Bertrand Duchaufour might be my second favorite (living) perfumer at the moment (you regular readers know that Jean-Claude Ellena is still at the top of the list), so Magnolia Romana by Eau d'Italie was one of my "most looked forward to" fragrances this year. I was a little worried about the "summer ozone" and "water" notes (other notes include purple basil, lemon leaves, neroli, nutmeg, cypress, magnolia, Bulgarian rose, tuberose, lotus, cedar, hay extract and white musk), and I was right to be: I don't like synthetic "fresh" notes, and while Magnolia Romana isn't overwhelmingly "fresh", it's just fresh enough to bother me.
Despite the fascinating list of notes, it reads as very nearly bland on my skin — I'd call it a musky skin scent with sheer florals and earthy undertones, and while Bertrand Duchaufour has a way with earthy undertones, to my mind, his talents are shown to better advantage in L'Artisan Timbuktu or Eau d'Italie Paestum Rose. Kevin, who was waiting for Magnolia Romana as anxiously as I was, didn't care for it either, and anyone who was hoping for something that showcased the magnolia note is probably going to be disappointed. All of that said, it's pleasant and very wearable, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it turned out to be the line's best seller. In 100 ml Eau de Toilette; for buying information, see the listing for Eau d'Italie under Perfume Houses.
Michel Roudnitska is another one of my favorite perfumers, and I very much liked his Ellie by Ellie D, so the follow-up Ellie Nuit by Ellie D was also on my "must try" list. As Patty has already pointed out over at Perfume Posse, it turns out not to be the darker, sexier, night-wear version of Ellie that many of us expected. Or at least, not exactly. The top notes are sweet, and smell very much like cocoa powder over jammy fruit to me, although after 15 minutes or so, I can see that Patty is right that what I'm smelling is hay, not chocolate (the notes: sandalwood, cashmere wood, coriander seeds, violet, rose, fig, musk, blackcurrant and oak moss). It slowly resolves into a lush, woody floral; green but not quite so green as the original Ellie, with figgy undertones and an earthy, lightly vanillic, almost-creamy base.
It is slightly darker than Ellie (and it continues to darken the longer it is on skin), and it's deeper, not so spring-like. Still, it isn't a heavy fragrance, and it certainly isn't one I'd reserve for evening. It's beautifully done, but I've worn it about 5 times now and I still can't decide if I like it, so it's going into the purgatory basket; perhaps it will grow on me in the fall? I wanted to try it layered with Ellie, but of course my Ellie sample has gone missing; please comment if you've tried them together. Ellie D Ellie Nuit is in 15 ml Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Ellie D under Perfume Houses.
[Update: I finally found my Ellie sample so now I've worn the two fragrances layered. I like Ellie Nuit layered over Ellie better than I like it alone; layered, Ellie Nuit comes off as greener, less sweet. But my favorite is Ellie all by itself, in fact, I'd sort of forgotten how utterly beautiful it is. Still hoping they'll release a lighter (Eau de Toilette or Eau de Parfum) concentration — it would make it more affordable, plus Ellie could use a little more sillage.]
Beyond Love from By Kilian shot to the top of my "get some soon" list after Luca Turin called it "the best tuberose soliflore on earth" (Perfumes: The Guide, p. 92). It well might be just that if what you're looking for is something like photo-realism, and it is nice, isn't it, to find a soliflore that smells like the flower in question? This one is by perfumer Calice Becker, and it's close enough to the real thing that it is hardly worth describing in any great detail — it smells like tuberose, and it's gorgeous (the notes: coconut, jasmine, tuberose, ambergris, tonkin musk). If you love tuberose, it is a must try.
Do I need a bottle? Well, I'd certainly wear it if I had it, but no. I put Beyond Love on next to my triumvirate of tuberose queens: Piguet Fracas, Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle and Frederic Malle Carnal Flower (and yes, they do reign in that order), and Beyond Love just could not compete — it is beautiful, but it hasn't much personality. Fracas said "I am woman, hear me roar", Tubéreuse Criminelle said "don't you mess with me, baby" and Carnal Flower whispered something about hot summer nights; Beyond Love tossed her hair and said "I come in a satin-lined black lacquer box with a lock and key, and I cost more than the rest of you". By Kilian Beyond Love is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum; for buying information see the listing for By Kilian under Perfume Houses.
