Golden Aura – Review: Caron Farnesiana

The lovely Lady Jane Grey is a long-time reader of this blog and happens to be one of the few actual Perfumistas this city of Vienna seems to harbor. I met her a few times already and not only is she an elegant and beautiful lady, but she also is a very generous one.

The last time we met she presented me with a sample of Caron Farnesiana extrait directly from the urns of a Parisian Caron store.

Lady Jane Grey has an uncanny ability to clock my taste, since her previous gift of Angelique Noire was a total winner for me (and also for my dear husband, but not in a way any of us imagined!)

Farnesiana was created in 1947 by Michel Morsetti and includes notes of mimosa, sandalwood and hay according to Luckyscent and the Caron website, I found a more extensive notes list on Now Smell This: mimosa, blackcurrant, bergamot, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, lilac, vanilla, sandalwood, opopanax, hay, and musk.

The perfume has been reformulated (what hasn’t?) and this is a review of the contemporary extrait version.

Farnesiana is a mimosa scent, and there are not many of those around. But what it is to my nose, first and foremost is not a floral, but a gourmand.

Farnesiana opens slightly harsh and sharp, but soon mellows into a sweet and golden concoction where almond and hay dominate for me. There is a slight fruitiness provided by a pretty blackcurrant note, but mostly the resinous opoponax and the intriguing floral accord of mimosa (Acacia Farnesiana: sweet mimosa) combine to evoke a delicious almond cookie smell that is strong and present, but applied judiciously it is incredibly good.

Farnesiana (I’m guessing in the extrait especially) is not something you wear without second thought. Lady Jane warned me of its possible head-ache inducing strength and I know what she means. But at the right time, the right weather (the colder the better) and the right mood there is nothing better than Farnesiana’s unique, enveloping almond-y warmth.

Farnesiana is a gourmand for grown-ups, something that is edible but not quite, that is heavy, but not oppressive and that is sweet but not too much.

Farnesiana would be an amazing perfume to wear to a grand gala, an evening at the opera or an elegant ball. In my case, a few drops give a gilded shimmer and a hint of glamour to an afternoon on the playground.

There is no place where a little golden aura is wrong, is there?

Image source:, Liz’ Amarettini topped with Almonds by Ben Dalton via Wikimedia Commons

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Caron, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, Heliotrope, Mimosa, Powdery, Vanilla and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Golden Aura – Review: Caron Farnesiana

  1. You know, every time I see one of those urns I can’t help but think just how regal they look. I want one for my living room, perhaps filled with Pafum Sacré. It would look completely out of place but who cares?!

    As for Farnesiana, it sounds intriguing to say the least. The Carons can be a bit hit or miss for me though, I’ll have to give it a whirl next time I go to the shops 😀

  2. Alexandra says:

    Mimosa is a scent that from the flower has so many happy summer memories attached to it, but I have yet to find a perfume that manages to capture that. Farnesiana however sounds beautiful and thanks to both you, and most of Pierre Guillaume’s work, I am beginning to develop a serious soft spot for the ‘grown-up gourmand’.

  3. Sandra says:

    I too have to admit that Caron perfumes at generally a miss for me. I have not found one that I want a full bottle of. I did however enjoy seeing the urns and getting the whole experience while I was in Paris. Perhaps I will have another turn in the store this summer and smell this mimosa perfume.

  4. lady jane grey says:

    I sooo craved for a review from you, dear B. Thank you !
    Indeed, a gourmand for grown-ups.

  5. Lucy says:

    Beautiful review — and the word Mimosa just makes my mouth water. I love those urns. We used to have them at Bergdorf’s, last time I was there I didn’t see them…must go back and see if they’ve moved or what.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I didn’t see them at Bergdorf’s either. 😦 But there is a Caron store on Lexington that I must visit next time I’m in NY.

      I think you would enjoy Farnesiana, Lucy.

  6. Tara says:

    Even with my almond issues you make this sound wonderful. I wish hay, blackcurrant and opoponax were used more often. I really like Parfum Sacre but was very disappointed by Tabac Blond edt which kind of put me off. I do wonder if it’s best to stick to the extrait concentration with Caron these days.

  7. Vanessa says:

    Caron perfumes are generally a miss for me too – the “Caronade” for want of a better term can be a bit overpowering – but I am starting to appreciate more of the line, as I also am increasingly doing with Serge Lutens. I love mimosa as a note, and it is underrepresented as you say, but that stonking big picture of almond macaroons is worrying me slightly, with not being an almond lover, hehe!

  8. Anita T. Monroe says:

    Dear Olfactoria, I not not familiar with Caron perfumes, but I do know mimosa trees. They grow abundantly here in South Carolina. I used to make hula dresses with their compound leaves and used the flowers for hair decorations when I was a child. After a while though, the smell of mimosa was not pleasant to me anymore, so I’m going to have to skip Farnesiana. I am interested in Lady Jane, however, since my Carolina ancestors were “Graydons”, which is just another alternative spelling.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I am sad to say I don’t know the smell of real Mimosas not very well, only from the florist, and they don’t have much of a smell there. 😦

      Lady Jane Grey is not her real name, she named her avatar after the British Queen who reigned for eight days.

  9. susan says:

    I really would like to try this one as I love mimosa. There is a shop in Austin carrying Caron now, but they don’t have Farnesiana. I’m gradually exploring the Caron line; I think Nuit de Noel is my only love so far but that could change.

    Wonder how this compares, if at all, to YSL Cinema? Also a mimosa gourmand, but heavier on amber (and much more modern obviously).

    • Olfactoria says:

      I don’t know Cinèma very well, but to me it smells much more synthetic. Farnesiana is rich and golden, like honey (not in smell but the texture and image is fitting) whereas I see Cinèma more as an artificial sweetener. 😉

  10. Undina says:

    One more mimosa involving scent to put on my “to try” list in my constant search for a perfect mimosa! Thank you, Birgit!

  11. I tried this when I was in NYC and I now regret not buying it. I try to tell myself to not buy anything that I haven’t tested…even in a store filled with gorgeous, gleaming urns.

  12. unseencenser says:

    I have come to love most Carons, primarily through enjoying their extraits. The lighter formulations available in most of the swiss dot bottles don’t do much, I think, and too many people never get a chance to smell anything else.

    Farnesiana for me is a far more beautiful and grown-up version of a fruit and hay scent I like very much from Sweet Anthem, the small perfumer, called Mary. (Sweet Anthem makes me nuts by giving all their scents completely unmemorable girl’s names, except for the ones with completely unmemorable boy’s names.) Mary is something I reach for often late in the day when I need some gentle black cherry and hay. Farnesiana is the elegant Caron version of a summer afternoon in the country; I do love it. And I would like an urn of that too!

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is sad that the Caron’s go unappreciated by many. Their new releases are not very convincing either – Roses Delires for examples.

      Thanks for the Sweet Anthem tip! 🙂

  13. Joey says:

    I want to smell like almond cookies! I really have got to get myself to the Caron store.

  14. Pingback: To Eat Or Be Eaten – Review: Reminiscence Les Notes Gourmandes Do Ré And Mi Fà | Olfactoria's Travels

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