Inspired by my previous post and Ms. Sanchez's description of Guerlain Champs-Elysées, I decided to further investigate the fragrance and others like it. Turns out, the note responsible for the "lucite-heeled shoes and a ditzy high-pitched laugh" description is the delicate mimosa flower. Other fragrances containing it as a note include L'Artisan Parfumeur Mimosa pour Moi, Givenchy's Amarige 2005 Harvest collection and even the venerable classic that I love, Chanel No. 5. The flower imparts a green sweetness, a lightness of being, a sunshine-y, bubbly quality that Ms. Sanchez so perfectly described in relation to the type of woman who wears it. Its yellow goodness reminds me of the first delicate buds of spring. Because I do not live in Provence (how I wish!) and I am not exposed to mimosas on a daily basis, I began some research on this interesting flower.
I found a fabulous article in Cosmetics Business online that contains the history of the flower's use in perfumery as well as other interesting facts about mimosa:
"The first plantations of Mimosa trees for the perfumery industry were established in 1865. Perfumers were quick to recognise and appreciate mimosa's suave and delicate fragrance. Its abundance in the hills of Provence also made it a good choice for the development of perfumes. The hills of the Tanneron region above Cannes are delicately scented with the sweet, heady, almondy fragrance preceding the winter mimosa harvest. In February, the Massif de Tanneron takes on the appearance of a range of golden mountains as the largest mimosa forest in Europe comes into bloom."
Due to its sweet, powdery scent, mimosa is often combined well with orange blossom. The trees bloom only once per year and the flower is extremely fragile and difficult to maintain after cutting. Therefore, it is associated with sensitivity. (Of interest, mimosas are also used in cooking to add sweetness to springtime desserts.) Certainly this delicate flower has an important place in the art of perfumery and many fragrances have chosen its delicate bouquet to either support or showcase the composition. While I would not welcome an association with the word "ditzy", I certainly enjoy fragrances containing mimosa during this exhilarating and awakening time of year.
See previous post for source of quote by Tania Sanchez. Read more about mimosas at Cosmetics Business.
Image source http://cr.middlebury.edu