When it comes to perfumes centered around a very specific note, one can sometimes wonder if it's possible (or necessary) to have a new or different interpretation. Of course, the obsessed among us would tell you there can never be too many leather perfumes. Or vetiver. Or tuberose.
Ninfeo Mio, the newest perfume from Annick Goutal (created by the house's perfumer Isabelle Doyen) is a fig scent, and even I was surprised at the originality of this beautiful composition. From the sharp mixed citrus notes of the opening to the green depths of the perfume (galbanum, and quite a bit of it, judging by the excellent staying power), there's so much to enjoy in Ninfeo Mio I'm in a fig-lover heaven.
The perfumer's inspiration, the Italian Giardino di Ninfa, is evident. Citron, lemon, bitter orange and fig trees growing on an ancient stream, shading and protecting the ancient grounds. There's something comforting and captivating in aromas that have been there since ancient times (though the garden as it is today is the result of restorative work from the 1920s). It's beautiful and almost wholesome, but just wild enough to make you think of frolicking fauns and maybe a bacchanalia (or two) going on among the trees and shrubs. Ninfeo Mio is really that much fun to wear.
Like last year's Goutal, Un Matin d'Orage, Ninfeo Mio is an eau de toilette. I can't help but wish for an extrait de parfum. Not because it lacks anything, it's just my own desire to indulge in this green fig to the max. As I've mentioned, it stays on my skin for many hours. The citrus notes are gone, of course, but the fig, galbanum and general greenery delight me for more than 12 hours. It can be sprayed with abandon without ever feeling too heavy, and the lack of any sweetness makes Ninfeo Mio and ideal summer scent. On a man's skin (the husband's) there's a lot more wood and herbs than I smell on myself, no matter how much or how little I apply. It's the most unisex fig scent I've come across, even more than the crystalline Figuier by Heeley.
Annick Goutal's Ninfeo Mio is available right now in few select locations such as Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel in NYC (and Harrods in the UK). I bought my 100 ml bottle ($115, the ribbed feminine version. The juice inside is identical to the one in the rectangular one) at Henri Bendel. Neither store offers it online yet (Harrods does, but they do not ship overseas), but you can order by phone. I have to say that I'm deeply impressed with the change I see at Henri Bendel's perfume department. There's a serious effort there to become a major force in luxury and niche perfume. Now if they only discover the joy of e-commerce.
Photos of Giardini di Ninfa by Komakino1976 and Fabio C. Favaloro on Flickr.