Saturday, May 26, 2007

Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte

This isn't moving along quite as quickly as I'd hoped. I know I said "a week of Annick Goutal," but I'm spending extra time with each scent to really see what I think. More precisely, I'm so frazzled during the day that even though I'm wearing my sample of the day, I generally forget I'm wearing anything at all. I forget to stop and smell the roses, or the bergamot or the jasmine or the amber or freesia or musk or what-have-you.

I tripped over Eau de Charlotte when I was searching for Le Muguet. I was on a fierce search for anything with lily of the valley in it. As I mentioned several posts ago, I became a bit obsessed with these tiny little white bell-shaped flowers. To be honest, I can't say that I've ever smelled actual lily of the valley. It's featured in a couple of fragrances I really enjoyed sampling, L'Aromarine Flowers and Parfums de Nicolai Odalisque, but these are vastly different scents. And although I knew that Eau de Charlotte--with notes of blackcurrant bud, cocoa, mimosa, cocoa, lily of the valley (of course), and vanilla--might not get me any closer to making a real acquaintance with that delicate floral lady, I was desperate, so I decided to give it a shot.

Side note: Just after stumbling across Eau de Charlotte, I scored a bottle of Coty Muguet de Bois. I have the bottle in my possession, but haven't worn it yet. Look for a post in the near future.

So I've admitted to being frazzled and scent-negligent (ahem), but in all seriousness, one thing I like about Annick Goutal fragrances is that I find it difficult to make a snap judgment one way or the other. They're unique without being overly complex, but they still warrant spending a bit of time with them. I liken this to buying a really nice pair of shoes, taking them home and wearing them around the house for a few days before you decide to keep them. They may fit well, they may go with everything in your closet, but you need to decide if you can make them part of your life, or if you just love them in theory and something else would really be more...well, you. I suppose I say this because if you're someone who's looking for a "signature" scent, something that becomes you (in both senses of the word), a...lifetime scent, then I think Annick Goutal is a line to seriously consider.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, because I have a few more scents to share from this line, and right now, I should be talking about Eau de Charlotte. This scent is slightly gourmand without being foodie, as it's fruit and chocolate as concept rather than, uh, fruit and chocolate. The blackcurrant bud really dominates the scent at the top, and that's the only time it's overly sweet to my nose, a bit like an expensive jelly candy covered in dark chocolate. After about thirty minutes or so, the floral notes join the blackcurrant bud, taming the sweetness and softening the edges, but uplifting the fragrance as a whole. They're a bit like backup singers for Aretha Franklin--you hear them in concert with her voice, they lift it a bit higher, they round out the melody, but she's the star of the show to be sure. Like a rhythm, the cocoa heart beats behind this trio. After the opening notes, where it plays as chocolate in expensive candy, it deepens and loses sweetness, developing a delectable bitterness, adding weight to the scent. Vanilla doesn't come in until the very end, and it's a bit like sending in the opening act after the headliner. I suppose it's an easy way to "end" this scent, and it is very soothing and pretty, but it does amp up the food aspect again before it departs once and for all. Like Eau de Camille, this one lasts about three or four hours. After that, I detect a soft, deep vanilla on my skin, but not much else.

I'm not much for fruit and chocolate in my perfume, but this is very well done. At least, I think it's well done. I haven't done too much in the area of gourmand scents, so I cannot compare. But I think if you like these sorts of scents, and you're wondering how you could find a perfume that incorporates these notes into a fragrance for every day, this would be a good place to look. I wouldn't own a bottle, but I bought a miniature instead of a sample, and I wouldn't be surprised if I use all of it.

*photos from Annick Goutal and Wikipedia