Annick Goutal Grand Amour : Fragrance Review

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Marc_chagall_dreamer

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

What is the scent of love? Is it radiant and smiling like Jean Patou Amour Amour, smoldering and seductive like Calvin Klein Obsession, or intoxicating and ravishing like Guerlain Chamade? For Annick Goutal, the answer is clearly the latter, and Grand Amour serves as a beautiful example. From the tender kiss of hyacinth and honeysuckle to the warm embrace of vanilla and amber, Grand Amour maintains the breathless, exhilarating sensation of surrendering oneself to an emotion that can no longer be contained. …

Created by perfumer Isabelle Doyen and Annick Goutal in 1996, Grand Amour exemplifies the voluptuous elegance that is shared by Heure Exquise, Songes and Passion. The floral bouquet slowly sheds one lush layer after another before revealing a soft like peach skin base. Despite its richness, the composition maintains a wonderfully soaring effect, and yet, Grand Amour is not a bubbly young girl conjured by Quel Amour! She is a woman whose beauty is much more complex and intriguing.

Reclining on the balsamic base of woody amber and vanilla, Grand Amour recalls the elements of Chamade; however, while Chamade plays up the radiant green crispness, the sweetness of Grand Amour conveys a certain disarming tenderness. In an unexpected twist that makes Grand Amour such a fascinating fragrance, a ribbon of myrrh resurfaces under the floral opulence of the heart. Its somber incantation provides a brilliant counterpoint to the headiness of the composition, suggesting that even great love always retains a layer of mystery.

Grand Amour features notes of hyacinth, lily, honeysuckle, heather, broom, mimosa, jasmine, balsams, musk, vanilla, amber. I tend to prefer the EDP versions of Annick Goutal fragrances for their rounder feel, and Grand Amour is not an exception. It can be found at Saks5thAvenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman as well as a number of other retailers, the list of which is available from Annick Goutal.

Painting: Marc Chagall, The Dreamer, 1945.

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24 Comments

  • Marina: Beautiful review of a beautiful scent! I think Grand Amour is simply exquisite. My problem with it is very irrational but nonetheless difficult. I have worn it in very unhappy circumstances and has never been able to wear it and enjoy it again. I don’t know how to break that spell, but I’d love to be able to wear it again. 🙁 June 27, 2006 at 10:31am Reply

  • Ayala: Thanks for a charming review as always, Victoria!
    Grand Amour is the only Annick Goutal that really works for me. It does stir emotions in a most mysterious manner – even though I know why: the familiar, green and sappy scent of mastic bushes.

    I was not lucky enough to try Annick Goutal in Eau de Parfum. I am not sure they are possible to get here at The Bay (the only retailer in Vancouver that carries almos the complete line). The Perfume Shoppe used to carry a couple of Goutals, but but not anymore.

    I really love this one! June 27, 2006 at 11:03am Reply

  • Teri: I so enjoy your evocative, often poetic, reviews of the fragrances. Please, please keep up the good work!

    I love both Grand Amour and Heure Exquise (I have yet to try Songes, but it is assuredly on my list).

    Both of these lovely fragrances have become staples in my wardrobe over the last two years. And I agree, these are the fragrances of a fully-realized woman.

    Both make me feel womanly, witty, elegant, privileged, and just a soupcon ennuied. What more can one ask of a fragrance? June 27, 2006 at 11:59am Reply

  • Robin: Lovely review. I must try this one again, V, especially if it is anything like Chamade. June 27, 2006 at 1:15pm Reply

  • Patricia Rojas: I love your reviews I read them every morning religiously. Your reviews are like poems, I enjoy every one and they always take me to another place. I will, of course, have to try Grand Amour, you make your reviews sound like good food for the soul. Thank you. June 27, 2006 at 2:17pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, thank you. I am sorry to hear about the unfortunate association, and I completely understand. I have something similar with another Annick Goutal fragrance, Gardenia Passion. It is not at all irrational. June 27, 2006 at 2:37pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ayala, I am glad that you enjoyed it. I was able to find the EDP in the regular (not the butterfly) bottle at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC, whereas the rest of the stores where AG is sold only seem to carry the EDT. It is lovely as well, but I love the more pronounced floral softness of the EDP. June 27, 2006 at 2:39pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Teri, thank you for your nice compliment. I am glad to hear that you are enjoying my reviews. Grand Amour, Heure Exquise and Songes are among my beloved Annick Goutal fragrances. I also love the masculines–Sables, Duel and Eau du Fier. Passion is beautiful, but it takes a turn for a medicinal, which I do not enjoy as much. In general, Annick Goutal line has a number of gems, and I love revisit them again and again. June 27, 2006 at 2:42pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, it is reminiscent of Chamade in some aspects, if not in its character. It is definitely worth trying though. June 27, 2006 at 2:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patricia, thank you for a lovely compliment. Beautiful things are such great inspirations. 🙂 June 27, 2006 at 2:49pm Reply

