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Nose-­to-­Nose – Tiaré time - June 24, 2015

Image - Wikipedia - Where are you going? by Paul Gauguin, 1893

Gwen: You know, Tahitian Gardenia is one of my favourite notes in summer perfume.

Kay: I’m with you there pal. Tahitian Gardenia is gorgeous, lush and exotic. I always think of Marlon Brando and the Tahitian island he bought after filming Mutiny on the Bounty in Tahiti, and he’d fallen in love with one of the Tahitian beauties that starred in the movie. What was her name?…Tarita Teriipaia!, that was it!. Anyway, the movie showed such an unspoiled, natural paradise.

Gwen: You know, Tahitian Gardenia is a bit of a misnomer. Tiaré flower, Tahitian Gardenia’s other name, is actually one of the few cultivated plants native to Polynesia.  I mean, even though I have never been to Polynesia, I feel I know it just from the smell of the tiaré flower.

Kay: I think most people would know not just the smell of the white tiaré flower, but the exotic accord that’s formed when the tiaré flower buds are macerated in coconut oil to make Monoï oil, used to scent skin and hair in Tahiti. It was a key ingredient in suntan lotions for decades. This is the way I experienced tiaré – as Monoï oil, the luscious mix of the fragrant flower and the nutty coconut - soft, airily sweet, and smooth. It’s said to be a scent that has medicinal properties, used for migraines, to calm babies, as an aphrodisiac even. Tiaré blossoms are traditionally worn by Polynesians behind the ear – on the left means you’re taken, on the right means you’re available, at the nape of the neck means “Come with me” which is the aphrodisiac in action!

Gwen: Ahh, yes, Monoï oil. Definitely one of the signature smells of summer.

Kay: And one of the best examples is Monoï, Eau de Vahines by Yves Rocher. The tiaré, gardenia and tuberose mix is sweet and exotic, sharpened just a little with ylang-ylang create a tropical paradise.

Gwen: The suntan lotion association with Monoï oil is a powerful one for people who grew up with it. When my husband sniffed Musc Monoï on my skin he was taken back to his childhood of family seaside summers spent in France. No surprise there since Musc Monoï, by Nicolaï, Parfumeur-Créateur was inspired by Ambre Solaire, the French suntan oil.  Musc Monoï isn’t about replicating the scent of Ambre Solaire, it’s about being inspired by it, so instead of gardenia, de Nicolaï uses rich, creamy, ylang-ylang combined with indolic, animalic jasmine to create the impression of sun-kissed skin. Refinesd rich and gorgeous – the perfect beach fragrance for the city.

Kay: And how about Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder? It has the tiaré note in it, but there’s a lemon-lime citrus note up top but it’s part of a fabulous coconut-tiaré flower-orange blossom floral accord, which is topped off with a hit of a spicy lavender. It’s the smell of the tropics, the smell of the perfect vacation in a tropical resort. Then it settles down into the most perfect version of warm beachy, ambery musky skin, with hints of rooty iris and woods - hot and sexy, but cool and sophisticated, with a retro feel that fits todays’ vibe.

Gwen: Lately I can’t get enough of Manoumalia from LezNez. OMG, what a frag! It opens with a note of fragrea. Fragrea has many olfactory similarities to its white flower sisters - gardenia, ylang-ylang, jasmine and tuberose – so it’s lush, tropical, carnal and creamy. But it also has a spicy facet that sets it apart and makes Manounalia intriguing from the first sniff. It also gives it an irresistibility that runs like a thread right through the fragrance from top to bottom. Skin heat opens up the white flower aspects of fragrea making them big and heady. Then, I smell coconut. I smell suntan lotion and I smell good.

Kay: You know, we must love tiaré just look at all the frags we have written about that have it! There’s everything from flat out beach frags like Ensoleille Moi by Gaz Bijoux and Fire Island by Bond no. 9 to  frags with a more sophisticated and chic take on it like Terracotta le Parfum by Guerlain,  Batucada by L’Artisan,  Songes by Annick Goutal and Flora Bella from Lalique.

You know, Gwen, I think Marlon Brando married the Tahitian beauty and they were together for about ten years. They also had couple of kids.

Gwen: Tiaré,  Monoï . Magic potions. So many, magic summer potions.

Kay: Yep. Just choose your potion.

Try these magic potions, experience the tiaré flower. Experience summer.