Oh, Jardins de Bagatelle, why do you torture me so? I know I'm missing your jasmine notes, but the rest of your composition is so lovely-why must you do this to me?
Aldehydes, gardenia, and tuberose dominate Jardins de Bagatelle in the most beautiful way. The fragrance opens big with all those aldehydes, and then goes sweet with the tuberose in a way that is nothing short of magic. Whatever it is in JdB that sets off my allergies isn't in the opening-it takes a while to get down to the allergic onslaught. Yes, the bergamot is there as well (it is a rare Guerlain composition from the 20th century where it does not make an appearance) but it is hardly noticeable against that floral backdrop. In a moment the violet, rose, and orange blossom come through and the whole
I have a vintage bottle from the 80's, and it does seem different to me. There's oakmoss in it, though it is not listed in the notes for the modern formulation. There's orchid, which I don't think I could identify as a single note, novel as its use is in a composition such as Jardins de Bagatelle. What is it that's making me suffer so? I have no idea, but much as I love it, I'm afraid my days of wearing JdB are coming to an end-no perfume is worth the itching eyes this one induces. It is worse than being around cats (I'm severely allergic to cats).*
People describe Jardins de Bagatelle as a typical 80's floral, but I really must disagree. Sure, there's quite a bit in there but it is more than a vat filled with cut flowers competing for dominance. I remember the 80's, and there were some terrific floral fragrances, but there was/is only one Jardins de Bagatelle. That said, I wasn't crazy about it in the 80's as it felt a bit too complicated for me. White florals weren't my thing, and they never really did become my thing-but Jardins de Bagatelle is different.
I know it is an unpopular opinion (believe me, I'm full of them) but I like the bottle's squared off shape, fiddly cap and all. Years ago I had a small bottle of the JdB bath oil that I wore as a concentrated perfume, and though the bottle was slightly different, it too had a top that threatened to spill the whole thing at each application. Guerlain could do better on bottle stoppers (we won't discuss the sheer terror I experience each time I remove the stopper from my bottle of Guet Apens). Beautiful, yes, but not for the arthritic. Still, I like the overall design because it seems a contrast to the floral juice inside. I should note that the edp can also be found in a bee bottle, and hell, who's going to find fault with that?
Notes according to Fragrantica:
Aldehydes, violet, jasmine, bergamot, lemon, magnolia, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, orange blossom, gardenia, orchid, tuberose, rose, narcissus, vetiver, musk, patchouli, cedar, and neroli.
Notes according to Goody:
Aldehydes, tuberose, oakmoss, vetiver, bergamot. I get woody, and white, and mostly tuberose. My brain gives up after the tuberose.
I'll be giving JdB a rest for a bit, and hopefully whatever it is that's making me so allergic will go away in time (unlikely, but still). This is a beautiful floral fragrance, suitable for an office and nearly any environment except perhaps the allergist's office. I wish I could pin down what it is making me so allergic, but until that happens, or I get better management of my allergies, I'll be saying goodbye to Jardins de Bagatelle.
*I really like cats too, but I have enough sense to stay away from them.