The appreciation of Annick Goutal fragrances has been a long time in coming for me. I'd often spritz a random bottle on a trip around the perfume counter at Nordie's and come away completely unimpressed. Then I met Petite Cherie and fell in love. Soon after, I bought a big bottle of Passion and a bottle of Eau d'Hadrien. Grand Amour occasionally whispers, "buy me," but so far I have not succumbed to the siren song of Goutal again. Until now.
In late 2007, Annick Goutal released a set of three fragrances called "Les Orientalistes" which are quite different from their familiar collection of floral- and citrus- based scents. They are richer, darker, and warmer fragrances that are just the kind of thing that floats my boat, so I had to get my hands on some samples. Oh, my pocketbook! I fear I need to own all three of these beauties!
Ambre Fetiche: amber, frankincense, labdanum, benzoin, styrax, leather, vanilla, iris.
A rich dry amber underlined with a smoky frankincense that has a quality almost like burning rubber. The rubbery impression fades after a few minutes and is replaced with a sweetish resinous note. This scent comes on strong at first application and is borderline unpleasant, but this is one of those cases when the drydown is most certainly worth the wait. Ambre Fetiche is stunning, and I couldn't stop sniffing my wrist all evening.
Myrrh Ardente: myrrh, benzoin, vanilla, tonka, gaiac wood, beeswax
Considering that there are so many potentially sweet notes in this fragrance, it is dry and warm. I do smell the vanilla and tonka far more than the myrrh itself, yet there is no sweetness. A faint burnt rubber note that may be the beeswax ties this composition to that of Ambre Fetiche, but it is a little more tenacious. Myrrh Ardente is somehow both rich and light, grounding and ethereal. A good fragrance for contemplative times.
Encens Flamboyant: incense, pepper, rose, cardamom, nutmeg, woods
THIS is the fragrance that should be called Messe de Minuit, as it reminds me of the many Midnight Masses I attended in my Catholic youth. Encens Flamboyant is anything but flamboyant; it is subtle, a cozy and soothing scent redolent of church incense, candles, and fresh evergreen trees. It's a familiar smell of my childhood, of a time I will never recapture but that lives on in my heart.