Blog post by Gwen

Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine – fresh and green and evocative

Wikimedia Commons - Magnolia Grandiflora - by Paxsimius 06/13/2007

You meet the nicest people when you travel. Last week I attended the Elements show in New York. I smelled great new fragrances and met some really interesting people – like Saskia Havekes.

A Sydney-based horticulturist/ florist, author and now head of a perfume house, Ms. Havekes still operates her floral design business out of the small shop in Potts Point she opened in 1995 called Grandiflora.

Florists live in the scented world of flowers, plants and earth and their characters are a florist’s medium, so the crossover to perfume was a natural one for Saskia. She collaborated on the book Fragrances of the World 2013 with Gary Heery and Michael Edwards. Then, in 2013, she launched a fragrance house called Grandiflora and introduced two signature scents: Magnolia Grandiflora Michel and Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine – two different interpretations of the same plant. Both fragrances are spectacular, but it was the Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine that resonated with me the first time I smelled it.

Magnolia Grandiflora, that medium to large evergreen tree that grows best near the seashore and is native to the southeastern United States. Its large white, lemon-scented flowers are Saskia’s favourite and her muse. In an interview with A Magazine she explains why: “…it’s the supreme purity of the rapidly opening flower of the Magnolia Grandiflora; the incredibly ephemeral nature of it - fleeting in its magnificence and lasting power. The subtle, yet very suggestive and perennially evocative fragrance…” She calls it her “heaven tree” and it was her first choice for a personal perfume. And nose Sandrine Videault, with whom she had worked and had become close friends, was her first choice to create it.

Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine opens with a dramatic burst of lemon, the scent of a fragrant magnolia flower opening, along with a sweet note of melon and hints of rose from pink pepper. The bitterness from grapefruit tempers the fruity floral aspects, keeping it light and ephemeral. Aldehydes give the opening the waxiness, that magnolia petals have, and rounds out the citrus notes. Musk smoothes and warms the top notes so that the fragrance smells, well, sunny. As it blooms, it becomes fresh and green, dry and woody and smells like being in a magnolia garden. There is a woodiness at the base, along with a marine-aquatic chord which brings a sea breeze to the garden. A note of sheer musk fuses it all together without compromising its lightness. The drydown is soft, refined and elegant.

Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine smells like standing in a magnolia garden in the soft early morning of a spring day, experiencing the burst of a magnolia blossom opening, catching its fleeting, magnificent scent before it is carried away on a sea breeze. I cannot get enough of it.

Sadly, Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine was the last fragrance Sandrine Videault created before passing away. What a wonderful way to honour a friend. What a glorious fragrance to wear.

Check out Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine in our Shop.