Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille

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Le Chevrefeuille was impossible to find in the U.S. until the last year, when it was happily reintroduced as part of the Les Soliflores collection. I’ve been dying to try it ever since reading Tania Sanchez’s tantalizing review in Perfumes: The A-Z Guide:

Honeysuckle is impossible: you can make it happen in photorealistic detail for an exciting half minute (see Demeter’s Honeysuckle), but you can’t build a full perfume on it because it never holds together. That’s why Goutal’s honeysuckle isn’t one. Instead, it’s a garden fantasy of citronellal and tomato stems, a tom yum soup without the fish.

Tania’s right, y’all: this ain’t honeysuckle. In fact, it’s not even a floral! Le Chevrefeuille is centered around a tart, leafy note somewhere between tomato leaf and lemongrass. The scent is completely linear and lasts about an hour (par for an Annick Goutal). Le Chevrefeuille occupies an interesting place as the gentlest and least sharp of the “stemmy” fragrances (think Diptyque L’Ombre Dans L’Eau, Aedes de Venustas Signature Eau de Parfum, or Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay for the other end of the spectrum). Le Chevrefeuille is desperately pretty, and a pleasingly zingy choice for the summer. I’m glad the Annick Goutal gods have returned it to us.

 

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Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio

As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of women in New York: Barneys girls and Bergdorf girls. These two groups are so distinct that there’s virtually no danger of mistaking one for the other. Barneys girls sport edgy, angular haircuts and generally gravitate towards Williamsburg (think Gossip Girl‘s Vanessa), while Bergdorf girls boast flawless highlights and have no intention of ever stepping foot in Williamsburg (think Gossip Girl‘s Blair).

In case my loyalties were in any way unclear, Blair is superior to Vanessa in every possible way.

Despite currently rocking about an inch of dark roots, I consider myself to be a Bergdorf girl through and through. I find the place simply enchanting. The first time I walked through those gold doors, I remember thinking that I had found the quietest place in New York. It’s a dignified sort of quiet, not the haughty or aloof kind. Holly Golightley was talking about Tiffany’s when she said, “the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there”, but I know that she meant to say Bergdorf’s.

Why yes, I will take literally any excuse to post a Breakfast at Tiffany’s picture.

It was at Bergdorf Goodman that I first tried and fell for Ninfeo Mio. I have always enjoyed the sharp bite of galbanum on an intellectual level, but I generally find galbanum-heavy fragrances hard to love. They feel cold and unfriendly. Ninfeo Mio, however, is the most vivacious, amiable green perfume I have ever encountered. It’s the lemon and fig notes that manage to coax a smile out of the normally sullen galbanum.

The fig note used in Ninfeo Mio is sweeter than that used in L’Artisan Premier Figuier, but the absence of any coconut in Ninfeo Mio makes it feel a little less cliche. There’s something very natural about Ninfeo Mio, as if this is what an orchard containing lemon and fig trees would really smell like. The end result is a joyful, exuberant fragrance, one that sparkles and shimmers like a jewel in the sunlight. Ninfeo Mio is absolutely gorgeous, and just right for Bergdorf girls. Highly recommended.

Also recommended: this book. It’s a delightful satire. (At least I hope it’s a satire.)

Annick Goutal Mandragore

One of my favorite biblical stories is the story of Rachel, Leah, and the mandrake. Although Rachel was Jacob’s most beloved wife, she remained bitterly childless while older sister Leah had four sons. One of these sons, Reuben, thoughtfully brings his mother some mandrake root, which was believed to have magical properties that we today would associate with Viagra. Rachel, desperate for children, begs Leah to give her the mandrake root. Leah’s all “You want my man AND my mandrake? Bish, please.”

Rachel then proceeds to ho her husband out by promising Leah a night with Jacob in exchange for her mandrake. Leah takes full advantage of this arrangement, becoming pregnant yet again. Rachel, however, is as infertile as ever, no doubt because mandrake is actually a hallucinogenic drug rather than an aphrodisiac. Poor thing probably thought she was rappelling down Mount Vesuvius or something.

I was totally fine. I’ve never even been to Mount Vesuvius.

I’m sure the original purpose of this story was to illustrate the folly of believing in superstitions rather than in God, but I just like that Leah comes out on top for once.

Despite Rachel’s apparent lack of success, many still believe that mandrake root has aphrodisiacal properties and can help women conceive. Enter Annick Goutal Mandragore. Much like its namesake, Mandragore’s powers as an aphrodisiac are dubious at best. Like many Goutals, Mandragore is a quiet fragrance with little lasting power. Mandragore is heavy on the black pepper, with a vegetal note that I can only assume to be the mandrake lurking in the background. It skews quite masculine. Mandragore has a bit more character than your average Goutal citrus, but it still doesn’t live up to the dark allure of its notorious namesake. Recommended mostly for the fabulous purple bottle.

Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien

That Annick Goutal is spooky, y’all. How did she know about my long-cherished dream to smell like lemon-scented dishwashing detergent? Eau d’Hadrien gets a lot of love from the online perfume community, but quite frankly, after smelling it, I think that all of the hype must be some massive inside joke. I am honestly just perplexed. Am I missing some subtlety, some nuance? To my nose, Eau d’Hadrien smells much closer to a lemon-scented cleaning product than actual lemons. To add insult to injury, the lasting power of this fragrance is INSANE. And not a good, fun kind of insane, like Helena Bonham Carter.

HBC, you are a delight. Please never change.

My lovely, intelligent readers, I beseech you: please do not spend $95 for 1.7 ounces of dilute Cascade that is literally undetectable after five minutes.

Disclaimer: An SA at Nordstrom gave me a sample of Eau d’Hadrien.