Annick Goutal Songes : Perfume Review

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Matisse_fabric_of_dreams

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Songes by Annick Goutal… Dreams is what every new year begins with… Dreams that one has a chance to travel to a new place, to discover new things, to meet new people and to change one’s own shortcomings. The very word—dreams, songes, sogni, mechty, or whatever other language one uses—has a character of something ethereal and yet intoxicating, capturing a moment of complete oblivion. Annick Goutal Songes is appropriately named, because losing oneself in its warm cloud of white jasmine delicately supported by the sweet woods is not unlike being in a dream-like state, when the whole world is submerged in the haze of intense contemplation.

Some of Annick Goutal fragrances are all about subtlety and perhaps too much so, from the transparent green freshness of Duel and the rainwater on violets of Eau de Ciel to the overly delicate whisper of Mandragore. However, Songes is unlike anything in the line, as it possesses a certain full-bodied richness that speaks of seduction and enchantment. The multifaceted top accord structured around jasmine breaks as if into the peals of bells. …

Jasmine combines the green sparkle with the banana jam sweetness and the indolic richness. Yet, while indolic might mean putrid, which it is in high concentrations, in low concentrations as in Songes–just like one might experience smelling real jasmine flowers–indole is a gentle floral.

The jasmine petal flurry settles into the deliciously creamy heart of such delicate softness that if it were a cashmere wrap, one would be able to pull it easily through the wedding ring. Wrapped into the dark fold of rosy sandalwood and smoky vanilla, the jasmine is like a milky ganache concealed under the meltingly tender shell of dark chocolate. The whiteness of florals accented by a subtle smoky touch darkens slowly revealing the woody base that orchestrates the sweet, musky and powdery voices into a harmonious melody.

While possessing the translucence that Isabelle Doyen bestowed on her other creations for Annick Goutal, the composition retains richness. If it were a dream, it would absorb one completely into another universe. If it were a vision, it would disarm. As a scent, Songes enchants and comforts in a delightfully seductive manner.

This review is of the EDT. The EDP is heavier on vanilla and sweeter. My own preference is for the EDP, since I prefer its fullbodied richness. Songes is set to be released in January of 2006, and it will be available at Annick Goutal boutiques as well as the retailers carrying the line.

Painting: Henri Matisse. From Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit titled “The Fabric of Dreams.”

Please see my other reviews of Annick Goutal fragrances:
Duel
Eau d’Hadrien
Petite Cherie (brief description)

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46 Comments

  • mreenymo: V, why do I think I have tested this particular AG? But that can’t be, because it has not been released yet? Perhaps, like a dream, I have encountered this fragrance in another time and space. It’s more likely, however, that you or another perfume friend or an SA at Barneys mentioned it to me. Who knows!

    Anyway, I will test this one when it debuts. It sounds lovely.

    And, I love the Matisse painting.

    Hugs! January 2, 2006 at 12:56am Reply

  • Laura: Hi V, hope you are enjoying your last days of vacation! I wonder if Robin is thinking of l’Artisan’s Extrait de Songes? Your review of Songes tempts me to buy it unsniffed—but I won’t. I’ve finally (almost entirely, but not quite)learned my lesson. I used to love AG but have not in recent years. This one is calling me back. January 2, 2006 at 6:24am Reply

  • Marina: Lovely post to start the new year! Songes sounds beautiful. Nothing like an indolic accord when it is done nicely. January 2, 2006 at 8:59am Reply

  • marchlion: Oh, it sounds wondrous… I know to many people the “translucence” of Annick Goutal basically means zero lasting power (exceptions proving Robin’s Angel Law: the more you hate it, the longer it lasts.) I have never had this problem with AG; Mandragore is one of my favorite scents, and also Petite Cherie, which mostly shows up in perfume commentary when it’s being criticized for going “off” in the bottle after 3 months, or never smelling good to start with. Do you know if Songes is already available in Paris, as Mandragore was before the U.S.? Do you think the Jan. “release” will cover all the U.S. outlets, or some temporary exclusive deal, like with Barney’s or Saks? Thanks. January 2, 2006 at 9:04am Reply

