My love, nay, sensory preoccupation with Gardenia is no secret. It has its roots in my Grandparents’ house in Port Macquarie, one I used to visit in the summer, as a child. In the backyard, where we’d sit eating ice blocks, waiting for the rustle of an afternoon breeze, there was a gardenia bush. The heavy heat of summer would pull the perfume from the creamy petals, letting it seep into the still air. And now, years and years later, every time I smell gardenia, I think of summer and the delight my seven year old self found in twisting the heavy flowers in front of my nose and breathing in.

And so we come to the latest addition to my new collection, La Martina Mujer. I first smelt this heady brew last year, whilst perusing fragrances at the Karstadt, a department store in Muenster. It was love at first inhalation. Sort of green and herbal at first, thanks to top notes of sage and coriander, it’s only seconds before the gardenia kicks in. Full and old fashioned and buoyed along by violet, powdery rose and a kick of ylang ylang. Somewhere in the mix, is a pinch of cloves before we get to the dry down. Lemon and vetiver continue the green theme, but coconut and musk keep things warm and rather sensual.

It’s a powerful oriental floral, feminine and strong. Despite its floral notes suggesting a visual realisation that is typically ’female’ (ie a curvy pastel bottle) La Martina’s cube-like bottle comes wrapped in stitched leather embossed with flowers. The juxtaposition works. La Martina is femininity in several incarnations.