Sunshine on a Branch: Mimosa

mimosas in full bloom

mimosas in full bloom

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

Calypso, Mimosa

Mimosa from Corrieredisiena.corr.it

Mimosa from Corrieredisiena.corr.it

Yves Rocher, Pur Desir de Mimosa

Molinard, Mimosa,

Fragonard, Mimosa

Santa Maria Novella, Gaggia

L’Artisan Parfumeur, Mimosa Pour Moi

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Mimosa

Parfums de Nicolai, Mimosaique (discont’d)

Caron, Farnesiana

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

 Caron's Montaigne in the current bottle

Caron’s Montaigne in the current bottle

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

Creed's Aubepine Acacia

Creed’s Aubepine Acacia

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

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4 thoughts on “Sunshine on a Branch: Mimosa

  1. Because our winter was so warm this year, I missed mimosa blooming period – it happened almost a month earlier and I got to the tree that I usually visit just to smell when it was over. Now I need to go through my mimosa perfumes and get some wear from them – while it’s still not too hot. Une Fleur de Cassie and Champs Elysées are my choices.

  2. Une Fleur de Cassie is so interesting, and I still have not tried it for long enough to really “get it” but think it’s worth trying to do that.

    Mimosa is such a wonderful end of winter flower. I wish it grew here. Instead we get crocuses and snowdrops. At least they’re in bloom now :-)

  3. Wow! I don’t know the half of these, though I have fond memories of Mardi Gras being heralded by mimosa in Nice and Cannes – I did spend a year on the Riviera in the late 70s. I at least know and like Mimosa pour Moi – should have bought it instead of L’Ete en Douce which I have subsequently offloaded. It was my first niche purchase too, and sorely regretted. Looks like there are other pretty interpretations of this note to explore. I do think AG’s Mimosa scent is all kinds of wrong, mind.

  4. Oh the second Annick Goutal was not worth much I heard. A shame really because their Charlotte was very pretty indeed though it was rather young. Charlotte was composed for a girl of ten or so and you do smell that.

    Oddly, Krigler’s Pleasure Gardenia (which does not smell much like gardenias to me) does have a nice mimosa note.

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