Perfume Review: Le Mimosa (Annick Goutal)

Here's how I could do this whole review, were I succinct and a little more artsy...

Annick Goutal's new, limited edition Spring scent, Le Mimosa smells like this:


The End.


Sadly, Lucky for you, I'm not at all comfortable with verbal brevity. For your entertainment, a more wordy review follows.

Le Mimosa is "a soliflore". To save you other Newbies some Google Time, I've done some legwork. A soliflore focuses on a single flower. There's a catch, though. In the words of the esteemable Angela of Now Smell This, a "soliflore is a perfumer's vision, an interpretation of the scent of a flower". [1]

In the much less eloquent words of yours truly, a soliflore is a flower or bloom as seen sniffed through the eyes nose of a perfumer. Some rose soliflores play up the honeyed nuances of the bloom, others the spice, while others include green stemmy aspects. It can be said that when it comes to perfumery a rose is a rose is a rose but all roses are not created equal... or something.

OK, so let's get back to Le Mimosa, shall we? It's (wait for it...) a mimosa soliflore.

I don't know too much about mimosa. I've heard of the drink, which is a one part champagne, one part orange juice cocktail. And we have invasive trees here in Virginia called "Mimosas" which look like the these:

silk trees aka  "junk trees"

But I'm pretty sure they're also called "silk trees" and aren't what the Annick Goutal folk were referencing. I'm certain they were after the big golden fluffies in the other pictures - a harbinger of Spring to folks all over the world [2] and a cousin to the ones near my home [3].

What does the yellow fluffy mimosa smell like? I can't speak from personal experience, because even though I think the fernlike fronds and happy puffball blooms are pretty, around here silk trees are usually found along roads and lining ditches, earning the classification as  "junk trees" according to my husband. And they probably don't smell like the yellow ones, anyway. Sigh.

Smooth mango goodness.
We already know putting words to scents is tricky business. What little I've been able to find describing the scent of mimosa tends to involve these words: sweet; slightly fruity; honey; mango; cucumber. [4]
By the way, can we all say "mango smoothie"? Um, yum!

I suppose what's important is what Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen think a mimosa smells like, since they created this perfume. Here's what they have to say:

Built around a mimosa absolute from Grasse, with sweet floral hues punctuated by soft green, Florentine iris and anise are added to enhance the flower's natural facets with their powdery strength. At the heart of the composition a peach, with sweet undertones of sun-drenched flesh, using its fruity curves as though to adorn the mimosa with unprecedented radiance. Then the white musk makes its entrance, draped over a light sandalwood frame, to carefully wrap the wake of this soft single flower perfume in a silky, milky and deliciously addictive blanket.

What do I think it smells like? Heaven! To elaborate: a peachy honeyed musk. For you synesthetics: I don't picture yellow when I try to pin a color association on this perfume. Instead, I see the color of the flesh of a ripe mango. And there just may be a mango facet to this scent (just sayin').

While a soliflore, Le Mimosa is neither linear nor "one-note". It's as complex as any bloom, and shows several faces as the fragrance develops.

I do detect a slight flirtation with anise in the opening, and if you're an anise-phobe like myself please know that it's amazingly delightful here: soft, necessary, fleeting.

Is this a peach scent? No. While there is peach present, I'd say this perfume is peach-toned. Just as a peachy streak enhances a gorgeous sunset, but a sunset isn't only orange, so this perfume contains peach without being a peachy perfume. Sometimes I think I only make sense to myself, but what I'm getting at is the peachy tones enhance the scent without for even one millisecond resembling an artificial peach perfume.

Do I pick up the iris, though? Not really. Maybe a tad as the heart folds softly into the drydown. Speaking of the drydown, can we talk about how lovely a softly powdered & musky, vanilla'd sandalwood sounds?! Delish.

What happens when you Google "baby kitten peach"
On me, the peach honey phase is not long enough, but lasts a good hour or two. The drydown is still perceptible on my skin eons later (like, the next morning). My dab-on sample doesn't have a lot of presence or sillage; not sure how spraying would change this, but I suspect it might. If I remember, once I buy my bottle(s) I'll update you.

