Touching words, stunning fragrances: Remembering Sandrine Videault


The fragrance world lost a cherished luminary last week. Perfumer and fragrance visionary Sandrine Videault passed away on July 3rd. Today we remember not only her amazing fragrances, but her touching, inspiring words.


Sandrine studied perfumery under Edmond Roudnitska. Her most recent perfume is Magnolia Grandiflora, which she worked on with floral artisan Saskia Havekes. This extraordinary fragrance is highly anticipated by the fragrance community and will be launched in August in Sydney, Australia.

Many of us will remember Sandrine through the tropical intensity of Manoumalia. In the Pacific tourists are often charmed by the scent of the local manoi oils which are used for tanning, moisturising skin and hair as well as for bath and massage oil. Manoi oil is coconut oil usually blended with the Tahitian gardenia known as Tiare but also with frangipani, ylang ylang and vanilla, in an enfleurage type process. Coconut oil is the carrier fat for the scent. Unfortunately when these oils leave the tropics the scent changes to ‘off’ or more precisely, indolic at the unpleasant end of the spectrum. The amazingness of Manoumalia is how Sandrine captured the heady lush scent of The Perfume Tree (Fragrea), Tiare, Ylang Ylang, Amber, Vetiver and Sandalwood within a perfume that could then be enjoyed anywhere in the world like an instant tropical holiday. Truly an expression of the art of perfumery.

Her other notable works – Ambre Indien by Esteban, Violeta by Les Néréides, and the recreation of the ancient Egyptian Kyphi live on in the hearts and minds of those of us grieving her passing.

photo by Hannah Jennings-voykovich

Noumea Sunset, New Caledonia.
Photo: Hannah Jennings-Voykovich

Sandrine lived in New Caledonia and loved working in her creative laboratory in Noumea. In an interview with Perfumes, Trends and Inspirations, she said:

“Avoir son lieu de création près de Dame Nature est un cadeau”
(“Having a place of creation near Mother Nature is a gift”)

In an interview with Perfume Shrine, she said living in New Caledonia connected her with her roots.

“I feel more beaming or blooming and I am more serene. If something is wrong inside of you then you won’t create with harmony. You can not cheat with perfume authoring. States of mind come to light in perfume authoring. Bad moods are forbidden. Moreover, New Caledonia with its nature and ethnic groups is a mine of inspiration for me.”

Sandrine was both a perfume visionary and a woman wise beyond her years. She will be remembered for the scents she created and the words she left behind. May we now cherish the gifts she has left behind, and learn from the lessons she sought to teach.

“The most important lesson…..that we know nothing! So many things left to learn, to discover, to live.”

© AFP Photo/Marc Le Chelard

© AFP Photo/Marc Le Chelard

Farewell Sandrine, you will be missed.

Further Reading
Grain de Musc – Manoumalia
Perfume Shrine – Manoumalia
Perfume Shrine – Interview with Sandrine
The Fragrant Man – Magnolia Grandiflora

In Memory of Sandrine Videault
Grain de Musc
Olfactoria’s Travels
Perfume Shrine – poetry
The Scented Salamander

Grain de Musc – Two Magnolias will blossom in January 2014 at Grandiflora

6 responses to “Touching words, stunning fragrances: Remembering Sandrine Videault

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