Guerlain Aqua Allegoria 2009 Tiare-Mimosa with Notes on Cherry Blossom: My Perfume Rendez-Vous {Fragrance Reviews}

tiare-mimosa.jpgWhen I start feeling in the mood for good thriller novels, I know it is summer at last in my head, and that I am now able to enjoy the most carefree days of the year. It might have happened to you sooner, but to me it has taken place really in August this year. The other day this realization together with a good level of heat made me review the newish trio of colognes by Hermès. Today, I am continuing this latter-day summer series with a perfume that seems to have flown a little under the radar this season; it has certainly been the case under my own radar. Although I noted the yearly Aqua Allegoria launch this year, I somehow failed to have an opportunity to try them until recently. Tiaré-Mimosa I did not hesitate to buy for its lovely skin-scent quality while Cherry Blossom although I thought it presented a little twist on the usual pink, girly cherry blossom scent, ultimately it could not really make me want to wear it more than or even as much as Tiaré-Mimosa. Let's qualify that. I have to confess that as a perfume blogger I am more often than not in the state of "wanting to wear perfume" rather than actually wearing any for myself as blogging about fragrance has turned me into someone less spontaneous about perfume Epicurianism, more careful to leave skin, and more importantly, mental space for reviews. Never mind this paradoxical development, it makes those perfumed moments even more special. I am not advocating a Tantric method of perfume-wearing to you. But to some degree, living an alternative to chain-perfuming like there exists chain-smoking - an adaptive behavior to innumerable market launches, admittedly - with rhythmic, stolen-time and rendez-vous perfuming to mark a pause, an event, a personal choice, has its virtues. One of them is to allow you to smell street or nature smells, smell what other people wear and the world at large. You can appreciate the smell of food better. You rediscover your own skin note. We are often told that love is being able to live and let live and not being able to let go is like a state of dependency, a form of addiction, which is, we are told by psychologists, the opposite of love. Taking a step back from perfume-wearing without shutting down your sense of smell, by all means, and considering the other interesting things you can do and experiment in life can only enrich your views on fragrance which in and of itself is really about the states of your mind and that of others. There is a line between perfuming yourself to live better and living to perfume yourself. But in truth, I sometimes miss the time when I could wear fragrance just for my secret pleasure...

Tiare-Mimosa-2.jpgWhen I smelled Tiare-Mimosa for the first time what struck me was its qualities of lightness and freshness but done in a very subtle manner so as not to evoke aquatic notes or a shower-fresh impression but rather more suggesting the softness of air, a gentle summer breeze blowing in between the notes.  Comparing it to other Aqua Allegorias such as Angélique-Lilas and Figue-Iris with the potentiality for the mimosa note in Tiaré-Mimosa to feel very Guerlain and smelling like an accord stolen from the powdery, oriental Guerlinade, I had to note that it is a nice departure. The mimosa is not powdery, or minimally so, but rather aerial. Comparing the scent to its sister launch Cherry Blossom, I would say that although the latter composition manages to offer a dry, herbal-y cherry scent to some extent rather than a candied, sweet one, it still remains more conventional in that its impression of freshness relies on a watercolor feel around a green tea note, an olfactory climate that has been over-exploited since the 1990s. It may occasionally still seduce us but the 21st century aqua perfumes have to be more original, charming, subtle and personal to overcome the déjà-vu sensation. Cherry Blossom turns from herbal to fruity and we know that popular ditty. To me, the newer sensation of freshness that relies on an effect similar to the one observed when a soft summer breeze moves the curtains framing an open window is a rarer and more poetic sensation at this point in time. To feel like a scented wind brushed your skin is both a sensual and ethereal impression that unconsciously evokes the secular spirituality of incense spiraling in the ether. We do breathe perfume in and out and we are reminded of this fact sometimes with certain compositions, like Windsong.

Tiaré-Mimosa was composed by perfumer Sophia Constant of Givaudan together with Guerlain artistic director Sylvaine Delacourte. Its "dominant notes" we are told are citruses and pink peppercorn in the top, mimosa and tiare blossom in the heart, vanilla and vetiver in the base. It is given as a "solar floral". What I like about this scent, among other things, is the way in which it stops short of being a literal beach scent while being perfect for that setting. 

The very top notes seem a bit synthetic-smelling, plasticky to start with, that is, they break the illusion of naturalness I find, but soon the perfume progresses into a rich creamy floral - but not overly creamy - woody, and salty-skin territory. The composition is intense in a subdued way bespeaking of the seasonal peak of nature's bountifulness. I think there might be some hidden immortelle, given the understated density of the scent, the saltiness, and a little caramel-y facet, but I cannot be certain. If it is there for an added subtle solar effect, it is buried deep in the "white" flowers. The floral accord offers a discreetly resinous, almost sticky facet like in Cascade by Chopard to create the impression of a lush summery floral accord dripping with sweet nectar except it does not drip but merely alludes to this idea. It reminds me also of the sticky-sweet, but not sugary, vanilla absolute in Lush Vanillary. Tiaré-Mimosa is both sweet and salty, a nice contrast. A discreet fruity facet resting on citruses: orange, grapefruit, accentuates the solar effect. A floral and woody olive facet indicates to me there might be some osmanthus. With time a very delicately smoky vetiver arises from the blend and in particular from the tonka in the drydown.

Although the tiare and mimosa can be analyzed apart, even if fleetingly, what makes this fragrance particularly noteworthy and attractive in the end is this je-ne-sais-quoi that turns it into a superior skin scent. Let's be simple: Tiaré-Mimosa just smells great, is easy to wear anywhere and mingles wonderfully with the air around you.

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2 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. I LOVE these two 'aquas'. Especially the Tiare-Mimosa. They don't last, but at least Guerlain has the decency to call them 'aqua' (water), not 'perfume' (like some other brands I could mention). So you really can't expect much. Still, they are very, very pleasant to wear.


    • Yes, I particularly appreciated the Tiare-Mimosa too. Thought it is more sophisticated in its construction than some older offerings in the line. Next to it for example Angélique-Lilas lost all elegance.

      I could see how Cherry Blossom might be enjoyable but this time I availed myself of a review based on my personal taste :)

      Chant Wagner

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