måndag 8 februari 2016

Annick Goutal - Les Absolus 1001 Ouds

PictureEnjoying Coffee, Oueen Shirin of Persia (d 628)
Painter from the french school,
 first half of the 18th century
Wikimedia commons
1001 Ouds is the third fragrance in the Les Absolus line from Annick Goutal. It's created by Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal.1001 Ouds is inspired from the tales of the Arabian Nights.

1001 Ouds strarts with an smooth dry but in the same time creamy accord. The first impression of the fragrance is very original to me, it smells as something I'll describe as a creamy juniperberry. There is none of the sharpness from the usual interpretation of that note, just the woody-herbal character of the berry smoothened to a soft, fluffy texture. As there is no juniperberry among the notes I suppose it's the oud mixed with the birch, papyrus and rose which creates this inmpression, I can recognize this juniperberry like oud note from By Kilian Pure Oud where it's stronger and raw in its interpretation. As the dry down is approaching, the beautiful creamy, medium red rose, steps forward, fleeting in the fluffy but in the same time dry setting. The rose note slightly reminds me of the juicy rose in Le Galion La Rose, but not as big and radiating. There is a contrasting chilly aspect which is dry a bit like paper, probably the papyrus, combined with a soft, very light boozy almost applelike note, probably the myrrh, which has similarities with an accord in the great masculine Royal Vintage from M.Micallef. 1001 Ouds also feels royal, but it's to my nose is a feminne royalty.

As 1001 Oud dries down it becomes woodier and rosier but still preserves its excellent smoothness, it's a real comfort to wear this fragrance. It has not so much to do with the regular ouds, here the oud is one of the components interacting and not dominating over the other ingredients. This is not a "statementperfume" like many in the oud genre, this is pure, soft elegance. Maybe the name should be another as the many oudhaters which seems to be out there, at least in the perfumeforums could be scared away. But those should not fear, it's better to think of this as a woody oriental perfume and don't think of it as an oud. On the other hand I think the name is good as this perfume reveals that oud is an excellent ingredient and it could be presented in many shapes.

1001 Ouds is suitable to wear around the year, it has nuances that fit each season. The sillage is close and the longevity is for a day. A discrete, high quality fragrance, safe to wear in any occasion. Another winner from Annick Goutal and one of the best releases in 2015 IMO.

Rating: 5

Notes: Oud, papyrus, rose, pimento, birch, guaiac wood, myrrh

torsdag 4 februari 2016

Annick Goutal - Les Absolus Ambre Sauvage

Picture: Painting of a family game of checkers
("jeu des dames"), ca 1803
Painting by Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845)
Ambre Sauvage is featuring another staple in perfumery: Amber. Ambre Sauvage is created by Camille Goutal and perfumer Isabelle Doyen.

Ambre Sauvage starts with a soft and smooth amber note, the amber is nor herbal, nor dry gunpowdery, nor candy sweet, just light, refined like a mediumbrown colored silkveil fluttering in the wind. There are no sharp, rough edges of the resins in Ambre Sauvage, it's a balsamic interpretation mixed with the glazed vanilla of Vanille Charnelle. For a short while I can also feel a light, almost salty vibe. As Ambre Sauvage dries down an offsetting slight cold accord with a just detectable iris/lavender appears, balancing the warmth of the amber. A refined, dry and dark patchouli creates a beautiful dept to the perfume. Ambre Sauvage is very well balanced and blended in a way which makes it hard to distinguies the different ingredients, they are just swirling in a comforting, quality flow. Compared to the earlier Annick Goutal amber, Ambre Fetiche, Ambre Sauvage is quiet and soft, Ambre Fetiche is relatively loud and powerful compared to Ambre Sauvage and Ambre Fetiche contains a  considerable amount of incense.

Picture: Ambre Sauvage
Photo: PR Annick Goutal (c)
Ambre Sauvage is a calming fragrance, a fragrance which feels classic in style and apperance. When wearing it I can imagine ladies from the Empire wafting this type of fragrance when moving in their cashmere stoles. Ambre Sauvage is maybe not the right name to this gentle and refined amber as it is not wild at all, on the contrary it's very polished, soft and elegant.

