Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien, Neroli and Vetiver Colognes : Fragrance Reviews

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If you’re a fan of citrus colognes, you soon discover nuances in this effervescent perfume genre. Citruses can be classically austere (Hermès Eau d’Orange Vert), sexy (Thierry Mugler Cologne), exotic (Guerlain Eau de Cologne Impériale), or impeccably elegant (Thirdman Eau Moderne). But if you enjoy colognes only when the mercury levels rise and anything else seems too heavy, they all may smell, well, lemony. That’s why the new Annick Goutal cologne trio–Eau d’Hadrien, Néroli and Vétiver–is great for those who are not sure what they like, but are curious to learn more. It has three distinctly different scents which are easy to wear all year round.

annick-goutal-colognes

Cologne collections are nothing new, of course. Hermès has one, Atelier Cologne made its name by blending all sorts of things with citrus, and half of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s fragrances can be worn as fresh colognes. The simplicity, on the other hand, is what I enjoy about Annick Goutal’s play on the lemon, orange blossom and vetiver themes. The lemony Eau d’Hadrien smells zesty. Néroli is a mass of white petals. Vetiver smells of driftwood and sea breeze. All would fit equally well for both men and women. All three are well-crafted, but of course, I have my favorites.

Eau d’Hadrien

All three fragrances  have already been present in Goutal’s collection, but their cologne versions are different from the originals. For instance, Eau d’Hadrien‘s sunny freshness is muted as it’s made brighter and more pastel-toned. The bracing sharpness of lemon is more like a soft murmur, with a strong accent of orange blossom giving the cologne a soft touch. Everything about it is impeccable–the quality of the ingredients, the execution, the graceful balance, but I admit that I miss the exhilarating vibrancy of the original. Moreover, the cologne lasts for all of 30 minutes.

Vétiver

Vétiver, on the other hand, is my favorite from the trio and currently high on my wishlist. The original Vétiver is one of my top favorites for its unexpectedly salty, briny richness. Most perfumers interpret this fragrance note as damp and earthy, reminding us that vetiver essence comes from its roots. Isabelle Doyen, Goutal’s perfumer, takes it to the seaside. It smells of sunwarmed skin, sand and salt encrusted seashells that you find in your pockets months after your vacation. The cologne interpretation removes the drama and dark tones of the original and makes it gauzy and delicate. The quality of vetiver in this cologne is excellent, and it has a wonderful tenacity.

Néroli

I’ve used up a bottle and a half of the original Néroli, which given the numerous ways with which I can scent myself says something about my love for this elegant orange blossom. The cologne version is fetching too, although it’s slightly less tenacious than the Eau de Toilette. It smells exactly like a cup of café blanc, a Lebanese orange blossom drink. You can almost taste the honeyed orange flowers on your lips. A pale stroke of dry woods anchors the delicate petals in place, and from top to bottom, Néroli smells very natural. It’s not as abstract and elegant as Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier, but I prefer its romantic softness to the green richness of Atelier Cologne Grand Néroli.

Now, it’s up to you to pick your fancy.

Annick Goutal Colognes Eau d’Hadrien, Néroli and Vétiver are available at Annick Goutal boutiques and counters. 200 ml, 135 €, a set of three colognes (50 ml each) is 135 €. The colognes are packaged in the new style bottles, which look nice, but a tad too plain.

Sample: my own acquisition

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67 Comments

  • Alyssa Harad: I am not sorry I bought another bottle of Neroli when I could, but the cologne sounds fantastic, as does the Vetiver. I’m glad–I like Goutal so much as a house that I find myself hoping these sell like hotcakes for them.

    How would you compare the Vetiver to Different Company’s Sel de Vetiver? (Which I love.) April 4, 2013 at 7:14am Reply

    • Victoria: I like the quality of ingredients in Goutal’s perfumes, and when you smell Neroli side by side with other luxury orange blossom fragrances, you notice the difference. They have a certain understated style that may not appeal to those who want something more dramatic, but at least, it’s distinctive.

