UPDATE: The following review is based on a sample of Illuminum White Gardenia Petals supplied to me by Roullier White shortly after the Royal Wedding. It now transpires that this was not the correct version of The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding scent. For further clarification and a review of the official White Gardenia Petals fragrance, please see my latest post here.
Today the mainstream press caught up with the news about White Gardenia Petals, with features in the Daily Mail, London's Metro magazine and Marie Claire - indeed there are now articles about the Illuminum scent everywhere you turn! I spoke to the staff at the Roullier White store on Monday and they said they were trying to gear up for future demand, but that it was very hard for them to gauge it, given the massive exposure the perfume is having - first on beauty and perfume blogs - and now, as I say, across the media. Their initial stock of 50 bottles flew out the door apparently, and there is a 10 day delivery delay on the 50ml size, though none on the larger 100ml bottle if any blind buyers are feeling particularly bullish! As the only stockist in the UK, Roullier White is clearly thrilled to be the focus of such a feverish global buying spree on the part of perfumistas and the general public alike.
I note too that Luckyscent has now got some White Gardenia Petals in (good move!), and I would expect The Perfumed Court to follow suit if they haven't already done so. A friend of mine has signed up to a split of this scent (unsniffed), so overall it seems as though perfume fans are setting about acquiring it by every means available.
Now we may not want to marry into the Royal Family particularly, or become a housewife on the isle of Anglesey - I don't know if it is the remoteness of the place or the lack of night life which drives them to it, but as far as I knew Anglesey is most famous for the jumpers off the Menai Bridge (the Golden Gate of North Wales, if you will). Oh, and not forgetting the hell hole that is Holyhead, where those living up the West Coast line may well end up if they are foolish enough to nod off on the train home from London. But notwithstanding all of that, some of us wouldn't mind smelling a bit like the new Duchess, as though that might miraculously confer upon us her nipped in waist, even white smile and perfect smokey eye.
And then today I received my pack of samples from the Roullier White store, comprising White Gardenia Petals and two other scents from Illuminum's quite extensive range; they sound right up my street, just going off the names, though I haven't had a chance to try them yet: Ginger Pear and Bergamot Blossom.
So how does White Gardenia Petals smell, I know you are all wondering...?
Well, it's very pretty, soft and faintly powdery (unless that is the vestiges of yesterday's decanting, but on balance probably not). It is delicate and feminine, not sweet, not particularly coconutty, but rather like a very diaphanous white floral blend that has been slightly "muzzified" by a wispy veil - like Catherine's veil of silk tulle, indeed! And though there's gardenia, ylang ylang and jasmine in there apparently, White Gardenia Petals is not at all heady. I'd go so far as to call it demure and ladylike, with a slight hint of danger. Slightly more dangerous than Serge Lutens' Un Lys, say. On the "louche-o-meter", where 10 is an out and out slutfest, I'd call Un Lys a 2 and this a 3. Maybe a 3.5 if you really sloshed it on. That is the sort of vibe, yes.
And then I can't quite decide whether I detected a slightly plasticky note when I first applied it - like the opening of Iris Ukiyoe or Kenzo Amour L'Eau Florale, especially the latter if anyone is familiar with it. However, it doesn't detract unduly and dissipates after a few minutes, as the white floral bouquet starts to cloak itself in the muting, fuzzy sea of tulle...
Update: eight hours in I can report that the longevity is good - there is additionally a sultry, tangy bite now to the powdery, musky drydown, which I guess must be the ylang ylang's last stand.
So....setting aside the HUGE "Duchess in the room" factor - to the best of my ability, at least - I will say on record that if I had bought a bottle of White Gardenia Petals unsniffed (as so many will have done), I wouldn't regret it...
Photo of the Duchess of Cambridge from herroyalhighnessprincesscatherine.com, photo of the Menai bridge from gallery.hd.org, photo of a gardenia from greatgardensecrets.com, photo of the Duchess waving from vendo-me.com, photo of White Gardenia Petals from the Roullier White website.