Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Annick Goutal Eau de Camille

I picked these Annick Goutal fragrances specifically because they sounded so pretty for summer, and I picked Eau de Camille both because it sounded pretty and because I wanted to try another honeysuckle scent, so I could contrast it with Le Chevrefeuille. Strictly speaking, neither one of these is the near-soliflore I expected, but I suppose that would be difficult to achieve? Perhaps honeysuckle alone is simply too light and fleeting.

Eau de Camille consists of notes of honeysuckle, syringa (or seringa), ivy, and privet bloom. To be honest, I think this one's an acquired taste. I say that because at first, I didn't care for it much. After the lighthearted juiciness of Le Chevrefeuille, Eau de Camille feels a bit dark. The syringa, known more commonly as lilac, pervades the top and dominates the scent. It's a bit disconcerting and sharp, or at least it was to me, as I was expecting it to be a softer, greener floral. Instead, this fragrance is the floral heart of a forest's depths. There's no wood here, only the lush, dark green undergrowth that holds the moisture in the air, and in that moisture holds the darker purple scent of the lilac.

As you move deeper into the scent, it softens into the sweetness of honeysuckle and loses its darker edge. And after that...I keep thinking I can still smell honeysuckle on my skin, so light as though I'd brushed my inner wrist with one of those small blossoms, but I think that's my imagination going to work. This wonder lasts about three hours on me, four tops.

After five tries, I'm finding Eau de Camille rather intoxicating. The first thirty minutes are really spectacular, although I didn't think so until the third try. Forget the honeysuckle, which quietly ushers out the scent the way an angel might usher the innocent to heaven. The star of the show here is lilac, purple evening sky peeking through the dark green tips of the trees at nightfall. It's an evening scent, deeply relaxing and oddly cool. But beware: if white florals leave you with a headache, you might want to proceed with caution here as well.

*photos from Annick Goutal and The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens