Back in Romania for the Easter I had a wonderful surprise. The whole city became white and pink because the magnolia trees were in bloom and their number increased dramatically in the past 3 years. That was an incredible surprise and I believe the city will be even more beautiful and scented in 3-5 years. Once it was called the city of gardens or the city of roses because of the horticultural tradition. White and pink magnolias but also pink cherry and plum blossoms were scenting the fresh air while the grass with clover and violets were giving a special scent after the rain. Because there is little money almost everything is wild and the plants are following their own rules - some places near the cathedral are violet and not green because violets grow easily. There are 4 types of Magnolia trees white and light pink (but not the grandiflora type) and I examined all their curious scents. The Magnolia seems to be a very sensible tree. Some years they smell very strong, other years they do not smell at all, and this curious behavior can also be found during the same week. Some trees are highly scented and the air around is very fragrant. The scent has a dramatic change during the day and when the flower is picked. With patience I analyzed them over several days. One tree smelled like a huge bottle of styrax extract, open in the wind. There was one with the olfactory profile of tuberose and gardenia absolute top note without the lactonic background. There was also a very lemony verbena type mixed with a terpenic thuja note and a well known spicy molecule. Later, after I read the headspace results I understood better what I was smelling but the complexity and the strange differences between the magnolia types puzzled me. Each tree from the photos bears about 2000 flowers and their scent is different from the same tree growing in Paris that I analyzed before Easter.
There are several molecules with a soft magnolia note, also a natural extract that I love, but this note recquires the interpretation of the perfumer to bring the full emotion of the flower. The flower has a shy and "changing" scent, it has not a strong personality like jasmine, carnation or tuberose and it is rather difficult for the consumer to recognize this note / accord. There were several perfume bases built around magnolia, none available today, a curious magnolia perfume created by Ernest Beaux and other from the same period without magnolia in their name.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art