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.


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.


Laughs, Lemmings, Loves – Episode 3

It feels a little strange to have just two weekly episodes in a row. I wrote a big post earlier this week but then decided not to publish it. Why? I decided not to fight the fight I initially intended to. It wasn’t that important after all. Instead I’ve updated the About Me page. Even though I had time to read other blogs, this week didn’t increase my lemmings population (which is a good news, I think) and didn’t bring any new reviews for my current favorites (which is neutral; maybe I should be doing those postings myself?). But there was no lack of laughs.

Do you ever prepare a post and not publish it?

Lemmings Laughs Loves


For those who remember this game from … many years ago, here is something to smile nostalgically (it’s not the original game, of course, but close enough).


*jen (This Blog Really Stinks. (A Perfume Blog)): I was finally noticed by Estee Lauder PR!! Sadly, it was to ask me to please clarify that “Jo Malone” is a person and she is no longer related to her former brand, which is “Jo Malone London”. Basically, we all know that, but I must clarify anyway, lest you become confused.

Gaia (The Non-Blonde): To the person who found my blog by searching for “Queen Elizabeth nude”: I don’t even want to know what you were thinking. Ever.

If you managed to miss somehow the discussion of the new Marc Jacob’s perfume Dot at the NST, you have to read it! “a ladybird gone genetically wrong”, “I like the bottle in that weird “I’m not sure what I’m looking at” kinda way”, “Reminds me of a molecule model, but with wings”, etc.

Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) shares her husband’s reactions to some of her favorite perfumes: “Am I getting wet dog in this?” I should note that after seeing the look of concern on my face, he said: “Clean wet dog.” (UPD: APB is closed now)

Laughs, Lemmings, Loves – Episode 2


It was a busy week, so I’m slightly behind in my blogs reading. Out of those, which I managed to read, posts below made me laugh/smile, conjured some lemmings and reviewed my favorite  perfumes.

Lemmings Laughs Loves


I love linden and I’m constantly In the Search for the Perfect Linden. Thanks to Asali’s touching review now I’m plotting how to get my hands on the sample of Unter den Linden perfume.

I have no reason to hope I would like, let alone love, new Annick Goutal’s perfume Nuit Etoilee since I haven’t liked at least the recent couple perfumes from this brand but I so want to: it’s such a cute blue bottle! I’ll keep my hopes up: Octavian praised Mon Parfum Chéri that I couldn’t stand and now he’s criticizing Nuit Etoilee… So maybe for my unrefined taste it will be fine?


Myrrhiad is beautiful, like a swan gliding over still waters – a single swan, mind you! I happen to live near a lake where there are dozens, even hundreds of swans. That does slightly take away from appreciating their beauty. If you don’t know many swans, Myrrhiad might make you very happy. Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) not only made me smile but also inspired to show (see the image above) what I see from my window: those aren’t swans!

Bloody Frida: Don’t want to go into too much detail, other than she demanded to know how I ‘knew’ that Opium was reformulated, said that no one had told her that and she has been wearing it for 30 years. It was as if she took it all personally. Sigh. Next time I’m just going to say that I know because I work for IFRA.


Second week in a row Gaia (The Non-Blonde) has a review for one of my favorite perfumes: Bombay Bling abandons the fresh fruit theme in favor of a full on oriental, again, well-blended and precise. It’s ornamental and elaborately decorated but never juvenile

Since there were no other reviews for the perfumes I love, I’ll share with you headlines that I loved:

Raiders of the Lost Stash: Opium Fleur de Shanghai

Lord of the Perfumes: The Five Tauers

A Tale of Two SAs

Image: my own

My First Gender-Bending Perfume Fling: Givenchy Pi

In the nineties my perfume adventures were limited by what mass market ladies’ counters had to offer. But since there were much less new mainstream releases back then, usually after getting familiar with everything available for the appropriate gender I would entertain myself sniffing what was offered to gentlemen telling myself that my vSO might need one more bottle (as if he was running out of those four or five I’d previously persuaded him he would love).