  • Tania: I suspect this fragrance is what finally prepped me for loving Iris Poudre. I had never before gone for powdery feminine florals, but when a friend gave me an advance bottle of this, it had me at the first sniff. And all subsequent sniffs. You’d have to be a real sourpuss to dislike this one. From the massive, brilliant, slightly mentholated green jasmine opening, through the soft woody powdery heart, and into the gentle sandalwood-vanilla drydown, it’s pretty all the way through, at every modulation. The only caveat I have is that it’s so strong that it would be easy to overdose on it, as I can attest one is tempted to do. When it comes out, I may actually need to buy another bottle. Can you imagine going through a whole bottle of something before it’s even released? Of course, if I weren’t always decanting it for pals, I might have held onto it longer. ;-) January 2, 2006 at 11:31am Reply

  • annieytown: You nailed it V.
    This is such a perfect and beautiful review.
    I am so grateful to T for sharing this with me. I treat the bottle like it is filled with gold. I can not wait for this one to be released! January 2, 2006 at 12:01pm Reply

  • Patty: This really so8unds wonderful. I’ve been off Goutal for a while, except a couple of them. Petite Cherie really had great lasting power on me, and I still like it very much, I’m hoping another of hers finds a place beside that one! January 2, 2006 at 12:20pm Reply

  • Robin: Oh my, V, this sounds like something I absolutely need! Thanks for the fabulous review, and hope it will hit the stores soon. January 2, 2006 at 1:16pm Reply

  • Sisonne: Dear V, guess what?! This morning I was thinking about Songes & how hard it´s to wait until it´ll be released. And now you´ve already reviewed it. I must admit, I´m a bit jealous ;-)
    What do you think, is it a scent that´s better suited for wearig in summer or in winter or the whole year around? I´m just wondering about that. January 2, 2006 at 1:33pm Reply

  • linda: Be still my heart! What a wonderful review, V. I discovered AG recently and this review is perfectly timed. I can’t wait for Songes to be released. January 2, 2006 at 2:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I think that Laura is right in that you might be thinking of L’Artisan Extrait de Songes, which was discontinued, because of litigation with Annick Goutal. It is definitely not yet at Barneys.

    I love the painting as well as the entire exhibit at the MET. It was worth seeing more than once. January 2, 2006 at 4:41pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I am also against blind purchasing, because it usually results in either disappointment or me making myself like something that I would not otherwise (and again, that itself leads to being disappointed). Songes is lovely, and I adore everything about it, from lush jasmine top to the warm sandalwood and vanilla base. January 2, 2006 at 4:43pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, thank you. It is indeed a perfect fragrance for the start of a new year. I haste to add that there is no indolic accord per se here, because while indole is a natural component of jasmine, its presence is not particularly obvious (as it is in Les Parfums de Therese, for example). It just adds some fullness. January 2, 2006 at 4:45pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I do not think that translucence necessarily means lack of lasting power, because both Duel and Petite Cherie last well on me, however they are subtle. Unfortunately, as much as I like Petite Cherie, I have had 2 bottles going off within months of purchase (from a reputable retailer). I stored them away from light and extreme temperatures, therefore it was rather upsetting. However, whenever I am near a counter, I revisit Petite Cherie every time.

    I am not sure what stores will have Songes in January. I would assume that it would mean boutiques first and other main locations will follow. January 2, 2006 at 4:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, you have a heart of gold to share this beauty with others. You deserve a big thank you! It is interesting that it is an example of a very classically structured fragrance, yet it manages to add a nice counterpoint to every accord (verdant touch against lush jasmine in the top; creamy, lactonic element in the heart; smoky vanilla in the base), making for a wonderful composition. Moreover, the pairing of translucence with richness is just brilliant.

