Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Will the upcoming Frederic Malle scent be a magnolia?

"Frederic Malle is the epitome of French elegance in a beige double-breasted gaberdine suit, crisp white shirt, polished brown shoes and wave of salt-and-pepper hair as he steps into Grandiflora, one of Sydney's finest florists".

This is how Frédéric Malle is introduced in an article on The Australian, on which he explains the concept of the smell booths that are installed in his boutiques (please see our Paris shopping Memoirs part 2 for more information). The story originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Wish magazine. (a free insert inside metro editions of The Australian on the first Friday of each month).
In the photograph the caption reads: "Malle is developing a scent based on the magnolia-grandiflora". Therefore, after the unusual treatment that violet had in the hands of Maurice Roucel in Dans Tes Bras, another new Malle fragrance, after this season's Géranium pour Monsieur, is set to see the light of day, this time focused around this delightful blossom with citrusy and white floral facets. It remains to be seen which perfumer is undertaking this task (we will update when more info becomes available) and although Maurice Roucel has been credited with fragrances which feature magnolia notes (L'Instant comes to mind), let me point out that according to Luca Turin, who first mentioned this factoid in "Perfumes The Guide", it is magnolia leaf note and not magnolia blossom which is his "signature note". Bourdon is retired, Ropion had been all too recently working on the last one, Ellena has an exclusive contract he can't break, so this leaves us with interesting and unusual choices. Shall we propose a working title of "Magnolia pour Mademoiselle"?

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Frederic Malle scents and news

Pic via The Australian.


  1. Ooh, magnolia! What gorgeous, creamy, lemony fragrance.

    Let's see what Frederic and his perfumers deliver! I really hope it smells like magnolia, but that may be asking for too much.


  2. A new white floral scent from Malle? Sounds really exciting!

  3. Anonymous21:50

    It starts to be clear that this is a year of magnolia. For example Acqua di Parma has Magnolia Nobile.
    Is it any Asian trend with magnolias here?

  4. Magnolia, I love them and I've studied them a lot in the past 2 years. Now they are in full bloom in Paris.
    On the market I know magnolia extracts from leaves and from flowers. Mine is from Monique Remy but there is also a new extraction at AlbertVieille. I think (but I'm not sure) that a strong natural magnolia note was used also in Julie from Jean Patou (that perfume not on sale but available to be sniffed in their parisian boutique). There are many, many types of magnolias in the world and the natural extract is not from the magnolia that Monsieur Malle smells in the picture :)
    I've just read that the latest Helena Rubinstein is based on magnolia and made by Ropion and Benaim.
    As the best magnolia extract is from Monique Remy who belongs to IFF and Ropion is already a famous master of white flowers already working on a magnolia .... we could presume that he would be another possible candidate for the new Frédéric Malle. Unless a new perfumer would appear:)
    I like your title ... Magnolia pour Mademoiselle !

  5. Anonymous23:11

    Just want to add that Roucel used the essence of magnolia when composing Tocade. Roucel mentioned in Michael Edwards' Perfume Legends that back then the essence of magnolia was a "completely new ingredient" and he believed that it was "used for the first time in Tocade". He also mentioned that the magnolia essence "brings an unusual tone to the perfume, very delicate and a little fruity, like the scent of lychee". So it might not be his primary signature but he has been using it for a while now.

  6. Oh we had a lovely magnolia in our backyard but the drought killed it . Lovely lemony smell and what flowers they have.
    Shall be interesting Helg!

  7. interesting- although I am exciting by anything from the FM line. I would have thought Chanel should have worked on the ultimate magnolia as it was mademoiselle's favourite flower.

  8. Hi R!! How are you darling?

    Magnolia is certainly a wonderful smell. We have a very fragrant one in the neightbourhood and it's always a joy standing under and just deeply inhaling.....ahhh...
    I love the waxy aspect too, especially when it's hotter.

    It all depends what the concept will be: will it be the flower in its context (En Passant, Carnal Flower), a more realistic reproduction (Lys Mediterannee) or something completely evocative of fantasy (Dans tes Bras)? We'll see!

  9. L,

    I have been excited myself, although this "smelling things at florist's" blurb doesn't really inspire me personally (I mean, really, flowers at florist's smell of generic flower-shop scent most of the time). But that might have been the choice of the paper rather than Malle himself, so I'm optimistic. ;-)

  10. L,

    magnolia seems to become increasingly popular which points out to some newer technique or molecule involved. This is what happens most of the time; it's a bit like the fashion industry trends> they're completely based on textiles, anyone who follows the textiles can safely predict patterns and colour for next season ;-)

    There is also the newest Demi Moore fronted Rubinstein scent, the rather recent Magnolia Romana by Eau d'Italie...

  11. Octavian,

    thanks for chimming in! I know you studied magnolia, so I take your word for this as semi-gospel :-)
    Like I said above, I think the "sniffing magnolias at the florist's" was more of an idea of the paper, for illustartion purposes, than of Malle himself.

    I would be interested in hearing what you think about the AlbertVielle rendition when you get some.
    My name is simply something playful, mirroring their GPM. Magnolia has a little naughtiness (sperm-like?), so it couldn't be anything solemnn ;-)

    Your reasoning about Ropion stands to reason, as there is possibly a sketch which he might have fledged out differently for either of these two (I expect the Rubinstein to be the easier one, perhaps the Malle one the more challenging), these things are not unheard of, hope he doesn't find it offensive if rumours get to his ears, LOL (We love your work, mr.Ropion!)

  12. A,

    thanks for the mention, indeed and I had completely forgotten about the novel factor back when Tocade was composed! (a fragrance which I am sorry to say is not to my taste).
    I will definitely search for the lychee note in magnolia next time I am under the tree and see if I smell it.

  13. M,

    oh dear, sounds bad...drought does challenge most green things, it's such a shame. We go through dry spells here as well.
    The flowers are very impressive, so big, so waxy, so fragrant! HOpe they make something as delicious as Une Fleur de Cassie which I love!

  14. K,

    let's keep our fingers crossed that it should please and be a great white floral.
    I believe it was camelia though which Chanel cherished, sadly a flower which does not have any significant odour baggage.

  15. I'll have to go out sniffing magnolia blossoms -- we have many trees here in the South and they're blooming. Lots of the blossoms have little or no scent, though. Our giant "Southern Magnolia" is often disparaged by landscape artists, as it produces so deep a shade that nothing -- not even grass -- will grow under it, and it drops giant leaves and big sticky fruit that attracts insects. Sometimes it's called a "trash tree," along with a variety of mimosa we have and the tulip poplar (Not very poetic, am I today!) The leaves were once popular here as Christmas decorations, as the tree is evergreen.

    I have noticed magnolia scents suddenly popping up everywhere. Will this be the iris of 2010?

  16. Oh you're right- having total brain meltdown due to computer issues!!

  17. P,

    I think the magnolia scent variability has to do with the weather as well as the variety of the tree. I do agree that the leaves are gigantic, but I sort of like them for that.
    We have this problem with pines, not allowing grass grow under them, as they shed needles all the time; but they do look and smell great, so no complaints.

    Like I said above, perhaps "magnolia" is witnessing a new technique or a new molecule enhancement, which might explain the trend. It certainly seems popular all of a sudden.

  18. K,

    honey, I hope your computer issues are not serious and will be solved soon!! (hugs)


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