Guerlain Tiaré Mimosa, Cherry Blossom


First off — welcome back, everyone who went to the Sniffa!!  How was it?  Go ahead.  Torment me.

I´ve always thought of the Aqua Allegorias as training-wheel Guerlains – light, simple, and generally short-lived, both in terms of sillage and presence on the retail shelves. They are “refreshing” in the sense that they often have unexpected citrus/herbal notes or combinations and are nice and light for summer. Quoting Sephora: “Ever since they first appeared in 1999, Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria perfumes have been lauded for their boldness, inventiveness, and luminous grace. The à¼berfresh collection enchants each season with a new chapter, each scent giving its top billing to an unexpected raw material (like a flower, fruit, or an aromatic plant).” And yes, I had to stick that in because of their deployment of à¼berfresh.

Right now our Sephora still stocks Figue-Iris, which was quite nice, Mandarine-Basilic, which was just okay, and (inexplicably) Pamplelune, which ended up doing the grapefruit-urine thing on quite a few people, including yours truly. But since the store´s still selling it, I guess it´s more popular than I realized. It´s not like I have the definitive, perfect skin for fragrance testing.

Our local Sephora now has the two new offerings, Cherry Blossom and Tiaré Mimosa.

Tiaré Mimosa is described as a “solar floral” with notes of citrus, pink pepper, mimosa, tiare (Tahitian gardenia), vanilla, vetiver, and musks. It starts off fairly sweet, as you might expect from a scent featuring both mimosa and tiare, but it´s not cloying, and the burst of citrus and pepper offset some of the sugar. My initial reaction was, to use the term of an amateur perfume nut, meh. Twenty minutes later I´d revised my opinion. The drydown isn´t floral on me at all (sayonara, tiare mimosa) – instead, it´s just vanilla, vetiver and musks. I think Guerlain´s required by company policy to stick vanilla in everything they make, and in this case it´s both recognizably Guerlain and a lovely offset for the slightly rooty vetiver. Also, and I admit I´m the musk magnifier, it has an interesting, kind of salty musk (or maybe that´s just the vetiver messing with my nose.) It´s really pretty, a dressed-up version of Kenzo Winter Flowers, which shares some of the same notes.  I didn’t whip out my MasterCard, but I’d definitely wear this if it fell in my lap.

Cherry Blossom is (literally) pink in the bottle. Notes: bergamot, green tea, cherry tree flower, cherry, peach, powder accord. I was dreading trying it. First off, we are in cherry blossom high season right here in D.C., and while there´s no denying that cherry blossoms are quite lovely, particularly in mass plantings around the Tidal Basin, other than a slight vegetal greenness the blossoms are essentially unscented. People grow all sorts of ornamental cherry trees in these parts, and I am still waiting to run across the one that smells interesting enough to command a fragrance. I think the concept of “cherry blossom” in perfume is based on their frothy appearance, hence their constantly cropping up in places like Bath & Body Works in some generic pink-floral scent. In any case, Cherry Blossom opens much more tart than I was expecting; it´s pretty much bergamot, citrus-y tea and tart fruits. I was not looking forward to peach and powder accord (from the heliotrope-loving house o´Guerlain), but we never really got there. It remained a not terribly interesting generic tart fruit until it faded into nothingness after a couple of hours. If I´d found this on the shelf at BBW, labeled Sultry Sour Cherry, I´d probably think hey, not half bad. As a Guerlain it´s not setting my heart afire. Also, this one in particular has a lot of alcohol at the top, so do yourself a favor and don´t stick your nose in there right after you spray.

I like the very Guerlain-ish AA Figue-Iris, one of the prior releases still at Sephora, and would cheerfully wear it if presented with a bottle. The new-ish Laurier-Reglisse (bay leaf, licorice, amber, violet, bergamot, orange blossom) was also delightful surprise; I am not the greatest fan of licorice except in jelly-beans. There´s something about the licorice/herb/citrus dynamic that is quite refreshing and unexpected. However, the only AA I´ve felt moved to buy is Winter Delice (notes of pine, gingerbread, incense, labdanum and vanilla.) I think it´s a wonderfully spicy walk through the winter woods, although some people can´t bear it, and it´s unusually long lasting for the line. It´s getting harder to find online in anything other than the minis.

