Perfume Review: Star Magnolia by Jo Malone London

2017-04-27 00.32.31
Star Magnolia by Jo Malone London

Magnolia, much like Mimosa, is a floral note not commonly used in perfumery. Sure, there are magnolia scents out there but for every one magnolia there is a thousand tuberoses, a million orange blossoms and a billion jasmines, give or take a few. The strange thing about this is the fact that magnolias smell bloody fantastic, more so than many other white flowers. They’re an easy breezy white flower with wonderful citrus accents and a whole heap of headiness. So yes, we need more magnolia please.

Always ones to answer my cries of fragrant pain, Jo Malone London have just launched a limited edition fragrance called Star Magnolia. Woohoo! Bathed in white, the bottle comes complete a soft collar of white floral petals in an unusual display of exuberance from a brand that is so normally classic and paired back. They describe Star Magnolia as being flirtatious and what could be more apt than a flirtatious floral for spring? Nothing! Let’s sniff…

White Flowers on White Woods
White Flowers on White Woods

The Notes

Star Magnolia, Magnolia Leaf, Orange Blossom, Lemon, Ginger & Shiso.

How Does it Smell?

The lemony facet of magnolia petals is alive and kicking in Star Magnolia’s bright and bubbly opening. There’s a wonderfully refreshing dewiness to the top notes that is soft, sweet and distinctly floral. I get the impression of a flower unfurling and as the claw of the bud releases its grip, the sparkle of the citrus air above the petals evaporates to present the fullness of the magnolia flower: tropical, white, creamy and effortlessly sunny.

The base is all about texture with the creaminess of white magnolia petals paired against smooth sandalwood. There’s also a lot of white laundry musks too, which add a bit of power to the proceedings. The whole thing feels plush and gauzy, with the warmth of the woods and the dewiness of the citrus working together to obscure the pure heart of the white floral note. It all comes together as a bouquet of magnolia that’s intentionally blurred – a snapshot out of focus.

Star Magnolia is not a difficult fragrance to love. It’s just really pretty and it presents a magnolia bloom with a lot of nuance. I find its slightly out of focus feel to add an unusual slant to the white floral genre, which is so often vivid and vivacious. This gives Star Magnolia an ethereal and romantic quality that really is beautiful. Smelling it, one can’t help but feel that the perfume is intended to be bridal. It’s just perfect for a summer wedding, whether you’re the bride or just a wonderfully scented guest…


Star Magnolia is a limited edition available in 30ml (£46) and 100ml (£92) Cologne. A matching Hair Mist (£38/50ml) is also available.


Sample, notes and quotes via Jo Malone London. Images are my own.