Day 6 of Annick Goutal Week
The Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes Collection is an excellent addition to the Goutal brand. Since the houses' fragrances consist mainly of florals, a quartet of orientals was most welcome. All four of the offerings from Les Orientalistes collection are fantastic with my favorites being Ambre Fetiche (#1) and Encens Flamboyant (#2).
The amber note is a chameleon in perfumery. Amber essential oil doesn’t exist, it’s not a real thing in nature; amber is not strictly ambergris (ambergris may be a component) nor does it have anything to do with fossilized tree sap (i.e., amber stones in jewelry). Amber is, in fact, a man-made accord, which usually consists of varying degrees of labdanum, benzoin, tonka, ambergris and oppoponax. Some amber fragrances are really sweet and blended with heavy doses of foodie vanilla – these are usually cheap smelling Bath & Body Works type stuff and not the amber fragrances I seek. I physically crave deep, incense-y, dry, resinous ambers during the fall and winter. Some pefumes that fall under my favorite amber category are: Parfums d’Empire Ambre Russe and Sonoma Scent Studio Ambre Noire. I like, but don’t love, Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, because there’s a bit too much cedar in this for me, and I think Ambre Fetiche blows it away, it’s more fierce.
If I’m not feeling like wearing my most outrageously decadent amber, namely PdE Ambre Russe, but still want something deeply rich yet wearable my go-to amber is Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche. Ambre Fetiche is a phenomenal brew of frankincense, leathery birch tar, dry woods, smoke with a touch of powdery (iris root) amber and vanilla in the dry down. At times, Ambre Fetiche seems less about amber and more about incense and woods. I happen to adore the strident initial blast of frankincense, birch tar-ry leather and smoky dry woods. If you were blind-folded you would never guess Ambre Fetiche is brought to us by Annick Goutal because there is *nothing* demure about it. The reviews on Ambre Fetiche are mixed and I think (once again) this might have to do with sampling practices. Ambre Fetiche must be sprayed and sprayed liberally to get the full effect. This is not to say Ambre Fetiche is fleeting because it’s anything but – it easily lasts 6-8 hours on me and the farrrr dry down is just as breathtaking in it’s own softer way as the start.
Even though there is nothing gourmand about Ambre Fetiche I always have the desire to lick my arm when I wear it. I noticed a review from The Non-Blonde, where she feels the same. There is something deeply carnal and subconscious about Ambre Fetiche. It feels familiar, like a scent I’ve known all my life and perhaps in past lives. I think it’s the resins, incense and dry smoky woods that call to mind a time long ago, when we anointed ourselves with precious salves, ointments and oils in ritualistic ways. I think of Cleopatra. For those who love this sort of fierce amber I’ve described, Ambre Fetiche is an absolute must. But keep in mind there are two sides to Ambre Fetiche, the fierce start and then the gentler dry down where it becomes a dreamy woody-amber.
Notes are listed as: frankincense, labdanum, styrax, benzoin, iris, vanilla and leather
Photos of Ambre Fetiche bottles are the brilliant works of Nathan Branch
PS: Did you notice the guy in the Cleopatra image licking her thigh? Well, the scent of Ambre Fetiche gives him the urge to lick, too.