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I’d never thought much about magnolia, until the giant tree next door bloomed in the early spring. While the flowers’ aroma was subtle, I noticed how the beautiful floral aspects were underlined with a kind of earthy decay, as though fall were already here. 

Excited, I started work on a perfume that would capture this inherent dichotomy of a floral that anticipates its own demise. 

I made a rich floral base—it contained plenty of ylang ylang—that while appealing, lacked the dark brooding side of those lovely flowers. I needed a little something to provide the funk. I experimented with my small reserve of civet, which was perfect, but I can’t use it because of ethical considerations. Tobacco was overwhelming, hay was close, but wasn’t introverted enough. I decided to track down some magnolia absolute. 

I only found two places that sell it, one considerably more expensive than the other. They are both good, but of course the expensive one is spectacular. The expensive example was exactly like magnolia, but more concentrated, more dramatic. Concerned about the cost, I added enough absolute for the aroma to emerge. As it turns out, the absolute was the final necessary touch—expensive, but not totally out of reach. 

Once the perfume was complete, I performed the usual tests. The longevity is great, the perfume projects (it’s gotten the attention of the few people I see these days), and it’s substantive. My costs are a little daunting, especially in the rather high concentration I’m using, but I’m keeping the price reasonable—in line with my other perfumes—so more people can experience this delightful concoction.

The result of all this finagling is a perfume like I’ve never created before. Most of my perfumes are emphatic with deep gravitas. This one has gravitas, but it’s more lightly expressed and quite ethereal.. 

I’m thrilled with the result—fragrant, friendly, and sophisticated; subtle, but impossible to ignore.