Which are your favorites of the Aqua Allegorias?

Postscript: giving myself a headache squinting at the bottle images online and my notes … I swear I think the Tiaré Mimosa is not hyphenated, unlike their usual convention (Mandarine-Basilic, Figue-Iris, etc.)?  I could be wrong.   If someone’s staring at bottles of any of these, help me out.  It bugs me that I’m not sure.

  • mharvey816 says:

    My quibble with Tiare-Mimosa is that it’s neither, and I was really looking forward to smelling what it claims to contain, dammit.

    My 3 owned and loved AAs are Winter Delice (snagged a big bottle right when it was starting to go away), Rosa Magnifica and Orange Magnifica. I credit the fine ladies at MUA from helping me figure out how to work the sprayer the first time without breaking it.

    The silver lining from the T-M debacle was that it made me go back and spritz my previously beloved and now ignored Chantecaille Tiare. It’s just so fantastic that I can’t believe I haven’t been wearing it every day. I have a special fondness for it because it’s one of the first “expensive” fragrances I ever bought myself – at the Beverly Hills NM, no less. I don’t even know if they still make it. But damn, it’s a good one.

    • March says:

      Oh, isn’t that fun that you rediscovered something you already owned?!? That’s the best. And I think they still make it (although who knows if it smells the same?) And you even have a fun

      I was having trouble teasing out what tiare and mimosa would smell like layered, but I guess they’d be sweet! 😉

  • Robin says:

    Hey, these actually sound better than I expected, given that my expectations were pretty dismal.

    I liked Mandarine Basilic — own that one, Herba Fresca & Anisia Bella. Will buy Laurier Reglisse when I find it for $30 or less.

    • March says:

      I keep hoping Laurier will show up somewhere dirt cheap too, in which case I will probably buy it. I don’t have enough fragrance.

  • March says:

    Thanks Carol. There seems to be a certain lack of consistency.

  • Carol Sasich says:

    BTW according to Sniffa mag it looks like there IS a hyphen in Tiare-Mimosa…

  • Joe says:

    Well, the two I OWN are Herba Fresca & Mentafolia. I only wanted HF, but managed to get both on the bay as a pair: 75ml of HF and 125ml Menta, which turned out to be pretty dang nice too (though I’ve used that HUGE bottle as room spray because lord knows I’ll never use it up on myself).

    I wouldn’t mind owning some Laurier Reglisse, though I’ve only sniffed it once. Pamplelune smelled like my Grapefruit Holy Grail for the first 20 minutes or so then became TOTAL cat pee. Scary.

    I think I’ll pass on both of these, though I may try a sniff of the TM; a drydown that’s similar to Kenzo Winter Flowers sounds good.

    • March says:

      I thought of you with that, if I recall correctly you really liked (and I think bought?) Winter Flowers. Wonder if this one is too girly for you.

      Now that Laurier has disappeared from Sephora I sort of want it. Typical fickle behavior.

  • pyramus says:

    I own or have owned four of the allegories, and unfortunately I get tired of them after a year or two. I had Herba Fresca and Pampelune and loved them both (I’m one of those tiresome people who gets neither urine nor garlic from grapefruit scents), but as lovely as they were (Herba Fresca is bright grass and spearmint, Pampelune brilliant and uplifting citrus), they were just too simple to hold my interest in the long run.

    I own Winter Delice and Anisia Bella, and I must be over Winter Delice because I didn’t wear it once last winter, didn’t even take it out of storage. Anisia Bella is gorgeous, just the right amount of licorice, but I can tell I’m not going to be wearing it in a couple of years.

    Starter Guerlains indeed.

    • March says:

      That’s funny …. I was thinking about this in a sideways way today. One of the hazards of perfume blogging is, I don’t get to just *wear* some of the things I truly love. A couple of days ago, I wanted to put on a fragrance — for enjoyment, not for consideration. And I started to reach for something and thought, eh, that one’s not worth devoting my time to it. Perfectly nice smell, but why bother? The sort of thing you’d not have in your top 50 for “signature scent.” Describing this process as “more discerning” makes my eyes roll, but certain once-loved fragrances just don’t give the quality of experience.

