A New Magnolia-Scented Fragrance Invites the Promise of Springtime Year-Round
A blooming magnolia tree, decked out in its distinctive, cup-shaped flowers, is one of the most welcome and fragrant signs of spring in New York City. In my part of Brooklyn, I have a mental map of where to find magnolias—there are a surprising number of them—and for the few weeks they’re in bloom, I take my dog on longer walks than usual, passing by as many as possible to savor both their blowsy beauty and resplendent scent. Clean, sweet, and creamy, the smell of magnolias seems to carry within it the promise of warmer months ahead.
Long prized around the world for both its blossoms and scent, the magnolia is set apart from other flowering plants by its age. Because these plants evolved before the emergence of flying pollinators like bees, their flowers took a distinctive form to encourage pollination by beetles. Botanists have theorized this is the reason for the large size and relative hardiness of the magnolia flower. To date, more than 200 species have been classified, from magnolia grandiflora, a potent and enduring symbol of the American South, to the shrublike star magnolia native to Japan. Across cultures and time periods, these plants have been celebrated as beautiful flowers and potent symbols of purity, nobility, and perseverance.
Magnolia Infinita, a new fragrance from Italy’s Acqua di Parma, aims to extend that celebration into wearable form. The latest addition to the house’s “Signatures of the Sun” line, this all-natural perfume seeks to marry the heady floral scent of the magnolia with notes of citrus, resulting in a bright, sun-kissed composition. Though the combination of citrus and magnolia may appear random, it’s actually grounded in chemistry. Magnolia blooms contain a high concentration of linalool, an aroma chemical that is also found in citrus fruits like orange, lemon, and grapefruit. Blended together to create Magnolia Infinita, the resulting composition lifts the familiar scent of magnolia into a brighter register.
The heart of the perfume is an elegant and refined floral bouquet, which introduces jasmine, rose, and a touch of ylang-ylang to support the magnolia. After several hours, an intimate drydown begins, which sees a faint touch of creamy white florals resting on a soft bed of patchouli and white musk. To me, this phase of the scent’s development is striking for its subtlety. It recalls clean laundry that’s been sun-dried next to a magnolia tree in full bloom.
As someone who loves the scent of magnolias in springtime, both for how they smell and what that smell represents, I’d resigned myself to only getting to experience that scent for the brief window of blooming each year. But to my great pleasure, Magnolia Infinita is such a powerful expression of this beloved flower that I have found myself, even at the tail end of summer, staring down the arrival of autumn, full of the buoyancy and promise of spring. I can already tell this scent will be a treasured tool in my arsenal of weapons against the winter blues. One spray and spring doesn’t seem that far away.