One Thousand Scents

Friday, July 14, 2006

Down the Gardenia Path

Yves Rocher likes to give away free stuff when you order by mail, which is why I have a bottle of tiaré shower gel in my arsenal of soaps and gels. (Tiaré is a member of the gardenia family of white flowers, strongly and exotically perfumed.)

High-end shower gels, the ones that are part of a fragrance line, tend to leave a scent on your skin; the less expensive ones as a rule are all throw and no follow-through, and Yves Rocher's shower gels are no exception. The aroma when you pour it out of the bottle and lather it up is dramatic; a hot white floral that conjures up memories of seventies suntan lotion, which all seemed to smell like tiaré and coconut in those days. No coconut in the Yves Rocher gel; it's just flowers and more flowers, hot and beachy. I couldn't imagine using this at the gym; it's not only too floral, it's too strong. But I used it at home this morning, with pleasure. The scent goes down the drain almost at the same time as the lather: it leaves the faintest trace of tropical warmth on your skin which is gone in half an hour, and you have to pretty much jam your nose against your skin to detect it.

Monoï is a skin and hair oil made in Polynesia from tiaré blossoms macerated in oil, and the Canadian company Fruits & Passion has a creamy shower gel called Monoï (with a matching body butter) that, perversely, does smell strongly of coconut. This is what tricked Jim into buying it; searching for a coconut-scented shower gel after his favourite brand was discontinued, he was convinced by a saleswoman that the Monoï shower cream was what he was looking for. It wasn't; the coconut smell is there, but it's joined in equal measure by the tiaré, which is not to his taste, something he didn't discover until he tried to use it. But I hate to let something that smells so nice go to waste. I'm not a fan, at all, of Fruits & Passion's fragrances: every single one of them, men's and women's alike, seems to have the same base, along the same lines as the famed Guerlinade, only horrible. I hardly ever go into the store: sometimes I don't even want to walk by it because that underlying scent is so pervasive and unpleasant. Some of their shower creams, though, are pretty good, and this is one of them. Same deal as with the Yves Rocher: I wouldn't use it at the gym, but at home it's a nice change of pace.


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