      Sel de Vetiver smells more floral to me, less brash, but the brashness is what I like about Vetiver. The cologne version is actually quite good, and I will eventually add it to my wardrobe. April 4, 2013 at 10:25am Reply

  • Lucas: Hi Victoria!
    Thanks for your reviews!
    I don’t like that Annick Goutal is changing their entire line design. I didn’t like those ribed bottles with ribbons but I fancied square-shaped ones in different glass colors. Those new packaging (I guess they’ll look like this new Colognes trio but in different colors) look a little bit cheap, hope they look better in real.

    Just as expected! Eau d’Hadrien never had a good longevity, even EdP didn’t last longer than 2 hours on me and now it lasts 30 minutes in Cologne version? No thank you!

    I’ve never tried AG Vetiver (discontinued before I got to try it). Neroli sounds nice. I might give it a whiff. April 4, 2013 at 7:53am Reply

    • Barbara: I don’t like Eau d’Hadrien, because it reminds me of lemon scented furniture polish. I know, it sounds sacreligious! April 4, 2013 at 8:57am Reply

      • Lucas: I can understand that. I know it’s really adstringent April 4, 2013 at 9:32am Reply

      • Victoria: It’s a very strong association, and I also find that some overly lemony perfumes makes me think of cleaning products. But then again, when I smell the cleaning products I use today, and most of them smell anything but lemony. :) The kitchen spray I have smells like Un Jardin sur le Nil + cardamom. April 4, 2013 at 10:37am Reply

        • Rowanhill: Now that sounds like fabulous kitchen spray. What is it? April 4, 2013 at 11:09am Reply

          • Victoria: A generic Carrefour brand! :) So good! April 4, 2013 at 11:12am Reply

            • behemot: Next time when I’m in Krakow, I will pick that Carefour spray instead of Ajax I usually get when I am there :) April 4, 2013 at 1:08pm Reply

              • Victoria: I also love some Mr Propre (Mr Clean) products, which smell very good and luxurious enough that if their scents were altered slightly and bottled as fine fragrances, nobody would have noticed any difference. April 4, 2013 at 1:38pm Reply

            • Rowanhill: I will definitely check that out. Thank you for the tip. :-) April 5, 2013 at 7:25am Reply

    • Victoria: I had a chance to examine them in person at the Annick Goutal boutique here in Brussels, and they are nicer than what the ads suggest. I love the look of the original bottles not so much for the design aesthetics, but for sentimental reasons. April 4, 2013 at 10:35am Reply

  • AnneD: Thank you Victoria for this review! I have been on the verge of replacing my Hadrien and have been on the fence about reformulations. I had an old bottle that I had stockpiled but unfortunately it has gone off. I am thinking I should buy the EDP as I am unsure about cologne strength. My question to you is, should I still seek out the EDP or do you think I won’t be satisfied with the new formula, since I really loved the original. April 4, 2013 at 8:52am Reply

    • Akimon: I love the original Eau d’Hadrien, I wore it for years and I still have a bottle of EdT from ages ago. I recently bought a bottle of EdP, only to toss it out – literally, it was the first time a perfume bottle went into trash. It was like a caricature of the original version – weak, pale and completely wrong. It did not last at all, but it’s just as well, since the scent was so awful. I felt betrayed and cheated. If you are thinking of buying EdP, I would strongly recommend that you get a sample first. This new Cologne version sounds like a completely new and even paler variant of the already reformulated dreck. R.I.P., Eau d”Hadrien. April 4, 2013 at 10:03am Reply

      • Jillie: Akimon, you are describing the bane of my life – reformulation! And I guess this issue is going to get so much worse this year as all the companies hurry to conform to IFRA. I feel your disappointment with Eau d’Hadrien. I sometimes wonder if it is not better for a perfume just to be discontinued rather than bring out a weak imitation? April 4, 2013 at 10:18am Reply

        • Barbara: I’d rather see a perfume discontinued than reformulated. Or if it’s reformulated beyond recognition, just call it something different. I bought Laura Biagotti Venezia and what do I find. It’s fruity and cloying, completely different from before. Shame on them. April 4, 2013 at 11:47am Reply

