I am very fond of Lancôme. When I was little, my mom's Climat and Magie Noire seemed to me incredibly sophisticated, belonging to a different, almost fairy-tale-like world. Years later, jaded by this hobby and work of mine, whenever I see the stylized rose sign on a Lancôme bottle, my heart still skips a beat in anticipation of Magic. I would not call Magnifique, Lancôme's new release fronted by Anne Hathaway, magical, but much like the spokesperson, it is charming. And kudos to Lancôme for blending their beloved rose with spices and woods and not, say, fruits, and giving a West-meets-East feel to the composition.
Saffron gives the roses in the top notes of Magnifique a piquantly candied quality...think spicy rose jam, Turkish Delight and all things sweet in an exotic sort of way. The scent becomes more intensely honeyed as it progresses. The woody accord, which includes the allegedly aphrodisiacal nagarmota, does not make the sugared roses to appear less sweet but counteracts their gourmand floralcy by infusing the scent with rich, velvety darkness. I can't help but wish for a generous dose of oud in Magnifique. Saffron and roses are begging for it. Oud would have made the exotic vision behind the composition more complete, but the note, with its medicinal undertone, might be just a little too daring for what is after all a mass release.
If I encountered Magnifique twenty or so years ago, when all I knew of the perfume world was my mother's dresser with its small but elegant collection, when I haven't known about Arabian Oud or Montale, when rose notes seemed breathtakinng and not ubiquitous and when saffron would have smelled to my unsophisticated nose thrillingly odd...if I encountered Magnifique then, I would have been blown away. I still think that it is pretty, harmonious, grown up and elegant, and that is a no small achievement.
Magnifique is available at Lancôme counters and at lancome-usa.com, $65.00-$85.00.
Image source, Lancôme.