif. 714 754 7455

    NY 212 355 5050

    They also have it at some Dillards. I was in Dillards last week trying on lipstick and asked if they had it, “knowing ” they wouldn't and to my surprise there was a tester there and the woman told me it can only be gotten only in certain Dillards, but she could order it for me. She even went on the computer to see which stores had it in and how many left they had. It is only $55. So try to order it from your local Dillards or the Chanel Boutiques.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I think I read on MUA very recently that the Chanel boutiques in the US won't be restocking it once it runs out. Of course, you know how that is! One SA might have been wrong.

  47. Anonymous says:

    i think i read somewhere here, that yves rocher “pur desir de gardenia” is one of the best gardenia scents and smells just like the flower. then i went to MUA and someone there also said the same thing, and although it was very inexpensive, it was her HG of gardenia scents. going on those two reviews, i ordered it “scent unsniffed”, being that it was an inexpensive risk, and they were right. it smells just like a fresh gardenia. this is now my favorite gardenia fragrance. it is one of the few that doesn't smell at all like tuberose (which i also love), but when i want a pure gardenia scent, this is it. my perfume arsenal is filled with high end, expensive vials, and this $20 bottle is right in there with them as one of my favorites.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, I've heard it's really nice & will have to see if I can get some next time I do a YR order. Waiting (impatiently) for the US YR site to get the new iris scent!

  49. Anonymous says:

    I have a a few questions. The Perfumed Court sells Chanel Gardenia Parfum. Since the new one only comes in edt, Is that the older version that was discontinued? They also say “there is actually no gardenia in this scent but is a floral composed to be reminiscent of gardenia”, yet it has top notes of absolutes of jasmine, gardenia, orange blossom, and tuberose, others. How can it have absolute gardenia top notes if there is no gardenia in it? Are the notes just what it smells like rather than what is actually in it? Does the new one have gardenia in it? Thank you, Sharon

  50. Anonymous says:

    My understanding, and bear in mind that I'm not positive, is that it is still sold in extrait in Paris, also, it was available here in extrait until fairly recently, so their stock would still be reasonably “fresh” either way.

    And quite so, gardenia cannot be extracted using any of the old fashioned methods, although I assume that in modern times it can be replicated using headspace technology (?) Either way, lists of notes bear no relation to the actual aroma materials in the scent, so yes, they reflect what the PR people think it smells like or want you to think it smells like, and as far as I know, Chanel Gardenia has not been massively reformulated so no, it would not have any “real” gardenia in it. And nor do most “gardenia” perfumes.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Robin, I knew you would know. I have never smelled the original, is it similar to the edt? Are the notes the same?

  52. Anonymous says:

    I'm going to be no help, I haven't smelled the new one! I don't think they changed the “official notes”, but that doesn't mean they didn't reformulate it. I do understand that all of the Rue Cambon scents (Gardenia, Bois des Iles & Cuir de Russie) in the new Les Exclusifs collection are thought to be reasonably respectful editions. Or, I should say, reasonably respectful of what they were just before, not of the *real originals*. Gardenia was already reformulated & relaunched in the 1990s, and I've never smelled true vintage Chanel Gardenia.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robin. I've found my signature fragrance at last :) , but it is Guerlain's Cruel Gardenia and the price I cannot afford. :( I got a sample before I knew how much it costs, so apparently I have expensive tastes! It”s also is a Skin scent on me. Is that right?- you can smell it all day but no one else can unless they are very close. Why did the man who wrote one of the perfume books say it should say, “sucker, sucker, sucker” with every spray. It has got so many respectable reviews. I feel sad.

    The other reason is that it is a little to light for everyday; Perfect for a wedding though….mine!

    I agree about the monyette. Pretty, but too much, to heady.

    Since Black Gardenia (And Cruel Gardenia) where not launched at the beginning of this post. I was hoping you could some input on a gardenia fragrance that isn't heady or cloying. I will send off for some samples from above. But what do you think? An unheady gardenia with a more sensual dry-down. And what is wrong with Cruel Gardenia? I find something I finally adore and someone makes fun of it. I think it smells like angel skin. ” La pea ou Angles”

    Maybe you can suggest a little less expensive and muskier, woodier angel skin?