      • Victoria: From what I understand about the original is that they changed the proportion of bergamot. Whatever the change, it smells different. April 4, 2013 at 10:41am Reply

    • Victoria: I also recommend getting a sample first. It smells different to me, but maybe, it’s my memory. I need to pull my old bottle out of storage and compare side by side. Still, when I smelled Eau d’Hadrien after a long hiatus, I was surprised how much it changed. April 4, 2013 at 10:39am Reply

      • Emma M: Thanks for the heads up on the reformulations – I have a sample of Eau d’Hadrian EDT that’s a couple of years old and smells good enough to me to make it onto my wishlist – is it likely to be very different from the latest version?

        Also, if anyone has any recommendations for an alternative lemon/herbal fragrance in the EdH vein to try out that would be v.welcome. April 5, 2013 at 7:09am Reply

        • Victoria: I’m not sure, because my bottle is much older than that. It’s best to take your sample to the counter and compare it side by side.

          I love Guerlain Eau Imperiale, Eau de Cologne du Coq and Eau de Guerlain–different colognes, with different accents, but very well-done. Eau de Rochas is great too as is Etro Lemon Sorbet. April 5, 2013 at 5:34pm Reply

          • Emma M: Thanks for these suggestions, I’ll definitely seek these out, the Etro one in particular sounds interesting, as it’s the lemon note in Eau d’Hadrian that I love April 7, 2013 at 7:26am Reply

            • Victoria: It’s an underrated cologne, but I like it very much. April 7, 2013 at 2:50pm Reply

  • Barbara: I wanted to try Neroli ever since I read your review but it’s hard to find. I’ll look for the cologne. Thank you, V! April 4, 2013 at 8:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Hope that you like it. My other favorite orange blossom cologne is a simple one–Jo Malone Orange Blossom. April 4, 2013 at 10:41am Reply

  • Jeff: Hahaha! You’ve described me, because all colognes smell the same to my nose and I have trouble figuring out the differences between lemon and bergamot. I’ll only wear Eau de Monsieur by Annick Goutal and I want to try Vetiver. April 4, 2013 at 9:48am Reply

    • Victoria: :) The difference between lemon and bergamot is peppery. Bergamot is a lemon like citrus + a black pepper note. But it’s all in the nuances, and it’s not as important for perfume enjoyment. When I wear perfume for pleasure, I like to dream of something rather than search for pepper or bergamot or whatever else. April 4, 2013 at 10:44am Reply

  • Jillie: Thank you for reviewing these – I was so interested in knowing what they were like. I have a feeling I won’t bother as I guess they are not going to have much staying power, and I can get my cologne hits from much cheaper companies! April 4, 2013 at 10:20am Reply

    • Victoria: They are well-done, but at the end of the day, a well-crafted cologne is not hard to find. Eau d’Hadrien was my least favorite (well, comparatively speaking), Neroli is nice but the EDP is more tempting (if only it were still available!) Vetiver, on the other hand, has everything I personally want in a vetiver cologne, so it’s a winner for me. Still, as a starting point for someone who is new to cologne, this could be a good intro. A cologne tasting, if you will. :) April 4, 2013 at 10:47am Reply

      • Jillie: Cologne tasting …. sounds yummy, like wine tasting! April 4, 2013 at 11:09am Reply

        • Victoria: I gave the Atelier Cologne sampler set to a sommelier friend, and he enjoyed it and even used it in his training courses! April 4, 2013 at 11:15am Reply

  • MarkJ: I treated myself to Tom Ford Neroli Portofino. I kept arguing with myself to buy something cheaper and nothing smelled as good. How would you compare Neroli to Neroli Portofino? April 4, 2013 at 11:33am Reply

