In the Search for the Perfect Mimosa, Take 2

 

“She was carrying repulsive, alarming yellow flowers in her hand. Devil knows what they’re called, but for some reason they’re the first to appear in Moscow. And these flowers stood out clearly against her black spring coat. She was carrying yellow flowers! Not a nice colour.”
M.Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

 

Last March I tested several perfumes with a dominant mimosa note in them. I tried Amarige Mimosa 2007 by Givenchy, Mimosa by Calypso Christiane Celle, Mimosa pour Moi by L’Artisan Parfumeur, Le Mimosa by Annick Goutal, Library Collection Opus III by Amouage. I didn’t find the perfect mimosa and stopped looking for a while.

Half a year later I got a vial of mimosa absolute as a part of Laurie Erikson’s (Sonoma Scent Studio) Nostalgie testing. That was when I started questioning my memory of the scent. Mimosa absolute didn’t smell the way I remembered real mimosa blooming branches did. To my nose mimosa absolute smelled flat, single-dimensional and dusty.

Mimosa

There are several mimosa trees not too far from where I live. I was driving by them all February long planning to stop one day and smell real flowers. Ten minutes drive plus two minutes walk and I could smell all the mimosa I wanted… Mid March I realized that I almost missed it. I drove there, walked to the tree, reached the branch, pulled it to my face, inhaled… and had to admit that I waited for too long. Flowers were still there, I could see and touch them but the scent was almost gone. Despite my vSO’s protests I snapped off a twig and pressed it against my nose.  There was a faintest scent of mimosa flowers mixed with the smell of greenery and a twig itself. I could barely smell mimosa itself but it helped me to figure out why both mimosa absolute and many perfumes with mimosa smelled “wrong” to me: mimosa from my childhood was a full tree experience, not just flowers on their own.

I tested several more perfumes with a prominent mimosa note. I think now I can appreciate better the more complex compositions that feature mimosa but go beyond being a soliflore.

Une Fleur de Cassie by Frederic Malle – created by Dominique Ropion in 2000, notes include mimosa absolute, jasmine absolute, cassie absolute, rose absolute, carnation, vanilla and sandalwood. I think I like it but it’s not an airy floral perfume: I smell something heavy, grounded and substantial. I’m half way through the official sample and still don’t know if I need a travel bottle of it in my collection. If you need information, read Victoria’s precise and very descriptive review. If you need an inspiration you just cannot miss Suzanne’s captivating piece.

Mimosa by DSH Perfumes – created by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, notes include acacia, broom, cassie, French linden blossom, mimosa, iris, sandalwood, tonka bean and vanilla. I can’t find it any longer on the DSH Perfumes’ site so I’m not sure if it’s still in production. I think it’s a pleasant but not distinct enough scent. One of those perfumes that you pick up on the spur of the moment from a boutique during your vacation in a small town by the sea, enjoy wearing it while it lasts and keep a warm memory of it once it’s gone.

Tiaré Mimosa by Guerlain – created in 2009, a part of Aqua Allegoria collection, notes include lemon, pink pepper, tiare, mimosa, musk and vanilla. Warum was kind to send me a sample of it when I was on my quest for a new Guerlain love. I liked the nice combination of citrus and flower notes and even contemplated skipping all the wish list’s lines for an affordable bottle of this perfume… but then I got to test the perfume I’ll describe next…  and I do not want Tiare Mimosa any more.

Champs Elysées Parfum by Guerlain – (re)created by Jacques Guerlain and Jean-Paul Guerlain in 1996, notes include peach, melon, violet, anise, mimosa, rose, peony, lily of the valley, vanilla, benzoin, cedarwood and sandalwood. I told the story of me falling in and then out of love with Champs Elysees. Recently I decided to try it again. I wore Champs Elysees in two concentrations – EdT and parfum. For my nose they are very similar but I like parfum a little more – it’s smoother and more blended. I think I might be falling back in love with this bright, loud and cheerful perfume. Victoria (EauMG) also likes Champs Elysees.

Next year I won’t miss it! Now I know that two different types of mimosa grow close-by.

Rusty plays with mimosa

If you previously reviewed any of these perfumes please share links.

Images: my own.

