Some might consider this hyperbole, but I’m going to say it. Finding a gardenia fragrance to call your own can be a transformative experience. Gardenias can symbolize long stretches of lush beaches, tropical winds, and days of relaxation. A gardenia tucked in your hair, or a dab of this heady scent wafting behind your ear has the ability to elevate you to a tranquil state of mind.
My perfume journey, or more accurately obsession, truly took flight after a trip to Hawaii in the summer of 2003. It was as most vacations to Hawaii are; relaxing, beautiful and filled with the glorious scent of tropical flowers. Plumeria are my absolute favorite, but gardenia and pikake run a close second. The scent of any of them immediately transfix and intoxicate me. Upon my return, I began my quest for a tropical floral perfume to love and cherish. Since then, I have tried a multitude of gardenia fragrances most of which either turn metallic, possess migraine-inducing headiness, or honestly smell nothing like gardenia. Kai has sufficed for a while. Its top note of gardenia is true and clear, but ultimately has too many aspects of China Rain which are difficult to overlook. Don’t get me wrong, many people adore China Rain. But fortunately for me, in floated Ajne’s Fleur Blanche, a gardenia that blooms brighter than the rest.
Ajne is a perfumery in Carmel, Ca. devoted to using organic, plant derived ingredients. What initially set Ajne apart for me was their questionnaire, (Kristi did this very graciously over the phone), to evaluate their customers’ chakras. For example, my crown chakra, or spiritual connection, needs a little work. Apparently gardenia is one of the flowers that will help me achieve my bliss. You might not believe in all this chakra business, but I can tell you, Fleur Blanche is downright blissful. Upon first spritz it’s a glorious gardenia blooming before your eyes with a slightly woody backdrop and just a hint of smoke. The smokiness fades and the woods become a bit more prominent. Fleur Blanche does not evolve greatly, yet this is not a negative when you are dealing with such a gorgeous scent from the outset.
Ajne lists the notes very generally as florals, woods and fruits. But Kristi mentioned ambrette seed in our follow-up conversation, so I wonder if that gives Fleur Blanche a bit of its smokiness. Ambrette seeds are from the hibiscus plant in India, and are a botanical source of musk rather than from an animal source such as deer. This very subtle smoky, musky, woodsy air gives Fleur Blanche a well rounded quality. There is no metallic edge, no plastic residue smell. And I was never wondering….is this really gardenia? (Even though the Ajne website tells us this is a replication of gardenia as the flower cannot be distilled). The buttery petals linger on the skin for the entire day and its sillage, its “trail of scent”, is moderately strong. Quite impressive given this is a natural fragrance. Ajne also transforms this perfume, and all of its perfumes, into a body oil and lotion. I have not tried the body lotion, but the oil is lovely and holds the scent well. A less expensive way to try Fleur Blanche and find your bliss!
Exclusively for Scent Hive readers! Enter SCENTHIVE in the online certificate space at www.ajne.com and receive 25% off your order of $75 or more. Promotion valid until February 23, 2009.
Ajne is synthetic free, paraben free, phthalate free, petro-free, harsh-sulfate free, entirely vegan and never tested on animals.
Ajne is available at www.ajne.com and Bergdorf Goodman (212) 753-7300
Decants of Fleur Blanche are available at The Perfumed Court.
posted by ~Trish
Photo by poly_mnia on flickr