    • Victoria: I find that with colognes, you notice all elements, and a well-made formula crafted with fine materials will always stand out. Neroli Portofino is certainly a fine orange blossom. I admit that I’m partial to Goutal’s Neroli EDT because it’s softer and has that “I’m in a blooming orange grove” feeling. The cologne version is softer still. Tom Ford’s orange blossom is sleek and polished, less natural and rustic than Neroli. You will probably find Neroli cologne less dramatic next to Tom Ford’s. April 4, 2013 at 1:42pm Reply

      • MarkJ: Thank you, Victoria! I’ll probably give Neroli a pass then and stick to Neroli Portofino. April 4, 2013 at 3:28pm Reply

        • Victoria: Of course, if you pass by the AG counter, it’s worth trying. Just to see how it compares! April 4, 2013 at 6:04pm Reply

  • Austenfan: These sound very good, especially the Vétiver and the Néroli. I will try them when I get the occasion.
    Is the original Vétiver discontinued? I can’t find it on the Goutal site anymore. It would be a pity. It is such a powerful rendition. April 4, 2013 at 12:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I didn’t realize that it was until I noticed that I can’t find it anywhere. It’s really a pity, because it was excellent. But if you love it, you might want to try Lez Nez Turtle Vetiver, which is also great and is another one of Doyen’s creations. April 4, 2013 at 1:43pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I have been looking at the LesNez Turtle for a while. When I will get Manoumalia I think I will order a Turtle sample.
        Do you think it is because of ingredients or because it didn’t sell? Fortunately I have a large bottle of it, which should last me a while. The Dutch Goutal site still lists it, so they probably still have it. April 4, 2013 at 3:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m not sure if it was a big seller in the collection, and I’ve noticed that they do cull down the line time to time. It makes sense, since the collection has grown enormously. April 4, 2013 at 6:03pm Reply

  • maja: Colognes are my big love. Orange Vert, Mugler, love them all. But my biggest summer love is Eau de Rochas. Austere, crisp, salty with a mossy drydown. I just love how it evolves on my skin. Speaking of neroli, I have six bigarade trees in my garden. I made some jam the other day and couldn’t help myself from putting a few crushed leaves hoping they would add petitgrain aroma to my jam. Only later did I realize they might be toxic or something. However, my jam turned out great and friends described it as “full orange experience” :) We are all still alive :) April 4, 2013 at 12:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: Petitgrain is used in commercial flavors, so the bitter orange leaves should be fine. Plus, in Sicily they are used when grilling fish, and in India, they are added to salty buttermilk drinks. I bet your orange jam is stunning.

      Speaking of bitter oranges, I bought a big crate a couple of months ago, and while many of them are now starting to dry out, they are still fragrant. As I’m responding to the comments, I’m waiting for my bitter orange and pink pepper marinated salmon steaks to finish cooking in the oven. I will miss the effervescent flavor of bitter oranges once I finally run out. April 4, 2013 at 1:46pm Reply

      • maja: You could save some of them by making dried zest. It would be a lovely addition to your already fabulous sugar scrubs. April 4, 2013 at 3:40pm Reply

        • Victoria: Good idea! I’ve been using up the precious supply very carefully. Plus, I love adding dried orange zest to stews and drinks. April 4, 2013 at 6:05pm Reply

  • Andrea: How timely! I ordered decants of AG Neroli and the Lutens you mentioned just yesterday. I wanted to see if the AG was FB-worthy, and I had never tried the Lutens. This shows how my tastes have changed; I always liked white flowers (Chanel Gardenia, Kai) but never orange blossom (at least, not as personal scent); now I crave it! And Kai seems…humdrum (perhaps my cream and oil spray are off, though…). It seems Belgium and Texas may be on the same wavelength for Spring! April 4, 2013 at 2:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: I hope for you that Texas is warmer. We had a bit of snow yesterday! So, under these circumstances, I create spring all around me with scents. :) April 4, 2013 at 6:01pm Reply

  • Gila: Hi all. I’ve heard other perfumistas talk about decants for a while now. How/where do you get them? I love the idea of getting more than the usual tiny samples to experience a new scent fully, and over time – plus expanding possibilities without having to buy a full bottle. Thanks! April 4, 2013 at 4:47pm Reply

