Fragrance reviews: YSL Black Opium Floral Shock, Elizabeth Arden White Tea and Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia

If you’re one of the many devoted to the coffee-infused yumminess that is YSL Black Opium, you’ll be glad to know the brand’s just launched another flanker – YSL Black Opium Floral Shock EDP (R1 245 for 50ml and R1 630 for 90ml).

Floral Shock was designed to be a lighter, fresher version of the original scent, one with more flowers and a softer coffee aspect, but it still packs a punch. It’s got killer good staying power and is the kind of warm, sweet-smelling fragrance people are going to notice on you, making it a nice pick for a cold day or a big night out.

Gotta say, I’m a sucker for a glittery bottle.

Notes-wise, you’re looking at a fresh, slightly green blend of lemon, bergamot, pear and freesia up top, a heart full white flowers like gardenia and orange blossom and a base that includes white musk, woody amber and an iced coffee accord.

On my skin, I immediately get the lemony top notes and a bit of pear (but not much of the latter, which is good as I’m not a pear fan) but the overall warmth and sweetness is there from the get go. As it dries down you can pick up on the flowers, particularly the gardenia, but they’re overwhelmed by a warm, creamy coffee aroma that isn’t cheap or tacky in the least. Many ‘celebrity fragrances’ go the sweet/foodie route and often end up smelling like fruity drug store body sprays for teens but this is grown up, sexy and delicious. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Floral Shock isn’t nearly as sweet as the original Black Opium and lacks its super sterk vanilla base note so it’s not the kind of thing to feel cloying.

If you like the Black Opium line up or appreciate sweet creamy fragrances like Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle then Floral Shock is going to be your friend.

Now let’s chat about new Elizabeth Arden White Tea EDT (R495 for 30ml, R595 for 50ml and R695 for 100ml).

If you buy the 100ml bottle you can pick up that mooi white tote for free but only while stocks last.

When I first heard about White Tea I initially thought it was another variant of Arden’s Green Tea, a fragrance I’ve been wearing every summer for years. (OMG! I’ve actually just done the math. I’ve been wearing it for fifteen years!) Thing is, White Tea is a completely different pillar.

Inspired by the refreshing feeling you get from your first sip of tea, be it white, rooibos or otherwise, White Tea’s notes include mandarin, a sea breeze accord, white tea extract, mate absolute (a herbaceous note), wood, ambrette seed and a trio of sheer musks.

On me, I get the initial citrusy top notes and something clean and airy-smelling. It doesn’t make me think of the sea or anything oceanic. Rather white linen fluttering in a breeze. I then pick up on the tea in a way that reminds me a lot of a Bvlgari pour femme but with less powder, more soap and a whopload of white musk.

The end result is a subtle, ‘calming’ scent that would be a safe bet for the office or a casual day out. The citrusy top notes are very fleeting so I wouldn’t consider White Tea ‘refreshing’ in the way that Green Tea is (I know, I know! They’re different. But I can’t seem to stop wanting to make comparisons!) It’s more of a ‘cosy’ smell that would go down well with anyone who appreciates a white musk. Actually, the more I think about it, that’s another fragrance White Tea reminds me of! The Body Shop White Musk, albeit a more sophisticated version with very good staying power.

Last but not least, guess who’s back with a brand new look? Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia EDP (R1 205 for 100ml) has just been relaunched as a limited edition in the prettiest floral-bedecked packaging while the juice itself, despite being tinted pink, remains unchanged.

Pretty in pink!

A fruity-floral, Gorgeous Gardenia features red berries, juicy pear, white gardenia petals, frangipangi, patchouli and a brown sugar accord. On my skin the sweetness of the red berries, creamy pear and a very lush gardenia (one that’s in full bloom after a long, hot summer) come through on full blast. I also get something that reminds me just a teensy bit of cream soda! But, overall, this scent reminds me a lot of Juicy Couture’s Viva la Juicy, another creamy white floral with berry top notes and generous spoons of sugar, albeit a much more sophisticated version.

If you’re a gardenia fan (those who love it are rabid) and like heady, sweet yet elegant scents then this might be right up your alley. Despite being sweet and fruity, the sophisticated gardenia skews this fragrance to a woman as opposed to a girl. Also, the staying power is excellent.

Fun fact! Did you know that the extended Flora collection (Gorgeous Gardenia, Gracious Tuberose, Glamorous Magnolia etc) were inspired by five of the flowers featured (ooh, that’s a tongue twister) of the brand’s iconic floral-print scarf that was worn by Princess Grace of Monaco?

Love, love


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