One day while smelling new masculine releases I suddenly found myself drawn to one perfume.

Pi by Givanchy

π (Pi) by Givenchy – created in 1998 by Alberto Morillas, notes (according to Fragrantica) include basil, rosemary, tarragon, mandarin, neroli, geranium, lily of the valley, anise, vanilla, tonka, cedar, benzoin, almond and yellow sugar.

I liked it. Not for my vSO – for myself. I kept going back to the counter to try it again and again. It felt strange because, in my mind, there was supposed to be a strict distinction: feminine perfumes, masculine colognes and some new trendy creations called unisex (but those that I’d come across then were neither fish nor fowl). One day an SA struck a conversation with me and I admitted that I was thinking about buying it for myself. I don’t think she whispered but she definitely lowered her voice when she told me, in confidence, as if it was something about what people do not talk out loud, that many women like masculine perfumes. What was more important, she gave me a couple of samples of Pi.

When the samples were gone I bought a bottle. I think it was my way of breaking out of the habitual floral perfumes I used to favor (and probably still do). I wore Pi Eau de Toilette pour Homme reveling in my eccentricity and fearlessness. I think I liked not as much the perfume itself but that feeling of dare. And then we just grew apart. I didn’t suddenly start disliking Pi – I just didn’t feel like wearing it anymore.

Last year a friend of mine whose birthday is today, March 14th (M., if you’re reading this – Happy Birthday!), told me about that day being known as a Pi-Day. I’ve never heard about it before: having grown up with the European date system I’ve never seen the connection between 14/03/YY and number Pi. It was too late to do anything last year but I told her that if I would still be blogging in a year I’d write a story about this perfume since I kept this bottle for the last ten years. And I would have missed it again if it weren’t for her reminding me.

So here’s my Pi-Day story about Pi – the first masculine perfume I bought for myself. Now it goes into the Retirement Box.

I haven’t found any real reviews. Either it was really that bad or at least it wasn’t good enough for anybody to contradict Luca Turin’s disparaging comment in the Guide.

Do you remember your first perfume that crossed the gender line?

Image: my own

And the winner is…


… Anna in Edinburgh

Drawing Results

Anna will have a chance to see if it’s easier to figure out which perfume is which now when she knows what she’s getting. But to make things more interesting, in addition to the two samples made from the bottles on the last picture in the Déjà vu, Episode 2: huge floral vs. abstract floral post (the same as all the blind testers got), I’ll throw in a sample from the bottle in a blue box (it’s an older version, prior to Lancome’s re-issue for the La Collection).

Laughs, Lemmings, Loves – Episode 1


I’ve decided to start this new category – Laughs, Lemmings, Loves, in which I plan to link to those posts from the week that made me laugh, created a sizable group of my internal lemmings or covered perfumes I love. I’ll try to make it a regular Sunday post but I won’t force it if I don’t have time to read most of the week’s posts on my Reading List or do not find in them what I’d like to highlight.

Lemmings Laughs Loves


Several blogs joined their efforts to make me anxious with an anticipation of the new perfume in the Amouage Library CollectionOpus VI:

Tarleisio (the Alembicated genie): “… a thick, glorious ribbon of incense weaves around me like a cat on stealthy feet and blooms. There is no other way to describe it and no way to precisely describe its effects except to say that if I owned a fainting couch, I’d need it in 3…2…1…”

Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels): “I think of a hologram, slowly turning before me in perfect Star-Trek inspired clarity. Every detail in its place and clearly visible, the entire structure perfectly made, beautiful and proportioned, yet there is no weight, heft, heaviness.”

Linda Pilkington (Ormonde Jayne) tells in interview to Fragrantfanatic: “I’m working on something very special that we plan on releasing in July.” I WANT IT!

“As I was tucking my sleepy boy into bed, having just reapplied them, he mumbled with faint surprise in his voice, mom, you smell like … you. By which he means, like one or several perfumes he’s never smelled before in his life. I hope he’ll always remember me that way.” – March (Perfume Posse) concludes her story about Tommi Sooni’s perfumes, one of which is a serious contender for a place on my shrinking “to buy” list.


Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) about Chanel Gardenia“This traditional floral blend is perked up with some clean musk and perched atop a barely noticeable vanilla note. Then dressed in a headband, a cardigan, and a strand of pearls and sent off to a life of repressed aggression and aggressive disinfection in an urban townhome.”

I loved Dionne’s (beauty on the outside) perfume ranking category “Go Straight to Full Bottle, Do Not Buy Decant, Do Not Save $200.” Which she mentioned in her latest post Cuir Ottoman and a Tongue-twister

Mals (Muse in Wooden Shoes): “Chance smells like Light Blue on the Walk of Shame home, with stale smoke and vomit on her clothes: chemical “fresh” topnote, synthetic jasmine, musk underneath, amber gone rancid under that, cleaned-up patchouli screeching away under everything.”


“Heure Exquise doesn’t try too hard. It doesn’t try at all, actually. It’s a very perfumy perfume that offers itself fully and completely. It’s free of irony, doesn’t have even one hipster bone in its body, and doesn’t pretend to be modern” – wrote Gaia (The Non-Blonde) about one of my favorite perfumes.

The draw for samples of my favorite perfumes Amouage Gold and Lancôme Climat is open until 11:59 p.m. PST on Monday, March 12, 2012.

Déjà vu, Episode 2: huge floral vs. abstract floral

For those … everybody who hasn’t read Episode 1  of my Déjà vu [supposed to be] series, I want to explain that the idea is to feature those perfumes that to my nose are very close smell-alike. Not just a feeling or an association, not just the same genre or several recognizable notes but really close scent resemblance.

What is a perfect starter house for a young perfumista? I’m not talking about a real estate to store all 3 bottles in the collection. A perfume house. If you ask me now, I’ll say L’Artisan, Hermess (Hermessance) or Chanel (Exclusifs). But I didn’t know it when I started my journey so the first niche brand that I tested intentionally on the onset of my hobby was … none of these. I placed my first ever samples order: seven 1 ml vials from the same brand.

The second perfume from the line that I tried was one of the most expensive perfumes I’d ever tried at the time. I read many great reviews and mentions of the house itself and of this perfume in particular. I was expecting a miracle. And it was a miracle… in a way.  In a couple of minutes of wearing it, with astonishment, I realized that to my nose that perfume smelled A LOT like another perfume I knew and liked. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t at home so for several hours I kept smelling my wrist and thinking if it was possible. As soon as I could I applied my perfume to another wrist. My first impression: it wasn’t the same perfume but they smelled very similar. And I liked my perfume more.

I checked available information. Sure, there were some notes in common but it didn’t mean much. I needed somebody else to acknowledge and confirm my discovery. I ran multiple searches and couldn’t find any other mentioning of this similarity. I even tried to contact one of the bloggers who I noticed was familiar with my perfume and wore it but I’ve never heard back from her. When I asked my friend lyu what the perfume I tested reminded her of (if anything) she told me without thinking: “my perfume name>!” But I wanted more.

Rusty Testing

Almost a year later I asked several blogo-friends to participate in a blind testing and contribute their thoughts for this post. I sent each of them two vials. I needed to distinguish them but I was afraid that using numbers or letters would somehow reveal my attitude towards those perfumes or will suggest my preferences. So I wrapped vials with electrical tape – blue and yellow. Here are their thoughts. Keep in mind that these are fragments of e-mail exchanges and not finished reviews. I did some minimal editing trying not to introduce too many errors from me as I was selecting paragraphs to publish here. Emphases (bold, italic and color) mine.

Vanessa of Bonkers about Perfume:

I have tried Yellow and Blue about four times now, and have more or less used the samples up, so I thought I should jot down my impressions while I have got them on again and they are relatively fresh on my skin and in my mind!

