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Fragrance Review: Frédéric Malle Eau de Magnolia

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Genre: Floral/Citrus

Eau de Magnolia opens on bright bergamot and effervescent aldehyde top notes that meld quickly and seamlessly into its central magnolia blossom reconstruction. I say “reconstruction” because the magnolia has the sort of hyper-realistic quality I associate with headspace technology, which I understand perfumer Carlos Benaim employed in composing this scent. The reconstruction itself may be complex, but the fragrance’s overall structure is extremely simple and straightforward: lifelike magnolia, citrus, a touch of cedar, and a clean white musk. (I smell none of the listed patchouli, vetiver, or moss.) In its clarity and buoyancy – if not its content - this structure parallels classic eaux de Cologne formulae, so the “Eau” label strikes me as thoroughly appropriate. Buoyant and effervescent it may be, but Eau de Magnolia has more tenacity than a traditional eau de Cologne. The aldehydic magnolia and citrus accord persists for a solid four hours on my skin, before the musk and cedar take over for pleasantly brisk, clean drydown.

Magnolia blossoms have a citrus-like quality to their scent to begin with, and because Benaim’s composition enhances and accentuates this citrus facet, Eau de Magnolia reads as less gender-specific than many another soliflore fragrance. Highlighting the lemony facet of magnolia also leaves this scent straddling the imaginary line between floral and citrus fragrances. That said, Eau de Magnolia does not have the “hard candy“ quality I’ve come to associate with low-grade fruity floral compositions. If I can fault it at all, it is for being too literal a rendering of the magnolia blossom, which leaves it smelling at times more like a room spray or a candle* than a through-composed personal fragrance. Still, it is a cheerful, refreshing, sparkly-eyed scent that both men and women can enjoy for summer wear.


*If you enjoy this magnolia reconstruction, you can find its like in the Frédéric Malle Jurassic Flower candle, also composed by Carlos Benaim.


For more reviews of Eau de Magnolia, see the entry in the Basenotes Directory.

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Updated 6th July 2014 at 02:05 AM by Way Off Scenter

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