New Perfume Review Banana Republic Gardenia & Cardamom- Go For The Green

This time of year is when I feel the pressure of trying to stay on top of what is new in fragrance. Starting in August and going, seemingly, up until the last shopping day I get a steady stream of new perfumes. It forces me into some choices when I receive new things. It means my inner snob puts some things aside to assess. A couple weeks ago I miraculously didn’t receive anything which gave me time to catch up. One of the things I had delayed trying was a new collection from Banana Republic.

My inner snob always eventually gives these perfumes a chance because I’ve been surprised in the past. As recently as two years ago they released an interesting Oriental called 17 Oud Mosaic. These are generally simple perfumes. It is when they get a little more complex that they draw my attention. In this year’s releases the one which did that was Banana Republic Gardenia & Cardamom.

Vincent Kuczinski

There is a total of four perfumes in this collection. The others are; Dark Cherry & Amber, Peony & Peppercorn, and Tobacco & Tonka Bean. Those three are mostly what is described in the name with one or the other predominating. Why Gardenia & Cardamom felt different is because the perfumer, Vincent Kuczinski, uses the green version of cardamom which turns out to be a smart choice.

It opens on a juicy orange which is quickly overtaken by the cardamom. This version of cardamom has a sticky green scent to it. When a perfumer takes advantage of that it can be a good partner to an ingredient. That is what happens here as the gardenia first appears as its fresher form it quickly becomes more present. When gardenia reaches full bloom in a fragrance there is a swirl of green within the white flower. By having the green cardamom there to meet that it turns that swirl into something more prominent. This stays with this balanced accord in place for a long time before segueing into a typical woody base.

Gardenia & Cardamom has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I liked this because Mr. Kuczinski was able to go for the green while finding a balance between his co-stars.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Banana Republic.

Mark Behnke