  54. Anonymous says:

    I'm so surprised that turned out to be your signature gardenia — I keep hearing it doesn't smell like gardenia (?) But I haven't smelled it, so can't say what's “wrong” with it, except that if you truly love it, I'd save your pennies and buy a bottle rather than looking for something else that won't make you as happy. Who cares if someone else hates it?

    Have you tried Chanel Gardenia or the Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia?

  55. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Robin. Why are you surprised? Although I find Bulgari Black strangely comforting, I am a floral gal at heart. You can only smell Cruel Gardenia on me if I'm practically intimate with someone. For an everyday scent, it is lacking any distinct sensuous musky, woody, or ambery base-note that I like. You heard correctly also- It doesn't smell like gardenia. A reviewer at Perfume Smelling Things said,”It smells like a flower that doesn't exist in nature, but it should”. So perhaps I don't like gardenias as much as I want to-even Kai is too cloying for me. C.G. is 80ml. for $230- a lot of pennies for this poor girl…maybe that's the *Cruel* part. I can't find the Chanel's notes listed on OsMoz. Where else can you find notes?… besides Chanel. they also said that Cruel Gardenia smells like a Chanel? I am intrigued.

    Thanks again for your unfailing sage advise,



  56. Anonymous says:

    As I said, was surprised just because I'd heard it didn't smell like Gardenia –but as you say, that wasn't your criteria. Chanel Gardenia in all truth is mostly jasmine, but it's lovely. Don't know where you'll find the notes though.

  57. Anonymous says:


    I'd really like to know if anyone has tried the new Eau de Parfum version of Monyette Paris and what the differences are between that one and the oil? Which one do you prefer in that case?


  58. Anonymous says:

    I haven't, sorry! You might check the reviews at MakeupAlley.

  59. toomuchjava says:

    I’ve been trying to remember the name of a beautiful gardenia fragrance (or at least that’s my recollection!) from the late ’70’s. I thought the name was something similar to Colonial Herbal Gardens, but since I can’t find anything similar to that name, I’m sure i”m remembering it incorrectly. It came in a very small bottle, and I believe the liquid was green. It had a pink floral label on it. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

    • Robin says:

      Sorry, doesn’t ring any bells for me.

  60. toomuchjava says:

    Thanks for trying, Robin!

  61. Wingfield says:

    My sample of Isabey Gardenia arrived in the post today and I must say I’m hugely disappointed. On me it smells like Vanderbilt that I used to wear when I was about 14 and oh so sophisticated (or so I thought). Still I suppose I’ve saved myself a fortune but ordering a sample first rather than a full size.

    • Robin says:

      So sorry you hated it, but as you said: $ saved, right?

  62. camia says:

    I went to my local Nordstrom to try Annick Goutal Gardenia Passion and found it disappointing–it’s more passion than gardenia, dark and elegant but not really for me since I was hoping for something more fresh and floral.

    • Robin says:

      It’s true, it isn’t a fresh floral scent. You might like their new Un Matin d’Orage better, although that one is not so heavy on the gardenia.

    • Kadi says:

      I also tried Gardenia passion and thought it was too green smelling. Too sharp and not enough floral

  63. lafisch says:

    Trish McEvoy No 4 (before it changed over to Sexy No 4, and even that is still good) BEAUTIFUL.

  64. Kadi says:

    I loved the Tuveche Jungle Gardenia of the 70;s I have never found anything close so I have created my own. I have a bottle of the real thing to compare it with and Mine is close to the same deep fragrance that the original had but the top note is different. I have had many good reviews on it. Not bad for a county girl just learning perfumery! It only took me 2 months of hard work trial and error to make me feel it was worth selling.

  65. Kadi says:

    With much more experimenting I have found the top note I was missing! I sold my first bottle to a lady in Texas who had a sample of the original and she said it is Very Very close and she loved it. I am pretty excited about getting the word out there to other Jungle Gardenia lovers. I have wanted to find something out there too but it was either too watered down or not quite the JG I remembered.

    • Robin says:

      Glad you succeeded!

  66. susanmarie8 says:

    I have been searching for a fragrance to replace Germain by Germaine Monteil ever since they stopped making it in the early 80s. Does anyone know of a parfume that is similar to Germaine?

  67. pstokes says:

    I have been searching for a fragrance that is close to Gardenia Bath Essence by Taylor of London. I wore it for many years and it’s since been discontinued. Does anyone know of this fragrance?

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