In search of understatement (and Magnolia by Fragonard)

After another tiring week that felt like three, I had a mostly lazy weekend involving some wine and lots of perfume-related reading. As often happens when I have wine before bed, I woke up in the wee hours feeling dehydrated and slightly disoriented. Accompanying those sensations was a distinct thought that hovered over me for several moments: that there is just so much ego and noise in the world. We all want our 15 minutes of fame and returns on our 2 cents’ worth of opinions, day after day. Ego and noise…

Fortunately, I drifted back to sleep and wasn’t bothered by all that when I woke up again this morning. It turned out to be a day as good as any to test my unusual sample of Magnolia by Fragonard.

First of all, the packaging. I’ve never had a perfume in the form of a wet wipe before. Eau de towelette?! This came as a sample with other stuff I bought, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. It’s a square packet measuring 7 cm (2.75 in) on each side. Inside is a folded wipe like the kind they used to hand out on airplanes.

Like said wipe, the alcohol smell hits the nose first. It seems to take with it the fleeting top notes, of which are listed lemon essential oil, vine flowers, and calamus.

This leaves a quick introduction to the heart notes, which are magnolia essential oil, tea rose, and frangipani. Some chaos ensues as the creamy white florals battle it out with a highly synthetic note (which stays on the dried wipe, but luckily not on my arm). I don’t really perceive a rose note, so am guessing it’s more of a blender. For the most part, I got several hours of a light floral tone against a reliable, milky base of sandalwood, musk, and white amber. A gossamer cocoon, musky yet refreshing. It’s a very comforting scent that stays close to the skin, and reminded me of a “milk” lotion that I used more than 15 years ago—if only I could remember the name of it, a cheap supermarket brand, with a smooth texture somewhat like custard (which I find quite optimal for a lotion).

It also plays a bit of hide-and-seek, in that just when I think it’s worn off, it reappears ever so subtly in my aura to remind me it hasn’t. When I sniff my arm to confirm, the scent is barely there.

Overall, my impression of Magnolia was of a pleasant, milky white floral fragrance that would be nice to have around, but that I wouldn’t sorely miss if I didn’t have it around. This may be due to the convincing illusion that it could easily be replaced by something similar.

2 thoughts on “In search of understatement (and Magnolia by Fragonard)

  1. I remember that years ago (15+) Yves Rocher used to produce their samples that way. I predict the return of all the strangest sampling media in the next 6-12 months since companies will try to maximize the reach while minimizing pending. One time application model should be perfect to cut the re-sell value of those samples while allowing actual potential buyers to test something on skin.

    Liked by 1 person

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