Do you remember my post from late May? The one in which I talked about different flowers or fruit that are used in fragrances but for which, in my opinion, there’s still a space for improvement? Among them magnolia was the most important to me. I don’t know that many scents featuring it. I can name a couple from the top of my mind but those I tried can be counted with fingers of just one hand. Two magnolias from Grandiflora are highly recommended if you want to explore the note.
Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine, composed by Sandrine Videault, happened to be her last fragrance before she suddenly passed away on 3rd of July 2013. Profound burst of citric notes with a very prominent grapefruit accord announces the opening of this scent. Its tart, acidic juiciness is quite mouth-watering but at the same time I detect some tangy bitterness placed in the 2nd plan. Relatively quickly more nuances start to come up from this perfume. Black pepper note becomes detectable within first ten minutes. I find it scratchy and somewhat raspy, with an undeniable dose of spiciness that oscillates rapidly, going deeper into my nose by doing so. What I have no doubt about is that it also has quite a metallic edge to it. This particular facet also seems to draw out a slightly sweaty sensation from grapefruit. After some time Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine gains more substantivity through woody notes – these smell quite dry and rough-surfaced. Somewhere behind I notice pleasant mingling of green notes. During the next couple of hours the notes entwine, beautifully recreating a balmy & lemony aspect of magnolia flowers. Then in drydown the perfume becomes slightly more watery with a marine touch, all resting on top of a cotton-like musky pillow.
Michel Roudnitska gifted his own interpretation of magnolia to Saskia Havekes as a tribute to Sandrine’s life and in honour of her memory (she studied perfumery under Edmond Roudnitska). Magnolia Grandiflora Michel has a crisp opening that at the first moment reminds me of a crunchy green apple – it’s fresh, tart and bitter-sweet. A little bit later my impression fades away and is replaced by a mix of citrus notes such as lemon, grapefruit and bergamot. It feels more zingy and juicy, at the same time having a nice smoothness. Heart of this perfume is a wonderful rhapsody of flowers. All of the elements are gentle, graceful and elegant. A little bit of creaminess from ylang-ylang combines with a slightly richer tones of jasmine. That transitions into the smell of rose – pure and delicate as a morning dew. Finally magnolia itself wraps it all together. The smell of it, a marriage of fragile lemony tones, watery-floral nuances and a silky texture of petals make Magnolia Grandiflora Michel the closest and most realistic magnolia fragrance I know up to date. In the drydown vetiver blends with musk, the effect is a grassy/woody base but with softened edges. I didn’t notice patchouli. It’s a very wearable and versatile scent. Can’t imagine someone disliking it.
Both Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine and Michel are very pretty and at the moment the way they have been interpreter is the closest to the smell of actual magnolia flower in bloom. Both wear effortlessly and are especially enjoyable during spring and summer season – a great alternative to citrus freshness for a hot day. I find Michel Roudnitska’s version to be more to my liking. Both compositions are eau de parfum and now come in 50 ml black glass bottles with white, paper label.