Grandiflora Madagascan Jasmine by Michel Roudnitska for the florists “Grandiflora” in Australia is a bit of a revelation. It’s a jasmine soliflore but instead of taking the more common grandiflora or sambac types as the starting point, it takes the varietal of Stephanotis floribunda, or the so-called Madagascan jasmine.
This is the type of jasmine that Australians like to use in their bridal bouquets and headdresses because it performs exceedingly well in conditions of extreme light and heat. In terms of aroma profile, Madagascan jasmine is not as sweet as other varieties and features instead a clear, green stemminess that plays so well against the heady, creamy smell of the waxy petals themselves. In order to best replicate the smell of the plant, Michel Roudnitska was sent a plant of his own, and he studied it over a period of months.
And wow, is the end result beautiful. I don't normally like fresh, green leaves but this is done so well. It is sort of euphoria-inducing, which is embarrassing to say, but the aroma of crushed, watery green stems is true to life in a way that is familiar to me. One whiff of this divine elixir and I could be lying in a meadow with my children, absent-mindedly helping them to snap off dandelion and daffodil stalks.
It also has the coolly elegant crispness of freshly cut flowers from a florist – you know, that heavenly, intense scent released by the stems as you chop them down to fit your vase. Here you can smell the dew, the sappy sweetness of plant juice, and the slightly soapier green of the leaves – mixed in with the headier pull of the white flowers themselves.
What is most impressive is the way that Roudnitska has sustained the freshness of the green stem accord while the scent itself cycles through creamy, (slightly) indolic), fruity, and back to creamy. Ít gives you all the advantages of a good jasmine without any of the attending sweetness or bublegummy facets. The green nuance really is handled well - it reads almost like the cool, green watery tone of hyacinth or narcissus without any of their floral or earthy characteristics.
For people looking for dirty jasmines, well, I’d try this one anyway, if only because it’s a perfume of outstanding natural beauty. And while it leans to the fresh rather than indolic side, jasmine is naturally a little bit dirty-sexy-money anyway, and this shines through a little. There are times when I thought this verged on the edge of soapiness but each time it pulled back. For me, this perfume sets the bar on what a soliflore can and should be aiming for – not simply verisimilitude, but the type of wide-bellied beauty that moves you, despite yourself.