Thank you for the tuberose conversation … their talk seems to spare me the expense and effort of trial or acquisition. (I'm talking out of my hat to some extent: Seattle's rainy non-summer doesn't lend itself to tuberose unless I feel like sealing myself in, ignoring the pelting rain, turning up the heat (again), dabbing some on and pretending I'm in the tropics.) (Hey, that actually sounds good. *off to find the Tuberose Triumvirate and my bathing suit*) xoxo
LOL — talk about a “dream” vacation. I might need one too — it is hot & humid here & feels like we've skipped spring and gone right into the worst part of summer.
Love your description of the tuberose girls!
I couldn't agree more about the Ellie Nuit. I kind of like it, but I don't think I'd ever need a bottle unless I was seriously bored and overloaded with spare cash. It's on that cusp of nice-but-not-nice-enough. I like it a tiny bit better than the original Ellie, although they're not exactly chalk and cheese. It lasts a long time, too, although I found the far drydown a bit less classy than the start.
Not a single Eau d'Italie has rocked my boat, so the Magnolia is on my will-test-someday-no-rush list. Doesn't sound like it should come off that list?
My credit card does a quiet happy dance!
I must say, the Ellie bottle looks lovely, nice and geometric.
LOL, first off, at your tuberose convo. Mr. Turin is certainly prone to hyperbole, isn't he? I don't know how anything could ever be better than Tuberose Criminelle.
I've been meaning to try Sienne d'Hiver for a while now–have you, and do you have any thoughts? It sounds like a lovely, cold iris/violet scent with a warm base, which would be right up my alley.
Great reviews! Turin's comment seems to say a LOT in a world with no shortage of tuberose soliflores, eh? By Kilian's prices are outrageous, so I'm unlikely to ever even sample any — but Carnal Flower has been on my list to tryfor a long time now; you may have just prompted me to spring for a sample.
I like the look of Eau d'Italie's products; the Magnolia didn't even tempt me, but when I researched their line I decided I really want to try Eau d'Italie and Sienne l'Hiver.
and please forgive my Franglish mangling of Tubéreuse Criminelle!
I think Carolina Herrera is a fab tuberose frag.
It's a lot of fun and just plain sexy.Oh, and it's cheap!
I love your description of Beyond Love. Make no mistake: Had it been created by anyone other than Calice Becker, the authors of “Perfumes: The Guide” would suddenly find it a lot less compelling.
I prefer Fracas by miles.
Especially brilliant writing, Robin!! Thanks.
Does this smell like an actual tuberose or does it smell like the typical perfume version of tuberose? I adore real tuberoses, hate Fracas (did not know for a long time that it was spozed to be tuberose) and a couple other ones I have tried.
If something actually smelled like a real tuberose I wold probably like it.
Dang! What is a good magnolia fragrance? I already have L'Instant, but that has a very strong vanilla bourbon note. Yves Rocher magnolia is discontinued. I found a mini from an eBay seller, but felt it smelled too much like Anais Anais…Yuck! The blooms of a magnolia are so beautiful to smell. Isn't there any fragrance that approached their beauty?
Ellie Nuit is lovely, but I like the original better. :):)
And yep…there are only a few tuberose fragrances that hit the tuberose spot and By Kilian is not one of them. Gorgeous bottle though.
So, if Magnolia Romana is not very magnolia prominent, what scent is? Honestly, I wouldn't know a magnolia note if it walked up to me and slapped me on the face.
Dachaufour is quite hit and miss for me too – his last one I tried (Amouage Jubilation XXV) was A- MA-ZING, but then some of his others turn really sour on my skin (Timbuktu, Dzonghka, etc).
And your tuberose 'stuck up bit*h' description of Beyond Love made me giggle.
See, now I really liked the original Ellie — as soon as (hopefully) they release an EdT/EdP, it will go on my buy list. I would like to try layering them, I think they were “meant” to be layered.
My favorite Eau d'Italie so far is Paestum Rose, which I think is brilliant…this has similar base notes (as do many Bertrand Duchaufour scents) but doubt you'll love it if you didn't like the others.
The packaging is lovely…still hoping they'll do lighter concentrations of both scents in a similar bottle.
Do try Carnal Flower! I also think it is more unisex than some other tuberose scents. Sienne l'Hiver is an interesting scent, but the original Eau d'Italie, while nice, also struck me as bordering on bland. I assume it is the “house scent” for the hotel, so perhaps they wanted something universally likeable?