      • pyramus says:

        The really awful thing about perfume blogging is that sometimes I want to wear something and I think, “No, I really have to write about this new whatever,” so I wear that instead, even if I don’t want to. And that makes it a chore, which is a sad thing, because I love scents so much, and I don’t want wearing them and writing about them to be work, I want it to be pleasure. I already have a job.

        This morning, though, I was about to slosh on whatever it is I’m in the process of writing about, and I actually couldn’t face it, so I put on what I wanted to wear to work, which was Le Baiser du Dragon. It put me a really good mood for the entire day. I’m still in a good mood because of it, in fact.

        Perfume: the original Prozac.

        • March says:

          My mother in law wore Baiser. I can’t wear it (it wears me) but I have some very warm mental associations with it. I kept her bottle and I take it out and smell it periodically just for fun.

          The part of perfumery being a chore sometimes is the part that makes me sad too.

  • Disteza says:

    On the smell (or not) of cherry blossoms: There’s a stand of cherry trees close to my house that certainly smell more strongly than most other cherry blossoms. The flowers are small and pink, and with 5 trees growing close together you can smell them from a distance. It’s reminisent of grenadine, but more vegetal with less syrupy sweetness.

    On the misinterpretation of Pampelune: Slate recently put out an article on identification via BO odor-printing, complete with a BO color wheel. One of the most common BO ‘flavors’ for women was, in fact, grapefruit. You can read more here:

    • March says:

      That was such an interesting article! I had a good time reading it. And thanks for reporting an actual sighting (smelling?) of cherry blossoms that smell like something. The way you describe them they sound delightful.

  • dinazad says:

    I never got urine from Pamplelune – just glorious, happy and uplifting grapefruit. (But then I don’t get urine from Miel du Bois either – just gorgeous, bitter honey). But my favorite AAs are Lavande Velours (one of the first, I think). I’m a lavender lover, and LV embodies what I like bestabout lavender: the mix of demureness and roll-in-the-hay (or lavender) naughtiness. And I adore Winter Delice. It’s like going out into the snow to go cut your own Christmas tree in the woods (not that I ever did that – not allowed in Switzerland, unless you own the woods in question – but I’ve got a pretty good imagination). All of the others, and I mean ALL of the others have bored me stiff. These days I just yawn when a new one appears and don’t even bother sniffing it.

    • March says:

      A lot of Pamplelune lovers have emerged from the woodwork on here today to defend its honor! Certainly I think that and Delice are the most assertive and interesting of those I have smelled.

  • Folavril says:

    Pamplelune is one of those great guilty pleasures if you love it, the fragrance equivalent of a really good Cosmo at 3 pm in the afternoon. It bewilders others, but sometimes its exactly what you need. I’ve bought & worn & liked to various degrees several of the others, but this is the keeper. Its also one of the few AAs that smell good on men – my male BFF always wants a spritz when he visits & it smells amazing on him. I’m one of the folks Sephora keeps this in stock for – its one frag I will actually pay full retail for to make sure it stays in my cabinet. I’m always curious to sniff the new AAs every year when they are released & have been keeping an eye out at my local Sephora, but they aren’t in-store yet.

    • March says:

      Well, there you have it. Clearly for some people, nothing else will do. And after all my yapping I should retry it, it’s been ages since I did. Who knows, maybe now I’d think it’s wonderful?

  • Meliscents says:

    I picked up a bottle of Foliflora at the local Marshalls unsniffed based on the fact it was Guerlain. The Notes I found are bergamot, neroli, white freesia, gardenia, peach, water lily, sandal, amber and vanilla. I use it quite often but usually on linens. It’s pretty & clean smelling & for those of you old enough, smells like Charman toilet paper used to smell. I know it’s a strange comparison, but that’s what came to mind on first sniff. So without the toilet paper in mind, I think it’s pretty, but certainly not edgy. Smelled Mentafolia & Pamplelune but neither excited me that much.

  • 2scents says:

    I love the Pamplelune, but also wear it only when alone. It reminds me of a former career as a coffee evaluator; when we cupped high grade Kenyan coffees they often had this sweaty, sulfurous, grapefruit note that we loved. Anyway, I had to trade away Mentafolia (toothpaste) and Mandarine-Basilic (horrible synth-woody base, I thought) and have not been moved to purchase others.