Ambre Sauvage is an excellent comfort fragrance for autumn and winter. It's softspoken and could not offend anyone. Sillage is close and longevity for more than a day. Unisex but leaning to the feminine side.

Even if not smelling the same I think those who likes ambers as the more boozy Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe, the more woody-spicy Téo Cabanel Barkhane and the a tad sweeter Rania J. Ambre Loup will also appreciate Ambre Sauvage.

Rating: 4

Notes: Patchouli, amber; pink pepper, lavender, iris, vanilla 

måndag 1 februari 2016

Annick Goutal - Les Absolus Vanille Charnelle

Picture: Le Bain
Painting by Alfred Stevens (1823-1906)
Vanille Charnelle is the first one I test from the 2015 introduced Annick Goutal sub-line: Les Absolus. In Les Absolus house perfumer Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal "listen to the whispers of their rawmaterials" and creating exclusive fragrances of the best ingredients which are highligthing one rawmaterial at a time. In this case: Vanilla. In coming reviws amber and oud are featured.

Vanille Charnelle starts with a clean, vanillapod note combined with a milky impression, the marketing buzz says: "Imagine a bath of almond milk laced with vanilla beans in which you want to immerse yourself before meeting your lover". There is no chemical-sweet vanilla like in some cheaper fragrances, this smells like high quality stuff. A hint of a well intergrated pepper soon appears and also a soft, very light hint of flowers. The flowery element is just perceptible, it is not as pronounced as in another clean and bright vanilla also from 2015, Eau d'Italie Morn to Dusk. Just as in the latter, there is no boozy, tobbacco or spicy notes in Vanille Charnelle even if it in the next step of its developement becomes gourmand in its character.  Vanille Charnelle than smells like a fine, delicious, glazed vanilla cake, and just as in the earlier stage without smudgy or cloying elements.Just as Morn to Dusk, Vanille Charnelle is a fragrance in the higher octaves of the olfactory notescale. Even in the basenotes Vanille Charnelle retains its sort of light impression, still gourmand and with a musky touch cleaverly counterbalanced by an almost undetectable vetiver, it's just discerned.
Picture: Les Absolus Vanille Charnelle
Photo: PR Annick Goutal (c)
It seems as there  currently is a trend with a sort of fluffy, clean and pristine vanillas which are very comfortable to wear, so far I have tested Vanille Charnelle and Morn to Dusk and I am convinced there already are or will be more fragrances released in this style.Vanille Charnelle has very little in common with the earlier Annick Goutal vanilla Vanille Exquise which is (as I remember it) sharper, greener, fizzy and more distinctive compared to Vanille Charnelle.

Vanille Charnelle is cozy and comforting to wear in the dark seasons and could also be appropriate for cold and rainy summerdays. Labeled as unisex but I find it more feminine. The silage is close, a skinscent, with longevity for a day. Summed up Vanille Charnelle is a very well balanced, skillful crafted fragrance which, not surprisingly, is also priced thereafter. 

Rating: 4

Notes: Ylang-ylang, mandel, pepper, vanilla, tonka bean, white musk, vetiver

måndag 25 januari 2016

UNUM - Opus 1144

Picture: Central tympanum, the Western (Royal) Portal at cathedral of Chartres (ca 1145). These architectural statues are the earliest Gothic sculptures and
were a revolution in style and the model for a generation of sculptors.

Photo: Cancre (cc) some rights reserved, Wikimedia commons
Opus 1144 is the second fragrance from the Italian nichhouse UNUM. Opus 1144 is inspired from the gotic era which was started approximately 1144. The fragrance is inspired from the stone in the cathedrals and the grey skies of Normandy, a birthplace for the Gotic style and culture.Just as with LAVS, Opus 1144 is created by Filippo Sorcinelli with help form the secret parfumer.

