Frederic Malle Eau de Magnolia : New Perfume

A new fragrance will join Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle in June 2014.  Eau de Magnolia was created by perfumer Carlos Benaïm and is described as a fresh chypre perfume. It is based on a study of magnolia’s aroma by IFF scientist Braja Mookherjee. When analyzing the components that give magnolia its unique fragrance, Benaïm found that it resembled a citrus cologne. Therefore, he composed Eau de Magnolia for both men and women, taking the zesty freshness of the flower as his starting point.


Eau de Magnolia Eau de Parfum includes notes of bergamot, magnolia headspace, vetiver, patchouli, cedarwood, amber, and tree moss. This is Benaïm’s first perfume for the house, but he has already left his fingerprint on the Fleurs Mécaniques collection of home fragrances: Saint des Saints, Rosa Rugosa, Rubrum Lily, Cafe Society and the magnolia based Jurassic Flower.

Eau de Magnolia will be available in June at Frédéric Malle’s boutiques and department store counters. 10 ml/$125, 50 ml/ $175, 100 ml/$225. Via press release



  • George: “The claw
    Of the magnolia,
    Drunk on its own scents,
    Asks nothing of life.”

    Sylvia Plath

    If only it fulfils that description!

    Eau de magnolia sounds like it might be a Roudnitska-esque type creation.
    The price point- which is the lower rather than Carnal Flower end of the Malle range- seems informative: I guess there’s no floral absolute overdosage if the magnolia is a headspace construction.
    I’m looking forward to this mainly because I’m a bit puzzled as to what to expect. April 24, 2014 at 7:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for this Plath poem, George. Few other poets can say so much with so little.

      I also don’t know what to expect, but it sounds very interesting. April 24, 2014 at 5:07pm Reply

      • Merlin: I think its an excerpt from Platy’s Paralytic, published in the Ariel anthology, but those lines do seem to stand on their own – an example of total self-sufficiency:) April 25, 2014 at 4:37am Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t read Paralytic in its entirety until George posted this excerpt. Intense! April 25, 2014 at 3:05pm Reply

          • Merlin: And like so much of Plath’s poetry, fairly disturbing! April 25, 2014 at 4:19pm Reply

      • Alessandra: YES!!! Can’t wait to test it. Hope it’s great! April 25, 2014 at 4:21pm Reply

    • Karina: Thank you for that beautiful piece of writing, it made me smile 🙂 April 29, 2014 at 1:26am Reply

  • Sandra: I love the smell of magnolias. Right now, with my spring allergies I don’t smell much of anything, but by June my stuffy nose will be gone. I am looking forward to trying this! Could be a great summer scent.
    On a side note, I visited Annick Goutals new store in NYC in the lower west side. Very cute boutique. Also I feel extra spoiled that it right next to one of my favorite bakeries, magnolias! Perfume followed by cupcakes and homemade lemonade=one spoiled New Yorker 🙂 April 24, 2014 at 7:49am Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds like a perfect outing! Magnolia Bakery is still unrivaled for cupcakes, as far as I’m concerned. 🙂 Did you find anything you liked at Annick Goutal? April 24, 2014 at 5:13pm Reply

      • Sandra: Yes! That store was dangerous… I got some eau d’Hadrien soap. Perfect for spring time. I tried Quel Amour! Very nice. The sales woman was wearing Songes, and smelled divine. Though it was not my cup of tea when I first tried it, I have almost finished my sample that she gave me. For some reason I love it.
        I am not sure of your taste (since I don’t know you) but for some reason I thought you would love this store. Very simple, with good feng shui, lots of light, and simple. I could of spent my whole afternoon there smelling, and the sales associate wouldn’t of mind. She loved talking about everything.
        I am actually tying the knot not far from there, have you heard of Jefferson Market Garden April 24, 2014 at 5:41pm Reply