If I were asked to describe the scent via nose picture, I'd be concocting some visual metaphor involving kittens and peaches and the soft smell of a baby's head. But that would be weird. Instead I'll do a word association: soft; cuddly; fresh; happy; yellow velvet; fluffy; comforting; delicious; soothing; Spring.

In case you're looking for me this Spring and early Summer, you'll find me climbing mimosa trees along the highway, pressing my nose into the fluffy blooms and wearing Annick Goutal's Le Mimosa - just so ya know.

Fragrance: Le Mimosa
House: Annick Goutal
Nose: Isabelle Doyen
Release: March 1, 2011 as a limited edition
Notes: Anise, Florentine iris, sun-drenched peach, white musks, sandalwood and mimosa
Sample: Annick Goutal website ~ I asked for a sample.

Final Word: Full bottle-worthy plus a backup.

[1] I was going to go through this whole "each artist paints a subject differently" thing, but since Now Smell This beat me to it, read the metaphor here. (warning: all links to other blogs may inspire lemmings).
[2] By "all over the world" I mean "lotsa places". I'm not interested in the specifics because research is difficult with my nose stuck to my wrist.
[3] Several sources I found vaguely state that there are over 400 species of mimosa.
[4] Loved this link which answers the question "what does mimosa smell like" with the answer saying, essentially, "I don't know, but probably good." Ah, the internet...

More reading on mimosa:
The Grumpy Gardener: Mimosa -- The Wonderful Awful Weed
Henry Holland's Six Scent Fragrance Smells Like...Sex
CASSIE ABSOLUTE (Mimosa Absolute)

Other Le Mimosa reviews:

Bois de Jasmin ~ Annick Goutal Le Mimosa : Fragrance Review 
1000 Fragrances ~ Mimosa (Annick Goutal) - new fragrance review
Perfume Shrine ~ Annick Goutal Mimosa: New Fragrance

Other mimosa-centric scents:

Aqua Allegoria Tiare Mimosa (Guerlain)
Calèche Fleurs de Méditerranée (Hermes)
Eau de Charlotte (Annick Goutal)
Farnesiana (Caron)
Mimosaique (Patricia de Nicolai)
Mimosa pour Moi (L'Artisan Parfumeur)
Mimosa (Czech & Speake)
te: I'm sure there are more and I haven't smelled any of them, including the ones I listed. Share your favorite in the comments!


Perfume Review: Flowerbomb (Viktor and Rolf)

So, when someone says "Flowerbomb", what do you imagine? I picture the above Banksy image first. Or some other sort of explosion of flowers...


Am I right? I mean "flower bomb". A ton of flowers simply exploding in front of me, that's what comes to my mind.

Not Viktor and Rolf. When they think "Flowerbomb", which is the name of the design duo's first scent (released in 2004), they imagine caramel yummies.

OK, it's an easy thing for me to do, too. Mention almost anything and I can Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon-it to dessert, too. But if I were to make a sugar-sweet perfume, I'd call it like it is!

At any rate, Flowerbomb smells to me a lot like crème brûlée sitting next to a vase of flowers - but the dessert is closer to my nose and the flowers are on the other side of the table.

Does that sound like I don't like the perfume? I realize it sounds like I'm kvetching, but I'm really not. I actually quite like Flowerbomb!

The crusty melted caramel facet is delicious (I mean...duh!). The florals are not overtly distinct to my nose. Definitely floral, but I can't so much pick out the different flowers, and I don't want to. The mid-point to drydown is my favorite part, which is a lovely floral patchouli on me.

This perfume is strong and lasts quite awhile. I can see where it could be polarizing! A bold gourmand scent with a misleading name... er, not the smartest move. But what do I know?! It's been selling well for 7 years!

