Hello, favorite lusty floral of the moment! That’s me talking to Grandiflora Queen of the Night. (Hey, some people talk to plants. I talk to perfume, all right?) Another floral fragrance might come along to take its place, but for me, right now, the rich floral, black fruit, and pollen-powder notes of Queen of the Night are what I crave.
Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour developed Queen of the Night. Its notes include citrus, berries, clove, orange blossom, jasmine sambac, ylang ylang, tuberose, gardenia, pittosporum, wisteria, mimosa, vanilla and musk. No, Queen of the Night isn’t named after the aria in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, although I would like to smell that perfume (but probably not wear it). This one is named after a flower. For information, Grandiflora’s website is practically useless. It’s just a rotating tableau of images of the fragrances. But if the top pick on Wikipedia for “Queen of the Night Flower” is true, it’s a cactus that only flowers at night.
There’s nothing prickly about Queen of the Night, though. For a handful of seconds upon first spraying it, the fragrance is fresh and slightly herbal, with an almost lime-zest feel. Then, pronto, it slides into a slushy, powdery, potent melange of flower and fruit notes. Let’s tackle the fruit first, since they can be controversial.
Queen of the Night’s fruit isn’t like popsicles or jam. In my mind’s eye, it’s dark purple bordering on black, and tart. Maybe birds pluck it from shrubs and grow drunk. A fluff of musk and vanilla keeps the fruit from puckering up your nose, sort of like soft wine does to cassis.
Now for Queen of the Night’s floral notes. To me, they smell yellow and white. Jasmine tingles along top, and powdery mimosa adds a silk velvet foundation. In the middle, weaving the whole thing together, is a friendly combination of flowers that is neither haughty not innocent nor overly elegant. To me, lily of the valley can smell girlish; gardenia can be matronly; and tuberose showy. This floral fabric doesn’t give any of that attitude. It’s not mysterious or dowdy or overtly sexy. It’s simply rich and deep and welcoming.
Queen of the Night starts out big on my skin, then quiets down within an hour to a woody-floral-powdery scent with a hint of pepper and vanilla. To me, it’s easy to wear, despite its definite personality. It hums along quietly for about six hours. My budget isn’t up to a full bottle, but I see a decant in my future. If I drain it and my floral craving hasn’t moved on, well, then we’ll see.
Grandiflora Queen of the Night Eau de Parfum is $185 for 100 ml. (It also comes in a candle which appears only to be sold in Australia.) In the United States, it is available at Luckyscent.