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Magnificent Magnolias! Welcoming spring with these scents…


Magnolia trees in full-bloom is one of those gasp-inducing moments that defines the coming of spring – from fat buds bursting to those outrageously blowsy blossoms, magnolia also happens a white floral ingredient that perfumers are so inspired by for its petal-powered, creamily sweet yet wonderfully fresh edge. Here, we seek out some of our favourite magnolia-centric scents…


There are around 200 different types of magnolia (named after the renowned 17th Century French botanist, Pierre Magnol, by the way; who was the very chap that came up with the concept of classifying flora into ‘plant families’); but the most prized for its scent is the Magnolia Grandiflorum variety.

Magnolia originates in both Asia and the Americas, and incredibly, are thought to be one of the most ancient flowering plants, dating back to prehistoric times: it’s quite a thought that dinosaurs would have seen magnolias blossom…(Though sadly they wouldn’t have been able to dab magnolia on their pulse-points, of course…)

While natural magnolia can be extracted via steam distillation, the yield is so small it’s a hugely expensive process, so the delicacy of its distinctive aroma – softly floral, similar in some ways to jasmine, though less heady, and almost as citrus bright as it it is blossom-y – is often recreated by perfumers using a fusion of accords.



Inspired by ‘the unparalleled beauty of the Welsh night sky’, Star (or Seren, in Welsh) opens with a burst of freshness that fizzes with zestiness. The nuanced aquatic notes of magnolia are coaxed with waterlily, green tea and a luminescent jasmine, as silky sandalwood, the sweetness of tonka, and a glimmering of ambrette swathe the senses.

Byredo Mojave Ghost £150 for 50ml eau de parfum byredo.com

Paying homage to the ‘ghost flower’, a rare species blossoming in one of the world’s most arid deserts, Mojave Ghost is an ethereal wisp of powdery, almost violet-tinged magnolia over musky, warm skin-like ambrette with creamy Chantilly, and the piquant fruitiness of Jamacian nesberry nestled in an amber-warmed woody base. Hauntingly beautiful!

Crisp, sun-baked citrus immediately feels mood-lifting, and the mellow magnolia here wafts a softness through the sometimes more highly-strung notes of tuberose and jasmine. A feather-light, woody base grounds softly as a whisper. To be worn poolside in a white silk kaftan, ideally, but for spring in the U.K. we suggest spritzing on a cashmere cardi.

A magnificent crispness of magnolia’s green apple-esque notes together with the smooth, textural character of the opaque bottle vi a rice accord add a unique touch to this pretty spring bouquet. Joyous narcissus and Italian jasmine are swagged by dreamy Bulgarian roses. One to wear in an orchard while twirling in a gauzy gown (brolly on standby, obvs!)

With its gorgeously ombre bottle, Magnolia Bliss reveals its sunset colours, imbued with romance and iridescent sunlight, and that peaceful feeling of contentment the brighter spring days bring. Succulent plum adds extra fruitiness while a radiant sheen of bergamot melds into warm ambroxan for an irresistible trail.

Written by Suzy Nightingale



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