  • cathleen56: I love this one, and it’s the only Goutal I really love, from start to finish, along with Ce Soir ou Jamais. I think it’s very reminiscent of, but just as good as, Chamade — must be the hyacinth notes. To me it’s feminine, cool and elegant. June 27, 2006 at 3:28pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cathleen, I also love it from the top notes to the base. Everything about Grand Amour is just beautiful. It confirms my love for the house. June 27, 2006 at 9:02pm Reply

  • Cait: I love it too. Whaddya think of AG Passion? That’s one I haven’t really explored fully yet. June 27, 2006 at 10:45pm Reply

  • portlandia: Lovely review, and spot on too! I really like this one. June 27, 2006 at 10:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cait, Passion is beautiful, but it has a medicinal note I find unsettling. I recall someone describing Songes as Passion Lite, but honestly, I fail to see many similarities other than the lush jasmine in both. June 27, 2006 at 11:41pm Reply

  • Jenny: Thank you for a beautiful review. I love Grand Amour, love rest and belief which I hear in this aroma. GA as a sight in which there is more love, than in all words, embraces and oathes. Quiet but confident. June 27, 2006 at 11:49pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, it is such a beautiful fragrance. The more I wear it, the more I fall in love with it. June 27, 2006 at 11:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Jenny, you said it really well–quiet but confident. It is certainly what attracts me in Grand Amour. June 27, 2006 at 11:51pm Reply

  • Sisonne: Dear V, than you very much for your lovely review!
    Annick Goutal´s fragrances were the first once that I discovered when I started to be interested in niche-perfumes. Since then they have a “special place in my heart” ;), though I don´t love all of them equally (e.g. Quel Amour is too strong for my liking.)
    Heure Exquise is really fascinating, I´m still debating whether to purchase it someday or not.
    I´ve to revisit Grand Amour, I cannot remmeber it too well, but I´ve a sample somewhere.
    It´s interesting that you think the EdPs are “rounder” than the EdTs. I only know the EdP version of Mandragore & I´ve to agree that I like it better, the woody component is very well capured & more intense than in the EdT.
    Our perfumery only has testers of the EdTs & I was told that the EdP smell the same, only with a longer lasting power.
    That´s why I´m interested in your opinion. Do you think there is a bigger difference between the two versions?
    Do you know perhaps if the AG boutique rue Castiglione also carries testers of the EdPs? June 28, 2006 at 6:46am Reply

  • Katie: I think this would not be one for me, but I so enjoyed reading this post, V. Lovely as usual, and the Chagall image was such a nice touch 🙂 June 28, 2006 at 8:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, I certainly found myself truly taken by some of Annick Goutal fragrances after I’ve tried the EDP versions. They have richness and depth that I did not find to the same degree in the EDTs. Certainly, it is best to compare and contrast, but if you already like the EDT, you are guaranteed to enjoy the EDP even more. June 29, 2006 at 1:01am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, thank you. I love that Chagall painting, and I could not resist adding it. To me, that is the feeling of love captured by the artist’s brush. June 29, 2006 at 1:03am Reply

  • Martha: Hi, I inherited a small bottle of what is labeled Obsession. My sister picked it up for my mother in Bahrain, and it comes in a little bottle with a velvet case that opens standing, so the perfume can be stored in it.

    I’m wondering if this is the real thing, or a copy from a perfumer there. Any ideas?

    It has a lovely rich scent when I first put it on, but after a few minutes develops a sharp, almost medicinal smell, which then also blends into the whole thing. It’s lovely, rich and worldly, but with an edge to it. I like it.

    The reason I’m wondering if it’s a copy is that the bottle has a little hard plastic dipper in it. All the other perfumes I have with that sort of thing have glass or ceramic dippers (is there a name for that thing?).

    Love this blog!

    Martha February 23, 2011 at 7:29pm Reply

  • Victoria: Martha, I can pretty much guarantee that it is a fake! I myself picked a number of these things in the souk in Bahrain, just out of curiosity. Well, it could actually be a nice memento of the trip. 🙂 February 23, 2011 at 9:36pm Reply

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