A little insight: the juice for this perfume was created by IFF as an option for another brief. When Viktor & Rolf needed a perfume, this one was submitted. The designers named it (it corresponded with their collection of the same name, Spring/Summer '05) and designed the bottle.1


If it sounds like your kinda thing, I will warn you: it's on the pricier side of the department store shelves. One of the pretty hand grenade-shaped bottles of pink juice costs about $100 for 1.7oz. Sephora sells a rollerball for $25 and a "petite" .68oz for $50. There's also a 1oz for $75 and a few body products if you like to layer your caramelized flowers. I will caution you: a little seems to go a long way!

In my opinion, if you're into gourmands and florals, this is a must-try.

Now, if you'll excuse me, please, I've gotta go. I need to go get something sweet to eat!


Fragrance: Flowerbomb
House: Viktor and Rolf
Noses: Olivier Polge, Carlos Benaim, Domitille Bertier (all of IFF)
Released: 2004
Notes: bergamot, tea, jasmine, freesia, orchid, centiflora rose, patchouli
Sample: I've tried sprays from bottles and sample vials

Final Word: Delicious!

Oh, by the way, aren't the Flowerbomb visuals spectacular?!

And one last floral bomb that really bombs...


30 Roses (30 perfume reviews)

I had an amazing opportunity to participate in a sample circle with some other members of Basenotes (an
online community of perfume enthusiasts).

This circle was started by a member called "30 Roses". In her generosity, she (and a few other folks) provided some perfume samples for the group to try. In fact, to be specific, we each get to sample thirty perfumes; each has a rose note or element to them.

Two boxes have been sent around. I got the first go at one of them. Members of the group each take turns sampling the scents and, if they like, writing up their impressions.

I have never been a huge rose fan, to be honest. Well, I mean, I love roses... they're beautiful! I don't really have the patience to grow roses. And I don't particularly want to smell like them. Or so I thought...

Here are my thoughts on the thirty (THIRTY!) perfumes I got to try:
  1. Une Rose Chypree (Andy Tauer)
    I could write poetry about this scent! Well, if I were poetic, I could. Instead, let me just explain my experience. First: a little goes a LONG way. This is potent stuff. It opened with what seemed almost like a candied rose, but with that not-so-spicy cinnamon-sugar we used to sprinkle on toast when I was little. I started to smell a citrus - I guessed orange, but I'm clearly not good with citrus notes yet. It was clementine. Bergamot, which I still can't pick out, is also listed.

    I was starting to imagine roses in a bowl of Fruit Loops (sans milk), but somehow it wasn't childish or foody. Definitely a "green" aspect I couldn't guess (notes say Bourbon geranium - I guess that's it). About 10 minutes in, the rose opens up fully, but still has a slight tangerine tinge.

    Twenty minutes later, I started picking up some slightly-spicy woody nuances, and a half an hour after that: cinnamon + rose + vetiver, all undulating. This has a definite vintage flavor and is neither bright nor brooding. It's amazingly grounded but light, somehow. I'd wear it anywhere, but with only a slight dab... Like I said: powerful! I'm going to get my own sample and decide if this is FBW. I bet it is. :)

    NOTE: I stupidly dabbed this near a slight scratch on my hand, and it's itching like mad. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to consider that, though it's probably just me.

    Edited to add: the drydown also features an amazing oakmoss and labdanum and vanilla and patchouli blend that make everything super creamy and velvety. I love this scent!

  2. Voluer de rose (L'Artisan Parfumeur)
    Patchiuli. Dry patchouli. On me a lot of the time, patchouli takes over all else. This is one of those times. It's a nice patchouli, though!

  3. Rose Praline (Parfums de Rosine)

    Bergamot and rose when wet, which then becomes a very linear caramel sugar-dipped rose. It's sweet, like a praline, but not teeth achingly so. I think that's because a faint, gentle tea note balances the sweetness. This is an excellent perfume and I will be getting a decant or sample and then, probably, a bottle.

  4. Harrod's Rose (Bond No. 9)
    Perfume + a rose. A blast of sparkling perfume and a rose. It really smelled amusingly like an effervescent generic-but-nice perfume and a big rose to me! It made me giggle. That was only for a moment, then it became big white florals (tuberose, mainly) with a huge white rose in the middle! Not too-much tuberose, not too-much rose. Well-balanced. Really nice, but it reminds me of something (not Fracas) that I think I have...maybe the heart of Carolina Herrera?