Starts like a natural lemony (not chemical lemon pledge) contemporary Shalimar without the animalic notes in the original one and less vanillic then the "Route" Shalimars-line. In the Opus 1144 middlenotes the powder intesifies and becomes deeper, a sort of wet, chalky, putty powder. Now the vanilla also intensifies, probably because a clear musky note, complementing the discrete, cold flowers which are also present. In this stage Opus 1144 reminds me of a more vanillic and less flowery Oriza L. Legrand  Jardins D'Armide .  Also the oriental vanilla Kèora from Jean Couturier comes to my mind. As Opus 1144 dries further down it becomes darker, deeper, balsamic, resin and ambery now with slight salty, animalic notes from the ambregris. Tanken as a whole Opus 1144 is quite linear even if the fragrance changes to deeper nuances as it dries down.
Picture: Unum Opus 1144
Photo: PR Unum (c)
Even if classified as unisex, Opus 1144 to my nose is very feminine, like a fluffy angorajumper. Unfortunately, Opus 1144 doesn't remind me of medival times at all, to me it's more of a fragrance for a very feminine and elegant lady. The concept is not new, this is a classical fragrance directly in the footsteps of Shalimar. Opus 1144 powdery elegance is combined with a certain cosy comfort. It's perfect for autumn and winter, could be worn during the day but most people would classify it as an evening perfume. Sillage is medium+ and longevity overnight, a cosy, lemony, powdery, vanillc accord remains after 24 h. This is strong stuff (perfume strength) and one has to apply sparingly.

Those who like powdery fragrances as Huitème Art Poudre de Riz which is less sweet than Opus 1144 as also deep, woody vanillas like Montale  Boisé Vanille will probably also like Opus 1144.

Rating: 4

Notes: Jasmin, mandarin, elemi, bergamot, iris, orchid, cashmere wood, musk, ambregris, vanilla, benzoin, leather, sandalwood

måndag 18 januari 2016

Les Cocottes de Paris - La Castiglione


PictureVirginia Oldoini
Countess of Castiglione (1837-1899)
Photo from 1865, Wikimedia commons
La Castiglione from Les Cocottes de Paris is inspired from Virginia Oldoini an italian Countess of Castiglione, who was an influential mistress of Emperor Napoleon III. She also supported the art of photography and ordered pictures to immortalizing important phases of her life and became a famous model in early photography. According to the legend, La Castiglione during the last years of her life, lived in a totally blacked apartment without mirrors in the Place Vendome. She refused to be remembered of her bygone beauty and she was just going out when it was dark outside.

The fragrance La Castglione is probably inspired from the later, dark years. It starts interesting, with an accord of pickled citron and the smell from an old attic, the old attic smell is a lighter and not as distinct as the in Parfumerie Générale L'Ombre Fauve. As L'Ombre Fauve is one of my all time favorites, this is a positive remark. Then other dark notes as a soggy patchouli and a well balanced liquorice steps forward founded in woody balsamic notes. Myrrh adds a cold and uplifting counterbalance to the dark and deep mix. There are also herbal elements that brightens which prevent the fragrance from beeing dusty and stuffy. In the basenotes La Castglione reminds me in spirit and appearance of Gucci by Gucci Edp


Picture: La Castiglione
Photo: PR Les Cocottes de Paris (c)
La Castiglione is a fragrance for autumn/winter good for evenings but also as a mysterious daytimefragrance. Sillage is close and longevity for a day. La Castiglione is definitly my favorite of the Cocottes.

Rating: 4

Notes: Mugwort, citron, copaiba, liquorice, patchouli, cedar, ambergris, myrrh, styrax

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample to try.

torsdag 14 januari 2016

Les Cocottes de Paris - Melle Cléo

Picture: Cleo de Merode (1874-1966)
Photo: Unknown photographer 1903
Wikimedia commons
Melle Cléo is the last in the trio of courtesans in the Les Cocottes de Paris line. The fragrance is inspired from Cleopatra de Mérode a famous ballet dancer in the Paris Opera who was linked to the king of Belgium, Leopold II. Cléo was also a trendsetter and considered as the most beautiful women in the world during the latest years of the 19th century.

