Creating a best-selling perfume today is as hard as making a profitable one. The increasing costs of distribution and advertising cut so much into the margins that everything else becomes secondary. Which is why you see time and again big brands launching safe, bland perfumes. And not only big brands. As you can see from Vent de Folie, the newest release from Annick Goutal, the aim is to be likable, rather than interesting or memorable. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with likable or simple or easy. I simply don’t want to overpay niche prices when I can find comparable simple, easy perfumes elsewhere. Vent de Folie is disappointing not because it is simple, but because it neither captures the eccentric, charming spirit of the Goutal perfume house nor does it offer a good deal for its price. If you want a little transparent floral, you need not spend niche prices; L’Occitane, Crabtree & Evelyn, Bath & Body Works and scores of other reasonably priced brands are just as good, if not better.
annick goutal: 25 posts
Patricia on Acqua di Parma Colonia and other citrus favorites, from Parfums de Nicolai and Annick Goutal to The Different Company and Guerlain.
Colonia by Acqua di Parma is a fragrance with a past. Created in 1916 as the first fragrance of a small perfume factory in Parma, Italy, it was first used to scent the handkerchiefs that men carried with them at the time. Later it was the darling of worldwide celebrities seeking Italian chic in the early and mid twentieth century. Acqua di Parma then fell on hard times but was revived, along with Colonia, in the 1990s.
I must confess a partiality for aromatic citrus fragrances. Like one who works out real-life problems at night through recurring dreams (being caught unprepared for an examination is a personal favorite), I repeatedly buy citrus colognes very similar in nature, the most recent of which is Colonia, purchased on a hot sunny September afternoon in the South of France.
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.
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.
In the early 1980s, the late Annick Goutal created two fragrances for her young daughters, Camille and Charlotte. Ivy and honeysuckle inspired Camille’s scent (Eau de Camille, 1983) while Charlotte’s scent (Eau de Charlotte, 1982) described a young girl smitten by blackcurrant jam and cocoa. Despite the foodie nomenclature of the notes, Eau de Charlotte is not a gourmand scent. The blackcurrant and cocoa notes belie Charlotte’s true nature as a lily of the valley scent.
I discovered Charlotte, or she me, on a scent strip in a magazine. It smelled so different—this was the mid-nineties—to anything else I’d smelled until that time. I was a Jean Patou Joy wearer, and Eau de Charlotte seemed less mainstream and more creative. I wore it through a couple of bottles before finding Gardenia Passion from the same Goutal line (by way of the incredible soap, but that’s another story!)
As I browse through new cookbook releases, I notice that rose is the flavor of the moment, appearing in everything from drinks to desserts. Pastries that would traditionally be perfumed with vanilla, chocolate or coffee are now presented in rose and violet incarnations. While reading a recipe for a rose scented cream puff in the delectable new book Ladurée Sucré, I realized that more so than sweets, I wanted another rose perfume. I craved something pink and unapologetically girly. My search led me to Annick Goutal Rose Absolue and Rose Splendide, two rose fragrances that do not shy away from being pretty and romantic.