No worries! I liked Sienne l'Hiver, and keep meaning to revisit it and try it next to Dzongkha. I really liked the black olive accord in the opening, after that, wasn't sure if it was an interesting as Dzongkha though…
Fracas rules! But we all have our prejudices…they like Calice Becker, I like Jean Claude Ellena…
Well, bear in mind that I've only smelled “real” tuberose once in my life. I'd say this is closer to real than most, but you know, it still smells like perfume.
I have no idea — maybe Kevin will chime in, he likes magnolia too. I do really, really like Strange Invisible Perfumes Magazine Street, but not sure it really satisfies a magnolia craving. Some people have told me Elizabeth W is closer than most, but it is pretty darned sweet. I'm no help, but hugs back
Have you tried i Profumi di Firenze's Magnolia Dolce? I quite like it!
Also, Stephen Burlingham's Truly is a good example of magnolia, and I believe SMN makes a nice soliflore magnolia. Oh, and Avon's Magnolia, from their floral imprints series, is lovely.
It is so funny that you have your “tuberose triumvirate”, as I was sort of thinking, can anybody depose the queen, Fracas? Every tuberose I smell, I compare it to Fracas…and, I must agree with you that of the ones I tested, the only thing that comes close is Carnal Flower.
As a matter of fact, last night I tried Estee Lauder Tuberose Gardenia…and guess what? Fracas is better.
I do think the Kilian is quite nice, but geez, Fracas is IT and is far more affordable. The only problem I seem to have is that I can't pull it off!
I second the recommendation on I Profumi di Firenze Magnolia Dolce, it's very nice. I found all the Eau d'Italie scents to be meh.
As for tuberose, Tubereuse Criminelle is the queen of all, with Carnal Flower in second place. Never liked Fracas, was nonplussed by Kilian's version. TC rules!!
See above — I don't really know where to look for a soliflore magnolia other than Elizabeth W. I'm sure there are lots more, I just don't know them.
Oh, forgot about the iPF. That is pretty, but rather light. And I'm sure you're right about SMN, they ought to have one.
Asha, wow, I forgot about the Estee Lauder, duh! I like that one — it isn't in my top 3, but I might actually like it better than the Kilian. And of course, it is WAY cheaper.
TC is great stuff, so I can't argue even if I like Fracas more
Yes, I agree…I think at some point it is just a matter of what your preferences are. I can see why some people would not like Fracas as much. Although it was recently reformulated, it still has a classic quality to it. Maybe not the best choice if something more modern is desired….
By the way, even after a shower, many hand washings and 24 hours later, I still can smell the Estee Lauder if I put my nose close to my skin.
Oh dear R, you have put a knife through my Beyond Love heart. ;0 The battle of the best tuberose scent ensues.
I adore Beyond Love by Kilian and much prefer it to Fracas. I guess it all comes down to chemistry. Beyond Love is the only tuberose for moi. So, in that case, I will proudly carry the Beyond Love torch for now. **jeesh I feel so alone.*** lol
Great reviews and I have to mention I recv'd a sample of the Eau Italie Magnolia today and it was just blah. Not bad but not all that.
Enjoy your evening.
Don't feel alone. I really quite love Beyond Love: it's sufficiently different from the Holy Triumvirate (all of which I own and love) for me to be considering a full bottle. It plays on tuberose notes in a very, very different way than the Three, with a creamier, almost edible quality. I recently reviewed it on my blog Grain de Musc (click on my signature)…
Tubérose Criminelle still holds first place in my tuberose-loving heart for its sheer brilliance, but I can envision myself donning Beyond Love when I'm feeling sensuous in a tropical way.
My last comment for a while as I'm going away for a few weeks for work! wah! Briefly tried the Magnolia recently as I love both Paestum Rose and Bois d'Ombrie (and Jubilation XXV and Dzongha and Timbuktu!) and couldn't agree more, it was surprisingly bland. I am looking forward very much to trying Ellie Nuit as I liked the original alot and like M Roudnitska's work generally (Bois de Paradis particularly). Tuberose scents have yet to claim a piece of my heart though I'm coming around to Fracas and starting to covet one of those solid perfume thingies…Good weekend all!
I love magnolia, so I'll have to try the SMN – never noticed it before. Just wanted to put in a plug for Acca Kappa Magnolia soap, which is wonderful.
I am sorry to say that I cannot remember it at all! Will have to try it again.
I adore their soaps — bought a huge stash when I was in Vegas. Wish they were sold somewhere near me…
The lasting power of the EL PCTG is astounding — almost worrisome!