Melle Cléo starts very sweet, it smells like a jammy rose together with a fresh, just baked, vanilla bread which is wrapped in a white, crispy, cotton kitchen towel. After a while a the juicy note of litchi arrives and adds a fruity vibe to the fragrance as also sweet flowers. The rare perfumenote of night blooming cersus which (according to Fragranticas database of notes) is a  tropical cactus plant with flowers which smell like vanilla, is probably responsible for the special smelling vanillic accord in Melle Cléo. Probably the cotton flower also is responsible for the fabric texture mentioned above. In the basenotes, Melle Cléo becomes less sweet, even if still almost edible. The just baked bread texture returns in the musky basenotes. There is also something that similar to a lighter version of the blurred biscuitnote which is a present undertone in some flower fragrances from ca 2006 such as Burberry London for her and Agent Provocateur Maitresse. As the basenotes dries down, Mello Cléo smells almost the same but an octave darker, it's also a note that is close to light fresh tobacco present in the late stage of the fragrance.


Picture: Melle Cléo
Photo: PR Les Cocottes de Paris (c)
The notelist of Melle Cléo truly mirrors how the fragrance really smells which is not very  common. Melle Cléo could by the first glimpse be taken as a mainstream, sweet, fruity floral but when sniffing it thoroughly the very special notes described above comes through, announcing that Melle Cléo is a very special creature after all.

Melle Cléo is appropriate year around and I can imagine it will bloom beautifully during warm, humid summerevenings. Sillage is medium and longevity very good, it lasts for longer than a day.

Those who likes fruity floral fragances as for example Eau d'Italie Graine de Joie and Robert Piguet Jeunesse will probably also like Melle Cléo.

Rating: 3

Notes: Rosewood, bergamot, litchee, night blooming cereus, ylang-ylang, rose, cotton flower, lichen

måndag 11 januari 2016

Les Cocottes de Paris - La Belle Otero

Picture: Agustina Otero Iglesias (1868-1965)
"La Belle Otero"
Photo: PR Les Cocottes de Paris (c)
Les Cocottes de Paris is a brand started by Anaïs Biguine who also started the Jardins d'Ecrivains brand, inspired by litterature and gardens, some years ago. In the new brand, the inspiration comes from some famous nineteenth century courtesans who were active in the french capital. La Belle Otero is the first of three fragrances to be tested, inspired of a spanish artistAgustina Otero Iglesias, who is said to have "devoted her life to dancing, men, precious stones, gambling, parties and all above freedom". The fragrance is said to be an invitation to misbehave and I can agree with that when testing La Belle Otero.

La Belle Otero starts sharp, fruity, boozy, chemical, almost as something that could be a sweet fruity floral celebrity fragrance but less sugary. Than the fragrance becomes more flowery, the violet accentuated by a crispy narcissus takes the center. There is almost a lipsticknote present but without the characteristic powdery-creamy smell that is the lipstick standard. The fruity note is still present in the basenotes, balanced by sandalwood and with musk which reinforces the blend. There is something vaugly dirty and decadant glimpsing through the floral-fruity facade, like dirty underwear hiding under a brand new amazing haute couture gown.
Picture: La Belle Otero
Photo: PR Les Cocottes de Paris (c)
Strong syntetical violet and narcissus over a light sandalwood infused by fizzy. musky, fruity elements is the synthesis of La Belle Otero. It's a demanding fragrance with rough edeges but in the same time a somehow pleasant fragrance to wear. It's a dangeroues fruity floral, something dark and beastly are lurking in the background. I think the syntetic smell is a bit too much in La Belle Otero but leaving that a aside, this is a intriguing and in the same time happy and taken as a whole, nice to wear fragrance.

Those who likes fragrances as Rober Piguet Jeunesse, Eau d'Italie Graine de Joie, Parfums MDCI Cio Cio San and By Kilian Playing with the Devil (which is much darker) could probably appreciate La Belle Otero.

Rating: 3

Notes: Neroli, pepper, absinthe, ginger, fig, violet, musk, lavender, narcissus, buchu, lavender, iris, frankincense, sandalwood 

Thanks to Fragrance & Art for the sample to test