Grandiflora Magnolia Grandiflora Michel and Sandrine


I grew up in Maryland, where Spring means cherry trees, dogwoods, and magnolias in every yard. In New York, I suspect there are more Magnolia Bakeries than actual magnolia trees. I miss the purpled blossoms that shaded every step of my walk to class.

Michel and Sandrine are the first (and so far only) fragrances in the new Grandiflora line. They’re named after their respective perfumers, Michel Roudnitska and Sandrine Videault, who both received training from Michel’s father, the legendary Edmond Roudnitska. Both perfumes are based on the Grandiflora variety of magnolias, which I’ve actually never smelled; we get the Lilliput variety in Maryland.

Michel does smell very close to a magnolia at first, with all the overripe sweetness those heavy blossoms can summon. With time, Michel moves closer to a standard sweet jasmine, but it’s still awfully pretty and would undoubtedly be a runaway success in a mainstream line. Sandrine smells like a magnolia petal feels– waxy, plastic. It has a lovely sweetened lemon note, then a strange vinegary aspect. It ends with a white musk that smells distinctly of dryer sheets. Sandrine is very quiet, and serves as an interesting contrast to the voluptuous Michel. Y’all know I’m not much for florals, but I’m very happy to have these samples on hand for when I’m missing the magnolias.

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

I am about to present you with two seemingly contradictory statements. Le Parfum de Therese smells like jasmine and bubblegum, and Le Parfum de Therese is a womanly, elegant fragrance. I wouldn’t have thought that these two seeming opposites could peacefully coexist in a perfume, but Le Parfum de Therese has proved me wrong. Le Parfum de Therese is surprisingly sweet for such a classic perfume, but it is also incredibly smooth and rich. The bubblegum effect probably comes from the melon note, which makes for a much more pleasant fruity-floral experience than the current throng of berry fragrances. More experienced noses could probably find the tangerine or cedar in here, but I do not detect them.

As lovely as I find Le Parfum de Therese, I suspect that I will not find another occasion to wear it for a very long time. Le Parfum de Therese was famously created by Edmond Roudnitska for his wife, Therese, and it feels so utterly personal that I feel that I do not really have the right to wear it. It makes me feel as if I am intruding onto someone else’s private thoughts and feelings. Le Parfum de Therese is also mature in a way that, at 20 years old, I am not yet. Someday, I hope that I will be able to live up to this very regal fragrance.