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.
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.