Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Green figs and wood

I went on a bit of a shopping spree at Nordstrom tonight.  I had a fairly unusual experience for Nordstrom lately: everyone wanted to help me.  Not always the Nordstrom experience; perhaps they were grateful for a customer on a Tuesday night?  And it's quite different from my experience at Saks a while back, when, on a Saturday, I was the only person in the store and all the salespeople still ignored me.

I went to the fragrance section to buy a new bottle of Un Jardin en Mediterrannee.  (Has it really been two years since I found it?  I never thought I'd finish a whole bottle.)  The young saleswoman was moving very briskly, approaching me immediately to help me, not schmoozing me at all (it turns out that she was getting off of work in 10 minutes).  She seemed to appreciate that I knew exactly what I wanted and snatched it for me from the locked cabinet.  Then I said, "Is there anything else I should try since I like this one so much?"  She thought quickly and said, "Annick Goutal's new fig fragrance."  Perfect.  Annick Goutal is always a good bet.  She sprayed it on paper, I smelled it, I asked for a sample, she gave me a sample, I sprayed it on my arm, and I was out of there.

... high as a kite on this scent!  It's called Ninfeo Mio, and I couldn't remove my wrist from my nose.  It starts figgy, citrusy, green; the middle notes intrigued me, and all I could think of was some sort of exotic tropical citrus, like etrog or persimmon (?), plus perhaps some orange blossom; it ended powdery and yet somehow a little sour, figgy, citrusy, hint of floral, complex.  So obviously far superior to the fragrances I'd explored at Sephora.

I read reviews of it as soon as I got home.  It is indeed considered a spectacular fragrance.  And I got the name of the perfumer: Isabelle Doyen.  It's so good, I want to follow her career.

Other reviewers mention the floral, and they describe the fig as milky, which does begin to nail down this ineffable smell.  The sourness I was perceiving comes from boxwood.  And some of that citrus was actually mango!  They also mention a lavender note, which I consciously missed but which must be why I found it so immediately appealing.  My favorite review compares it directly to Un Jardin en Mediterrannee as well as to the sibling of my orange fragrance, Acqua di Parma's Fico di Amalfi fragrance.  She says:

Both of those I would describe as fig fragrances with woody citrus, whereas Ninféo Mio I would describe as a woody citrus with fig, in case that makes any sense to anybody.
Makes perfect sense to me.

I'm glad I have a sample.  I don't think I could wear this fragrance regularly, but the way it excites and intrigues the olfactory parts of my brain makes me want to take this journey again.