Saturday, January 23, 2010

Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise

It wasn’t very long ago that I disliked Vanille Exquise. I think that any true fragrance fanatic would have to admit to changing her mind on occasion or even frequently.

Prior to November, 2009, I didn’t wear many vanilla focused fragrances but lately I’ve been having a vanilla renaissance. It started with The Different Company Oriental Lounge, then PG Felanilla, then L’Artisan Havana Vanille, then Montale Chypre Vanille and now Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise. Somehow it took liking these four non-foodie vanillas for me to understand Vanille Exquise.

Vanille Exquise (2004) came years before Felanilla, Oriental Lounge, Havana Vanille and Chypre Vanille and it’s another vanilla scent for those who don’t like foodie vanillas. Initially there was a note in Vanille Exquise that was too harsh for me – I think it’s either angelica or gaiac wood – but this harshness is no longer there, it has magically disappeared or more accurately I’ve taken a liking to this jarring slightly nutty, woody, dry and herbal quality in combination with sweet vanilla.

Vanilla Exquise (VE) also reminds me a bit of Guerlain Angelique Noire, but again, for the record, VE arrived on the scene 1 year before Angelique Noire. I find VE better than Angelique Noire because it’s less sweet and foodie. Like many Guerlains, Angelique Noire has that sweet vanillic/Play-Doh “Guerlainade” that I’m not fond of. You either love that Guerlainade or you don’t and my favorite Guerlains are the one’s without it. I’m pointing out that Annick Goutal VE came before many of the interesting non-foodie vanillas on today’s market for a reason, and that is, that Annick Goutal is a phenomenal perfume house and Isabelle Doyan a brilliant perfumer . The more I focus on scents from Annick Goutal, the more I realize there are plenty of gems and not just boring pretty stuff.

The vanilla note in Vanille Exquise is always present but it’s in the background like a pair of delicate hand made curtains framing a picture window. The vanilla here is sweet, but it is blended with angelica and gaiac wood which are dark, dry and incense-y. The longer VE stays on my skin the better it gets; the blending of vanilla with this incense-y dryness is sublime. As I’ve mentioned in my last few posts, some fragrances require me to ‘spray myself wet’ and VE is one of them – but once I do it lasts all day and the sillage is nice.

I’ve come to realize that Annick Goutal is one of my favorite houses. Spray yourself wet with a few from AG and you might find you missed the beauty before.

Notes include: vanilla, angelica, almond, benzoin, gaiac wood and white musk.

Above photo courtesy of Decomprose on Flikr

6 comments:

Mals86 said...

This just about convinces me that I haven't tried nearly enough Goutals, and also that I probably needed to put on more Mandragore when testing it. So far though, I mostly really, really like the ones I've tested without adoring them. (Exception Petite Cherie, which is a specific childhood memory for me and very comforting.)

I'm still on the fence about Havana Vanille, even with the spray-wet technique.

Abigail said...

Mals86,
Here are some of my favorite AGs:
Songes in EDT and EDP
Ambre Fetiche
Encens Flamboyant
Un Matin d'Orage (truly is a stormy wet morning among the gardenias)
Sables (if you can handle immortale)
Neroli
Les Nuits d'Hadrien
Petite Cherie (this has grown on me. the sweet grass note is pure happiness)
Heure Exquise (gorgeous)
Eau de Ciel (gorgeous)
Folavril (tomato stems & leaves)
Ce Soir ou Jamais
Le Chevrefeuille (honeysuckle which reminds me of my late Grandma, Olive)

I'm really looking forward to Ninfeo Mio (even though it has an oddball name)

Diana said...

Thank you for the tip! It definitely inspires me to try more of the Goutals.

Anonymous said...

I find most perfumes are flat.
They tell me the same thing all day. But Annick Goutal's are like a song with a melody and a chorus.
None of the AG scents smell synthetic, or chemical. Although I with I "got" Un Matin D'Orage. Not for me.

Extrait D'Annick- How I wish they brought you back. There's nothing out there to compare.
Passion- I never get tired of you!
Eau d'Hadrien - Citrus Sweetness, great for layering with other scents. Partcularly anything rose.
Les' Orientalistes- smoky goodness.
Eau de Charlotte- like chocolate without the foody smell.
Mandragore- more interesting than I give you credit for.

Abigail said...

Dear anonymous,

You know, I'm not sure why, but Annick Goutal isn't often discussed or appreciated amongst us Fragrance Fiends. I would like to do a full week of Annick Goutal reviews, perhaps this spring. Maybe if I get organized I will pull this off.

I agree, nothing synthetic or chemical, just pure natural bliss.

divinemama said...

Annick Goutal was my first love and more than 15 years later I still consider them among the finest scent offerings available. Thank goodness they can still be found at store's like Nordies.

Great article Abigail! Yes, please do a week long homage to Annick Goutal.