  5. Citizen Queen (Juliette Has a Gun)

    Attempt One: Opens with uber-quick aldehydes, and then totally disappears. WTH? Must be a musk I can't pick up. Hubby and eldest child can smell it. Eventually (5-8 minutes later) a soft violet-rose with a touch of powder lying over a base of a faint amber. Despite the very faint nature, I want to say I love this. I get more from sillage than up close; this is the first time I've encountered that as a fledgling purfumista-ita.

    Second wearing: Aldehydes? Check.
    Missing minutes? Nope. Straight into a rose-tinged, creamy violet and iris. There may be a pinch of patchouli in the base, but only a little. I'm going to have to get my own sample to experiment with. For one thing, I saw a review that suggested the rose is more prominent when sprayed instead of dabbed. Also, I think I love this...or maybe I want to love this. That's not the same thing. Something is bugging me about this. Maybe I just want it to be... more? Have some oomph it doesn't currently have? More research needed. 

  6. Cannabis Rose (Fresh)

    I was interested to smell this, since I enjoy the real deal smell. I was crushed to find Canabis Rose started with a metallic anise note that briskly turned into a pile of sweet tobacco. That's it - linear for about an hour at which point I scrubbed. Tobacco notes give me migraines. I wasn't fast enough and the migraine is here. In case you were wondering, the throw is good - hubby asked me from across the room what I was wearing (and said "thank god!" when I washed it off).

    I tried to put on another scent but the tobacco kept rebounding - that sh*t is tenacious! I took a hot and long shower to get it off. I never smelled rose, nor did I get the munchies

  7. via
    Coriandre (Jean Couturier)
    Gorgeous green opening, with oakmoss and vetiver and a floral blend taking over. The slight bite of coriander is perfection! This is pretty linear, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Will seek out a vintage bottle, definitely.

  8. via
    Rose of Kali (Neil Morris)
    The first thing I smelled was a pear + chocolate blend, which sounds a lot weirder than it really was.  That was quick. The first main theme is a green, chocolatey rose blend. There's a hint of pear there, too. This is so strange, but smells amazing!

  9. Aqua Allegoria Rosa Magnifica (Guerlain)
    Sharp, astringent wet rose. Hyacinth + rose. Some might call this "soapy". Soliflore. Linear.

  10. Lipstick Rose (Frederick Malle)
    Fuchsia rose. Red rose. Lotsa big red rose.And then all of a sudden it pulls back and tingles with a raspberry note (which I would have noticed, but not been able to identify). Then it turned to plastic. :sadface:

  11. American Beauty (Dawn Spencer Hurowitz)
    Very sharp and chemical scent. I scrubbed. :(

    I hate saying that. I haven't tried any other DSH scents, but aim to do so. This vial was marked "prototype" and I wonder if it has turned? I have to admit, I was so repelled I wouldn't even try this again! I'm sorry, DSH fans... I wanted to be wowed, I really did! I won't be holding this against the line, though, because everyone speaks sooo highly of it.

    Edited to add a GIGANTIC retraction/correction! I took a look at Warum's comment below and chastised myself into trying American Beauty again. The opening was a little rough for me (somewhat mentholated and minty - not my favorite), but it wasn't whatever-the-hell-happened the first time! Slowly, a rose bloomed. And bloomed. And bloomed some more. A big vaseful or gorgeous roses. Gradually, a wonderfully woody base was exposed. And I do mean gradually. It's almost molecule by molecule, a subtle switch to a gorgeous base that, on me, is patchouli-dominant but not at all overbearing. Really, really nice. Warum, thanks for unintentionally guilting me into a re-try!

  12. Fleur de The Rose Bulgare (Creed)
    Lemon rose.
  13. Une Rose (Frederic Malle)
    It's pretty much rose to start out (a pretty rose), though there was a tiny bite of something sharp and nasty for a moment at the beginning. I often pick up base notes then, so maybe it was the castoreum?
    A rose frozen in amber? I dabbed a bit on a second time, and really loved the ambery dry-down. Must try a decant and experience this more!

