Magnolia Romana, another Bertrand Duchaufour creation for Eau d'Italie is another proof for me that no matter how beautiful the composition and how perfect the execution, pale watery floral perfumes were not made for me. I can appreciate them, I can admire the clarity of some notes, I can adore the idea and vision. But I shouldn't wear them, because so much of the beauty and delicate work goes missing when my skin is involved.
I smell Magnolia Romana in the vial or on a test strip and there are all these colors- green, white, pale yellow and a hint of pink. The opening is bracing, the flower notes are sheer and bitter, like a blossom still on the tree. But when I wear this Eau d'Italie perfume it becomes hollow and wan. I don't know where the promised notes of cedar and hay go- they seem to have been washed away in the aquatic wave leaving nothing behind but a limp pale musk.
It's depressing, really, because I love the cleanliness and wearability of the magnolia note itself in Magnolia Romana. As much as I enjoy walking in my neighborhood on an early spring evening when magnolia trees are in bloom, I know I can't wear anything like that without smelling incredibly dirty. I don't know enough about the molecules that come from a real magnolia, but there's a point during their bloom (at least the breed that grows here in the north) that is quite skanky and indolic. Smelling it on a balmy spring night when the entire spring and summer are still ahead and the promise of adventure is ripe and tempting makes me feel like a teenager again, and for once it's not in a bad way. But in this Eau d'Italie perfume, Bertrand Duchaufour managed to take the pretty parts and make them streamlined and elegant. There's a spa-like element, like high-end white lotus creams and potions. It hangs around the skin like a veil. Magnolia Romana would make a wonderful summer perfume and a stunning bridal scent for someone with the right skin chemistry. I just wish I would actually enjoy wearing clean fresh scents.
Magnolia Romana by Eau d'Italie ($120, 100ml EDT) is available from Lafco in NYC and Luckyscent.
Photo by Romana Klee