Firstly, I don’t think they are the same, but I think there are very similar all the same – a bit like the same perfume but with different facets accentuated in one vs. the other:

Both have a powdery (aldehydic?) retro feel, both are florals with a hint of green in them.

Blue has a smoother quality, is a little more green and less aldehydic.  It reminds me a bit of Antonia, but is more powdery and not as vanilla-y or ambery, so it never entered my head that it could BE that.  But the greenness reminds me somewhat of Antonia out of the few perfumes I know that are anything like these two samples.

Yellow, on account of its greater powderiness, reminds me of Chamade, though Chamade is sweeter and fruitier, and somehow a bit more approachable.  Yellow feels very old school, which is why – when I read the reviews and notes of the new SSS Nostalgie – I instantly wondered if it could be that though I haven’t smelt it.

And then the fact that you showed Climat to Natalie at your recent meeting made me think that maybe it [Yellow] could be that (having googled the notes), however on reflection neither of these scents are remotely animalic, whereas Climat has civet.  I like to think I have good radar for civet, but who knows?!  And Climat sounds like it might be a richer scent overall, based on the base, so possibly not such a good contender (plus I have never smelt it either!)  All of which goes to show how suggestible and easily led I can be by something topical, or which looks like it might count as “circumstantial evidence”.  : – )

The other perfume that Yellow and Blue both remind me of, Blue slightly more so, is Niki Saint Phalle.

What I learn from eyeballing all these note lists (Vanessa has included those for all the perfumes listed above but I’ve decided to omit them – Undina) is that the perfumes I think Yellow and Blue smell like, as well as being retro in style, and prickly aldehydic florals (in varying degrees), and green (in varying degrees), they all have LOTS OF NOTES, i.e. they are “busy” perfumes, quite big productions, as used to be the fashion.  These are not contemporary scents, of that I am fairly sure, unless it is a new launch inspired by an earlier era like a Miriam or Nostalgie, but not those (and I haven’t smelt Miriam either!).


Am at the far drydown stage now, some 7 hrs after application, and the two are not as similar at this point as I thought from previous trials. It could be that my nose cross contaminated the two sites by transferring traces of one perfume to the other hand or it may just be that I am more familiar with them now and hence able to spot differences more easily.

They are both smoother by far now, but Yellow remains markedly more powdery/aldehydic even at this late stage. Blue did get even closer to Antonia as it wore on but I still don’t think it is that, as it lacks the rich ambery vanilla warmth. The smooth green facet is very like it though.

It struck me […] that the more I tried them, the more distinct they became.  Yellow was more powdery and Blue more green – what confused me was the fact that they both felt from the same time, so that in itself was a point of similarity.  And as it is not a category of scent I am very familiar with, it is perhaps all the easier to lump things together.  Like young people’s “old lady”.

Rusty Testing

Suzanne of Eiderdown Press

Both of these smell like one of my very favorite categories of fragrance: rich, aldehydic-floral perfume with a complex bouquet, done in the classic French style.

I opened the blue vial first and my first thought was, this smells like Amouage Gold pour Femme.  Then I opened the yellow vial and things got very difficult because, though there is a difference between the two perfumes, they so smell very, very similar.

After much sniffing, I still think that the blue vial resembles Amouage Gold most closely. It smells a bit brighter in its florals than does the perfume in the yellow vial.  I feel like I can smell the silvery lift of lily-of-the-valley in the blue vial perfume. Not that it smells like a lily-of-the-valley perfume (not at all), but it smells “higher in octave” than the perfume in the yellow vial.  It has a little more lift, while the perfume in the yellow vial smells somewhat deeper to my nose.

To me, the yellow vial smells like it has more of a Chanel base when it dries down: I smell more of that warm jasmine that reminds me of a Chanel perfume (though I’m not necessarily saying this is a Chanel perfume).  A little more musk, too.  This perfume has a slightly more animalic drydown than the perfume in the blue vial.  It reminds me of vintage Chanel No. 5 in its drydown, but its top notes don’t smell quite the same as Chanel No. 5.

