For the longest time, I avoided fragrances that smelled like gardenias. It's not because I absolutely loathe the smell of the flower. (Who could be turned off by the sweet scent?) I didn't want a perfume that felt, to me, like a "grandma" scent: a bit too old-fashioned; a classic but not necessarily cool or on-trend.
Those types of perfumes might take you back to your childhood when you were playing at your grandma's vanity or in her bathroom, looking at all of her makeup and lotions and pretty fragrance bottles. It might transport you to her warm hugs or riding in her car as she took you to school or practice or a grandparent-grandchild outing.
While all of those memories are super comforting, I never once thought, "Oh I love that smell. I want to smell exactly like that right now." No offense to both my beloved and dearly departed grandmothers. I miss them both and have so much to thank them for, but when it came to choosing a signature fragrance for myself, I never wanted to smell like my grandma or, worse, remind someone else (like a date maybe?!) of their nana.
No, I wanted to forge my own fragrance path, without the baggage. So I said no to gardenias. But, recently, there have been so many new fragrances out there with such fine hints of the scent they're different from what you might remember of your grandma's perfume bottle collection. These ones have interesting, unique, and unexpected blends and ingredients. They're like an exciting homage to the "grandma" classics of long ago, with a fully 21st-century twist.
I've rounded up some of the best ones below:
Gucci's fragrance is all about the fruity florals. Not only does it have notes of gardenia but also red berries and pear.
Pretty much everything Byredo makes smells good—I'm obsessed with its candles. Its Casablanca Lily perfume has notes of gardenia, black plum, carnation, Indian tuberose, palissandre wood, and honey.
If you really want to be cool and on-trend, a DedCool fragrance can help you get there. This one is a blend of gardenia, amber, and wood. It's also vegan and cruelty-free.
Tocca's Florence contains those classic scents like gardenia, bergamot, and pear, but it's still very much fresh. And it's Parisian-inspired, too.
A mix of floral and citrus, this fragrance will make you feel like you're swimming in the Mediterranean. In addition to gardenia, its notes include sweet honeysuckle, sparkling grapefruit, Italian bergamot, mandarin oil, lily of the valley, and jasmine sambac absolute.
Classic white florals are included in this fragrance: gardenia, freesia, and jasmine. But it's also grounded with cedar, ambergris, sandalwood, and musk.
Well, first off, isn't this bottle the chicest? The floral scent of gardenia is mixed with earthy amber and luxe champagne.
Here's another unique bottle—the panther face lives up to its name. Along with the gardenia scent, you'll also smell musky, grounding notes.
Another Marc Jacobs fragrance on the list: Daisy is a carefree, bright, and whimsical fragrance. It has notes of gardenia, strawberry, violet leaves, ruby red grapefruit, violet petals, jasmine petals, musk, vanilla, and white woods.
If its bottle is any indication, Versace's Crystal Noir fragrance is pretty sexy. It has scents of gardenia, tuberose, and amber.
This Dior fragrance is a modern take on the classic white flower bouquet. Along with gardenia, it also includes sweet orange, bergamot, mandarin, orange flower, jasmine sambac, sandalwood, white amber, and musks.
Christian Louboutin says he wanted this fragrance to enhance a woman's personality or reveal something about her. Tornade Blonde is feminine and adventurous with scents of gardenia, rhubarb, violet leaves, ambrette signature, cassis, Bulgarian rose, jasmine sambac absolut, orange flower petals, firnat, ambergris, cedarwood, Australian sandalwood, and patchouli.
Made with pure, high-quality ingredients, this rollerball perfume has notes of jasmine, red champaca, oakmoss, and oud. It also lasts long, too.
The top fragrances in Rag & Bone's Monoi are frangipani, juicy pear, and banana leaves. Then, you'll also smell gardenia, tuberose absolute, orange blossom petals, sandalwood, vanilla, and solar musks.
Light and playful, Juicy Couture's I am Juicy Couture perfume is a mix of gardenia, pomelo, raspberry pulp, passion fruit, rose de mai, heliotrope, sweet pea, cashmere wood, captive, musks, and candied amber.
Wild Brazilian gardenias are paired with Casablanca lily, tuberose, and ambergris for a lively and floral scent. It's definitely not your grandma's gardenia.
This fragrance's keynotes are gardenia, jasmine, vanilla, which may sound grandma-esque, but it gets even more interesting with the addition of tuberose and sandalwood. You'll end up with a warm and sultry scent that's inspired by the Middle East.
From the description, it says that this fragrance was inspired by the last days of summer when the nights get cooler. Earthy and light, it contains notes of gardenia, fig, and amber.