White Gardenia Petals – Illuminum

The infamous fragrance worn by Kate Middleton on her wedding day –

“A beautiful bouquet of angelic white flowers. Top notes of Gardenia and Cassis shine through Precious Woods and Musk.” Sounds lovely :D


White Gardenia Petals opens soapy, a huge synthetic overload that comes off as squeaky clean vinyl. Aldehydic up top, with a cheap lily of the valley accord, a very subtle spice, and some attempt at scrubbed up jasmine grandiflorum – not a trace of gardenia in sight.

The headache inducing opening is extremely similar to that generic sticky scent of hairspray: a cloud of musky white florals that blend into a chemical bomb – one that similarly makes you want to cough and waft your hand around your face, desperately trying to free your nose of the minute particals intent on invading your precious, fearful nose. I almost get a “chlorine” note, it has an aquatic layer over it – but with a density that reminds me of calone without the melon.

The muskiness is always prominent – a super clean white musk that aggressively penetrates the floral notes. It seems to bleach all the grubby facets that make up a great gardenia – the fact the fleshy white petals and creamy texture of the gardenia is also non-existent means that you can forget even trying to hunt for it.

White Gardenia Petals is musk, soap, a hideous floral “bouquet” (we’ll call it that for now), a sprinkle of powder and an overload of hairspray. The heart and drydown are so reminiscent of laundry powder it’s uncanny. This is not a good fragrance… at all.

White Gardenia Petals 50ml Illuminum – $140 Luckyscent

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18 thoughts on “White Gardenia Petals – Illuminum

  1. I’m sorry you are not Kate Middleton, but instead are full Tilda Swinton :(

    • LOL :’) It’s true, I am. Well to be honest judging from their fragrances I am neither, I’d admit I’m a little more Rossy De Palma but that’s so much worse :(

  2. lucasai says:

    It doesn’t sound good, and if a soapy perfume sounds bad to me them it means that it REALLY is bad.

  3. poodle says:

    It’s sad, really. I had such high hopes for something a princess would wear. Oh well… I love me a big white floral once in a while but for $140 I could probably find a better option.

    • You could DEFINITELY find a better option – for someone who is not a perfumista I’m sure it’s just a pleasant enough clean floral. Personally, it was a major scrubber. Nasty stuff.

  4. Undina says:

    I was really disappointed that Kate Middleton has chosen this perfume. I do not think it’s bad. It’s just “meh”. And I wished she had chosen something more deserving to attract everybody’s attention to. Oh, well…

    • Do you think she genuinely chose it? I’m not so sure.
      I thought it was really bad. I mean of course I’ve smelt far worse, but this was bad. A brilliant rendition of a gardenia would have been a great choice so I see the reasoning, it’s just a shame Illuminum didn’t do the job right.
      What would you have dressed her in? :D Perfume wise of course?

      • Undina says:

        She had at least two great “local” brands to choose from – Penhaligon’s and Ormonde Jayne. I’m not too familiar with the first one but I’m sure almost any of their perfumes would have been better than her actual choice. Before the wedding I wished her to choose Ormonde Woman.

      • An unusual choice but a perfect one – Ta’if would have been wonderful, maybe a little “warm” though. I really have to own something by OJ, I sampled most of their fragrances in store last time I was in London and was hugely impressed.

      • Undina says:

        Ta’if is my absolute favorite from the line. But, in general, there isn’t a single perfume in there which I do NOT like. It’s “my” brand.

      • Well I’ll definitely explore it thoroughly now – I only tried about half the line, all wonderful though.

  5. Natalie says:

    I have this rule about Chinese food, that I never order anything with the words “feast” or “delight” in the title, such as “Buddha’s Feast” or “Vegetarian Delight.” I have often considered applying the same rule to the word “bouquet” in perfumes. ;)

  6. […] Jardenia is one of the most well-known in the lineup for being one of the most true to life renditions of a gardenia. You cannot extract the scent from a gardenia, so any time you see “gardenia” in a notes list, it is either a synthetic substitute, or it is made up of various other flowers to recreate its scent (normally unsuccessfully – see White Gardenia Petals by Illuminum”! […]

  7. […] SmellyThoughts – I fully support this review. […]

  8. […] the right choice for the Princess in the Royal Wedding 2012 instead of the train wreck that was White Gardenia Petals – that’s if she wanted to stick with a squeaky clean white floral. The soap doesn’t […]

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