Magnolia Grandiflora Michel by Grandiflora 2014

Hello Lovelies, Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies with a new fragrance by an Australian company, Grandiflora. This is a tragedy and good luck story in one. One of Sydney’s most beautiful and prestigious florists, Saskia Havekes, decided to do a fragrance for her shop. Not wanting anything less than wonderful, backed by good taste and common business sense she started searching. Somehow, she came across the young perfumer Sandrine Videault, who was Edmund Roudnitska’s protege. Sandrine created an extraordinary fragrance and just as it was about to be launched tragically died. So young and full of promise and gone. Instantly the world of fragrance went into shock and mourning and the story of Sandrine was told everywhere, the story of the Grandiflora fragrance became headlines and the world was now aware of a tiny little shop in Sydney releasing a fragrance. Sandrine’s work is flawless and I’m sure you have read about it or tried it.

Magnolia Grandiflora Michel by Grandiflora 2014

Michel Roudnitska

Magnolia Grandiflora Michel Grandiflora FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Grapefruit, lemon, bergamot, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, magnolia, vetiver, patchouli, musk

Michel Roudnitska once sat below a Magnolia Grandiflora tree while it was in full bloom as a child. He loved the smell of the flowers in full bloom: a soft, whispering, sweet and buttery fragrance. Move forward to twenty odd years ago and Michel recreated that fragrance as a memory for himself. Move forward again to 2013 and when Sandrine died so suddenly Michel offered his personal interpretation of a Magnolia Grandiflora to Saskia Havekes as a second fragrance to release in loving memory. What an astounding story of Saskia’s right time/right place. Sandrine the only person not here to see the fruits of her labours become reality, tragic.

Magnolia_grandiflora Michel WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

What of the fragrance Magnolia Grandiflora Michel? My skin throws a fabulous breathy green, a fleshy, waxy, just been cut foliage scent that is buttery, soft and sweet with a clear watery feel but good heft. I have been quite lavish with my spritzing and I am at the centre of the most beguiling fragrant aura. It’s like I am lit up neon green. A beacon of Magnolia Grandiflora scent multiplied by 100,000 so even the heavens can smell my lavish magnificence. He He He. What I mean to say is Magolia Grandiflora Michel is big. A Big White Floral  resurrected from the past and brought bang up to date. After less than an hour it softens off too a musky, still very slightly citrus, wood and stays at this calm, peaceful and extremely luxe level for about 4 hours before I lose the ability to smell it. I think it may still be powering on softly though.

See the White Peacock below? See how it has a gorgeous creamy lustre, almost a soft caramel? This looks like Magnolia Grandiflora Michel smells.

Magnolia_grandiflora Michel vinoth chandar FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Grain de Musc and What Men Should Smell Like
LuckyScent has stock and samples
Peony Melbourne has $185/100ml

I am madly smitten.
Portia xx

  • Lauren says:

    I used to live where very beautiful, very fragrant magnolias grew wild on the edges of woodlands. I always ‘visited” them in late May – early June to smell them. One of the best scents on earth. Thanks for this post.

  • Kandice says:

    I was able to try both the Sandrine and the Michel. They’re both pretty interpretations but in different ways. I personally preferred the Michel. It is just gorgeous. I so wanted to love the Sandrine just because of the story behind it. But the Michel was just a better match with my chemistry, and I tend to prefer the rich floral of the Michel versus the more citrus take of the Sandrine. Thanks for the lovely review!

    • Portia says:

      Hey Kandice,
      Yes, I love them both and enjoy their different interpretations too. I am caught in a toss up because I too really love the Sandrine story but prefer the Michel frag.
      Portia x

  • masha7 says:

    Edmund Roudnitska’s proteges seem to be brilliant, unique, and also, tragic. Both Mona di Orio and Sandrine died quite young, with their work as perfumers barely on the radar. Yet both created masterpieces in a short career span. What a legacy….

    • Portia says:

      WOW! I didn’t connect the dots there Masha7. He sure knows how to create interesting perfumers, or maybe he has an eye for talent. I love a few of Mdos masterpieces too.
      Portia xx

  • I’ve been meaning to try Michel and Sandrine for a while but never got around to it. Had a Magnolia grandiflora tree in my neighbour’s garden and I used to climb the tree as a child… I really loved it.

    • Portia says:

      What a wonderful memory. Mum and I tried to grow a Magnolia in the front lawn but it was most unhappy for 10 years and then one day it didn’t come out in spring. We were devastated.
      My BFF Kath’s family has a HUGE Magnolia in their back yard, We never climbed it but it creates fabulous shade for BarBQs in the summer months and is strung with Spanish Moss.
      Portia xx

  • Ellen says:

    Those two fragrances are amazing. I live where magnolias bloom profusely, and they are the closest to the actual smell of magnolias that I have found.

    • Portia says:

      That’s interesting Ellen. Is it Ellen Covey I’m chatting with?
      Yes, it seems they have captured the scent and the sense of a magnolia. Two different approaches but both incredibly valid, and viable. Which of the two would be more YOU?
      Portia xx

      • Ellen says:

        Not “Ellen Covey,” but another Ellen from the southern U.S. I like the Michel just a tad more than the Sandrine. I’m not one for the subtle. I’m an ‘in your face” perfume person. The Sandrine seems gentler and more singular. The Michel is a profusion of magnolia and I love that. I think that magnolia is actually a rather difficult fragrance to capture. There is it’s creamy almost waxy kind of feel as well as the citrus/lemon which comes through that creaminess. Also, there is the context in which magnolias smell the best and that is after a really warm day and into the heavy moist summer nights of the South. Most perfumes that I’ve tried that purport to capture magnolia, don’t, so these two made me very happy.

  • Alison says:

    Big white magnolia floral that starts off with neon green? What’s not to love? Sounds like a must-try! Also, where can oone obtain a sample of Sandrine’s perfume?

  • Elena says:

    This sounds amazing, a must try for me. From your description, it sounds like it might be a bit of a cousin (distant cousin?) to Lys Mediteranee, which I love but can’t seem to afford. Are they similar at all? I love the image of the peacock, too. I think I might have a tiny tiny bit of Lys M. left in my sample vial, it will be my SOTD if I have some.

    • Portia says:

      Hi Elena,
      They are a little alike and nothing alike. Bolder and, on my skin, more interesting than Lys Med. I think you’ll have to try it. It’s the good stuff.
      Portia xx

  • Portia says:

    Hey Musette,
    Sandrine’s death was a complete shock to so many people. To be honest, I had only heard of her through the Magnolia Grandiflora pre press stuff and then she was gone. Everyone who knew her is unanimous in that she was going to be a superstar perfumer and was already a great girl.
    In other news……………We are in Chicago for three nights 24/5/6 November. November 25 I’m yours to do with as you please but I won’t have my drag.
    Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    Portia, what a lovely review. I remember the stunning news of Sandrine’s sudden death. I’m glad she is remembered in the perfume community in such a momentous way! xoxoxoA

  • Ann says:

    What a lovely review (and photos), Portia! This scent and Sandrine’s magnolia have been on my radar for a while but I’ve got to get going and get samples. Hope STC will carry these soon. My boss has a magnolia tree in her yard and has brought in the most beautiful blooms; one she brought in a year or two ago looked bigger than a salad plate. It was such fun to walk by and stick my nose into it and get a whiff of that creamy-lemony-earth-greeny-lusciousness. Thanks!

    • Portia says:

      Hey there Ann,
      Thank you.
      I think you will love both the Magnolia Grandiflora fragrances. Both are extremely captivating. How lucky are we that there are still some people making exquisite fragrances.
      Portia xx