Category Archives: Annick Goutal

Penhaligon’s – Peoneve & Annick Goutal – Nuit Etoilee

Well I’ve been off the scene for a while but decided to return :P
Two fragrances I picked up very cheaply over the December Sales period were these two. Both of them I bought on yellow-label clearance at TK Maxx (TJ Maxx) – for £20 each… bargain! Nuit Etoilee was a blind buy – although I had read about it before, and Peoneve I had tried just once, but my heart at that point was set on Amaranthine and nothing could top it.
I had been craving a “cologne” recently, as a citrus fragrance was something totally lacking in my collection… for a small price, I knew Nuit Etoilee would fill the spot… and as for Peoneve? Well, come on… that kind of thing is totally “me”.
Peoneve Penhaligons

Peoneve’s sharp alcoholic blast gives in to a huge rose/peony bouquet (with a touch of green violet leaf)… in honesty – without the Peony being a big give in the title, I wouldn’t have clocked. To me, they smell very similar to certain varieties of roses, maybe a combination of a few… a little cleaner, a citrus acidity, a slightly sharp greenery and the occasional bit of honey… all aspects which can come from a great rose mix. But there we go, I will continue to refer to it as rose/peony!

As I said, this huge floral up top is squeaky clean, but don’t read that as soapy! It’s pink in colour (but not cotton candy or sweet) – in fact, it’s quite bitter, smelling as natural as it can get despite the high-pitched intensity of the initial blast. It is a concentrated pink rose scent, with a subtle hint of dew, and crushed green leaves, a bit of lemon and citrus notes up top, a cool geranium – pretty glorious. This is the kind of rose I fell in love with upon trying April Aromatic’s Rosenlust – a handful of roses that don’t smell like a perfume, but instead smell like the flowers themselves. It’s a gorgeous thing to smell of! Peoneve however is a little more “perfume-y”, although I definitely wouldn’t call it dated, despite how classical, prim and proper it is. Yes it sounds cliche coming form the house of Penhaligon’s, and I admit, that is generally NOT my sort of thing. With roses however? I can make an exception. I like how old-school dainty it feels.

Peoneve is pretty loud for the first couple of hours, retreating over time into something much more restrained but long-lasting. I’ve read over and over about a “sweaty vetiver” in the base. I get the vetiver, but it’s a subtle earthy accord to continue the feel of the flower>>earth structure, I don’t consider it sweaty, or skanky, or dirty in the least. In fact, it’s very quiet on my skin, vetiver needs to be screaming in my face for me to notice or pay attention to it (which is why I haven’t yet found MY vetiver – well, I have… Turtle Vetiver Front… but it’s no longer available, ARGH!). Still, the drydown is nice, it turns just a smidge musky, a hint of smoke, but keeps the freshness throughout. I find that the rose, with the sharp whatever-chemicals up top, and the vetiver – create an almost gasoline-type note in the drydown. It’s the petrol accord that I often find in roses, sometimes amplified by rose oxide (Keiko Mecheri’s Damascena being the prime example)… and I love that of course. The whole composition however does the same thing that Un Matin D’Orage by Annick Goutal does for me – keep me feeling fresh and floral all day, which is MY preferred version of a cologne. Who needs citrus and herbs?! Recommended.

Nuit Etoilee

Nuit Etoilee opens with sweet lemon, mint and pine all at once. The lemon isn’t bitter, or even acidic… it’s fresh, with a subtle creamy quality thankfully JUST steering it away from “cleaning-product lemon”. The mint is more subtle on my skin than I hear a lot of people say… again, it feels sweetened, like a candied peppermint. Overall? It smells like a cocktail up top, like a non-alcoholic citrus heavy mojito. Bad description I know, that drink would suck – but you get the idea… brown sugar and all.

The pine? Now I love the pine in this. The reason being – it’s not paired with a bucket load of incense to portray the tired “forest at night” smell… OK, Nuit Etoilee IS trying to portray the forest at night smell, but they get it pretty wrong. So yes, no incense here… instead the pine contrasts with the mint, to create a more mentholated, jammy smell. I love that sticky pine needle smell, at times – again, I find the note overused and tiresome, or maybe it just gets boring very quickly… still, here I don’t get that, because it’s thrown into a more “cologne” setting and it works.

