Jardenia – JAR

Thanks to a very generous friend, who I originally met on my one day intensive introduction to perfumery course run by Karen Gilbert back in the summer and then later discovered to be a Basenoter, I have small samples of the entire JAR range of fragrances.
I have heard a hell of a lot of gossip around these, rave reviews galore etc. If memory serves me well, they are all natural fragrances.
For anyone who has never heard of JAR – they have an exclusive boutique in Paris, and one in New York. When you go in store to sample the fragrances, they will not tell you the price (ranging from 220 – 500+ Euros for 30ml), or the notes, of any of their fragrances. You are to smell them all blind, and if you show an interest in one, then you will be told the facts… very mysterious. Becuase of that, I have no notes list to work off – so I’m going to start with the easiest one in the collection.

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”!

Jardenia initially opens with an over-dramatised gardenia. A medicinal, almost root-beer like smell rich in narcotics, verging on boozy, throttles in full force off your skin. The white florals are so rich in near decay that the gardenia association is slightly fuzzy at first. The freshness up top is cool and camphorous, with lavender and maybe even eucalyptus giving off a wonderful herbal vibe atop the florals.

As the herbals begin to evaporate and the medicinal smell fades, the gardenia comes into the foreground. The hype was right – it is perfect. I have a Cape Jasmine gardenia in my conservatory – a luscious white floral, creamy, with a prominent and overwhelming twang of mushrooms – earthy and decayed. That’s exactly what fills up the heart of Jardenia. The mushroom note is perfect, not overwhelming in an attempt to be controversial, but shocking enough as is the natural flower.
The creaminess of the petals has the ideal translucency, as although gardenia’s are so damn potent, there is a clarity to their otherwise dense smell that is replicated here by the inclusion of maybe a subtle tea rose. I’m guessing the components are the usual tuberose, orange blossom, rose – a slight medicinal aroma of extremely subtle clove and anise… I’m not sure.

I mention other flowers, but on a whole, Jardenia is what it is meant to be,  a single gardenia flower when your nose is pressed up against its head. Rich, indolic and beautifully natural, Jardenia is THE perfect gardenia.
My only complaint is – that is all there is to it. Yes, yes, it’s a brilliant rendition, but with no supporting notes or sharp angles (aside from the prominent mushroom), Jardenia is also THE definitive example of a soliflore. Whether that’s a good thing or not I’m not sure – once I’ve fully appreciated the floral heart, I want a little more and Jardenia doesn’t deliver any more for me until it fades out with little change.
A little dash of vetiver in the base I think, adds a much-needed green edge, or is it a hint of galbanum in the heart? You know I’m not good with green note identification…

Jardenia is really nice, and I could wear it with ease, but I wouldn’t consider it a special occasion scent – it is a summery floral of power and richness that like most naturals, begins to fade after a couple of hours. I do enjoy it, but it is not my favourite in the JAR lineup (which I thought it would be). Still, a great reference point and worthy of a sniff – I can now relax and say I’ve found the perfect gardenia note… but not the perfect gardenia fragrance.

JAR Jardenia 30ml – $$$$

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16 thoughts on “Jardenia – JAR

  1. Melis says:

    Freddie, I enjoyed your review. I am eagerly awaiting your thoughts on FermeTes Yeux. Based on reviews I’ve read that one seems the most “me”. I am mulling over getting samples of FTY and Diamond Water. But haven’t done so yet as I am trying to determine how I can even get a FB here to Canada as a trip to New York is not in the cards, lol.

    • I’ll be sure to post Ferme Tes Yeux next for you – it is definitely one of my favourites in out of the line up, Diamond Water being one of my least favourites.
      Yeh these things are pretty hard to get ahold of. I unfortunately haven’t been blown away by any of them, but have enjoyed trying them a lot and was surprised about the house’s “clove” note as a signature, very unusual, reminicent of slumberhouse, only very different style of fragrance.
      Thanks for reading Melis :)

      • Melis says:

        Clove is one of my favorite notes when paired with white florals or patchouli. It is probably a good thing for the pocketbook that you haven’t been blown away by any of them, lol! It would have to be love at first sniff for me to consider purchasing a bottle. Looking forward to reading your next review!

      • Then you’re unlucky – at least 3 of the JARs are clove heavy haha, I think you’ll love some of them! :P
        Clove is one of my least favourites.
        I was very close to being blown away by one, but the heart becomes a little soapy… anyway, I’ll not jump into reviews yet, I’ll be sure to post some more soon :D

  2. lucasai says:

    Interesting. But I’m not very much into gardenias really.

    • Ahhh I love gardenias, I just didn’t realise when I found the perfect representation of one, it wouldn’t be enough haha. I’m too fussy.
      I definitely think this is worth trying for an understanding of the note though, if you had never smelt a gardenia before you’d just think, creamy mushrooms. I tried it on a friend last night who said the opening was pure blue cheese.

      • lucasai says:

        It’s good to be fussy sometimes as it gives you a need for a deeper exploration of a note. And, what is your favourite gardenia then? Do you have one, or still looking for it?
        My granny used to have gardenias in her garden when I was young boy.

      • I haven’t found it. This is the best gardenia scent without a doubt, I just want something with it, maybe a dark cocoa or something :)
        They’re so hard to look after though! Mine keep going all yellow and gross :(

      • lucasai says:

        I hope you’ll find one that would suit you perfectly. So you don’t want pure gardenia but Gardenia with a twist? ;)

      • Definitely! I think a chocolate combo would be great, or just a combination of textures, the creamy gardenia with a metallic incense twang or something, who knows, I’ll find one some day :P

      • lucasai says:

        Oh, I’m sure of it. Gardenia with chocolate sounds interested. Maybe a one like that would tempt me too.

  3. Undina says:

    I am curious to try JAR perfumes and I do not even mind paying their prices if I fall in love with one of them. But I’m not sure if I want to go through the whole ritual at the store: what if I do not like any of them? Will I have to be polite and pretend? Moreover, I never buy anything on the spot (even much less expensive): I need to try, to think about it, try again… So, most likely, JAR perfumes won’t find their way into my collection. I’ll just keep reading everybody’s reviews :)

    • Haha, I don’t think I could be polite and pretend – there are definitely some I’m not fond of in the lineup, but nothing really bad that I couldn’t find a good point about.
      I would like to have one, but none are full bottle worthy for the price – I have much more success with the Aftelier’s, which I initially thought expensive but in comparison, it’s nothing!
      I think I’ll go to the boutique at the end of the year when I’m in Paris, impress them hahaha:
      “Try this one…”
      “Oh yes! I like this! Almond, heliotrope, lilac, clove,… blah blah blah”

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