Thursday, February 22, 2024

Confessions of a Garden Gnome from Fort & Manle is an Outdoor Treasure

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We head over to the other side of the globe for the fragrance I’m talking about today, Confessions of a Garden Gnome, which comes from the Australian house of Fort & Manle. I absolutely adore it, but before I dive into the ways I love it, let’s look at the house first.

Fort & Manle was founded by perfumer Rasei Fort with its first release, Mr. Bojnokopff’s Purple Hat, debuting in 2016. Hope you like fun fragrance names – this is a recurring theme with this house.

Confessions of a Garden Gnome falls under the house’s Harlequin line of fragrances. Fort, a self-taught perfumer, “continually references history and varied cultures, including his own rich, Turkish heritage by scouring the world for the finest raw materials and combining them with his inspirations, evoking the pomp and pageantry of the Empires of old.*” You might also recognize his work from Cielito Lindo or Kolonya, perfumes released under Fort’s own name, as they’re fragcomm indie darling hits.

Also, I know I’m being pedantic AF, but what is the Manle in the brand name? Who or what is that referencing since Rasei Fort is the one-man band in this house? Questions, they bug me.

Okay, before I rabbit hole on that, let’s get back to “Garden Gnome”. This fragrance debuted in 2016 and has the following note breakdown:

Confessions of a Garden Gnome Notes

Top: Yuzu, coriander, pink pepper, Sicilian bergamot

Heart: Lily, lily-of-the-valley, rose, violet leaf, mango

Base: Ambergris, white musk, birch, amber, Virginia cedar

But Kori! This fragrance has white florals and you don’t like white florals! Yeah, well, just hold your horses.


I normally veer away from white florals because they’re so often mixed in a way that either just stinks outright (hello jasmine!) or, more frequently, are blended in a way that highlight soapy florals in the end result, which is a one-way ticket to Migraine City for me.

HOWEVER, when done well, I actually quite like them! I love neroli and orange blossom mixed well, and I’m a fan of lily (particularly Oriza L. Legrand’s Relique D’Amour) to boot. So following that train of thought, we can surmise that Confessions of a Garden Gnome is blended so that it both smells gorgeous and does not give me a migraine.

And, honestly, I get FAR more presence from the violet leaf and rose than I do the lily or lily-of-the-valley. BUT. That’s only part of what I adore with this scent.

It’s a deep, rich, and vivid garden fragrance that’s a dead ringer for an outdoor experience in a large botanical paradise. And, like Fort was trying to accomplish, it’s an experience through all four seasons during its dry down. On first spray you’re going to have the bright, new days of spring with fruit and some spice, as it then dries out into a summer breezy day (ozonics are not listed, but I thought I smelled them to my nose), and then mellowing out into a wet fall and finally woody winter. (Typically this lasts for about 6-7 hours for me.)

It is, quite literally, a fragrance journey in a bottle.

That said, let’s talk price because this ain’t cheap. You won’t find Fort & Manle on the gray market sites, so be prepared to pay full price for these. A 50 mL bottle of this is going to cost you $190, though you can get a sample from Luckyscent for $5. Yes, I know this house uses all-natural materials, and that is going to cause costs to go up. Being honest, there’s some money spent on the packaging because those gorgeous metal plaques aren’t exactly cheap to do from design to manufacture to assembly.

Personally, I don’t mind at all that some of what I’m paying for is a gorgeous bottle, but your mileage might vary. Either way, this is definitely on the higher end for a 50 mL bottle and I can find some Xerjoff offerings for cheaper than this!

However, if you’re like me and decided this is a green, floral blast you couldn’t live without (for special occasions at any rate) then it might be worth adding to your collection.

*Just be aware that, because of the natural raw ingredients they use, you might see a slight variation between bottles of the same scent.

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!

The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.

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  • Kori

    Kori is an entertainment writer and Managing Editor at the Fandomentals. In her spare time, she is a fragrance and watch enthusiast, lover of Eurovision, and Yanni devotee. Find her on Instagram at @fmkori

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