Dawn, I am quite sure you are far from alone, I've seen lots of glowing reviews on the fragrance boards! And for heaven's sakes, Luca Turin agrees with you so you've got more firepower on your side
There was a blurb in WWD about how Duchaufour worked for some huge amount of time (2 years maybe??) on MR because they couldn't come up with a version they were happy with. So I feel bad for not liking it, but I'd say they should have left it alone
Hope you will enjoy your trip, even if it's for work!
Oh, but I love this kind of weather – put on shorts and a tank top, spray yourself all over with Manifesto, and pour yourself a tall glass of iced coffee. Too bad I'm stuck in the office all day.
Thank you for the recommendations!
Beyond Love sucks, sorry, I just have to say it! It's as if they specified “just copy Fracas”. It's so unoriginal and crap. I'm sorry, I can't believe they had the gall to release this. And I lose further respect for Luca Turin in his praise of it. He knows nothing.
Anyway… I prefer the Amarige/Renee type approach to a true creamy floral tuberose rather than the sherbety Fracas type tuberose style.
Gosh, I didn't love it but I didn't find it like Fracas at all — sorry you hated it so much!
I am a total beginner, and purchased Ellie Nuit based on the (New York Times?) article written about Jessica Dunne, who based this perfume line on her grandmother. Lovely story.
I feel awful that I spent money (a lot) on perfume that I really don't like very much. I guess sampling would have been a much better idea !!
Since my major objection is its sweetness, do you think your suggestion to layer it over Ellie will work for me?
I can request a sample of Ellie from The Perfumed Court website.
Hi Sherry, The regular Ellie is not all that dry, and it isn't very deep — if it were me, I'd first check to see if there is any chance you can return it — that's an expensive mistake! and the regular Ellie is just as expensive, even if you like it, you'll have spent a fortune to layer the 2 — second, I'd try layering it over something rather dry and dark and woody if you have anything like that already in your collection?
Dry and dark and woody? Remember I'm a beginner… what would that be?
Tell me what perfumes you own?
My favorite for a while has been Prada. Before that it was Creed Millesime Imperial, and before that it was Bulgari.
What I have usually done is wear one scent until I get tired of it.
When I got tired of Prada (about a year ago), I stopped wearing perfume altogether and am now trying to get back into it.
Not very successfully so far!
Sorry, I also bought (and wore once or twice) Eau D'Hermes.
I can't picture it over the Hermes, but might be worth giving it a shot over the Prada. Guessing you'll need only the very tiniest little bit of the Prada — maybe spray it onto your finger so you can just dab a touch on your wrist to test w/ the Ellie. Bear in mind that even many layering combos that work well together don't always smell fabulous in the first 5 minutes.
Thank you so much. I will try it !
i just recently found beyond love and i am in love! it's much simpler than fracas, much less sparkling, much warmer and saltier. if fracas is champagne, beyond love is red wine. or something like that. (maybe CF would be prosecco or cava, and TC would be something that you can't drink – gasoline that morphs into sherry?)
another note about beyond love: i love that the price ensures that almost no one else will be wearing it…hahaha
hmm, i need to smell renee, have never done so, and find amarige very pretty but too sweet.
i also want to re-visit guerlain jardins du bagatelle. i remember it from my childhood and am so curious to see if i still love it.
I was born in Mississippi (state flower: Magnolia). I was raised in Southern Illinois, in a small town where magnolia trees lined the streets. I love the scent of a real magnolia. For me, the closest I have ever come to this in fragrance is L'Erbolario Magnolia.
Try L'Erbolario Magnolia. It smells like the real thing.
Yes, yes yes! I forgot about I Profumi di Firenze Magnolia Dolce. But, what I do with it is a I use L'Erbolario Magnolia body cream and then use Magnolia Dolce overtop.
ElizabethW Magnolia is nice, but, it is weaker than my “concoction” :-).
re-visited guerlain jardins de bagatelle and carolina herrera. both have a lovely tuberose as the main note, but both have that transparent-synthetic-fresh-sweet note that was very prevalent in the 80s (think giorgio beverly hills). not into. still loving beyond love…it’s green, as opposed to hot pink like many tuberoses. green but dark. like CF’s more sinister older sister!
I wish it read as sinister to me…but so glad you love it!
to me it’s like a cold salty tuberose-gasoline scent! interesting how differently people perceive things!
ps. i think i mentioned this years ago but i’m still waiting for someone to do an amazing stephanotis scent. with that super unique spicy bubblegum yet jasminy smell…it’s so amazing! maybe i should work on that myself!