Friday, July 30, 2021

Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia

 It was the bottle that tempted me to try this. I love the green glass (see it hiding there in my flower pot?) And although some may consider the plastic white gardenia atop the bottle, which serves as the lid, too kitsch, I find it pleasing. This was a bargain at a fragrance discounter, and I figured if it was terrible I could use it as an air freshener.

But what I surprise! I find Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia to be a lovely rendition of the gardenia flower. According to Fragrantica the perfume was released in 2003, which surprised me. I thought I had memories of this being around when I was still in school, but her first perfume, Passion, debuted in 1989, and that was long after my school girl days. Perfumers Carlos Benaim and Sophia Grojsman collaborated on all the Elizabeth Taylor scents, and I like both of their work, so perhaps it is not surprising that the perfume is more pleasing than the price would indicate (I paid about $12). 

Opening notes are green leaves and lily of the valley, with middle notes of gardenia, peony, and orchid. Despite all these notes, what I smell is ... gardenia. This scent doesn't really change much while it lasts on my skin, but that's okay with me. Gardenia is such a distinctive flower that it doesn't really like to share the stage. In fact, now that I think about it, a little like Elizabeth Taylor, the actress, in her prime!

My Mother was not one to wear perfume, but I do have strong memories of scents from my childhood. One of these was a gardenia bush, which she very purposely planted right outside the window of her kitchen sink, presumably so she could look at it as she stood there. North Texas is not a hospitable place for gardenia bushes. It gets too hot, but the biggest enemy is our winter freezes. I remember that the bush never really flourished and was parsimonious with its floral offerings. When it did bloom, my Mother would have a single bloom in a small vase, and I can remember burying my nose in the velvety white petals.

Maybe for this reason, gardenia is a nostalgic scent and hits all my happy neural memory buttons. Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia is an easy scent to love if you are a fan of gardenia. It has a green and dewy feel when you first spray it, and one can picture languid Southern towns with tall porches, moss-draped three hundred year old oak trees, and steamy warm days. It is just strong enough. The distinctive gardenia smell is there, but it doesn't take over the room. Some reviewers have argued they get more lily of the valley scent, and the two flowers can be similar. To me, though, it smells like a fresh gardenia, just opening with green freshness, then gradually becoming creamy and milky. Notes of musk and carnation are listed as base notes. On my skin the gardenia note holds up for about four hours, then quietly fades away. But no worries, at this price I can spritz away!

Top Photo my own. Perfume was bought by me at