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27 thoughts on “In the Search for the Perfect Mimosa, Take 2

  1. Well, speaking of purgatory…Mimosa is my holy grail of natural smells, and I’ve been obsessing over it (and how to get it in a bottle) for ages.

    As a result, this is one of the topics idling in the blog purgatory “draft” box for me! The post just gets longer and longer…

    I love reading about mimosa, and have tried all of the above. Mine is a long story, so I’ll cut to the chase: like you, I’ve decided that blends work better than soliflores to satisfy my mimosa needs.

    Une Fleur de Cassie is so far the best for me.

    One of the difficulties I’ve encountered is not knowing what variety I’ve smelled and loved. I think it is acacia farnesiana ( so I’ve been told, at lead). But I can’t be sure. And apparently of these there are sub varieties.

    • Cheryl, if you look closely at the second picture, you’ll see that those two twigs are from different varieties. Mimosa on the first picture looks more like the one I used to love. Now I’ll have to wait another year and go smell both.

  2. I don’t think I’d be very good with mimosa perfumes because of the almond aspect but I’m sure I’d like it in its natural setting. That’s such a good discovery you made about your recollection of the whole tree vs. the absolute. That explains a lot.

    The sound of Une Fleur de Cassie scares me a bit but I think it’s one of those perfumes you need to try.

    Rusty in a perfect pose once again!

  3. Because here in the northeast US, people identify a certain tree with pink fuzzy flowers as mimosa trees, when I first began writing about perfume I associated mimosa with that flower, which has sort of a moist cucumber-like smell. Only later did I realize that the mimosa in perfumes refers to the tree with the fuzzy yellow flowers and a much more floral smell. So I’m really glad that you put a photo of the true mimosa flower and leaf in your post.

    Champ Elysees sounds really good, Undina. Yeah, what’s not to like about bright, loud and cheerful?

    Whereas Une Fleur de Cassie, though none of those things, is beautiful in a more moody and sensual way. Maybe you’ll want to get a travel spray for when you’re in that kind of mood too. (Aren’t I helpful?) :) Thank you for the kind words and link to my review.

    • Thank you, dear! You think that just a review wasn’t enough? ;)

      Even though mimosa, especially the leaves, on the first picture (and the one with which Rusty plays on the second) is really close to the one I remember (though flowers were smaller), the second twig (click on the picture to see it better) also had a similar scent even though I’ve never seen such leaves on “my” mimosa.

  4. Une Fleur de Cassie is the very parfum, which shows my (parfum-related) development for the recent 5 years. Quite exactly 5 years ago I bought the travel version of UFC – unsniffed… And found it far too huge, overpowering, earthy strong, strange – I simply couldn’t like it however I tried. It put me off so much that I left it in my parfume drawer untouched up until few weeks ago, when I was brave again to try it : the beginning is still odd and sharp, but then it becomes warm, utterly sophisticated & elegant. Now it looks like Une Fleur de Cassie will become a full bottle member of my collection…

    • I have already such a perfume for “when I grow up” – Carnal Flower. Once every six month I try it again… No luck so far. But I keep trying :) Though, I think, Une Fleur de Cassie should be easier to fall for. I’ll try it again. In six months. Or when I’m “in that kind of mood”, according to Suzanne :)

  5. That is one cute shot of Rusty interacting with the twigs!!! He should be in films, he is so amenable to posing!

    My abiding memories of mimosa are from Mardi Gras celebrations in Nice, when I lived for a year on the Riviera – there the flower blooms relatively early. I will be honest and say I don’t believe I have smelt the whole twig, so I associate the note with a light, bright, sherbety lemon scent. Mimosa pour Moi is my reference mimosa scent – of the type I mean and know, I mean – while the newish AG Le Mimosa was a mishmash that went dead and lifeless on me. Maybe because there was more in it than cheerful flowers?

    It is an interesting topic. It has also reminded me to dig out my minis of Champs Elysees – I have two and rarely reach for them for some reason.

    Another good example of the note is YSL Cinema – specifically the EDT – but it is rare as hen’s teeth!

    • I’m not sure I’ve tried Cinema EdT. I liked EdP version and for a while planned to get it into my collection… But then it disappeared from stores and I started doubting my recollection of it. So now I don’t know if I still like it. If I get a chance, I’ll try it.

