Sylvaine Delacourte graciously introduced Cruel Gardénia to editors at Guerlain’s New York offices this week, at the close of an informative presentation entitled “The Language of Perfumery.” Delacourte—a beautiful, intelligent and passionate advocate of the art of perfumery—collaborated with Symrise perfumer Randa Hammami to create an evocative gardenia fragrance that honors the softer facets of the flower, while preserving its seductive qualities.
The only thing cruel about Cruel Gardénia is the perfume's hold on the senses—it captivates and then, like a beautiful woman in a crowded room dissolving conversations in her wake, arouses yearnings that can only be satisfied in its presence. This is exactly what Delacourte intends for the wearer, “Perfume is an inner perfume that reflects the deep personality of what you really are inside. It’s not worn over you. You leave a trace of yourself behind in the memory of others.”
Cruel Gardénia starts off innocently with notes of damask rose, peach and neroli. It transitions into creamy gardenia, shy violet and multifaceted Comoros ylang-ylang, teasing and tempting all the way. As base notes of sandalwood, tonka bean and vanilla rise to the surface, a pulse of devastating white musk becomes apparent, magnifying all of the senses.
The magic of Cruel Gardénia was not lost upon me. A trace of the fragrance had inadvertently remained under my nose following the presentation and with each inhalation, began to mingle with everything around me. Immediate surroundings grew olfactively vivid; the trees, the Hudson River, the damp cement sidewalk wet with rain, the latency of spring hidden in unseasonably warm temperatures, all of these treasures rose up to greet my senses, leaving me with an intense affection for Cruel Gardénia.
Cruel Gardénia will be available at Guerlain Boutiques in April 2008 and is priced at $220 for a 75 ml bottle.