Sunday, February 11, 2007

Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien

I was intrigued by Eau d'Hadrien from first sniff. Bob and I were strolling through Bloomingdales when I saw a collection of Annick Goutal bottles sitting on a mirrored tray. We sniffed several, but Hadrien was the one the one that stuck with us after we walked away. With its notes of Sicilian lemon, grapefruit, citron, and cypress, this fragrance was likely to be anything but a sure thing for me. I'm not a fan of citrus scents, and many people are not fans of Hadrien. I've seen it compared to Lemon Pledge and air freshener. It is a very clean fragrance, but I find the citrus here soft and breezy, and with none of the chemical aftertaste--er, aftersmell--one gets from cleansing products. Some fragrances are more sensitive to other scents clinging to our skin: soap, lotions, etc. Others simply knock out any smell that came before them. Hadrien is in the former category. In fact, although Hadrien is quite wearable on its own, it works best layered with other scents. I've tried four so far:

Skin Musk. You can find Skin Musk at any drugstore. It comes in both a spray and an oil, and I've seen both for a price as low as $5.99. Don't be fooled by the cheap price: this is a lovely combination of florals, sandalwood, and musk that warms wonderfully against the skin. It's a close scent, sexy and wearable anytime of the year. I applied the Hadrien first, and then a light spray of Skin Musk. The Musk immediately mellows the citrus so that only a soft edge remains. The sandalwood pumps up the cypress, so the soft woods take focus. This makes me think of winter on the beach, sitting inside near a fire and looking out at the bright sun bouncing off the ocean.

Songes. I bought a decant of this months and months ago. Songes is a serious white floral, with notes of frangipani, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and vanilla. Lucky for me, Hadrien renders Songes wearable--until now, I referred to it simply as "Headache in a Bottle." The first few moments after I apply Songes are always glorious, because it is a beautiful fragrance, but no less than a few minutes after I've applied it, my head begins to throb. I was a bit hesitant to try it with the Hadrien, but happily, it worked. The cypress and citron town down the jasmine, while the slightly bitter grapefruit note plays up its earthier notes. The vanilla takes the edge out of the citrus, making it creamier and a bit sweeter.

Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis. Because Jo Malone fragrances are meant to be layered (particularly with other Jo Malone fragrances), I thought it might be fun to try a couple of these. Wild Fig & Cassis was my first choice because I wanted to see how the citrus notes would compliment the fig. Wild Fig & Cassis has notes of fig, cassis, hyacinth, and cedarwood. The result of layering this scent with Hadrien is a fresh green scent, reminiscent of early summer mornings full of blossoms and wet, freshly cut grass. Together these produce something I think could become a summer staple in my fragrance wardrobe. The only thing that concerns me is the lasting power...neither of these scents is known for hanging around too long. The good news is, they are both so light that reapplying shouldn't a be a problem, and in fact might bring more relief from summer heat and humidity.

Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger. Never, never try this. It will require nothing short of a Hazmat team to remove the noxious odor, which is something like a dirty tuna can left too long in the sun near a dried out rind of lemon. Hideous. Seriously.

My next fragrance layering candidates are: Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia, Jo Malone Orange Blossom, Sage Machado Coral Perfume Oil, and Creative Scentualization Perfect Veil. Stay tuned!

*photos: Annick Goutal from Aedes; Skin Musk from CVS; Jo Malone from Gloss