      Rusty is very predictable: whatever new thing comes into his line-of-sight you can be sure he’ll investigate: he’ll sniff it, touch it and with a high brobability even try to eat it. So when I want him in a picture, all I need to do is to place perfumes/flowers/etc. where he can reach them easily.

      • Undina, I could send you some Cinema EdT – I have a full bottle. The only problem is my bottle is from 2005, just after it first came out, and long before I fell down the perfume wormhole. It’s been stored boxless on my dresser, and I personally feel the topnotes have gone *slightly* off in my bottle. But it’s still nice.

  6. As I live in Sweden I’m missing out on so much of the scents nature has to offer, and Mimosa is one of them. I suppose its just too cold for that tree to grow here :(

    But I did try L’Artisans Mimosa por Moi (that you wrote about in the first Mimosa post) recently and I found it very interesting. A pale water color painting of shy spring flowers that sometimes go completely bipolar and turn into liquorice. I did not see that coming :)

    • A blogo-friend sent me recently one more sample of Mimosa por Moi so I plan to test it more this year. I think my perception of perfumes has evolved since I tried it last time so I’m curious to try it again.

  7. Glad you liked Tiare Mimosa, Undina! I think it is a nice fragrance. But interestingly, it plays a second violin for me as well. When I smelled Frangipani by OJ, I liked it better.

    Will have to try CdE in parfum now…….

    • Did you mean OJ’s Tiare? Not that I do not like Frangipani, I was just thinking about comparing Tiare Mimosa to OJ’s Tiare since it’s the same flower (tiare). And Champs Elysees does “mimosa” part better than Tiare Mimosa. Since both are from Guerlain, they are similar but CE, for me, is even more interesting.

  8. Rusty is adorable (and photogenic)! Every time I see his photos, I melt.

    I also love mimosa, but I gave up on finding a realistic rendition in a perfume form. Mimosa Pour Moi is the closest to smelling mimosa on a branch, but it lasts but for a few minutes on me. I keep wanting to revisit it though.

    On the other hand, L’Artisan Mimosa candle is wonderful.

    And you drew me in with that Master and Margarita quote. I always imagined her carrying chrysanthemums for some reason.

    • Victoria, if you haven’t found a realistic mimosa in perfumery, I should probably stop looking :)

      I had that quote in my head forever but I realized that it was probably mimosa only when I re-read my own last year’s post about mimosa while writing this one.

      Those definitely couldn’t be chrysanthemums because chrysanthemums were mid-summer/autumn flowers in the USSR, there wasn’t a spring variety (I’m not sure if it even exists). Other possible choices would be narcissus (daffodils) or tulips but I don’t remember yellow variety of the former being available there at all and of the latter being too popular and, again, available. Though, who knows which flowers were popular/available in Moscow 80 years ago?

      • Mimosa makes perfect sense, since it was spring, and it was always very popular around that time of year.

        The search is the fun part, so maybe we find something after all. :)

  9. I love this time of year, because all the trees are starting to bloom and I can remind myself of their smells and notice them when I’m walking. Your post made me happy by reminding me that it’s almost summer and there is still more blooming to come.

    Funny, I have not paid much attention to mimosa as a note in perfume or nature. I will have to remedy this if I can.

    • I’m also looking forward to catching more blooms this spring. As to the summer, the main “attraction” for me is new crop of local fruit. They smell nice too but mostly I’m after their taste ;)

      As somebody who likes La Tulipe, you will find some of the mimosa-centric perfumes quite enjoyable – I’m sure.

  10. I’m very curious to try Opus III now… for some reason I didn’t realize that had a mimosa note.

    When I was in Chicago over Christmas, I got to smell the Frederic Malles on card for the first time, and I was very intrigued by Fleur de Cassie…

    • I like Opus III but I think you have to be in a right mood (i.e. testing mimosa perfumes) or to have a very sensitive nose to actually smell mimosa in there. But it’s a nice perfume even without being The One in my search for the perfect mimosa.

    • It seems that it’s a much harder task to find a perfume that realistically renders those natural scents we know and love. Well, as Victoria said above, the search is a fun part.

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