As we look out the door and see the buds begin to form on the trees as perfumistas we begin to look towards our favorite fragrances which remind us of the burgeoning life that those buds represent. I’m talking about those fragrances that allow us to fast forward past the growing stages to those that evoke the garden in all of its full grown glory. One fragrance that did that for me last year was Annick Goutal’s Un Matin D’Orage which played with the idea of a garden in the morning with all of its dewy freshness on display.
For 2010 Isabelle Doyen has returned to the garden in the new fragrance Ninfeo Mio. Mme. Doyen’s inspiration was the Ninfa Garden near Rome. I’ve never visited these gardens but if the fragrance is a clue to their character then they must be a lush greensward filled with citrus trees, lavender, and fig trees because these are the dominant themes throughout Ninfeo Mio.
Ninfeo Mio joins not only Un Matin D’Orage but Eau D’Hadrien in style but while it is clearly related to those fragrances it has clear contrasts to its predecessors throughout its development. Mme. Doyen uses quite different notes to accentuate the core triad and in turn illuminate them in a quite beautiful light. If Un Matin D’Orage is morning in the garden, Ninfeo Mio is high noon with the sun warming everything and adding a humid weight to all around it.
The top of Ninfeo Mio is a citrus mix but mostly lemon. In the very early stages you think Eau D’Hadrien but Mme. Doyen adds something which gives a creamy feel to the lemon. It seems as if in a flash it goes from lemon to lemon pudding and this has a great soft feel to it. Next is galbanum and lentisque, these resins mix to give the feel of the humidity of a summer day as they add some heft this allows the dominant notes of the heart, lavender and fig, a substantial bed to build upon.
The choice of the more herbal version of lavender in conjunction with the green fig present adds a yin and yang aspect that is very enjoyable. One moment it is herbal and slightly floral the next it is a lush ripening fig and then the lavender returns. Throughout the middle part of the development of Ninfeo Mio I feel as if I am lying on the grass breathing in whatever the wind brings to my nose.
The base is a note called bois de citronnier which translates to lemon wood. This note is the tangy smell of a lemon tree. It is a green woody note with a hint of tartness around it. This choice by Mme Doyen is inspired as this smell is usually only felt, in real life, after the sun has warmed the lemon tree all day and in twilight as the tree cools, the smell of the wood is released. A perfect way to end this fragrant garden walk.
Ninfeo Mio has excellent longevity and moderate sillage.
Mme. Doyen has successfully followed her last walk in the garden with an even more impressive creation in Ninfeo Mio. I can’t wait to follow her on her next olfactory garden tour.
– Mark Behke , Managing Editor
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample purchased from luckyscent.