Too Special for Words

Have you ever had a perfume that was so special, important or beautiful to you, that you put off writing a review, because you simply couldn't put it into words? l have, & l decided to attempt my first blog post on it, instead of trying to fit the story into a review.

For me, that perfume is Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia.

ln 2008, after being into perfume pretty much all my life, l was seeing a guy from California who told me he disliked my "old lady" perfumes. Yes, l know, a very negative & ignorant comment, but wanting to please him, l asked him what kind of perfumes he did like. He said; "What's that white flower with the thick, waxy petals & that amazing smell?" Straightaway l said; "Gardenia?" "Yes, that's the one!" he said. "Well, it so happens l love that smell, too!" said l.

And so began the journey that led me to basenotes, & to owning more than forty bottles, where previously l only ever had two or three at a time! l searched on the net for "gardenia perfumes"; first l found the wonderful blog Now Smell This, & then l made it here & spent hours reading reviews. (lt was another two years of lurking shyly before l became a member!) Still being ignorant of how to get samples, l made three blind buys on ebay; Yves Rocher's Pur Desir de Gardenia, Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia, & PCTG. The other two have their merits, but well, l knew immediately that this was the one, & it still stands as my most successful blind buy ever! Beginner's luck, l suppose?

That guy & l spent a holiday together in Greece soon after, & l wore PCTG every evening. l have rarely felt so beautiful, classy & elegant. On a warm, sultry night, this perfume hangs in the air around me for hours & hours. Words like "radiant", "shimmering" & "pearlescent" come to mind. lt draws a lot of compliments, & many women want to know where they can get it.

So what does it smell like? l can hardly bring myself to try to dissect it, but it is a seamless blend of a very true gardenia with a translucent tuberose; so well blended that it's hard to separate them as notes. l get lilac & a touch of neroli in the opening. l'm not sure what rosewood smells like, so l can't tell you if l smell it here. The base comes so many hours later that l've never really paid attention to it, but the vanilla is definitely not-too-sweet, & like the other notes it segues seamlessly into the mix. l find l can only wear it when l'm on holiday in a warm climate, when lm tanned & relaxed, & want to feel at my most beautiful. l tried wearing it once here in the UK for an outdoor party, & on a cool evening it just didn't radiate in the same way.

The relationship with "that guy" came to an end, although we do bump into one another occasionally, & he still tells me l smell good, ha! But my perfume journey continues apace; from researching gardenias l moved on to tuberose, jasmine, ambers, tropical florals, florientals, etc., etc...
But PCTG will always hold a special place in my heart, for being the one that started it all, & for being so unutterably beautiful.

Blog Comments


Basenotes Plus
Aug 28, 2007
PCTG is really excellent fragrance. I agree that it suits tropical weather far more than the cool. I first tried it in Miami, in August, and it was a perfect match of scent and place.

One peculiar thing I've noticed about it is that it tends to smell better on others than when I wear it, something others have noticed too. ( My mother gets no end of compliments on this one. )

JAR's Jardenia is another fragrance I'd recommend to any gardenia lover. Totally different from TPC but still beautiful, fall-like, northern gardenia. Worth sampling even if you don't buy.


Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
Thanks for your comments, Suga! :)

Jardenia has been firmly on my must-try list since reading your review on your blog. lt sounds incredible, & l'm almost afraid to try it in case l fall in love with it, it's soooooo expensive!

l've just blown a load of money on a Luckyscent sample order, but next time l'm feeling flush l'll be ordering some from TPC, & that one's on my shopping list for sure.

Mimi Gardenia

Well-known member
Aug 15, 2008
Oh teardrop- a lovely piece of writing. You know I LOVE PC Tuberose Gardenia too ! It is a very true to life gardenia - very special. :) Thank you for your thoughts . It's funny how life can take us places we didn't think it would.


Well-known member
Apr 7, 2011
:smiley:Lovely story

Will put this on my to sniff list, I adore Gardenia..I have Marc Jacobs, but to me its really heavy with linalool?...i bought this blind..haven't tried many gardenias as yet!


Well-known member
May 1, 2010
I'm just an ignoramus when it comes to ladies' fragrances but you got my attention with that post!

The only women's perfume that I can definitely make out on a busy fri./sat. night out and about is Coco Mad.


Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
Thanks for your lovely comments Red, melodyjane & odi! :)

melodyjane; l tried the Marc Jacobs one & found it a pleasantly clean, fruity impression of gardenia. Another one l recommend trying is Van Cleef & Arpels Gardenia Petale (not in the directory); it's much more creamy than PCTG but still a very lovely, true gardenia. Rather expensive, but it's on my wishlist nonetheless! Luckyscent carry samples.


Well-known member
Dec 11, 2010
I've tried the Marc Jacobs Velvet Gardenia. I wasn't overly keen - perhaps because I'm in dull, miserable and grey Scotland it didn't "radiate" as you mention. I love tuberose though so yours might be worth seeking out - although hate most of Estee Lauders' stuff - especially Beautiful.

The Marc Jacobs one I will try too - as I loved his Blush interpretation of Jasmine.

Doesn't Chanel Les Exclusifs do a Gardenia as well?

Thanks for the lovely memories in your post! :)


Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
Thanks queen_sheba! :)

Do you mean Velvet Gardenia by Tom Ford? l have a 4ml sample of that one, but find it difficult to wear; it has a dark, melancholy feel to me.

PCTG is very different to the usual Lauder perfumes, l think. Like the others in the Private Collection series, it feels much more high-quality to me.

l tried the Chanel Gardenia; to me it is not really gardenia, but jasmine, & it didn't last long on me. lt did get a compliment from a (female) colleague, though!


Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 26, 2005
Beautiful honest post with so much texture and intricacies. EL PCTG is not my favorite, but I would be willing to give it another shot after reading you. Thank you.


Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
Thankyou so much Twolf! :)

l am truly humbled by all the lovely comments here, & if l have managed to inspire anyone, that is an unexpected bonus!

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