Annick Goutal Petite Cherie : Perfume Review

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

I have such a strong sentimental attachment to Annick Goutal fragrances that sometimes I cannot appraise them objectively. Annick Goutal was the first artisanal fragrance house I discovered and its unusual fragrances, evoking stories and fantasies that for me felt quite real, made me realize that it is possible to communicate in a fragrant language. For this reason, a bottle of Petite Chérie remained in my collection for years, even though I hardly ever wore it. I simply loved the idea of it—a fragrance created by a mother for her young daughter, capturing the joy and innocence of childhood.

Such ideas can be quite beguiling, but I have finally come to terms with the fact that the scent of Petite Chérie is at odds with its peach hued, sunlit image. I anticipate a silky touch of rose petals, but what I smell reminds me more of fabric softener. I fantasize about a languorous summer afternoon spent sleeping in a hammock but the fragrance jolts me back to reality with its artificial fruit flavor. When I finally get tired of the dissonance and try to wash off the perfume, it refuses to leave and the sharp green cucumber of its core haunts me for hours.

The first signs that not all is right with Petite Chérie do not take long to appear. The moment I put it on, a jarring citrusy rose competes for attention with the creamy peach skin. Set against an extremely powerful violet leaf-cucumber note, the sharpness of the rose accord becomes grating. The musk and pear, the other important elements of the composition, are soft and pretty, but the initial raw feel never fades away completely.

Another problem I have observed with Petite Chérie is that of stability. It is a very fragile composition, and it tends to turn sour within an alarmingly short time. Therefore, if you enjoy this fragrance, my advice is to purchase it in small quantities from a reputable source, making sure that you are buying the fresh stock.

Annick Goutal Petite Chérie Eau de Parfum includes notes of pear, peach, rose musk, cut grass and vanilla. Available from Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and other retailers. $99, 50ml

Sample: my own acquisition

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19 Comments

  • Suzanna: Agreed! The other childhood fragrance, Eau de Charlotte, does better at evocation. PC never smelled appealing to me for the reasons you mention, with that especially persistent cucumber note gripping the citrus/rose with the tenacity of a child that refuses to grow up.

    I admire, rather than adore, many Goutal fragrances. October 24, 2011 at 8:09am Reply

  • Raluca: I always thought PC smelled bitter and that has nothing to do with skin chemistry. However, I enjoy Un Matin D’orage. October 24, 2011 at 9:49am Reply

  • Nikki: Yes, although I really wanted to love the fragrance and the fragrance house especially considering the history of the founder who sadly passed away quite young, I don’t find their fragrances special. There is, like always, one exception though and that is Sables. Sables smells like beach and immortelle flowers…love it. Eau de Charlotte is pleasant but not memorable…Petite Cherie is rather bland I find. I much prefer Petit Guerlain… October 24, 2011 at 11:27am Reply

  • OperaFan: PC and I never clicked. I always felt like it was made for a young girl.
    The one I like best among the ones she created for her daughters was Camille. In the ’90s it was marketed as the “green” scent of the line, citing cut grass and ivy among the notes. What I got most out of it is honeysuckle, whose sweet, heady fragrance is among my favorites. October 24, 2011 at 11:33am Reply

  • Victoria: I also prefer Eau de Charlotte. The combination of dark green and rich chocolate notes is so unusual. Petite Cherie simply smells like a functional scent to me, esp so these days. October 24, 2011 at 1:25pm Reply

  • Victoria: I like it very much too. Songes is another top favorite. October 24, 2011 at 1:25pm Reply

  • Victoria: I like the stories very much, and I think that often that’s exactly what draws me. Sables is fantastic though, story or no story! October 24, 2011 at 1:26pm Reply

  • Victoria: I need to revisit Eau de Camille one of these days. I always think of it as a crisp, bright green composition, with a romantic floral flourish. Honeysuckle is such an elusive note. I used to like Marc Jacobs Blush, because it smelled deliciously of honeysuckle. October 24, 2011 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I actually quite like Petite Chérie. It’s by no means my favourite of that house, but as I said I like it well enough. I have kept my bottle of EDT in the fridge ever since I first bought it, and it still appears fine. It smells the same as a fresh sample I received the other day with the purchase of another perfume.
    Maybe I received a bottle that was off, and I have gotten used to turned PC! I hope not. October 24, 2011 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Debbie: Regardless of where and when I’ve sampled PC over the years, it has always seemed off. I persevered with it as I was charmed by its background but I just couldn’t make this scent work for me. I’m unsure if all of the samples were off or if this is just how it smells. When I smell the amazing Songes or Matin d’Orage, their beauty seems at such odds with the quality of PC. October 24, 2011 at 3:38pm Reply

  • Audrey H.: I just wore PC EDT again a couple of days ago. It comes off as very soapy on my skin, not a favorite . I really like eau d’hadrian but it has zero sillage on me and lasts maybe 3 hours as a nose to wrist scent. I can spray is on liberally and DH standing right next to me wont smell it. Boo. lol October 24, 2011 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, I'm sure that it is not the case! Turned PC smells bitter and acrid, there would be no mistake about it having turned.
    Keeping it in the fridge is a good idea. I do the same thing for some of my fragile perfumes. October 24, 2011 at 5:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: When I put it on to write the review, my husband asked me if I spilled the laundry detergent. It is very sharp. Folavril is another one that verges on a functional scent, but at least it is unusual! October 24, 2011 at 5:37pm Reply

  • Victoria: Some AG are notoriously poor lasting, but others have an impressive tenacity. Mandragore is another favorite that has zero lasting power on my skin. I do like its peppery violet accord though and still wear it time to time. October 24, 2011 at 5:39pm Reply

  • ChickenFreak: I’ve loved Petite Cherie almost since the beginning of my perfume obsession, but for some reason I’ve never purchased so much as a mini or a decant. It’s been in a dozen shopping carts, but for one reason or another I always delete it before buying. So apparently my “love” isn’t quite enough to count. October 25, 2011 at 3:03am Reply

  • be: this one looks so good. love it. October 25, 2011 at 3:41am Reply

  • Eliza: I like the PC very much, but only in the Edt. Have you tried the Edt? On me the edp just has a very metallic smell, while the Edt drew lots of compliments. November 12, 2011 at 12:59am Reply

  • patriciaC: At first it didn’t suit me as i thought that it was too immature if that makes sence. It’s beginning to grow on me. Being summer here sometimes i want a fresher floral fragrance. Somthing that doesn’t encompass me.Yes i can tell this was made for a young girl however it does have that fresh out of the shower fragrance to me. August 8, 2013 at 7:52pm Reply

  • Waner: Oh! I really really love this perfume! I’ve gone through three bottles of it and friends often ask me where they can purchase it too. 🙂 August 23, 2014 at 9:02am Reply

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