Hinamatsuri, a celebration for the happiness of young girls—and a possibly mismatched scent

Today, March 3, is hinamatsuri in Japan, a festival dedicated to girl children (the corresponding holiday for boys is tango no sekku, on May 5—although this is known more broadly as “children’s day”). Traditionally, for hinamatsuri, girls would receive ornamental doll sets as heirlooms, mainly for display rather than as toys. Colorful sweets would also be involved. I have not visited during either of these special occasions, but have been fortunate to experience the beauty of Japan in other seasons.

Zōjō-ji Temple

If I had remembered this when I was selecting a perfume for the day, I might have chosen Givenchy Rêve d’Escapade or something else light and/or delicately floral. Instead, after a few days of heavier fragrances, I was craving Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio and its full but refreshing lemon-fig-woody goodness. Ninfeo Mio is rich and well-balanced, with a green that never appears bitter despite the galbanum. The fig note is flanked by lavender and woods, rendering it almost savory. As the day wears on, it becomes comfortably creamy, in a caramelized vegetable direction rather than laundry musk. This is a perfume I come back to time and again, no matter the weather. (Not bad for a love-at-first-sniff purchase at my first stop on my first proper sniffing tour 2 years ago!)

An ingredient I did not know Ninfeo Mio featured is mastic, or lentisque. I have not yet had the chance to smell this raw material, but in other fragrances, it has come across as chalky and somewhat unpleasant to my nose. Here, it must succumb to alchemy to add structure to the fig accord.

The day has not passed in vain—my other half, quite coincidentally, was inspired to make a delicious mentaiko (spicy pollack or cod roe) spaghetti dish for dinner. Oishii!

4 thoughts on “Hinamatsuri, a celebration for the happiness of young girls—and a possibly mismatched scent

  1. Ninfeo Mio was one of those perfumes that I kind of liked but not enough to pay a full price. And while I waited for it to get to discounters, I got to know so many great fig perfumes that I never went back to NM.

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      1. Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis, Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka, L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier Extrême and Sonoma Scent Studio are probably my favorites. I also liked Womanity, but I never went beyond a sample, so I’m not sure it counts.

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