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.