        • Victoria: It really sounds like a place I would like! 🙂 Eau d’Hadrien soap, by the way, is one of my favorites. If I don’t buy a bar for myself, I buy it as a gift. The scent is irresistible. April 24, 2014 at 5:51pm Reply

    • Ashley Anstaett: Sandra, that sounds like a perfect day! What is the Annick Goutal boutique like? Could you eat an extra cupcake for me next time you go to Magnolia? 🙂 April 24, 2014 at 5:21pm Reply

      • Sandra: I will eat as many cupcakes as you want me too 🙂 just let me know your favorite kind and I will try it the next time I am there April 24, 2014 at 5:42pm Reply

    • Ashley Anstaett: I just looked up pictures for the New York boutique. I don’t know if they are actually ones from New York, but it looks absolutely lovely on the inside. Does it smell incredible when you walk in there? April 24, 2014 at 5:24pm Reply

  • Lauren B: That sounds exciting! I’m from the Magnolia State, so I have a sentimental attachment to their scent. I can’t wait to give it a try. April 24, 2014 at 9:30am Reply

    • Victoria: I had to look it up, just to know! I went to school in the south, and the smell of magnolias there was out of this world. Like melted lemon ice cream and roses. April 24, 2014 at 5:17pm Reply

      • Lauren B: Yes, they make beautiful smells, but terrible allergies! April 24, 2014 at 7:49pm Reply

  • Merlin: Interesting that it lists ‘magnolia headspace’ as a note, given that notes do not represent actual ingredients anyway. Perhaps it’s because it’s commonly thought that they do denote actual ingredients, so it’s an attempt to avoid misleading anyone? April 24, 2014 at 10:11am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s an accord based on the study of magnolia’s headspace. IFF has a big collection of such accords representing different aromatic objects, and magnolia is one of them. April 24, 2014 at 5:18pm Reply

      • Merlin: Oh, guess ‘headspace’ was more complex than I thought. I had the impression it was a way of capturing all the molecules in a certain radius, of the actual thing (living magnolia here). And that those molecules are analyzed so that they can be replicated for the exact same effect. In that case it should be very close to the smell of the actual magnolia. Except that they may not be able to analyze all molecules, nor replicate them all, and presumably the manufactured accord is much simpler.

        Am I on the right track? April 25, 2014 at 4:42am Reply

        • Victoria: You’re exactly right! The headspace analysis gives a breakdown of molecules contained in the aroma of various plants or other aromatic objects. A perfumer then needs to put them together and create a balanced accord that will smell realistic. Although it sounds straightforward and scientific, a human nose is essential for giving the process. Many molecules exist in trace amounts and aren’t picked by the machines. Others can’t be used in the right quantities, etc. So, the best headspace accords blend science with perfumer’s talent. April 25, 2014 at 3:08pm Reply

  • Annikky: I’m seriously excited about this one, I think magnolia is a note that deserves much more attention. The concept and notes sound promising to me and with Malle the quality is going to be good in any case. April 24, 2014 at 10:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Have you tried two magnolias by Michel Roudnitska and Sandrine Videault? They’ve initially peaked my interest in this note. April 24, 2014 at 5:19pm Reply

      • Annikky: Not yet, but I definitely need to find a way. If everything else fails, I’ll be in Paris in June and can test them then. But that’s month and a half away! April 26, 2014 at 7:59am Reply

        • Victoria: I’m sure that you won’t be bored without perfume in the meantime. 🙂 And there will something nice to anticipate. April 26, 2014 at 2:41pm Reply

  • Austenfan: This is the 3rd Magnolia of 2014 I want to try. I’m still trying to discover how to get my hands on the Australian Magnolia’s but the Malle one ought to be good as well. April 24, 2014 at 2:33pm Reply

    • Annikky: Same here! April 24, 2014 at 2:40pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Wouldn’t mind a trip to Australia actually! April 24, 2014 at 3:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Malle rarely disappoints, and even if I don’t end up falling in love with his fragrances, I admire them. So, I look forward to Eau de Magnolia. April 24, 2014 at 5:21pm Reply

