Ninfeo Mio seems to match the ambience of mid-August, with its summer balm persisting, but the days gradually getting shorter, with harbingers of autumn in view. It opens with the most radiant zest of citron, tinted with almost pointilistic details of bitter galbanum and petitgrain, giving this impression of pithiness.
A ripening feel comes to the fore as mastic resin and fig leaves join this virescent, hesperidic chorus, a trembling light enters, and this reminds me of the angle of the sun in late summer, hitting the leaves and releasing their aromatic exudates. It's sort of like the sun-kissed smell of ivy leaves on a stone wall, in the afternoon, with the most subtle lactonic impression, like milkweed (has anyone ever smelled the flowers and the leaves? It's terrific).
The dry down evolves from botanical green to tawny wood: a meditative cedar and a sensation reminiscent of wet stones and moss (not oakmoss mind you, just actually loamy moss). The naturalism is on point, as was the case for many Annick Goutals pre-formulation (I have a square bottle with the exquisite cursive script bottle). By far my favorite fig scent and one that I will relish.
Petitgrain and lemon start it off, with the lemon being more a lemon ice cream than a juice. Soon I also get a tart orange aroma, establishing the opening as a citrus events, one that is quite bright but not offering a full Cologne-style refreshing blast. Nonetheless, this is a bright and positive start.
Soon the galbanum together with a tomato leaf impression signals a shift into a greener realm, which merges with the notes from the beginning.
A reisinous lentisque is evident for a while, a soft and gentle lentisque that fits in well.
A fig leaf develops now and then, as the next main player, it enters the stage after the first three or four hours. A typical, unobtrusively sweet, nice fig, that is less central in this may than, for instance, in Diptyque's Philosykos, and that lasts until the end. In the final hours a lemon tree wood is present in the background, but is is of a somewhat nonspecific nature.
I get moderate sillage, limited projection after the first hours, and nine hours of longevity on my skin.
A lovely scent for cooler summer days and evenings, composed of good quality ingredients and of interests to lovers of citrus as well as fig-lovers. 3.25/5.
Annick Goutal is one of the earlier purveyors of niche perfume out there, having gotten her start as a pianist and model-turned perfume entrepreneur after she was involved with perfumers to create a scent for a facial cream. From that pivotal genesis point, she moved into making perfume full-time and enlisted the help of several perfumers she knew personally. When she passed away in 1999, the company was picked up by her daughter Camille Goutal, who utilized mainly the talents of Isabella Doyen, the perfumer behind this fragrance. Ninféo Mio (2009) is an interesting and extremely green woody floral musk with a prominent fig accord that really stood sharply against what was common or popular at the end of the 2000's, since fig itself was something of a flash in the pan around the late 90's into the beginning of the 2000's decade. Had Ninféo Mio been released right around Y2K instead of 2009, and it might have seemed downright mainstream, but that's not the niche way of doing things. Ninféo Mio is also sold in both male-marketed and female-marketed Annick Goutal bottles, although it is the same juice inside regardless, and Goutal is infamous for packaging changes anyway.
The biggest make or break facet of Ninféo Mio isn't its fig, which may surprise some people since fig itself can be a polarizing accord, and ask anyone who has smelled Diptyque Philosykos (1996) or Salvatore Ferragamo Pour Homme (1999) for confirmation, but the real trouble with Ninféo Mio is tomato leaf. The opening of this scent is loaded down with tomato leaf, in all of its glaring and chlorophyll-laden green. The sharpness of this note is further assisted by galbanum, which itself imparts an extremely grassy edge all its own, meaning haters of this kind of green will find Ninféo Mio to be their anathema. Once you get past that, things become a bit more conventional with lemon, bitter orange, and the fig. In this case, the citrus and fig fill the empty spaces left by the stinging green of the opening, which itself is eventually replaced by musky wood notes as the bases comes into form. There really isn't much of a heart to Ninféo Mio, as this barrage of green and fig immediately steps aside to join a base of mastic, vetiver, musk, and dry cedary wood note into a linear finish. At eau de parfum strength, sillage is tight but can be intense if over-applied, so be careful. Something this unapologetically green is definitely for the outdoorsy garderner/botanist/lover of nature, and I can't really think of an urban context where this fits, so wear where you like. This is unisex and strictly feels it to me, but regardless of gender, you might want to save this for spring or fall seasons, as the musk note can suffocate in summer, while this may be too sharp for winter's chill.
Ninféo Mio will certainly give lovers of green something to talk about, as if the galbanum-infused chypres of the 70's weren't enough, this will satisfy that hunkering you may have to literally smell like a hedgerow. The tomato leaf recalls my father's own tomatoes grown in the backyard (big Maryland beefsteak tomatoes), and overall I like Ninféo Mio, although I do find it to push my fondness for green to extremes that proves a little challenging even to me. Overall, this is spring time in a bottle for lovers of horticulture, fig, or sharp wood scents. Ninféo Mio sits somewhere between the aforementioned Philosykos and another Diptyque scent called Tam Dao (2003), which goes the extreme route with wood. If you toned down the fig of Philosykos, smoothed the wood of Tam Dao, and gave it a shockingly large injection of tomato leaf/galbanum, you'd get close to the overall effect of wearing Ninféo Mio. This is not a scent for those timid about green things, or just those timid overall, as anyone walking by you with this on will instantly recall the kind of shrubbery the scent emulates, as the leafy aroma here is almost photo-realistic. Ninféo Mio is a winner for me, but not something I'd want to wear enough for a big 100ml bottle. Sample this before listening to the moderately large amount of hype surrounding the scent, as it really isn't casual at all. Thumbs up!
Another quality recommendation from the BN forums. Opens with a massive punch of citrus, but oil rather than juice; galbanum's in the mix to give an opening that's all crushed stems and bitter orange oil. Next come tomato leaves, keeping the sharp green theme on the go before it all settles into a lovely smooth and rounded joy of woods and milky figs. Ninféo Mio is one I can't stop sniffing and it makes me grin everytime I do.