Back in early May, I reviewed Illuminum White Gardenia Petals, the perfume worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day. My review was based on a carded sample supplied by Roullier White, the single UK stockist.
In July I received a complimentary bottle of White Gardenia Petals, and was startled and disappointed to find that it seemed to bear little or no resemblance to the sample I already owned. I enlisted the help of Olfactoria of Olfactoria's Travels, who had herself purchased a full bottle around the time of the wedding, and together we were able to compare old and new versions, and were both convinced that the two scents were not the same.
As a first step, I sent my bottle and the original sample back to Roullier White, asking them to investigate this curious discrepancy. The store referred my query to Illuminum's PR company, with whom I have kept in regular touch over the past few months. They agree that there is a clear difference between the two versions of the scent and inquiries into the matter are ongoing. So far the version reviewed by Olfactoria and me (and quite possibly by others) has been traced to a small production batch - the second one made.
So if the soapy, musky "demure white floral in a veil" which I reviewed here is not White Gardenia Petals, how does the correct version of the scent smell?
For reference, here are the notes again:
Notes: gardenia, lily, ylang ylang, muguet, jasmine, amber woods.
Well, I am sorry to report that on my skin official White Gardenia Petals is a sharper, greener, more metallic scent. I do detect a gardenia note in the opening, but it is not veiled and softened by powdery musk as is the case with my original sample. Instead, it comes off as a tad strident and indolic. The early sample of White Gardenia Petals sits on my wrist like a muzzy, soapy cloud with a pretty floral bouquet at its heart, while the correct version of White Gardenia Petals feels more sheer and airy somehow. I see a slight crossover with Annick Goutal's Un Matin d'Orage, but it does not share that scent's limpid, dewy facet, and is at times reminiscent of a functional fragrance like fabric softener. Of the two, I will say that the correct version of White Gardenia Petals smells more like gardenias, possibly because the floral notes are not hidden behind a musky haze, or maybe because there weren't any gardenias in the erroneous batch of this scent anyway. Time will perhaps tell, but meanwhile I just wanted to draw readers' attention to the fact that my review - like that of Olfactoria - is based on the same fragrance, which is not, however, the official version of White Gardenia Petals available to buy today.
Photo of The Duchess of Cambridge from rumahaini.com, photo of gardenias from mgonline.com