AUBEPINE-ACACIA/ CREED (1965)
The lemon mimosa. For an entirely different take on the mimosa tree, there is always Aubépine Acacia from the Creed Private Collection series (typically very atypical scents that are as unusual as they are expensive). Les Senteurs, which is one of the only places to stock this scent, describes it as ‘a return to a more gracious age’, the ‘scent of country hedges enhanced with powdery acacias and mimosa’, and the scent is a refreshing alternative to more traditional, powdery mimosas. Starting with a very sharp, citric and green chord of lemon, bergamot, pine and galbanum, the perfume gradually reveals the warm, almond-milk caress of hawthorn flowers and mimosa over hay and ambergris. Fresh, distinctive, and ideal on either sex.
MIMOSAIQUE / PARFUMS NICOLAI (1992)
It has been a pleasure getting acquainted with the Nicolai collection: clear, well made perfumes not to think about, just wear (there are no ‘concepts’). Mimosaïque is a delicious, honeyish mimosa – a short, somewhat room freshener-like top note soon cedes to a very real, fluffed up mimosa that is rather gorgeous. Underlying it is a rich, powdery, vanilla base (the perfumer, Patricia de Nicolai is the granddaughter of Pierre Guerlain, let’s not forget), so bear this in mind if you were hoping for a lighter mimosa scent.
SUMMER PAR KENZO/ KENZO (2005)
Kenzo is a fashion house I can’t help but enjoy: an (expensive) refuge from reality combining a precise, childlike Japanese aesthetic with a vivid ethnic spectrum: a world of colour. I sometimes go to their shop in Aoyama, Tokyo, just for a quick Kenzo fix. Eye-catching, lush is the way I would describe the brand.
There is also something quite artificial about Kenzo: it’s ‘le monde est beau’ mantra, its smooth, plastic, futuristic packaging – but somehow it all works. The perfumes in the range are good: little concepts of scent and visuals very neatly packaged.
Like the magnificent Kenzo Pour Homme (probably my favourite summer fragrance of all time), Kenzo Summer is deliciously evocative of the season, and on first spray brought back to me a myriad of photographic mental images of childhood family holidays flashing by in quick succession: the unfamiliar yet comforting scent of a rented chalet’s bedclothes next to sunkissed skin: my father asleep on a beach towel in the evening sun; flickering white and yellow light behind closed eyes. I don’t know how the perfumer achieved this, but it is very clever. While the scent contains the odd jarring synthetic, soapy note, overall this can be forgiven, as from the start the scent is so cheering; the loveliest, yellowest mimosa cut through with a breeze of green grass; then a subtle, skin-caressing scent of almond milk and suncream, softening gradually to a delicious note of airy, sun-filled afternoons. Beachy, sunny, and essential for true mimosa lovers.
FARNESIANA/ CARON (1947)
This obscure mimosa-vanilla from the house of Caron couldn’t be more different from Champs Elysées and its hard Parisian mademoiselle pretentions. Where the Guerlain mimosa is all about the city and perfect appearances, Farnesiana is a sweet, emotive, maternal refuge from all harshness and external pressure: a perfume to nuzzle, cradle; regress with. The blend gets its name from the latin name for mimosa (Acasiosa Farnesiana), the flower at the heart of this scent. And the mimosa note in Farnesiana is perhaps the most perfect of all mimosas, the absolute essence of the flowers. Place just a drop of this elixir on your skin and the heart-rending, powdery mimosa blossoms smile only briefly though before being subsumed in a very edible note of almonds and the roundest, gentlest, but slightly smoky, vanilla. This is not a ‘gourmand’ though (despite its intimations of cherry bakewells) – it is far too eccentric. Somehow Farnésiana is not in the least seductive – it is rather a lovely, melancholic escape from all that; the self as confection, a perfume to wear when alone. Despite its deliciousness, a strangely cold perfume.
CHAMPS ELYSEES/ GUERLAIN (1996)
Impervious chic glassiness; a cold, aloof beauty somewhat anomalous in the Guerlain lineup – no powdered gourmand tones, no hint of odalisque here. Champs Elysées came out in the mid nineties as part of a mini neo-classical trend; along with Cartier’s So Pretty and their American equivalents, Estee Lauder‘s Pleasures and White Linen Breeze, it heralded a new, rain-clear floralcy; well-mannered to a fault; prim, upright, petals-and-leaves for the lady. Champs Elysées is the best of this type; a perfectly balanced mimosa-floral that gleams with the tonic green of spring; sharp, penetrating blackcurrant leaves and buddleia, over a clarified, wistful mimosa, sharp, green rose, and almond blossom/ hibiscus; a very unique perfume that I recommend if you want to smell classical, in control, but feminine - its sexual impermeability is strangely enticing. A lady at a Japanese department store told me that although this perfume attracts fewer buyers now than it once did, those that wear it will wear it for life. By now probably deserving of classic status.
MIMOSA POUR MOI/ L’ARTISAN PARFUMEUR (1992)
The smell of Spring. A‘laugh that mocks the winter’. L’Artisan takes a gorgeously delicate, aerian mimosa scent – wind-blown flowers and green stems – and suffuses it with a sunny, marine panorama. Starting with a curious, watery, almost cucumber beginning, the dream-like breeze of the flowers lends an exhilarating rush of springtime hope – clean and natural – the smell of outside, and childhood hunts for Easter eggs. It is an exceptionally unique perfume, neither male nor female, and possibly this house’s masterpiece. Not easy to wear successfully, but a very beautiful scent for those who hate to feel reined in.
If any flower smells of its colour, it is the mimosa: a powdery, chick-fluff yellow, light as pollen and sweet as soufflé, with a unique, round scent from little yellow floral spheres clustered in feathered, silver-green leaves. It is an optimistic, delicate scent, often used as an ingredient in blends (to smooth out darker edges), but rarely given a starring role. Mimosa scents offer wildly different takes on the theme; variations in opacity, freshness and light.
Filed under Flowers, Mimosa