Mimosa. Acacia. Cassie. All names for the same plant, with those fabulous yellow pom-pom flowers which look delicate, but fill a room with their dreamy sweetness in minutes. The bark, roots and resin are all still used to create incense for rituals, in Nepal, India and China (including Tibet – and acacia/mimosa’s used in mainstream perfumery, too: the scent has a warm, honey, iris-like, powdery airiness, which enriches the complexity of fragrances. Mimosa has a long tradition in perfumery: it was first used in making incense, and symbolised resurrection and immortality: Egyptian mythology linked the acacia tree with the tree of life, described in the Myth of Osiris and Isis.
Mimosas are pod-bearing shrubs and trees now native mostly to Australia and the Pacific, though they put on a pretty spectacular show around the heartland of perfumery in Grasse, too, in the south of France. For centuries, aside from perfumery, the mimosa tree has been used for many different purposes from medicinal to ornamental. The seeds and fruit are edible and used in many cuisines and soft drinks, the bark produces a gum that is used as a stabiliser (gum Arabic) and in the production for printing and ink; and the timber is used in furniture making.
Meanwhile, in France, at this time every year in February the fluffy yellow pom-pom blooms are celebrated for their beauty and vibrancy – adding a much-needed splash of yellow brightness to these often dreary days. As the blog thegoodlifefrance.com describes:
“…the velvety yellow blooms of the locally grown mimosa flowers will fill the streets of Mandelieu-La Napoule for a large and very popular festival. The festivities last for 10 days with the main attraction being the famed gloriously yellow floral floats during both weekends.”
“The evening starts at the “Notre Dame des Mimosas”, the Mimosa Queen is elected; the streets of the town centre ring to the sound of marching bands, street orchestras and the floats which parade, covered in locally grown mimosa. Each Sunday, the battle of the flowers takes place and when the floral floats are finished the winners go home laden with mimosa. This is a festival for everyone and children love it, the bright colours, the joyful atmosphere – its impossible not to be happy at this event and to feel that spring is just around the corner.”
To celebrate in fragrant form, why not seek out some mimosa-fluffed scents such as these…
GOLDFIELD & BANKS VELVET SPLENDOUR
Sumptuousness personified with a flirtatiously fluffy Australian mimosa snuggled up to decadently waxy orange blossom and luminous jasmine against a leathery, resinous backdrop of intriguing complexity. Drowsily splendid, this unfurls for hours on the skin as it warms, telling the story of a day spent in bed with your lover – a decadent plushness to sink into and sigh at the heliotropine-drenched dry-down, as you sip tea and eat buttered toast, while warming your feet on theirs…
£135 for 100ml eau de parfum harrods.com
DIPTYQUE L’EAU PAPIER
What is the scent of paper? That’s how every Diptyque creation begins: a blank sheet, a pen, ink, ideas. Fabrice Pellegrin was tasked here with conjuring up diluted ink and artistic brushstrokes. The perfect textural softness of mimosa and white musks are mistily ethereal, with a rice steam accord adding to the sense of paperiness and roasted sesame for the inkiness. Alex Waline’s pointillist label completes a modern masterpiece that couldn’t be more Diptyque if it tried.
From £90 for 50ml eau de parfum diptyqueparis.com
MAISON CRIVELLI IRIS MALIKHÂN
If what you need now is a massive hug, there are two ingredient that enfold you in their arms, and both are included here. Iris wraps its arms around cypress, leather, amber, musks, vanilla and a surprisingly animalic but still soothing purr of mimosa, confected to create ‘the mind-blowing discovery of iris fields on the edge of a desert.’ (Imaginary, but we’re right there, thanks to this shimmering mirage of a scent, from this exciting, new-to-the-UK perfume name.)
£90 for 30ml eau de parfum johnlewis.com
LOUIS VUITTON HEURES D’ABSENCE
If ever there were further proof needed that florals have been modernised, it is here, in this pale mauve juice: a profusion of fresh flowers harvested in Grasse, still a hub of perfume creativity, where Vuitton’s Jacques Cavallier Belletrud was born and works today. Add the gloriously green, powdery mimosa from the Tanneron forest, touches of sandalwood and soft musks, and you have the prettiest of sheer summer scents – contemporary, luminous and understatedly elegant.
£255 for 100ml eau de parfum louisvuitton.com
PENHALIGON’S THE FAVOURITE
This floral-musky triumph is named after Queen Anne’s best friend – Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, as immortalised by Rachel Weisz in the film that also starred Oscar-winner Olivia Colman. As prettily-packaged as any scent we’ve seen in a while, it’s a juice to match, swirling with that gloriously powdery mimosa, freesia, violet and mandarin, becoming positively boudoir-esque as the musk and Indian sandalwood drift in. Spritz lavishly and waft in a negligé to do it justice.
£85 for 30ml eau de parfum penhaligons.com
Written by Suzy Nightingale