    • March says:

      That’s so interesting about the coffees! I would love to take some sort of training class… like wine, I can smell subtle differences, but I can’t define them in any specific way other than smooth, or sweet, or whatever.

  • Nava says:

    I had a summer love affair with Herba Fresca. I spent most of it with my family in that country-that-still-shall-remain-nameless where I am not allowed to go. I got tons of compliments on it, including from my sensitive snooted aunt. I think I used it up and never replaced it. Other than that one, non of the other AAs really appealed to me.

    • March says:

      I’m surprised how often Herba Fresca is cropping up on here, clearly it was the most popular? I can’t even remember what it smells like!

      • Nava says:

        It is just as Lee described it above. Although, if memory serves, the mint was rather fleeting and the lemony greenness was most predominant. Mint goes funky on a lot of people, I think, as does grapefruit.

  • Carol Sasich says:

    Here comes torture…Sniffa was over the top as usual . I tromped around Manhattan alone on Friday in the pouring rain to sniff the Hilde Solani exclusives at New London Pharmacy . Satuday was cold and windy , but Sunday was glorious .
    The most moving thing we were gifted with was the Kahina Giving Beauty line….afull ounce of pre organic argon oil produced by hand in Morocco by women . 25% of the proceeds are going to build a preschool for the women’s children . Fantastic healing product for face and body .
    I really like the Herba Fresca too…the Rosa Magnifica is nice too .

  • sara says:

    I tried both the new AAs but neither did anything for me. I live a few blocks from CBC (Cherry Blossom Central) so I’ll be strolling down there today. My fave AA is the Exaltant–I was lucky to snag a full bottle from a German ebay seller. Amazing stuff and it’s a crime and pity it was discontinued.

  • karin says:

    Happy Monday everyone! When the Aquas first came out, I bought the Ylang & Vanille and Herba Fresca. Didn’t much care for the YV, but wore the Herba Fresca for awhile. It’s strange, but interesting. Gave it away before I made it through the bottle, though. A few years ago I bought Pamplelune. Loved it til my husband said it smelled like BO! Funny, I didn’t get that, but if that’s what I was projecting, I figured I’d best give that bottle up, too. I still have a mini of it, and occasionally dab it on the back of my hand for my own enjoyment. Haven’t tried any of the other AAs. I suppose the reviews in PtG have kept me away from them!

    • March says:

      I kind of want to smell the Ylang one now, but you’re right — I’m not sure I would die of grief if the line disappeared.

  • MattS says:

    The only one I know and love is Pampelune, but there’s really no surprise there, right? Of course, everyone around me hates it so I generally just wear it when I’m alone. Although I might just give the world a big FU today and wear it just because it’s Monday.

    • March says:

      Hey, it’s Monday! You’re trying to quit smoking! Give everyone the middle finger and spray some of this on!

    • sweetlife says:

      Hey Matt! I LOVE Pamplelune. I love it’s weirdness. I love the way it turns into something entirely different twice in an hour. I love the basenotes. And the top smells like grapefruit peel, and then grapefruit and salt on me. I can totally see how people get a sulfur/urine note from it, but to me it’s just one of the most interesting citruses around. It doesn’t read as “refreshing,” but I find it — dare I say it? — sexy.

      • MattS says:

        It is strange and weird and pissy, but I also think it has some pretty moments that balance it out nicely.

  • carmencanada says:

    The Acqua Allegorias are pretty much off my radar too… I got Figue-Iris last year at a Guerlain-sponsored book festival (like they couldn’t scare up a bottle of Mitsouko? cheapsters), and it is now living in the loo… It’s really not that interesting to me, and neither is Tiaré Mimosa, which initially I could barely smell, until I realized my nose was looking for tiaré and mimosa, and could find neither.
    So, as we say in France (the equivalent of “meh”, I suspect): bof-bof.

  • Lee says:

    There’s a very dressy old lady – poor thing – who is often in the local fancypants supermarket around closing time, and her unwashed mix of dried urine and body odour reads a lot like Pampelune to my unsophisticated nose, perhaps with the muskiness more amped up. I think this is a scent that divides noses into one of two camps. I’m with you, March. Poooo-eeeeeeeeeey.

