The latest perfume by Eau d'Italie, Magnolia Romana, is a light, airy, elegant, polished magnolia composition in which both crisp green facets and ivory-like creamy accents unfold. A clean and sensual musk accord supported by transparent ozonic notes mimicking the scent of outdoorsy warm skin signals summertime and nude tanned arms kissed by sea spray and hot sand, not far from the shade of a Magnolia tree.....
The scent was composed by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, who we learned yesterday is going to be the full-time appointed L'Artisan Parfumeur in-house nose.
The interpretation of the magnolia bloom here is between a photorealistic one (macro shot on green foliage or a creamy floral heart) and a realistic one (feeling the presence of the magnolias in general), with just enough vagueness and suggestiveness to let the mind drift to a state of memory and desire detached from one's actual surroundings (suntan, exotic faint peppery smell, the abstract suggestion of elegance and summery linen clothes).
While the scent evokes different facets of the magnolia tree set in a summery landscape, it offers a rather spare, economical composition that seems to come together best as a veil-like floral skin perfume conjuring up an atmosphere of both casual and luxurious holidays.
Impressions tend to be divided between an up-close take - which feels partly seductive but also partly déjà-vu, albeit certainly offering a more sophisticated treatment than is usual - and a more distant perception of an ensemble-composition which smells very good when looking at it less in detail. After the initial natural, photo-realistic green, and very crisp notes, there is a wonderful descent into creaminess with a little masculine citrusy cologne edge (the unisex touch?). From a certain perspective, it is even reminiscent of the floralcy in Azzaro pour Homme and Fendi Theorema, with their honeyed and dry pruney nuances.
When inhaling the scent too up-close, the ingredients tend to feel a bit on the harsh side, not sufficiently mellow, but it evolves nicely as a crisp, fresh and a bit of a soapy skin perfume. It offers a particularly lovely sillage, close to the body, that should please amateurs of tropical white florals cooled down by the high-brow suggestion of an Italian villa made of marble of Carrara.
Magnolia Romana seems to be perfectly tailored to the US market which is known for its predilection, not only for white florals, but also clean scents. The European touch might be this very light, simplified chypre effect with that good-food-and-wine accord found in a number of French perfumes, especially the chypres. Magnolia Romana works well as a marker of luxury.
Launch date: May 2008
Middle notes: Magnolia flower extract from Italy, Bulgarian Rose essence, traces of tuberose, lotus, ozone and water notes.
Base notes: Cedar from Virginia, French hay extract, white musk notes.