    I wonder how you might like Lipstick Rose now that you grew to like Iris Poudre. I see it described as girly, but somehow to me, it is too aggressive and voluptuous to be girly. It is another fragrance that I decided I need to repurchase after my tester kit vial runs out. January 2, 2006 at 5:00pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Annie, thank you. It is indeed a liquid gold! I find the entire composition absolutely enchanting, and I so happy to hear that you like it too. And yes, T. is wonderful. :) January 2, 2006 at 5:01pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patty, I rediscovered some of Annick Goutal fragrances not that long ago, and Eau de Fier, Duel, Sables and Eau de Ciel are among my favourites. I like Mandragore, but it is too subtle. I think that I need to revisit Eau de Charlotte again. January 2, 2006 at 5:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, my pleasure! I also hope that it arrives to the stores soon, because I already need replenishments. It is gorgeous. January 2, 2006 at 5:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, Songes is a anytime, all-year round fragrance, in my opinion. It is a strong fragrance, therefore I probably would not reach for it in the heat of summer, but then again, some of my favourite white florals seem to open up better in the warm air. It has enough warmth to wear it in the winter. Indeed, it is just perfect for me. January 2, 2006 at 5:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, thank you! If you like jasmine and warmth of vanilla-sandalwood pairing, Songes will definitely appeal to you. It is quite wonderful. January 2, 2006 at 5:08pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Dear V., I’m not much of a lemming person but I think you’ve just done it. Jasmin de Nuit got me back on the jasmine track and I might just head off to AG’s boutique on the rue de Castiglione to have a sniff. I never actually smelled any AG scent since Eau d’Hadrien (which wasn’t at all “mon genre de beauté”) but now I’m curious… How does it compare with Jasmin de Nuit in terms of transparency, richness, lasting power? I find J de N a bit on the candy side in the dry-down…
    Hugs and best wishes,
    D. January 2, 2006 at 5:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear D, if Jasmin de Nuit is a black cashmere wrap that you accidentally forget in the garden and come back to retrieve it only to find that it now smells evocatively of wet soil and night blooming jasmine, Songes is a warm white cashmere. It has a transparency of JdN, but it is creamier, fuller, not as spicy and not as candy sweet. It has much more presence. Last month was a month of Annick Goutal discovery for me. I cannot envision myself without Songes, Sables and Eau de Fier now. January 2, 2006 at 5:29pm Reply

  • helena: Songes sounds beautiful and I cannot wait to try it. Annick Goutal fell off my list of favorites because I got tired of the same thing over and over again. Nice to see that they did not follow the same road with Songes as they did with Mandragore. I smelled the parfum a couple of weeks ago and other than its price it was not memorable. January 2, 2006 at 8:23pm Reply

  • Madelyn Etkind: Bonjour Victoria,

    As a long time lover of a few Annick Goutal’s liquid treasures, I feel compelled to offer my 2 cents (or Euro’s ) Take your pick ! I wore with gay abandon AG’s Eau de Passion ( eau de parfum ) for a few years. I loved the unique flirtacious aura of tuberose, Jasmin and the Vanilla drydown. I also liked Grand Amour – Very rich and exotic. I never ( Sorry) cared Eau d’Hadrien, Petite Cherie etc. I am still grieving for the late Annick Goutal who honored us with her fragrances. I hope that this new one will have a more Oriental depth. Warmest Regards to you , darling Victoria and All readers ! January 2, 2006 at 8:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Helena, I did not find Mandragore parfum to have much tenacity on my skin either, but then again, I was not very impressed with the EDP to begin with. Songes is completely different, and it cannot really be compared. In terms of lushness, it has the same richness as Passion, however it is even more full bodied. January 2, 2006 at 8:35pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, oh, this is a very nice comment, and while you posted yours, I was replying to Helena, comparing Songes and Passion. Grand Amour is another rich composition, however Songes is different still. It takes the airy and soaring quality of some of other Annick Goutals and weaves sensual and rich elements in the tapestry. The result is opulent, yet not heavy at all. January 2, 2006 at 8:38pm Reply