Underneath all this is a tonka/vanilla kinda base. A sweet, slightly toasted smell, some say marshmallow? I say great imagination… or marketing? It’s the think sweetening everything from the start, but not in a sickly candied way… just the way that a good nutty-ish tonka does, you know? It’s soft however, with little through. It stays close to the skin, totally inoffensive and easy to wear – and you’re right, it sounds like a total snoozefest. BUT, it’s totally unlike anything I have in my collection, not something I’ll reach for a ton, but when the time is right I know it’ll be there and I’ve used it a fair bit already ;) Not every day my stomach can handle a powerhouse masterpiece, simplicity is needed sometimes. Do I recommend it? Nah not really, but it’s nice enough – and whilst £20 for 100ml is a steal, I wouldn’t pay any more for it.

Peoneve 100ml EDP Penhaligons – £120 http://www.penhaligons.com
Nuit Etoilee 100ml EDT Annick Goutal – 93 Euros http://annickgoutal.com

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Video: SMELLYTHOUGHTS’ Fragrance Starting Lineup 2013

A new video here!
Please excuse the unflattering stalling towards the end of the video :) x

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Myrrhe Ardente – Annick Goutal

Myrrhe Ardente opens with a sweet vanillic almost root beer like boozy accord – the myrrh’s texture underneath already showing a smooth, rubbery vibe that I’m loving! There’s a strong hint of anise in the top – a candied, syrupy aniseed lacquered over benzoin and a trail of resinous smoke. It starts sweet, the vanillic resins along with a beautiful amber slowly getting drier as time goes on.

The anise begins to quieten, as a the smoke gets a little stronger (from either the myrrh – or listed guaiacwood – which I was recently informed has a “fatty, smoky smell”, and that totally fits here). This change brings with it a lovely, set honey note – smooth, sweet and not at all animalic or “soiled” smelling. I almost expect an almond note to roll up and turn this into a big, bomb of a gourmand, but the resins keep it from being edible.

Myrrhe Ardente’s subtlty becomes apparant pretty quickly into it’s development, settling into a light layer on the skin (still however, with a lovely throw and a long life) – but full of rich ingredients and a dense, rubbery texture. A warm, peppered spice buzzes underneath keeping Myrrhe Ardente from falling too flat and rounded – and I get an almost chocolate/coffee note underneath, slightly lactonic with a bitter/sweet gourmand quality.
A woodiness gets stronger, it smells as smooth as sandalwood but with a dry, smokiness like raw cedar – only quieter and with a more dense texture… maybe the guaiac wood again? The warm amber underneath is beautiful, not at all powdery – and more heavy on the vanilla and benzoin than the resinous labdanum – the resinous quality replaced by the incense.

I keep catching glimpses of the anise remains in the drydown, as the myrrh begins to make itself a little more known – adding a distinct but subtle bitterness. The smooth, rubbery texture is continued by a finale of beeswax – dragging that honey note throughout the fragrance, but the vanilla-heavy amber and sweet, smoky wood dominate Myrrhe Ardente’s drydown until the end. It is such a comfortable fragrance to wear and a new love for me in the Annick Goutal line – I’ll be picking up a bottle of this in time!

Myrrhe Ardente 50ml EDP Annick Goutal – 87 Euros http://www.annickgoutal.com

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Sables – Annick Goutal

My bottle of Sables arrived the other day so I thought I’d write about it. I wouldn’t quite say Sables was a blind buy – but I had only gave it a passing sniff before, on paper, twice.

Sables comes out the bottle medicinal and boozy, before an instant uproar of hot, dry spice flies to the foreground, the curried scent of fenugreek blooming under the nose. Up close the immortelle is rich and syrupy, a hit of pepper gives it lift, some cinnamon adds heat, and I also get an unusual but prominent anise note which is an absolutely perfectly inclusion that I haven’t heard mentioned before…

If I spray it on lightly, the curried quality of immortelle comes out on top – spicy, with a savoury gourmand quality. If I spray it on heavy, I get a much more syrupy sweetness with the anise more prominent… I spray it on heavy! It’s gorgeously rich, the immortelle giving the anise a more dense, liquorice quality. The immortelle is the most prominent note from start to finish, and if you don’t like it’s aroma then it sounds more than obvious to say “stay away!” – it’s presented here in full flower, but in a perfect harmony between the sweet and savoury spices.

The notes of curry are uncomfortable if you’re not familiar with the note, but if you are – then Sables is actually tamer than expected. For a more full-blown curry fest, try Fareb by Huitieme Art… that’s gruesome. I do really enjoy the spice, it’s cosy, warm and just teeters on the edge of edible.

As it begins to settle it tames every so slightly; a golden amber joins in from the base, along with a dry sandalwood. At this point the syrupy quality dries out until the immortelle of Sables smells more like a scattering of heavily scented powder. It gives the fragrance a more spacial feel – losing it’s density and becoming more of a landscape than an up-close portrait. It’s aura and sillage is wonderfully ever-changing, flickering between a fragrant curry (but not so literally it could be mistaken for food residue), and sweetly spiced amber. Bone dry and dusty in the end, it’s power is still impressive – lasting hours and hours.

I find Sables easier to wear than I expected and am thrilled to have it in my collection for the coming cold seasons! Recommended :D

Annick Goutal Sables 100ml EDT – 85 Euros annickgoutal.com

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Annick Goutal – Eau d’Hadrien, Eau Du Sud

Bitter grapefruit, fresh lemons and aldehydes open the fresh Eau d’Hadrien. The aldehydes add that usual sparkling quality – throwing the citrus off the skin in a bucket of freshness. Not too green, but full of rich citric juices, Eau d’Hadrien’s bitter edge and the sourness of the lemons are classically presented in a tradition eau de cologne style – only it packs a little more punch.

The fragrance is relatively linear, with a lovely cypress – ever so slightly medicinal, green and “sappy”. It pulls the astringent quality of the fleeting grapefruit into the heart so that the lemon doesn’t sit on its own.

A little soapy – a little bit like bathroom cleaner (due to obvious associations), but charming and simplistic none the less.
Some patchouli joins in during the late drydown – not so rich and earthy as I’d hoped but instead clean and scrubbed, paired with the citrus notes it reminds me of the patchouli used in CB’s Patchouli Empire – I didn’t like that…

Within half an hour all the citrus has vanished, what is left is an ever-so-slightly musky, soapy patchouli, with a delicate metallic edge. It’s a skin scent, and a slight off one at that.

What more is there to say – it’s a nice-ish example of a cologne.

A cool, herbal breeze wafts up from Eau Du Sud. The subtly camphorous vapour of fresh-cut mint leaves, gives way to a beautiful note of basil and citrus. Sour lemon rind, with hints of green, paired with the menthol and basil gives of a wonderfully traditional vibe and the green herbals add an edge that’s a little more interesting than Eau d’Hadrien.

All harsh edges smooth out very quickly, and Eau Du Sud becomes a little more “standard”. Still, even though the mint burns off relatively quickly, it’s cool effect is left on the skin – bringing to mind salty sea air.
The citrus also tames quickly as, what I think is, a smidge of oakmoss comes forward. The herbals also retreat relatively quickly – but thankfully pull the opening away from cleaning product territory and therefore it stays that way.

The drydown as with Eau d’Hadrien comes around quickly, with the citrus gradually vanishing along with the fresh herbal notes. A very quiet, sherbert-y floral becomes present, I mistook it for violet at first but it turns out jasmine is listed? I don’t quite get that but hey. I know this is not what you’re supposed to do, but on my second wearing of this, I rubbed the fragrance between my wrists hard about 20 minutes into the fragrance, and this sherberty-floral is far more present, it evaporates instantly but is the quick glimpse is the most interest part of Eau Du Sud – it’s a shame they didn’t amplify this hidden sour/fizzy/floral quality.