    • Daisy: Hi Gila,

      Surrender to Chance and The Perfumed Court are good places to start. Lucky Scent also has samples as well, but they are all 1.7 ml. April 4, 2013 at 6:00pm Reply

      • Victoria: We’ve replied at the same time with the same recommendation! :)

        And Aedes is another good option for samples. April 4, 2013 at 6:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: You can buy decants via decanting websites like Surrender to Chance or The Posh Peasant. Or you can swap for them at Makeupalley with other perfume lovers. April 4, 2013 at 6:07pm Reply

  • Daisy: Am a big fan of Annick Goutal. I always preferred Les Nuits d’Hadrien to Eau, but I am looking forward to smelling all three. And seeing the new bottles! April 4, 2013 at 5:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Me too! Annick Goutal was the first niche line I’ve discovered, and I have a sentimental attachment to it. But that aside, its fragrances are invariably well-crafted and bear a personal fingerprint of their creators. When so much of today’s perfume output (niche included) feels mass produced, the latter element becomes more and more important to me. April 4, 2013 at 6:11pm Reply

      • Daisy: I love how they all have personal stories and feel very personal as well. AG fragrances always seem intimate to me . . . and I don’t mean in a hygiene product kind of way! April 4, 2013 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Annikky: Thanks for the review, Victoria. I’ll try to give them a sniff while in Paris, although it’s so cold here that it’s difficult to imagine what I would like to wear in summer.

    In other news – I arrived yesterday and only had time for a quick round in the Champs-Elysees Sephora (probably the best Sephora anywhere for perfume?). My first encounter with Rochas Femme was the highlight, I loved it and thought it had a strong similarity to Amouage Jubilation 25. A friendlier price, however. April 5, 2013 at 6:12am Reply

    • Austenfan: Have an absolutely wonderful time and Paris is surely not as cold as Estonia?
      Jubilation 25 is compared to Diorella (another Roudnitska) by Luca Turin in the Guide:
      “His ( the perfumers) starting point seems to have been Diorella….. Except that Jubilation is Diorella revised by Jacques Guerlain…” ( p337)
      It is one of his funnier reviews, and he gives it four stars. April 5, 2013 at 3:54pm Reply

      • Annikky: Austenfan, Victoria – I wanted to thank both of you for great suggestions for Paris. Your influence is clearly evident when one looks at my total haul: Iris Silevr Mist; Malle coffret; Weekend, Le Temps d’une fete, Maharadjah body oil (plus Chic for boyfriend); pink Caron powder puff; mini Choisya candle; Palais des Thes sample set; some Mariage Freres tea; Herme macarons; too many Jaques Genin sweets (plus one millefeuille consumed on the spot!); several pharmacy classics; Petit Bateau stuff for my daughter. The additional income I received from teaching a university course is gone, but I think it was money well spent.

        There are too many experiences to cover here, but a few quick conclusions: clearly I do not hate lavender as previously presumed; I DO have a musc problem as previously suspected (almost couldn’t smell MKK!) and if I was to purchase one of the new Goutals, it would probably be Neroli. April 7, 2013 at 6:30am Reply

        • Victoria: :) Sounds like a wonderful haul, and I can tell that you had a great time in Paris. I feel very happy that some of my recommendations turned out to be helpful. Isn’t Jacques Genin’s salon incredible? I go there nearly every single time I’m in Paris, even if I had to cross the city to get there. Besides millefeuille, their St-Honore pastry is heavenly.

          How is Maharadjah body oil vis-a-vis the perfume? April 7, 2013 at 2:49pm Reply

          • Annikky: I was very impressed with the quality of everything at Jacques Genin. And fortunately I’ve still got some orangettes to look forward to.