  • linda: Hmmm, Passion and Grand Amour are two AGs I haven’t tried. Is Passion very heady? January 3, 2006 at 3:54pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, I cannot say that Passion is very heady, but it is certainly rich, with interesting spicy and smoky notes carefully weaved into the floral accord. I have always found something about it difficult to carry off (maybe, a personal association for me), but I can appreciate it nevertheless. January 4, 2006 at 1:07am Reply

  • kaie: Wonderful! I wish I remembered to stop by the boutique to see if Songes is already relased. It sounds so beautiful. I was waiting for it ever since I read the review by Luca Turin. January 4, 2006 at 5:17am Reply

  • Allison: I have Ce Soir ou Jamais and it lasts on my skin and especially my clothing for ages except usually after about 8 hours or something sours in a very bad way. It isn’t the same crystalline floral-fruit still-life it is when I first put it on. I’ve heard that AG relies on “naturals” and often wondered if that is perhaps why the scent turns on me, but that is speculation based in ignorance about chemistry. Its not the same type of ‘turn’ that some fragrances take as they settle, unless this one takes almost an entire day to do so.

    Anyway, wonderful review. I will continue to hover at that counter regardless of my own chemistry! January 4, 2006 at 1:31pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kaie, oh, please let me know what you think when you try it. It might already be at the boutiques in Paris. January 4, 2006 at 2:53pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Allison, “crystalline floral-fruit still-life” is a beautiful description. Ce Soir ou Jamais turns sour on me too, and the initial floral clarity is not sustained. Songes does not seem to take this turn, however. I doubt that naturals per se are responsible for the problem, but some specific ingredients might be. I need to revisit some of Annick Goutal fragrances and to explore what they might be. January 4, 2006 at 2:56pm Reply

  • Allison: That’s very interesting that you have found the same thing with Ce Soir. I tried it over and over before I bought it and was so sad the first time I noticed the oddness after a few hours. If you think it could be a specific rogue molecule insistent on ruining this otherwise wonderful composition, I would be delighted to learn what you discover! January 5, 2006 at 2:25pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Allison, as much as I love the lush floral heart, the base really puts me off Ce Soir ou Jamais, so I have to figure it out soon. January 5, 2006 at 5:42pm Reply

  • Scent lover: V or Anyone who knows,
    Was Songes available in Paris before now? My fiance purchased a sophisticated and not cloying Jasmin based perfume in late 2004 from the AG boutique in Paris and was told that particular frangrance was not sold in the US. Indeed, when I tried to find it, I could not. Could it have been Songes? If not, what could it have been and how would I get more? January 14, 2006 at 8:59am Reply

  • Scent lover: V or Anyone who knows,
    Was Songes available in Paris before now? My fiance purchased a sophisticated and not cloying Jasmin based perfume in late 2004 from the AG boutique in Paris and was told that particular frangrance was not sold in the US. Indeed, when I tried to find it, I could not. Could it have been Songes? If not what could it have been and how would I get more? January 14, 2006 at 9:04am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: It must have been Jasmin, which was a limited edition AG fragrance released in 2004. It is still available at Bergdorf Goodman the last time I checked, so I would recommend calling them. Songes is the 2006 release. It was not available before. January 15, 2006 at 2:32pm Reply

  • Flora: Since my favorite AG is Gardenia Passion, I hope Songes lasts as well as that one. Most of them are just too fleeting, but I love them at first. Jasmine is an essence that tends to persist, so I have some confidence that it will endure. Like I need ANOTHER white floral in my life…. January 23, 2006 at 2:15am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Flora, Songes lasts and lasts! It was indeed a pleasant surprise from Goutal. I think that you like Passion and other Annick Goutal lusher fragrances, you will definitely like Songes. January 23, 2006 at 12:11pm Reply