    • Ilia: I had to go to Paris to try to Grandiflora magnolias (they’re available at colette) . Unfortunately only Sandrine version was there so I still have no idea what Michel’s version is like.
      Well, at least Malle is more readily available to try. April 25, 2014 at 7:55am Reply

      • Austenfan: Did you like the Sandrine? April 26, 2014 at 4:17am Reply

  • Nancy A.: Magnolia seems to be the flower of choice of late. April 24, 2014 at 4:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: True! It’s surprising to see it come up all of a sudden. It’s a beautiful note, but it’s a bit hard to render the effect properly. April 24, 2014 at 5:22pm Reply

  • Alice: This sounds interesting; I have the cafe society, and really liked jurassic park, so a perfume by the same nose is very promising.

    Cristalle eau verte has magnolia, and I own and have always enjoyed that one – I wonder if they will have anything in common? April 25, 2014 at 5:47am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t smelled Eau de Magnolia, but I like Cristalle Eau Verte. I would also be curious to see if they’re any similar.

      Of course, another magnolia perfume is Vero Kern Mito, a lovely option. April 25, 2014 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Merlin: I never knew that about the Chanel. I always think of it as lemon tea. Now I need to go smell it again! April 25, 2014 at 4:16pm Reply

  • Amer: I’ve had a fascination with magnolias since childhood and found their elusive fragrance very charming. I have found from experience that there are two main categories of magnolias. One that makes numerous flame shaped flowers (purple, pink, yellow or white) before it begins to sprout leaves and the other type that is an evergreen and makes huge beige-creme flowers that feel like satin to touch. First variety is scented like vanilla and spices embroidery sewn on a white floral background with a green thread, the scent is subtle but creeps up on you instead of hitting you in the face. The second has a lemony type of aroma and the leaves are fragrant too, overall there is an impression of tea with lemon, again, not a strong aroma and hardly diffusive. The second type (Grandiflora) had its share of limelight with the two recent creations from an Australian flower company. (The Roudnitska version was my favourite of the two). The other type however, which has been a staple in many functional products, body baths, cremes, detergent and such has not been represented effectively in high end perfumery. Too bad because it holds huge potential.

    I guess the Malle version is the Grandiflora judging from the lemony elements. I am interested of course but had it been the other type I would have been WOWed! April 25, 2014 at 6:34am Reply

    • Merlin: Wonderful description! Low end lotions etc with a magnolia scent do not smell pleasant to me, at all! But I do like the Magnolia note in L’Instant. I’m guessing that is the lemony variety. April 25, 2014 at 8:15am Reply

      • Amer: I’l have to revisit that! In the meantime I have a magnolia pomade (from the enfleurage process) that I enjoy immensely. Once it melts on skin it is as if magnolias blossom in the room. April 25, 2014 at 8:33pm Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: To my nose L’Instant de Guerlain (Edp) has the vanilla, creamy note.
          And I like the magnolia in Helena Rubinsteins Wanted. April 26, 2014 at 4:28am Reply

    • Victoria: Great descriptions, Amer! Can’t agree more. There is also magnolia champaca, which smells apricot like and leathery, with a touch of Mediterranean herbs. I like Ormonde Jayne Champaca and L’Instant de Guerlain for that kind of note. April 25, 2014 at 3:12pm Reply

      • Amer: Isn’t champaca the frangipani flower? Didn’t know it is a magnolia April 26, 2014 at 7:50am Reply

        • Victoria: All of these names can be confusing. Plumeria is another name for frangipani, but champaca is in the magnolia family. It looks like yellow or pale apricot magnolia flowers. April 26, 2014 at 2:43pm Reply

