You know who you are: fellow mimosa maniacs. You wish you were on the Riviera in spring just in order to bury your nose in the bouquets of mimosas which are everywhere there in March. This is the month when you miss the flower markets of France and Italy the most, when there’s nothing at US supermarkets but green dyed carnations. They just don’t cut it for us.
Of course there’s always a bottle to take the place of the real thing, and with mimosa you are luckier than with most other flowers because there is an extract and you can smell the real thing rather than a reconstruction. Acacia is the proper name for the yellow flowering mimosas or wattles- their Australian moniker- because these trees are native there. Here in the US most of us know Acacia dealbata or Acacia baileyana both of which are fragrant. I find that the terms acacia and mimosa are batted about interchangeably in a confusing way, but from a horticultural standpoint, acacias are mimosas. *
Since these little flowers are so popular as there is no end to the variations perfumers have produced on the theme of mimosa. Here though I was trying to get at the very best mimosa soliflores. It’s unexpectedly difficult to do.
Informally here is a list of mimosa soliflores of note:
Ayala Moriel, Les Nuages de Joie Jaune
Yves Rocher, Pur Desir de Mimosa
Santa Maria Novella, Gaggia
L’Artisan Parfumeur, Mimosa Pour Moi
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Mimosa
Parfums de Nicolai, Mimosaique (discont’d)
These were the ones that I think are credibly mimosa and not much else. Some veer towards a green presentation ( Mimosa Pour Moi) others are more floral (DSH Mimosa, Pur Desir, the Molinard and Calypso Mimosa) others again play up a licorice side to mimosa (Mimosaique) some use a black currant note to camouflage the medicinal side of mimosa (Farnesiana). Of all these I think Mimosa Pour Moi, Gaggia (from what I remember) and Mimosaique were quite faithful to the flower. All were also extremely sweet. This brings me to the other side of the mimosa question, namely, does mimosa do better as a scent
in a bouquet perfume?
After several years of attempting to wear mimosa soliflores unsuccessfully I’m inclined to say yes. The only one of these soliflores I can wear is Farnesiana and to call that a soliflore may be pushing the definition of a soliflore pretty close to its boundary. There is jasmine (present in all Caron perfumes) mimosa, vanilla, hay, black currant, sandalwood, and an ambery base there including the Caron signature. This is quite complicated for a soliflore and the mimosa is really only in the first half of Farnesiana. If you’re looking for a mimosa that is mimosa all the way through, you’re better off with the Yves Rocher.
Mimosaique which showcased the mimosa- licorice connection was an interesting perfume, but challenging to wear. I wish that I still had my bottle. I gave it away most unfortunately years ago and so can’t test the notes again but remember
Mimosaique as intensely sweet with very little effort made to hide the fetid side of the scent. Mimosaique featured some orris, but I didn’t smell that in my bottle, I did smell anise, and the jasmine and green notes of the composition. The results sometimes reminded me of a sick child’s breath, not totally unpleasing, appealing in a way, but not quite perfume.
More elegant and more nuanced is the yellow bouquet of Caron’s Montaigne. This is certainly the most soigne of all the yellow bouquets I’ve ever smelled. Montaigne is really a variation on Farnesiana but swaps the hay for a distinct orange note and brings in coriander and a beautiful daffodil bouquet which dries the formula, makes it more unisex, and very refined. Montaigne is elegant and resists all attempts to make it slop about in baggy yoga pants. If this scent works for you then you will really love it, because Montaingne is one of the few spring time fragrances that are also sophisticated.
Lastly on the theme of mimosa bouquets I feel I’ve got to mention Creed’s Aubepine Acacia. This is an unusual Creed because the fragrance is very leafy. The combination you get here is hawthorn and mimosa and you might think that the result would be just too sweet and indolic to wear but there was some clever engineering of this 1968 release.
AA is discontinued, or archived, or whatever Creed does with its back numbered perfumes, and is supposed to be mimosa ,hawthorn, and amber. However there is a large galbanum introduction to this perfume which I recall as quite striking. People who have smelled AA also mention a hay component, and I’d agree either that there is one, or else that something in this perfume mimics hay. The results are grassy and dried grassy at once, and if this sounds unappealing it isn’t at all. AA is one of the happiest of the Creeds and is as informal as Montaigne is courtly. Basically if Montaigne wears high heels, then Aubepine Acacia goes bare foot. The trouble is that the Creed is monstrously expensive while the Caron is fairly reasonable. Mimosas it seems are counter-intuitive.
* This is according to Wyman’s Gardening Encyclopedia