Gardenia Exuberante opens with fresh green leaves, a touch of soap and a hyper clean gardenia. There’s no earthy or fungal notes here, and the gardenia isn’t exactly a gardenia – it actually reminds me of a more refined, less synthetic version of Annick Goutal’s Un Matin D’Orage, including the fig/stemone overload. It’s a little spicier however, the green’s being crisp and sappy, more than ozonic. There’s a fruity quality, pear and apple mainly with a drop of sweet juice (honey?). Peach comes to the forefront and dominates, a gorgeous peach in fact, not the fleshy, suede-y apricot that you find paired with a lot of leather, just a fresh, juicy peach… giving way to a hint of tropical florals.
The gardenia as I said is a bit too clean to be “real”, but the soapiness disappears quickly. There’s a touch of tiare, and a smidge of jasmine. The floral accord is handled beautifully, with great balance and subtlety, and enough greenery and fresh fruit to keep it totally unisex to guys scared of gardenia – this is not something to be scared of. There’s also no tuberose here to my nose, which makes a lovely change from most gardenia accords.
The fig dominates as well, not so much milky, although yeh, a touch lactonic… but underneath is white musk and sweet vanilla, with the greenery staying around until the end. The result is a fresh, green gardenia/fig fragrance, lightened with juicy, natural smelling fruits with enough density to keep it glued to the skin for many hours. It’s gorgeous, really… and something I have worn over and over throughout the summer – smelling dewy and damp from beginning to end. A gem of a gardenia.
Magnolio de Verano is possibly my favourite in The Exotic Island Perfumer’s beautiful little lineup of fragrances. It starts with a spicy, prickly, citrus accord of bergamot and green lemon – with a herbaceous rosemary and clary sage? It also gives off a big cumin vibe on my skin and I have no idea why, but the opening actually reminds me a touch of Kingdom by Alexander McQueen – a fragrance I adore. This herbaceous lemon is soft though, not at all like a cleaning product – although a touch lactonic and very “clean”. The crisp greenery from the start gives Magnolio de Verano what is technically, a very traditional cologne-like opening, but one of the best I’ve smelt for sure!
The magnolia and bourbon geranium combo reminds me a little of Zelda from EnVoyage Perfumes, although this is nowhere near as oriental, and is presented fresher and a little more “gentlemen-ly”, despite being so floral. I love the magnolia, it’s clean, with hints of lemon cream, candle wax and sherbert – it smells like a slightly desweetened lemon bon bon <3 The herbaceous accords and crisp greens keeping it fragrant, and delicate on the skin, fresh start to finish.
The drydown shows off the perfumer’s great sandalwood and musk combo that seems to be a bit of a signature in the line, along with a beautiful subtly salted ambergris, that adds a translucent, savoury edge to the already slightly marine magnolia. It has a perfect balance, although light on the skin, it has become an absolute comfort to me and was a necessity throughout the summer. Really beautiful.
The Exotic Island Perfumer
Gardenia Exuberante 30ml £86.99
Magnolio de Verano 30ml £77.32