    • Alouetta: Oh wonderful descriptions! I’ve developed a magnolia obsession over the last three years. I am growing a grandiflora (such a cooling creamy lemon scent), a pinkie (gorgeous blooms but only the faintest whiff of cinnamon if you’re lucky), a fairy magnolia (heaps of spiceysweet short-lived flowers) and am attempting to grow port wine magnolia from cuttings- they have an almost sickly sweet scent somewhere between bubblegum and some sticky liqueur – it’s borderline medicinal. My favourite is the grandiflora if you can’t tell already and unfortunately the Sandrine Grandiflora which I’m currently testing just doesn’t measure up! I really wanted to like it, but it flirts a little too close to bug spray on my skin. It has that promising lemony opening but where is the cream, the cool, the generousity of the grandiflora? I briefly tried the Roudnitska but can’t comment on it, save to say that perhaps the reality of magnolias have spoilt me for the interpretation. But I’m still looking forward to the Malle! April 28, 2014 at 6:37am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Fascinating description, Amer! I was surprised by that lemony note, because the magnolia’s in the steets of Amsterdam don’t have that. They smell like the first category of Amers description. April 25, 2014 at 7:01am Reply

    • Victoria: In Brussels, most magnolias smell citrusy to me. Some also smell very rose-like. April 25, 2014 at 3:12pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: I smelled the Amsterdam magnolias today, and they smelled as Amer pointed out: vanilla, little bit spicy and also creamy. My nose could not find out a citrus note . So the magnolias in A’dam and those in Brussels are different, or my nose is failing! April 25, 2014 at 5:47pm Reply

        • Victoria: Your nose is most definitely not failing! I bet there must be many magnolia varieties, and they all smell differently. April 26, 2014 at 2:44pm Reply

  • james1051: Can’t wait for the Malle.
    What’s the best mag. fragrance out there right now?

    People think I’m nuts, but to me Iris Ukiyoe’ has a very clear note of M. stellata, the precocious asian species that gives those early and fragrant star shaped blossoms. Yes I know, mag. is not a listed note. April 26, 2014 at 8:39am Reply

    • Victoria: Not at all! A note may not be listed, but a magnolia-like ingredient may be there. Or the combination of notes might give a true magnolia effect. If you smell something clearly, there must be a reason.

      I really like Vero Kern Mito, which has a beautiful citrusy magnolia note, and it smells effervescent and bright. April 26, 2014 at 2:46pm Reply

  • Sarah: That’s a great description. I can’t wait to try it. April 27, 2014 at 3:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: Me too! It sounds very interesting. April 28, 2014 at 10:48am Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: I cannot wait to go into Barneys and sniff this new scent. I am a big fan of Malle’s scents, Musc Ravageur and his tuberose perfume. Magnolia is an under-used note in perfumery; I can only think of one in which it dominates, a soliflorand the name escapes me now. April 28, 2014 at 6:03pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: The magnolia scent I was thinking of is from Aqua di Parma. It’s light, citrusy and ethereal and perfect for summer. Sorry about the memory lapse! April 28, 2014 at 6:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m going to revisit it! I have a sample at home, but I haven’t given it a proper test. April 29, 2014 at 10:23am Reply

    • Layla: It’s Acqua di Parma’s Magnolia Nobile. I’ve heard lovely things about it. September 27, 2014 at 11:23am Reply

  • Michael: I managed to get a sneak preview of Eau de Magnolia this evening and after testing it, first on paper and then on my skin, the first word that comes to mind is … ravishing! IMHO it’s another winner from Frederic Malle and perfect for spring and summer.

    I get a burst of sparkling, invigorating citrus – the bergamot lasts quite long for a top note – before it is gradually replaced by the sweet, heady aroma of magnolia flower. It does have that lemon ice cream (or even custard) scent, but I also detect a slightly spicy facet to the flower. The drydown is warm and slightly woody; you’ll be glad to know that the magnolia weaves itself in and out of the amber, cedarwood, patchouli and vetiver.

    I would definitely recommend testing Eau de Magnolia on your skin, as it smells much “rounder” and three dimensional than when you spray it on a card. May 14, 2014 at 6:00pm Reply

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