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    Farnesiana by Caron

    Farnesiana is Caron’s mimosa soliflore, and in its parfum incarnation (the only one I know,) it is a creature of contradictions. The principal feature is a downy textured mimosa accord with equally powdery iris root and white musk underpinnings. Such fluffy floral constructs are most often gentle and soft-spoken, in the manner of Après l’Ondée, Mimosa pour Moi, or Mimosaïque. Farnesiana parfum blares like an air raid siren. The shock effect is profound, as of finding some small thing of beauty – a ladybug or butterfly – enlarged to the size of a house. All the charm is gone, and what ought to be adorable becomes a monster.

    One consequence of presenting any olfactory accord at such enormous power is that the sheer scale will distort its proportions. What might offer enough ornament to entertain at small scale can smell like a vast, unmodulated surface when magnified. Presented with a simple accord as loud as Farnesiana parfum, the nose grasps for details to fill in the vast olfactory blocks. Scents as different as Opium, Boucheron, and Amouage Gold demonstrate an understanding of this phenomenon, and each in its own way provides sufficient internal activity to keep the nose and brain engaged. Not so Farnesiana parfum. It’s more of a one trick pony. Or maybe a one trick draft horse. Perversely fascinating, but no joy to wear. Perhaps it works better in lower concentrations.

    10th April, 2012