Illuminum Black Gardenia Haute Perfume EDP Review

Illuminum Black Gardenia

Demonic sweetness seeping from a gardenia petal.” That’s like the most black metal fragrance copy that I’ve ever read.

Illuminum Black Gardenia opens as a blue cheese-ish gardenia with this fuzzy peach. I can say that I’m smitten. I pick up on that tart, humid black currant. Let me add that this fragrance is thick and strong. This is not a sheer white floral. This one has some meat on its bones and some may argue too much meat on its bones. Black Gardenia is a white floral and rotten fruit but in a good way. The scent is really linear. It wears as an overripe/almost rotting fruit with a very sweet gardenia. The dry down is a white floral with a white musk, not very exciting but not bad. But, this may be because I just committed like 27 hours to wearing this fragrance and by the time the base hits my skin, I’m bored with this fragrance. I can’t say the perfume is “demonic” but I can say that it is a “darker” gardenia. It isn’t fresh/soapy or too tropical. It’s an overripe gardenia.

I find the entire Illuminum Haute line very brash and tacky but in a likable way. They’re all very loud and strong. They’re sweet and musky and scream “look at me!” They hang around on your skin forever. I find people either love this genre…or they don’t.

Myrna Loy

Notes listed include white flowers, gardenia, ylang ylang, blackcurrant, Russian cassis, and musk.

Give Black Gardenia a try if you want a gardenia that isn’t “fresh”. Or if you like perfumes like YOSH Whiteflowers, Ramon Monegal Lovely Day, Piguet Fracas and/or Byredo Pulp. 

When you wear things from the Illuminum Haute line, you better be ready to commit. This line has major projection/sillage and longevity. These seriously last on my skin for over 24 hours…with a shower or without a shower.

Currently the entire line is not available in the U.S. Henri Bendel carries a few of the Haute Collection perfumes and they retail for over $200. The perfume is available at Illuminum for £150.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONMolding peachy gardenia. As far as “thick” gardenias go, this one is nice.

*Disclaimer – Sample provided by Illuminum. I am not financially compensated for this review or any others. My opinions are my own. Product pic from Illuminum. Myrna Loy pic from


8 thoughts on “Illuminum Black Gardenia Haute Perfume EDP Review

    1. I’m still searching for my “perfect” gardenia too. I haven’t tried all of the ones launched this fall (you’re very right about there being many hitting the market). I like the ones that I’ve tried but they haven’t really “reeled” me in. I don’t know what I’m looking for so that may be the problem 😉 I feel that I need a “dirty” gardenia and a pretty, pretty princess gardenia in my collection…I think the latter will be easier to find.

  1. This sounds like my type of Gardenia! I always associate an overripe fruit tone as well as well as a mushroom note to real life gardenias. I used Chanel’s Gardenia a lot this year but I’ve been yearning for deeper, sultrier ones in the style of Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire

    1. I love a mushroom-y gardenia. JAR Jardenia is one of my favorites (but I can’t stomach to pay that price for it). I love floral scents that have a hint of decay.
      I used to wear Chanel Gardenia too. It’s nice but a pretty “clean” gardenia. Like you, I want a sultry gardenia. I haven’t tried the SL one yet!

  2. I’m just now trying this, to me it works as a soliflore, a vampy gardenia! I wouldn’t have recognized the cassis here but I can see how it makes this frag be soft & full. I like that it has both fresh & dark to it, equally soft & powerful. Good duality & balance. But it’s twice as much as what I consider a pricey buy! So I’ll have fun wearing this sample out in hopes I get over it like you did.

    1. Yeah! A smell-a-long!
      I love a good gardenia (and oddly, those aren’t easy to find). I do think this is a really good one but the price is a deterrent for me. Even though it’s good and long-lasting, I still can’t justify the purchase. But, I’m happy that I got to try it.

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