            I only tried Maharadjah perfume on paper (loved it, but was looking for something lighter), so I’m not really qualified to compare. But I’d say the oil is less complex, I mostly get lavender on a sweet base, maybe a hint of patchouli and spices. I don’t think it would work as a real alternative for perfume, after the initial blast the scent is very subtle. It’s still lovely though and I am very happy with my purchase. April 7, 2013 at 3:35pm Reply

        • Austenfan: How lovely that you reported back. I am glad that the suggestions were this productive!
          Lavender is great if done in the right way and Mme de Nicolaï definitely knows how to handle the note. I am curious which Mariage Frères you got, their collection is huge!

          I remember Petit Bateau from when my sister was little. She is a lot younger than I am and as a baby had a few PB things. They were really nice, so I can fully see why you chose to bring some back with you. April 7, 2013 at 3:00pm Reply

          • Annikky: It might please you to know that my visit to PdN was my absolute favourite experience. First of all, I loved the line – liked almost everything I tried and if the season or my mood had been different, could have easily picked Odalisque, Maharadjah or Maharanih or… And Baladin for my boyfriend. Secondy, the service was lovely: the sales guy was so sweet and informed and helpful (but non-pushy) that I almost wanted to hug him upon leaving. And third – I must admit that it’s a nice change to buy four items of very high quality and pay… well, not much more than hundred euros.

            I’m afraid my purchases from Mariage Freres were quite unexciting. As I bought the more adventuros sample set from Palais des Thes, I needed something basic in muslin bags (I know, horror!) for when I’m in a hurry. So I got Yunnan Imperial for mornings and Casablanca, in case summer decides to make an appearance this year after all. April 7, 2013 at 4:01pm Reply

            • Austenfan: Unexciting purchases are the best! also, teabags can be really handy, I don’t use them a lot, but I have been considering getting some good ones just for holidays and so on.

              I am glad you love Parfums de Nicolaï! It is such an unpretentious line, and the quality tends to be so very good.

              The weather seems to be improving slowly. I was able to cycle without wearing gloves this morning. April 8, 2013 at 10:39am Reply

    • Victoria: The weather here is awful this week, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be sunny, at the very least. If you do make it to Marais, I recommend a visit to Jacques Genin for some of the best millefeuille in Paris.

      I like Jubilation 25 very much, but the sharp woody note is very pronounced on my skin. I must be sensitive to it. I agree with Luca that it’s a kissing cousin of Diorella and with you that it has the bloodline of Femme. April 5, 2013 at 5:39pm Reply

  • Emma M: I’ll definitely be giving these a try, as I’m on the lookout for a cologne to wear this summer (if the warmer weather ever arrives – it totally bypassed northern England last year…).

    I’m particularly intrigued by the vetiver now; Victoria, your description of a sand and salt encrusted seashell invoking holiday memories sounds like exactly the sort of fragrance I need to remind me that in some parts of the world, the sun does still shine! April 5, 2013 at 7:05am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a very cold spring, isn’t it!

      Vetiver is such an interesting scent–earthy, rooty, green. If you’re new to it, it may be somewhat of an acquired taste, but I do recommend trying vetiver perfumes. Goutal’s Vetiver cologne might be a good introduction as well as The Different Company Sel de Vetiver that Alyssa mentioned earlier in this thread. April 5, 2013 at 5:49pm Reply

  • eminere: Will you be rating these individually with stars? :) April 7, 2013 at 6:25am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s hard to rate these ones as a group, since Eau d’Hadrien cologne is 3, but Vetiver is 4. Neroli is somewhere in between, but it’s so lovely. I just left it as is. :) April 7, 2013 at 2:46pm Reply

  • debbie: please can i still get annick goutals rue de castiglione-paris April 21, 2013 at 12:39pm Reply

  • jb: Ahhh, in the philippines, the new bottle are already on display. I think the new owner of Annick Goutal injected some funds to redefining the brand.

    The Annick Goutal, now stands out among a see of generics in the department store. Likewise, they still have vintage perfumes – the old bottle designs if you will on sale :D

    Since my country is poor, not much stocks are moving. However, I think the franchise holder in the country love Goutal so it was never pulled out unlike L’artisan. February 2, 2014 at 5:00am Reply

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