  14. Evelyn (Crabtree & Evelyn) (pre-reformulation and renaming as Evelyn Rose)
    Pure rose. Pink and pretty. I want to say "tea rose" but I'm not sure that's right.

  15. La Rose Jaqueminot (Coty)
    Spicy deep dark rose. Amazing. Gorgeous. Carnation? Dark base - civet? Yum!  This lasted FOREVER on my skin and was so sultry and lovely. Crazy beautiful!


  16. True Rose (Woods of Windsor)
    Damask rose? Very much a pretty rose soliflore.
  17. Diablo Rose (Rosine)
    Minty rose. Toothpaste rose.
  18. Quel Amour! (edp)(Annick Goutal)
    Minty rose spice turns to fruity rose.
  19. Tea Rose (The Perfumers Workshop)
    Tea rose. Really pretty. Intense.

  20. English Rose (Yardley)
    Very pretty red rose.

  21. Rose Absolue (Annick Goutal)
    Really strong, multifaceted rose! Sadly it faded quickly on me and I'm a bit disappointed.

  22. Ce Soir ou Jamais (Annick Goutal)
    Soft, powdery rose. A little fruity touch. Sweet.

  23. via
    1000 (Patou)
    I love this. Stunning. Woody and honeyed and lovely glowing florals. I am short on words with this one not because it's basic or simple, but because I think it's got so many facets and movements I don't dare talk about it when I only got such a brief sample period with it.

  24. Paris Jardins Romantique (YSL)
    Floral burst, slightly soapy. Roses and lilacs are prominent to my nose. Very Spring-y and pretty. Would be a lovely young woman's or wedding scent.

  25. Paris  (YSL)
    Powder spice rose and violet, then...gone!
    It's back. And a little orange spicy, maybe?
    The violet and rose are taking turns on the dancefloor.
    Far drydown is powdery rose.

  26. Fleurs de Bulgarie (Creed)
    Bergamot, bulgarian rose, ambergris, musk (per bN). Sharp and astringent -yuck. A tad bit of rose.
    Bergamot, a bit. That's the astringency, I guess. Maybe a bit salty It's like sniffing a rose from afar ... Very afar.
    Honestly, this is like a vase of old roses that have wilted and are molding a tiny bit. There's a whiff of soapiness, but it's like... Dirty soap? Old rose soap!
    Checking the notes, I suppose the ambergris is contributing the soapy scent (and that early salt)? If there indeed is musk here, it's one to which I'm anosmic.
    Two hours later:  gone.

  27. Rose Splendide (Annick Goutal)
    Lemon? Something bitter, but soft.
    Green. A yellow green. Something I couldn't place- checked the notes: pear. Exactly! About 7-8'min in, a little spicy powder.
    Pear? Rose? Pear? Rose? I'm getting whiplash.
    Really lovely and sweet and new. Dewy, green pear-rose. Young. The ideal fruity floral.

  28. Lierre Rose (Parfums 06130)
    Ylang-jasmine bomb. An 80's scent like Sung meets Chinatown (Bond No. 9) minus the peach and patchouli (though I do believe there is some patch here, just not a ton). Pretty, strong, floral.

  29. L'Ombre Danse L'Eau (Diptique)
    Leaves. Take some strongly scented leaves, toss in blender. That's the opening to this perfume. PS: pine needles are pine trees' leaves - don't forget one or two in your brew! You know... I really like this! Very green. It's pretty intense, though, so memo to self: go lightly.

  30. Sa Majeste la Rose (Serge Lutens)
    A pretty Moroccan rose. It starts strong, then becomes a slightly powdered, honeyed beauty on top of some pretty woods. Should I ever want a rose soliflore, this would be it.

So, am I a rose convert? Totally! Well, to a degree. I will give rose scents a chance, definitely, but I think I only need one good rose soliflore in my life. I'm not so into smelling like a giant rose. But rose in a blend? Absolutely

A few of the scents I got to try will definitely find their way into my collection. In fact, a few already have! I stumbled upon a mini Paris and a mini Coriandre while antiquing this past weekend! I'll still add large bottles when I encounter them, though.

