Sunday, April 29, 2007

Magie by Lancome : Perfume Review

I am a great fan of the older Lancome perfumes. I simply adore Magie Noire and am lucky enough to have smelled vintage Climat. Perhaps it is due to my intense love of Magie Noir that I’d always wanted to try Magie. The opportunity finally came with its re-release as part of “La Collection” de Lancome. Earlier this year this collection of re-issued perfumes was finally made available close to where I live, so you might imagine my excitement as I boarded a train to get to a city where I could sample it. As a chypre lover one might think I’d be more drawn towards Sikkim, but I’d always entertained the thought that Magie would be very close to my beloved Magie Noire. (Speaking of which, do drop me a line if you have some information about any possible connection between the two: was Magie Noire a flanker?) I must have appeared quite theatrical when I approached the Lancome counter, so full of suppressed excitement and considering the build-up of anticipation, I am surprised myself I was not met with disappointment. The flacon itself, designed by George Delhomme in 1950 is simple and lovely and that was what first grabbed me, I just wanted to hold it. I bypassed the ritual of smelling it on a card first and just applied it on my skin, on the inside of my elbow, my favorite place to apply perfume when sampling. Magie started off quite tart with bergamot, and even though it is only listed as a top note, I could still smell it hours later. This is not a prickly note though, along with the dry-down comes a beautiful roundness of amber, sandalwood and musk combined with the most intense of the fragrance’s middle notes, violet. The whole effect is somewhat powdery and slightly soapy and makes me think of the creamy neck of an older woman, adorned with a single string of pearls. The official Lancome website associates Magie with an actress on her première night, a femme fatale, surrounded by the floral bouquets contained in the creation. She is young and mysterious. I do not find myself in her dressing room when I smell this perfume though. Instead I find myself years later, peeking inside the spacious garden of her neoclassical villa. It’s a summer night and she has exchanged the haute couture dress she would have been wearing years ago for a light caftan, although her jewelry still remains exquisite. Time has been kind and she looks every bit as beautiful as she did back then. But now she is also comfortable, there is no longer any pressure, she is calm and self-assured. She is having friends over, not entertaining, because these are friends so close that they consider her house their own as well. In the dim light of night she sparkles with her inner beauty and this feminine, elegant fragrance befits her. It blends as one with her skin and becomes part of her. It will never speak for her, for its character does not make such affordances – it is a perfume without a loud voice or fiery temper, and I mean this in the best possible sense. It just does not happen to fit me and my temperament; it fits hers though. It haunts me from time to time and I do dab a bit of my sample now and then, still on my favorite spot. I’d never wear it around others though; I’d only appear fake by doing so I believe, so contradicting is it to my character. Magie is absolutely lovely but even if I wait another 30 years it will still appear fake on me. I’ll still be reaching for Magie Noire.

Picture of La Collection courtesy of


Sue said...


I came to this entry looking simply for some information on Magie and find you have left a gift for me as well in your lushly poetic description of the scent. I am often struck by the beauty of your prose in following your blog -- thank you for sharing it with us time and time again. If only we could bottle the scent of your words -- a gorgeous perfume it would surely be!

Sue (who you helped discover Libertine :-) )

Divina said...

My dearest Sue, this has felt like having my heart hugged :)
Do you know what I mean?
Thank you soooooo very much for your beautiful words to me, they touched me so much...

(((( HUG ))))

Sue said...

*HUGS back* :-D