It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to introduce you to our newest perfume launch, the Magnolia Soliflore. I’m really excited about this one. As a perfumer, I’m inspired by the natural world. Every place I live and visit, one of my favorite things to do is breathe in the air around me, taking in the scents of the local flora and fauna—and if you’ve ever been to New Orleans, you know magnolias are an essential part of the cycle of life here.
What is a Soliflore?
First, what is a soliflore? The word can be loosely translated to mean “solo flower” and refers to a class of perfumes that mimic the scent of a single flower. Soliflores are composed of many ingredients, but none are actually derived from the mimicked flower. This means it’s incredibly challenging to recreate the scent, and each soliflore is a unique interpretation of that perfumer’s skill set. If you gave 20 different perfumers the same assignment, they’d all smell totally different!
Here in New Orleans, the magnolia season is one of the most understated scent events of the year. When you have to compete with jasmine and sweet olive, it’s kind of hard to stand out—and yet I’ve found myself in awe these last few years of the magnolia’s majestic and regal blooms.
Magnolia is a prehistoric flower, meaning it hasn’t changed since it first evolved in the Jurassic era—talk about commitment and resilience! It developed before bees existed, and it’s believed it was originally pollinated by beetles. The magnolia’s beautiful, pearly flower petals are said to be edible and there are claims it reduces anxiety. (Note: if you try this, use non-sprayed, organic varieties only.) We haven’t tried this yet, but it’s on our list!
Smoke Perfume’s Magnolia Soliflore
This launch is based on years of study and scent notes and represents my take on this epic flower. The magnolia scent has captivated me for years. Every spring, during bloom season, I make a point to spend time breathing them in. I’ve kept a running note on my phone of scent notes—a great practice for all you budding perfumers—and I add it to each year.
This year, I felt like my notes were complete. It was time to try my hand at the Magnolia Soliflore. Before this, I’d only tried soliflores in perfume school, so this was a fun, new creative project for me. I came up with the first draft in just one take, something that never happens. I feel this is a testament to the detailed scent notes I took over the years, and my relationship with the magnolias themselves.
“A Bit Dirty, a Bit Psychedelic 70’s, A Bit Vintage”
Magnolias have a sharp top note (juniper and lime), but under that comes a creamy bit of sandalwood and lotus flower. Even deeper than that is something not so sweet, almost a musk. I like to describe my soliflore as a bit dirty, a bit psychedelic 70’s, and a bit vintage. As always, this perfume is made of 100% natural ingredients, and the therapeutic essential oils I used offer a quality that is calming and happiness-inducing.
The birth of a new perfume is always rewarding creatively, but this one feels extra special to me. It’s my first foray into soliflores, it’s near and dear to my heart and this city, and it was born during this crazy quarantine time. The Magnolia Soliflore is truly a lifeline for me, a burst of creative energy in a time that has felt flat and sometimes devoid of the richness and fullness of life. It is my personal offering to you, as all my perfumes are, and I hope it brings you pleasure the same way it has to me.
I’m inspired to try my hand at more soliflores down the road. Perhaps a limited-edition soliflore will join the line again in the future. We’ll see! If nothing else, it’s a classic and rewarding exercise for me and my nose, and a way to stay engaged with the environment around me.
You can pre-order Magnolia Soliflore here. I’d love to hear what you think!