  • adélie: hi victoria,
    i am new to fragrance and i just purchased 3 samples of annick goutal – songes, petite cherie, and grand amour. i’ve heard so many great things about songes so i was very excited. but is it just me or do you think it might be a bit “powdery” smelling? and it smells very…sweet?

    like i said, i am very very new to fragrance so my ability to distinguish notes and talk in knowledgable jargon is highly limited. i’m still not quite sure of what i like or don’t like yet so i’m hoping that as i sample more scents, my nose will start to pick up on the subtleties.

    but it seems that i actually prefer “grand amour” over “songes” because i feel like the former is a bit more…i don’t know, mature? sophisticated? less sweet and pretty? or am i just totally off the track here with my observations? and “petite cherie” is rather fruity. i think you mentioned in your review that it smelled like “peaches” and i have to agree. when i first sprayed it on, i was overwhelmed by how fruity it was. it reminded me of my former body wash! it didn’t seem that profound at all but i guess maybe it wasn’t meant to be?

    anyway, just my thoughts on my first real delve into the world of fragrance. i’m so delighted to have discovered your site. so many perfumes, so little time (and money!)

    cheers,
    adélie July 11, 2006 at 10:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Adélie, thank you for your nice words. Songes is definitely on a sweet floral side, and you have described it well. In the end, it does not matter how well you can take apart notes and such. If you love something, that is the most important thing. It sounds like you found your love in Grand Amour. July 11, 2006 at 11:28pm Reply

  • adélie: vic,
    i totally take my skepticism regarding songes back now!! after the dry-down and having it on my skin for a while, it grew on me so quickly i was shocked at how much i love it now. the thing is, songes seems very soft and quiet, giving just a hint of its beauty so that you’re always anxious for more. i was at macy’s today and i was trying on a variety of other over-the-counter fragrances and i was a bit nauseous over how “loud” they all were. and at the end of the day, i was eager to go back to songes. :) July 13, 2006 at 3:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Adélie, glad that you had a chance to compare. Sometimes it is exactly what it is needed.

    Just a small note: my name does not abbreviate to Vic. It is Victoria, or you are welcome to use just the first initial. Thank you. July 13, 2006 at 3:26pm Reply

  • ruxandra: hello!My name is Ruxi and I am a new reader of these site.First of all I have to apologise for my bad english,since it is a foreign language for me and it is difficult enogh to express what I want to say(my writing is even worse).
    I love perfumes ever since I was a litle girl and what I found here,on
    Bois de Jasmin,is like a dreamland.
    About Songes-it sounds so interesting!I like the warmth of vanilla and if it is a rich perfume,it is for me!Could you tell me the location of AG boutique in Paris?
    P.S. The blouse in Matisse’s painting is roumanian,called “ie”.By! December 7, 2006 at 3:58pm Reply

  • ANGELA FINNEMORE: I have just purchased Songes from an old fashioned Perfume shop in Sidmouth, Devon. It is the most beautiful fragrance I have ever had and I have tried many. I am sure this is the fragrance I will be using for ever. My next purchase will be the body cream and perhaps the limited edition moon bottle! How wonderful. June 19, 2007 at 11:37am Reply

  • Erry: Just received it (and Rose Absolue) this morning from a friend who just returned from a trip to London. For me it’s very lovely and nostalgic, reminds me of my parent’s patch of garden with ylang ylang, jasmine, champaca and orchids, in the wee hour in the morning. I once joined a band and we played in several clubs in our city at night. After the performance, I usually came home at 3 or 4 in the morning when the air was cool, misty and dewy – really pleasant after the tropical heat during the day. At that time, I sometimes didn’t go straight inside the house but instead sat in the porch facing the garden. I really enjoyed the tranquility and serenity of that time of night (or morning), especially when the sky was clear and you could see the stars twinkling and the moon descended to the west. And oh … the flowers, their fragrances dance and intertwine creating a mysterious yet romantic atmosphere (at least for me).

    I will wear it tonight before I sleep and hope I dream of home. October 27, 2011 at 10:32am Reply

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