Others I will be testing a bit more, with an eye towards a full bottle eventually: Une Rose Chypree (Andy Tauer), Rose Praline (Rosine), Citizen Queen (Juliette Has a Gun), Rose of Kali (Neil Morris), Une Rose (Frederic Malle), La Rose Jacqueminot (Coty) (if I can find it!), 1000 (Patou), and L'Ombre Danse L'Eau (Diptique).

Do you "do" rose scents? Are you a fan or do you find them too potpourri and sachet? What suggestions do you have for me for more rose adventures?


Perfume Review: En Passant (Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle)

Lilacs in Window

I'm a little insane. Despite being viciously allergic to lilacs, I look forward to their blooms every Spring. And as soon as I see them, I pace impatiently until they open up and release their scent. Maybe pacing for a few days, which is exhausting, explains what happens next. Maybe not.

As soon as possible, once the sweet and high-pitched scent of lilac is released, I stick my face in the blooms and inhale repeatedly. Dizzy from the smell, I stagger towards the house with armsful of blooms as the histamines start their assault. It's a blissful mess of a week. I should a) have my head examined, b) invest in Kleenex, and c) get more vases - it's almost lilac season!

It might be smarter to invest in lilac perfumes. I never said I was smart. However, I have now identified a(nother) lilac-prominent scent to add to my perfume wardrobe. The first was Lilac, by Elizabeth W, and I'll review it another time. Today, I want to discuss En Passant, one of the Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle.

When I first inhale En Passant, I am surprised by the wet, fresh lilac scent. It's not so much dew-laden blooms as lilacs blooming near a fountain.

As the initial indolic 1 blast softens, a fresh and light aspect merges with the lilacs and water. While I don't smell straight-up cucumber, learning that the note is present makes me nod my head in understanding. This is no fake-y cucumber à la a cheap body lotion, though. It reminds me more of the ice cold "cucumber water" served at a local spa. Recipe: slices of cucumber get tossed in water; pour. Simple, cool, refreshing, and light.

lilacs by the window

One of my main complaints with other lilac scents, aside from an overly synthetic and plastic scent, is a cloying, overbearing sweetness. There's none of that here thanks in part to the cucumber and water notes, but also to the "wheat note".

Malle's staff told scent critic Chandler Burr that this perfume was "born in the instant that Giacobetti somewhere on a street in her native Italy passed a bakery and a florist and got pastry, flowers, and street all at once." 2 True or not, it explains the wheat.

balloon, edited
Some people smell bread in En Passant. I do not. However, I do feel that the lilac, water and cucumber is somewhat anchored by a slightly yeasty note that both expands and holds the composition. I'm currently imagining a lilac balloon tied to a weight. It's kind of like that: the scent is weighted slightly bit still allowed to move and drift, nearly weightless.

After the initial blast, the lilac seems as almost distant. To me, it's more like smelling the blooms through sheers in a window or from across the room. Distinct, but not in-yer-face. As much as I love lilacs, I'm OK with that distance. The heady smell of lilacs can tire a nose quickly. Here, it wafts gently, allowing you to smell it during the entire progression of the perfume.

En Passant is fairly linear, but multifaceted. In other words, it has different nuances but doesn't  evolve or change much over time.

Unfortunately, a balloon eventually loses it's buoyancy, and blooms fade and die. En Passant doesn't droop or wilt, but instead softly fades off and away, as if the balloon were released from its anchor. Sadly, this happens too soon - about 2 1/2 or 3 hours after application. It's worth reapplying, in my book, and I look forward to adding this unique perfume to my collection permanently.

Until then, you can find me pacing in front of the lilac bushes.

Fragrance: En Passant
House: Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle
Nose: Olivia Giacobetti
Released: 2000
Notes: white lilac, orange leaves, cucumber, absolute wheat, watery notes
(via NST, Basenotes)

Sample: dabbed from a sample vial

Final word:
Spring in a bottle.

The Purple Balloon