Imagine seeing a friend in person after almost fifteen years apart — perhaps gray hair and wrinkles will startle you, or you’ll be amazed at how unchanged he is, or how your friend has finally learned to dress (no more neon colors, chicken-sized athletic shoes, or gym pants).
I’ve not “seen” (or smelled) my old flame Etro Magot1 since 1998 — back in the day we were very close, in fact, Magot was once all over me. After an affair that lasted a good two years, Magot went his way, I went mine, and I never thought of revisiting that “relationship” till now.
"Original" Magot’s fragrance notes2 were lime, lemon, tuberose, jasmine, iris, lavender, clove, peach, vanilla, cedar, patchouli and musk. I remember Magot as a dark, intense Oriental perfume — a fragrance that went from a syrupy brew of flowers and spice to a rich, opulent powder-house of peach-saturated patchouli, amber and oak moss.
My old “beau” has changed: today’s version of Magot has become quiet, stopped his weight lifting routine, and given up wearing fanciful, colorful brocades, velvets, and gleaming gold cufflinks set with semiprecious stones. Now, Magot is skinny and wears simple cotton and linen pastel-colored shirts with his tailored khakis; his hair is no longer pitch-black, long, thick, curly and fragrant, it’s close cropped and flecked with gray. For fun, Magot now reads Wallpaper, not Arts of Asia.
“Modern” Magot starts off with tart bergamot mixed with iris and lavender (Jicky-esque). The fragrance begins to sweeten quickly with clove, vanilla and a touch of white flowers (no more assertive tuberose as in olden days). A “peach-like” note arrives late and leaves early (abdicating its once prominent role in the Magot composition). The base notes are wan and powdery: there’s amber and mildest musk and patchouli. There is a “ghost” of old Magot (and Mitsouko) in the “new” Magot, but apparently, Magot lost money in the recent financial crisis; he no longer smells expensive.
Current Magot is like a stripped-down Eau de Cologne version of its old self; no doubt IFRA can be blamed for some of Magot’s transformation (the vital musk, candied peach and real moss are lost), but maybe Etro felt Magot needed to be lightened for current tastes. I can sense my old paramour’s presence in today’s Magot, but honestly, he’s not as interesting, exotic, or fun as he once was. I should have emailed him instead of embracing him one more (or should I say, one last) time….
Etro Magot Eau de Toilette has good lasting power and mild sillage. Magot has always been marketed as a women’s perfume; the old version was more unisex than today’s formula, and I never felt self-conscious, or “womanly,” when I wore it. Current Magot has no cojones and is more feminine in character. Magot is $145 for 100 ml. (Sad, Magot once smelled worth that price.) For buying information, see the listing for Etro under Perfume Houses.
1. A magot is a tiny, “grotesque” figurine (often shown seated) from Japan or China.
2. Today’s list of notes includes bergamot, lemon, rose, iris, lavender, cloves, patchouli, vanilla, cedar and musk
Note: top image [altered] via Wikimedia Commons.