This EDT doesn’t last too long, but it is nice enough whilst it lasts – the most interesting of the two fragrances :)

Eau D’Hadrien 100ml EDT Annick Goutal – £72 House Of Fraser
Eau Du Sud 100ml EDT Annick Goutal – £72 House Of Fraser

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Un Matin D’Orage – Annick Goutal

Having recently received 25ml of Songes generously gifted from a Basenoter – I’ve been more keen to explore the Annick Goutal line. I’ve been surprised, I have really not paid this house enough attention!

One fragrance that caught my eye (pretty bottle) was this one. It was pretty much a love at first sniff – well, not quite love, but you know ;)
I bought a bottle the next day (last week), so have been wearing this regularly and discovering numerous complicated goings-on in this gorgeous gardenia.

Un Matin D’Orage has a complicated opening that is presented with great simplicity – a bitter greenery in the leafy style of many of the Goutal openings, is flung off the skin with a bunch of sparkling (but not aldehydic) ozonic notes. Ozonic notes have a bizarre texture on the skin, they almost smell “fuzzy”, like the scent of radiation if that makes sense. There is also a dense aquatic accord, it may be calone with its dense, melon like scent – paired with the ozonic notes though it smells more ethereal than cologne-y.

However, the leading role in Un Matin D’Orage is the gardenia – which is apparent after seconds when the first few futuristic notes have settled. The gardenia initially opens voluptuous, almost indolic, with that slightly off “cheesy” smell that makes them so damn appealing! Gardenia is similar to a tuberose, only slightly greener, a little more translucent, less rubbery, with a lactonic savoury smell that many associate to blue cheese – but it’s not intense or off-putting at all.

Un Matin D’Orage is meant to smell like a gardenia bush after a storm, and it does. It’s a lovely olfactory image that is portrayed perfectly in this fragrance, and the clever use of aromachemicals whilst, yes, making it smell highly synthetic, are put to great effect in the opening. But here’s the wierd thing: of course there is no natural gardenia oil/absolute as the scent cannot be extracted, so where Annick Goutal’s Gardenia Passion uses tuberose to achieve the gardenia effect, here (along with the florals I’ll mention later) the perfumer has used an aroma-chemical with a prominent fig like aroma (my guess is Stemone). So the reason why that is weird is because, paired with the jasmine grandiflorum (the watery green kind I don’t normally enjoy), and the merest hint of tea-like champaca creates a pretty good, but unusual rendition of the gardenia flower.

Going off topic and back to the actual scent for a minute: along with the “gardenia accord”, a waxy, lemony magnolia creeps in, dragging the little bit of citrus in the opening into the heart of the fragrance. Now, I realise it all sounds like a huge flower bouquet – it is, but smelt through a dense aquatic/ozonic sheen, an almost greenhouse like aroma. The dewy freshness is very soft and sheer, Un Matin D’Orage is a light white floral from start to finish and it’s presence on the skin after the initial opening is transparent and ethereal.

Back to the gardenia accord (sorry, toing and froing here): If someone held this under my nose and said “Smell this fig perfume” I’d go “Mmmmmm yeh” and if they said “Smell this gardenia perfume” I’d also go “Mmmmmmm yes, lovely…”. This is why Un Matin D’Orage is strange, it has two completely different personalities – yet fig and gardenia smell nothing alike… well, now I’m not so sure. So whether you want to make this out to be a cheap trick at trying to pull off a gardenia, I’d understand, but it’s undeniably clever.

Un Matin D’Orage is relatively linear. The ozonic notes fizz off into the atmosphere pretty early on, with the original dash of calone clinging onto a few of them. The jasmine and hint of champaca, paired with a big blob of synthetic leafy fig, or what we call “the gardenia accord”, stays with you until the end. There is always that dense aquatic note representing rainwater (successfully) sitting in front of the entire composition – it creates a blur over every note so that it smells as though the florals are in the distance. Yes, it smells like a bomb of aroma-chemicals, but I think it’s fantastic. It is gardenia almost Comme Des Garcons style, and without a doubt one of the most interesting fragrances I have smelt in a long time!

Un Matin D’Orage 50ml EDT Annick Goutal – £60 houseoffraser.co.uk

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