We’re not saying skip the bouquet this Mother’s Day. We’re saying buy the fine fragrance as well…
Our top pick for mum this year is one of the five exquisite scents crafted by Sydney floristry institution, Grandiflora. In chronological order, there’s Sandrine (2013), Michel (2013), Madagascan Jasmine (2015), Queen Of The Night (2016) and their latest, Boronia (2017) based on the Australian native bush flower (more on these later).
We’re singling out this collection for a few good reasons. First, the Aussie connection. Grandiflora (the florist) opened in 1995 on Macleay Street in Potts Point, Sydney – founded by Saskia Havekes, a proudly Australian creative who’s received international acclaim for her work. The florist itself is an enchanting cave of exotic and local florals and foliage as high as the eye can see. No visit to Sydney is complete without it and we’d strongly recommend taking mum here to buy her gift, if you can.
Another reason? Its niche-ness. Not yet worn by all the regular mums, only the cool mums. These scents smell unique and even if you mum isn’t a fan of department store perfumes, she’ll likely love these. Last but not least, the price point is a steal at $145 for 50ml, considering the top quality ingredients and international talent behind each juice.
And that’s not even us being biased. #Unsponsored. For some real bias, we asked Havekes to share the Grandiflora Fragrance story, explain why the scents are so unique and which one you should pick for your mama. Go on, rise the ranks of favourite child and make mum proud. Happy shopping!
BEHIND THE SCENT
GRITTY PRETTY: What is a fine fragrance?
SASKIA HAVEKES: The quality of the ingredients – where they have been sourced and distilled, how much they cost – makes a fine fragrance. It is all those high-end components. Our very first batch had oils from France but we put it in its bottle here in Australia. Now we work with people in France who have been doing it for centuries and work with high-end brands to put it all together.
Beauty Editor’s note: Grandiflora’s fragrances are Eau de Parfum (EDP) fine fragrances. Havekes explains: “It’s usually over 12% of oil for an EDP, anything less is an Eau de Toilette (EDT) or cologne.”
GP: Why did you choose to make a fine fragrance instead of say, a perfume oil?
SH: I think with an oil I would’ve found it really hard to make that look like a strong range. I had a look at things like the KAI oil roll-on, but I didn’t think it sat with Grandiflora’s image and how we package [our flowers] or put our grandness into the world. We like to make quite a strong statement and I thought as beautiful as a perfume oil is, it wan’t as punchy enough, strong enough, or determined enough.
GP: How did you meet all these amazing international perfumers and start production?
SH: Michael Edwards (renowned Fragrance Historian and Founder of Fragrances Of The World, the world’s largest resource for classifying perfumes) has been a huge key. We would not have known where to start without him. I met him through a client at the florist and it was really speaking to this one lady about the fragrance of the Grandiflora Magnolia, which I have always been obsessed with, telling her how one day I’d love to make a perfume around this, that she told me she had a friend called Michael Edwards.
GP: As you do.
SH: [Laughs] She said, “Oh yes, I know him and I’m sure he’s been in the shop before and I can put you in contact with him”. I was really nervous to call and wondered if he’d call me back. He did get back to me and was so lovely and helpful and saw it an immediate fit to introduce me to Sandrine [Videault, perfumer].
He introduced me to her and the fragrances have really gone from strength to strength since then. There is no one in the world like him and his knowledge of fragrances, and he just keeps an eye on us. Every now and then we’ll have dinner too and he’ll come up with suggestions.
GP: Is there a bit of you in every scent? How?
SH: It’s more my connection with the flower and my perception than my personality per se. So my directive [to the perfumer] is what I think is beautiful about the particular flower in terms of smell and the visual aspect. Also what surrounds the flower, its environment, is important to me. For example, with Queen of The Night (QOTN), I talked about the scent being very Ozonic, very dry and deserty.
GP: Which is your favourite scent in the range?
SH: Sandrine is my favourite, but I also love Boronia too. It’s very botanical and smells like the shop. A lot of florists really respond to that one.
WHICH TO BUY?
MAGNOLIA GRANDIFLORA SANDRINE
The very first Grandiflora fragrance is a tribute to Havekes’ favourite flower, the Magnolia Grandiflora, through her lens. Named after the late Sandrine Videault, who composed the beautiful crisp, floral scent, it captures the flower at first bloom and is perfect for a mum who’s an early riser (by choice) and would rather spend her days outdoors than in.
MAGNOLIA GRANDIFLORA MICHEL
In our opinion, Sandrine and Michel should really be purchased together for the complete life of the Magnolia Grandiflora. The latter is composed by perfumer Michel Roudnitska, inspired by the Magnolia tree of his youth at full bloom and vibrant. It took him 40 years to perfect and he generously gifted a vial to Havekes in tribute of their late friend Sandrine. Rich, engaging, at her prime – remind you of anyone?
Also formulated by Michel Roudnitska, this is a classic floral fragrance of true Jasmine. Triggering nostalgic for most people and beloved by mum’s, it’s a safe choice if you’re unsure which to get. Funnily enough, it smells of green bananas and has been imbued with a subtle smokiness. Now we’ve told you, you won’t be able to miss it.
QUEEN OF THE NIGHT
If your mum’s a bit of a character, try this one-of-a-kind perfume by Betrand Duchaufour. Based off the transient night flowering cactus, Selenicereus Grandiflorus, affectionately known as Queen of the Night, the Central American-native orchid cactus blooms for a couple of hours once a year. ONCE A YEAR, people! Fun fact: the last couple of years, its bloom has coincided with Mardi Gras.
The follow-up scent by Duchaufour for Grandiflora is this comforting and heart-warming perfume for the true blue Aussie mama. With notes of cognac, black tea and warm resins settling into a base of suede, dry woods and caramel, this fragrance re-creates the richness of the native Australian Boronia and is our top pick this Mother’s Day.
Which Grandiflora fine fragrance will you buy mum?
Visit Grandiflora at 12 MacLeay St, Potts Point NSW.
Don’t worry if you’re from out of town, they’re available to buy online as well!