A Bouquet of Mimosa Blossoms
About a month ago, my partner texted me from the office. “I just found the prettiest smelling flower in the world,” he told me. “It’s a tree that has feathery leaves and these silky, pink blooms –like tufts.”
“A mimosa?” I asked. “Does it look like a Truffula tree from the Lorax? Does it smell like cucumbers?”
“Yes! As if cucumbers were flowers, which also smelled very delicately floral. I thought it was a woman’s perfume, at first, because she walked past me, and I was actually going to ask her what it was, but it happened again with nobody around and it’s just that area on campus… it’s a tree! I want there to be a perfume that smells just like it.”
We went on a field trip to the college where he teaches so that he could show me the tree. Sure enough, it was a beautiful, lush mimosa. It looked otherworldly, filled with pink silky pompoms. He showed me the place to stand, where the faint, delectable scent pooled enough to surround us as we sniffed raptly. People looked at us like we were crazy.
They do smell delicious: delicately, unassumingly floral, with an almost-soapy scent on one edge of the bell curve and a fresh cucumber on the other. I ordered a bunch of samples, hoping they would delight his nose and give me a lightweight, fresh, unusual scent to wear to the office. All of these mimosa-focused scents remain bright and fresh all day (except Coral) and are very office wearable.
The following four scents are intended to be for women. They are indeed very light, soft, and feminine, almost little-girlish. They would be delightful substitutes for the sugary fruit-and-flowers scents so popular with the teen crowd, retaining enough of the fresh and lovely to be in the genre without being quite so ubiquitous.
Parfums de Nicolai Mimosaique is my favorite of the feminine fragrances. Amusingly, it is a dead ringer for Aqua-Net hair spray for about ten seconds; then it turns briefly, brilliantly sweet, almost candied, lollipops and mimosa blossoms with a faint spicy undertone. During the dry down the fragrance remains spicy and evocatively fresh and pretty. While it is more impressionistic than true-to-life, it is predominantly mimosa—and brings me great joy as it quietly evolves throughout the dry down. I find it a wonderful impression of the flower’s multifaceted spicy, soft, and delicate aspects.
The other three women’s fragrances were more linear.
L’Artisan Mimosa Pour Moi starts off with that brilliant cucumber-as-flower scent and is the most wonderfully true, tart mimosa for the first few minutes. Then it becomes light as air and creates an aura of mimosa… but up close it’s a little like kitchen cleanser. Unfortunately, it stops developing right about the time it's schizophrenically disguised itself simultaneously as debutante and scullery maid. I suppose that gives it a Cinderella character!
Christiane Celle Calypso Mimosa starts soapy, barely creamier and more substantial than MPM and then gradually freshens, but it is still somewhat ripe, candied, and soapy. A little musk, jasmine, and rose pull it toward a fuller body that is just barely there, and just barely not-mimosa. After an hour or so, it pulls itself together, metamorphosing into a very soft and pretty echo of mimosa scent supported by the slightly creamy base. Unfortunately, it is fleeting. Like all of Calypso’s fragrances, it is somewhat too soft, somewhat too soon.
Sage Coral (EDT) is the one I just couldn't warm to. It is strong, very soapy, and a little queasy-making right from the beginning. It reminds me of a hot August breeze off an orange grove, with the windows rolled down in a hippy friend’s hoopty car, redolent of one of those awful cat-food-tinned coconut vanilla air fresheners. The orange blossom scent is overwhelming, overripe, as if they are dropping from the trees and rotting on the ground. The base of musk, vanilla, sandalwood, and oh-dear-God-not-coconut make this fragrance unpleasantly heavy, penetrating, and hippie-dippy. On me it is also a little harsh; none of the elements want to cleave together. I like sweet creamy scents, but not this one. It smells cheap, and it will not go away… on me it was a scrubber.
The men’s fragrances are much more complex, since mimosa, in and of itself, seems pretty feminine. However, I was pleased to find that mimosa really played a starring role in both of these.
Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur (Fine Leather) is sassy and romantic. For the first few moments it is predominantly an almost anesthetic violet and mimosa accord, weirdly camphoraceous, with lightly peppery birch and suede leather emerging. On me, the drydown is disappointing—violets and suede with pencil shavings—but on my partner it is delicious: mimosa, peppery vetiver, and leather. After an hour or two, a hail-Mary triad of mimosa, vetiver, and birch arise to make it interesting on my skin, but it is not wonderful on me the way it is on him. Alas, chemistry.
I saved the best for last. Ulrich Lang Anvers 2 is yummy, and I think it has the most sophisticated blending of the lot. It opens with tart rhubarb, dry spice (pepper and basil), and faint incense smoke at first. Then, a perfect accord of cedarwood and mimosa rises at the heart. Sweetened lightly by amber, musk, and vanilla, it remains a spicy, boozy, scrumptious cedar and mimosa with hints of rose and white flowers – perfectly delicious. It continues to balance as it develops, becoming smooth, smooth, smooth.
Of this handful of more or less arbitrarily chosen mimosa fragrances, I most highly recommend Parfums de Nicolai Mimosaique and Ulrich Lang’s Anvers 2. I can wear them happily and enjoy their gentle evolution throughout the day. Although most of the others are somewhat linear, that’s fine with me; the only one I cannot at all recommend is the Coral.
Image source, mimikirchner.com.