At the height of London’s heatwave last month, I sat in a room in Morton’s club filled with esteemed beauty editors and bloggers, whilst perfumers Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen talked us over their newest trio of superior fragrances, Les Absolus D’Annick Goutal
Now, I’ll admit it, there’s always an air of excitement and anticipation at a launch and always with some chatter and excitement re spraying and comparing notes. It was different this time. This was a high English tea and this knowledgeable duo with so much experience and respect under their belts, held a dozen of us captivated and subdued. It wasn’t only their words and explanations re how the fragrances were developed and came into being, it was the sheer gravitas and beauty of each of the fragrances that bowled us over.
Goutal and Doyen talked us through their love of pure raw materials and of their journey of creating something quite different for the house of Annick Goutal. As one would expect, more precious means more expensive. However, these fragrances are more than a cut above. They radiant elegance and power.
The perfumers have concentrated on three ingredients: Oud Wood, Vanilla Bean and Amber. If you know your perfumery, you’ll realise that these immediately draw on the senses and how each ‘should’ smell. Annick Goutal take this to a whole other level of sensory experience that almost redefines their work.
Each of the fragrances (1001 Ouds, Ambre Sauvage and Vanille Charnelle) comes beautifully packaged in a book format that, unwrapped, reveals the golden liquid topped with a square golden stopper, under gilt edged paper. Each fragrance is as intoxicating as the next, each with a distinct ambience that sets each an arm’s breadth from one another though they work very much as a complementary trio.
Ambre Sauvage is a golden slick of fragrance that, when shaken, shows bubbles rising like the best champagne. From the onset, this is a honey, golden sliver that feels soft, sweet and potently seductive. This amber is sensual to the max. Yet, while the sticky sweetness is to the fore, it’s the ‘sauvage’ backbite that nails this work. This amber has finely polished teeth. There’s a burst of faint pink peppercorns and lavender that’s clean which goes atop the beautiful iris and vanilla mix that’s used to create sweetness and dryness. It’s the sludgey base that works this fragrance. Hard. Sticky styrax, camphor and the finest patchouli make Ambre Sauvage quite the beast beneath the flimsy dress. Like the wolf dressed as grandmother in Little Red Riding hood.
Ambre Sauvage is a daring darling perfume. For its contrasts and its newness. And, I do truly believe that Annick Goutal has given us a new take on a caramel sweet Amber fragrance. As wild as it is delicate. This is standout.
Annick Goutal’s Ambre Sauvage, Vanille Charnelle and 1001 Ouds are each available as 75ml and priced at £166. Currently available from www.harrods.com and nationwide at selected retailers from October 2015