a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
BOUTONNIÈRE NO. 7 – 2012 – ♂♀
Notes: Lavender, Bergamot, Italian Mandarin, Gardenia jasminoides/Gardenia citriodora duo, Genet absolute, Vetiver, Oakmoss
Perfumer: Rodrigo Flores-Roux
Price: $175 for 55 ml bottle
The concept behind Boutonnière No. 7 is yet another imaginative story from Arquiste Parfumeur’s creator, Carlos Huber. Let’s not forget, Huber finds inspiration in historical reference, so a story of this type is expected. I find Boutonnière No. 7 a little more personally agreeable than The Architects Club for two reasons: first, the storyline is more plausible in relation to the end product. Second, the featured story truly highlights its subject in this perfume. The story for Boutonnière No. 7 involves that fantastic little flower with a mesmerizing scent and a unique appearance, gardenia. In a previous post, I discussed my experience with gardenia through my mother’s life-long love of the precious creamy white flower. I’ve searched, here and there, for a fragrance that might capture a more masculine side of this flower. While it is not the only gardenia perfume aimed at men, I think that Boutonnière No. 7 by Arquiste accomplishes the task rather nicely.
A lovely, little floral concoction called a boutonnière is traditionally worn in the button-hole on the lapel of a man’s jacket, generally for evening attire. Gardenia is perceived as a posh alternative to other, more commonly used flowers, such as carnations, roses or orchids. Arquiste’s story line for Boutonnière No. 7 is perfect for the fragrance that follows. First, let’s set the stage with the story.
May 1899, Foyer of the Opéra-Comique, Paris
During the opera’s intermission, a group of seven young men gather at the Grand Foyer in search of new flirtations. Women of all sorts are lured in by the crisp, green scent of the men’s gardenia boutonnières, enlivened with the bergamot and lavender colognes they wear. As they draw closer, the “Opera Flower” exudes its elegant masculinity, the last breath of a bloom sacrificed on a black-tie lapel.
Boutonnière No. 7 opens with a combination of lavender, bergamot and Italian mandarin. This garden-fresh introduction has Mediterranean attitude, with a sparkling citrusy purfle. No time is wasted, as the heart of the fragrance is accompanied by a charming medley of florals. The honey-like, fruity bouquet of genet is swaddled by the fragrant nuances of two gardenias, one South African and the other Asian. This combination can be considered as just a generous dollop of simple white flowers, but there is more here than meets the nose. The herbal, green and citrus opening muddles the floral duo just enough such that the brighter, more recognizable opening notes engage the delicate florals. This results in the gardenia’s characteristic aroma being disguised to a certain extent, which enables the genet and gardenia to be perceived as a pretty white flower or jasmine accord. The argument ends quickly and equitably as the base of Boutonnière No. 7 add a playful splash of vetiver. This gives the perfume another jolt of green, and as a side benefit, a few earthy notes. This bookend effect between the opening and base notes of vetiver and dusty lavender creates a pleasant roundness. The stems of the gardenia flower are nicely conveyed by the use of oak moss. The finish gives Boutonnière No. 7 a deep, Oriental woody accord. After several hours on the skin, the persistent gardenia never lets you down and is certainly the star of the show here. As time goes on, Boutonnière No. 7 just becomes slightly sweeter, warmer and deeper as the flower slowly fades.
Boutonnière No. 7 is by no means earth-shattering when it comes to masculine floral perfumes. It is a beautifully executed gardenia scent, accurately capturing the spirit of a man’s boutonnière. Was this not the intent? Imagining a lovely gardenia boutonnière with leafy greens and woody stems is easy with this perfume. Boutonnière No. 7 endows the perfume’s wearer with just enough of this flower’s strong personality, without too many girly overtones. It’s a nice balance of greens, florals and woods. I think this is a perfect accompaniment for a night at the opera.