    I used to own Herba Fresca, but the clash of mint, greenery and lemon began to bug me. I’m one of those who can’t bear Winter Delice – sorry. It’s a raspy ole mish-mash.

    So, it’s a big zero for me on the AAs. Not sniffed the more recent ones, I don’t think.

    I’m just glad to be here after two v. hectic weeks!

    • March says:

      Pamplelune must smell good on someone. Just not us. Ugh. And I think Winter Delice is pretty much love/hate, like Pamplelune. Someone called it Pine-Sol, I think. I also remember choking to death on a pomander.

  • Trish/Pikake says:

    It’s so funny you mention the cherry blossom thing today Patty. Just this afternoon I crushed some petals in my hand hoping I’d get some sort of scent from them, but…..nada. I do admire perfumers trying to create a scent from the visual of a gorgeous tree. I can’t wait to try Ayala’s Hanami.

    • Trish/Pikake says:

      Dang, I mean March. I don’t like how you can’t see who wrote the post when you have the comments on. My memory sucks.

    • March says:

      See, Trish, this is why we love you guys. I never noticed my name disappeared when you go to comment. Has it always been thus?

      btw MOST of the time unless one of us has a conflict, I do Monday and Weds., Patty does Tues/Thurs, and Lee and Nava alternate Friday, with occasional special guests like Musette, back next Monday…

      clear as mud??

      • Trish/Pikake says:

        I like to know these things! Thanks. You’d think I’d have figured it by now…..but there’s that crappy memory issue. Maybe I need to start taking Gingko now that the big 4-0 is approaching.

        And yes, the name disappearance has always been that way. Not a new thing.

    • March says:

      Yes. They smell like petals. They smell like living things, but that’s about it. Considering the bees are out and you never see them anywhere near the trees, I consider that the definitive sign.

    • carter says:

      March is just feeling guilty for not taking the kids to see the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin this weekend. Working through the issue and using US to do it 😉

      • March says:

        You know it.

        • carter says:

          What is that neighborhood in Chevy Chase — you know, that section everyone aspires to living in — that has all those cherry trees? I had friends living there and it was just as spectacular as at the Basin. You could just throw ’em in the car and drive through 😉

          • March says:

            Kenwood. My husband, aka the Big Cheese, grew up there. That’s what we did on Sunday instead of driving downtown — drove through there with thousands of other people!

  • Masha says:

    My favorite is Herba Fresca, which is perfect for a summer’s walk in the Alps, where I live. It also keeps bugs away, which is a nice plus in the mountains!
    I really like Anisia Bella, a bitter and austere anise scent that becomes more and more likable the hotter the weather gets. It’s very unique, but very hard to find now. I bought the jumbo bottle.
    Thanks for the great reviews!

    • March says:

      Another shout-out for Herba Fresca. Actually … they might have had that one. There was one more on the shelf, although it might have been the kiwi one (shudder.)

    • Musette says:

      Oooh, Masha! You just brought back some lovely memories….one summer in the Italian Alps, prep to going to spend some time in Venice. Such a nice time (and don’t ask me where I stayed right now because it’s 0730 and my mind isn’t tuned up yet:-)

      But that memory will stay with me all days, the ringing of cowbells (wow, those cows can MOVE!) and the great food and beautiful vistas – so the next time I’m in Sephora it’s Herba Fresca for me!


    • Kim says:

      glad to hear I am not the only one who loves anise in the heat – hence my love of L’Heure Bleue in the summer. will have to try Anisa Bella and Herba Fresca

  • Musette says:

    Dang. I canna remember a single one of the AAs. I have the hardest time connecting them to Guerlain so they sort of slide right off my radar. Besides, the cute li’l guy who decanted the samps for me only wrote ‘Guerlain Acqua Allegoria” on each little samp, bless his heart. Well, that will be a fun time, detectifyin’….someday.


    • March says:

      Giggling. That was helpful. Well, if you fell in lurve with one, you could probably take it back to Sephora or wherever and sort it out.

  • Elle says:

    Am going to have to try that Tiare Mimosa. So far the only AAs I’ve felt compelled to fork over for have been the Winter Delice and Herba Fresca (wonderful in summer). Oh, and I *adore* the Exalting, but have only been able to get decants of it. Why they d/c the best of them is a complete mystery to me.