(a day later)

I kept thinking about the drydown on the perfume in the yellow vial: there is a urinous tinge to that drydown that I find rather appealing (sexy, even though it doesn’t sound sexy) that reminds me of vintage perfumes.  And I tried to think of other notes, besides jasmine, civet and musk, that can have an animalic tinge to them — and I thought of narcissus.  I don’t know if narcissus used as a perfume note smells urinous, but if you’ve ever smelled narcissus flowers — the ones they call paperwhites — they smell urinous.

Quite some time ago, JoanElaine had sent me a fragrance package that included a small dab vial of Lancome Climat edt. And I remembered that when I originally tested it, it reminded me of Amouage Gold, but the dry down was more animalic (on the urinous side, rather than on the indolic side) and I remember it had narcissus in the base.  So today I dabbed some on my skin and then dumped the remaining drops on a perfume blotter.  On skin, I couldn’t come to any solid conclusions, but on paper — oh my goodness!  The scent really matched up with what you sent me in that yellow vial.

My final assessment — I think the blue vial smells like Amouage Gold.  I think the yellow vial smells like Lancome Climat.  And I think both of them smell very much like one another.

Rusty Testing

Natalie of Another Perfume Blog:

I’m pretty sure the blue vial is Climat. I find it fuzzy, warm, like someone took the idea of Ivory soap and transformed it into a very luxurious-smelling perfume. At the very beginning, there is an animalic touch, but it is slight and does not last very long. On my skin, the whole life of the fragrance is peachy, warm, and golden. I can smell the florals (mostly jasmine and I think lily of the valley), but they are not “white floral diva” to me, because of the powderiness of the fragrance as a whole. The drydown is even more “golden” and I can smell a bit of the sandalwood, but it remains very peachy and powdery.

The yellow vial I don’t recognize. At times it smells very similar to Climat (or the blue vial, I should say) to me, so maybe it is another formulation or concentration of Climat? I suppose it could be, but really I don’t think it is. Although it has similar notes, it actually smells to me as if someone took the blue vial and said “Let’s do this perfume, but focus it on the animalic notes rather than the powdery peachy notes.” This one to me has an almost metallic musk that I find rather unpleasant, and I feel the civet is very prominent. It’s a bit too much for me at the beginning. As it dries down, it gets a lot prettier and more similar to the blue one, but I think I smell more iris in the drydown of this one. Once when I wore it, it almost reminded me of No. 19, but I haven’t ever experienced No. 19 having that metallic-animalic-civet thing going on. Maybe I would have liked this better if I had not always had the Climat/blue vial on the other wrist. :) But I would have to get through the first hour for sure!

I won’t keep you wondering any longer. Let’s see what perfumes Vanessa, Natalie and Suzanne tested.

Blue Vial contained Climat by Lancome (my first perfume love) – created in 1967 by Gerard Goupy, notes include violet, peach, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, bergamot, rose, narcissus, aldehydes, rosemary, tuberose, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, musk, civet, bamboo and vetiver.

Lancome Climat

Yellow Vial contained Amouage Gold – created in 1983 by Guy Robert, notes include rose, lily of the valley, frankincense, myrrh, iris root, jasmine, ambergris, civet, musk, cedarwood and sandalwood.

Amouage Gold

I thought it was hilarious: Suzanne has identified both perfumes but switched them.

Even though Natalie hasn’t recognized Amouage Gold, she’s being very consistent in her not liking this perfume. And here’s is her review for Climat. (UPD: APB is closed now)

By now I’ve worn both of these perfumes on many occasions, I’ve tested them separately and in parallel again and again. I think that I can tell them apart, at least on some stages. But, in my opinion, they are so similar that could have been, as Vanessa pointed out, “same perfume but with different facets accentuated”.

Twins: Lancome Climat & Amouage Gold

Please give a link to your blog’s post(s) if you reviewed any of these perfumes.

If you’d like to be entered into the draw for two color-coded vials (red and green?) of these perfumes to do your own comparison, please mention it in your comment.


Images: my own.