Mimosa fragrances must be tricky to pull off. There aren't a lot of them out there. Besides Parfums de Nicolaï Mimosaique which I'm reviewing today, Caron Farnesiana, Guerlain Champs Elysées, and L'Artisan Parfumeur Mimosa Pour Moi seem to hold the field. (The jury seems to be still out on Annick Goutal's limited edition Le Mimosa that Kevin reviewed last week.)
Or maybe mimosa just isn't a very popular note. The milky almond sweetness of mimosa mimics heliotrope, and not everyone's a fan. I read lots of comparisons of heliotrope to "plastic doll head," for instance. Me, I love the smell of both heliotrope and mimosa, and I adore the fresh, warm ease of Parfums de Nicolai Mimosaique Eau de Parfum.
Patricia de Nicolaï created Mimosaique in 1992. Mimosaique has notes of yellow mimosa, jasmine, iris root, anise, and fresh green leaves. Its overall feel is of a fresh, easy to wear, ladylike fragrance. Mimosaique opens with a diffusive mixture of crushed stems and floury heliotrope. Spray with abandon, because Mimosaique is present, but not loud, and after only a few minutes of wear it retreats to close to the skin.
After a quarter of an hour or so, the almond-flour quality recedes, and a pretty, powdery iris steps on stage. The iris is light and a little fruity, more like the playful niece of Frédéric Malle Iris Poudre than of the root-y, grande dame Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist. A whisper of heliotrope-like mimosa underlies the iris, reminding you Mimosaique is about mimosa. I can't pick out the anise, but knowing that it's there I sense a spiciness that gives backbone to the cloud of floral face powder tinged with cake dough and almonds that could otherwise feel too loose.
As Mimosaique wears, a tiny bit of clean musk gives it a clean air that balances nicely with the almost edible quality of the iris and mimosa. It never smells like laundry detergent, but it does give me an idea of a linen spray I'd commission if I were a millionaire.
In the end, to me Mimosaique feels more like mimosa than smells like mimosa. Mimosa seems to encompass the four elements of dirt, wet, breeze, and warmth, sweetened into an inconspicuous yellow flower. Similarly, Mimosaique isn't a showstopper. It isn't about wowing you with its crazy individuality and showiness. Instead, it's a lovely, elegant wash of clean, balanced, floral springtime. It lasts several hours, but it doesn't creep more than a few inches from skin.
Like a well worn, vintage cotton dress, when the weather starts to warm I reach for Mimosaique frequently. It isn't about making a statement. When I want to make a springtime entrance, I choose Guerlain Chamade or Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps d'Une Fête. If I need to impress, I choose Chanel No. 19. But for comfort and the pleasure of flats without tights, a breeze on my legs, I grab my bottle of Mimosaique. It's pleasant, easy, sure to please, and hard to overplay. The ultimate anti-cranky fragrance. Isn't that what spring is all about?
Parfums de Nicolaï Mimosaique Eau de Parfum is rumored to be discontinued, but as of this writing there are still 50 ml bottles at The Perfume Shoppe. To find other Parfums de Nicolaï fragrances, see Parfums de Nicolaï under Perfume Houses.