Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Annick Goutal Eau de Fier

You’ve heard the expression, Sexy Ugly, right? I use it plenty to describe a person who is not conventionally beautiful or handsome but there’s just something...some sort of charisma, twinkle in the eye, strut or sex appeal that you can’t deny? I categorize Benicio del Toro, Denis Leary, David Duchovny, Milla Jovovich and Uma Thurman as Sexy Ugly. When you pull apart the features of these individuals, they might not be attractive, but as a whole, a sum of their parts, it all works, and you find them quite attractive.

Annick Goutal Eau de Fier is Sexy Ugly. Eau de Fier (EdF) is a blend of some of the ugliest stuff in perfumery; the tarriest birch tar, rubber, smoky, smoky, smoky tea and some citrus and a touch of fruit (if you’re looking for it). Eau de Fier is not conventionally pretty, nor is it perhaps acceptable for the office, if you work in a corporate suited-up environment, but I’m so attracted to it that I just can’t keep my hands off the bottle.

Eau de Fier goes on sheer, but it lasts for days. I find it an odd juxtaposition of sheer and potent; you might not realize it’s still there, but it most certainly is. I sprayed it on a male friend of mine, on his arm, and a bit got onto his sweater when he rolled his sleeve back down. I smelled it on him until he washed the sweater. Eau de Fier just doesn’t quit. It is a tenacious sexy beast.

If Bulgari Black is not your thing because it smells slightly rubber-y then you should stay away from Eau de Fier. EdF is hardcore. It is shocking that EdF comes from the house of Annick Goutal, who, for the most part, create charming, natural and conventionally pretty fragrances. I don’t know how EdF got out the door, because this, THIS is the most avant-garde fragrance I’ve ever smelled (yeah, yeah, Tubereuse Criminelle starts off shocking but it settles down, becomes tame and pretty after 30 minutes). EdF is something you’d expect from Comme des Garcons, I'm thinking of their Tar.

As far as I know EdF is discontinued making it impossible to find, and this makes me want to cry. Surely EdF wasn’t selling like hotcakes, but I wish AG would continue making a small supply for perfume aficionados, oh, maybe, 250 bottles per year or something. It should never cease to exist. EdF needs to exist, it needs to represent it’s end of the perfume spectrum, the end where horrific beauty that can be imagined. Eau de Fier smells like fresh lapsang souchong tea leaves. Very smoky tea leaves, over scorched leather and rubber. It begins with a burst of citrus, which never entirely vanishes, but gets pushed aside by the more aggressive smoky tea, tar and leather. About a half hour in an apricot-like fruity note emerges (guessing osmanthus) and this stays until the far dry down. I think it’s magnificent.

The Non Blonde recently reviewed Eau de Fier and Bois de Jasmin also reviewed EdF a few years back. Proof that I’m not alone in my lunacy :-)

Notes: bitter orange, osmanthus, salt flower, clove, tea, and birch tar

PS: I could not find a photo of the bottle anywhere, so the above pic is a collection of their masculine bottles, which is the same as their Eau de Fier bottle.


Mals86 said...

Tommy Lee Jones. There's my Sexy Ugly. (Whew, fans self.) Is the French term for that "jolie-laide"?

I think I may stick with Black and Tabac Aurea, since I have a low threshold for smoke.

junaduft said...

Great review, Abigail. I'll have to try this one.

Tania said...

I used to hate smokey fragrances, but I'm coming around. This sounds interesting. It also sounds a bit like the CdG Leaf Series: Tea which is languishing in my cupboard somewhere. That's lapsang in a bottle - perhaps I need to dig it out and revisit it! Because if this one is dicontinued, that way lies heartache... ;-)

Elisa said...

Milla Jovovich?! I agree with your other sexy-ugly picks, but she strikes me as conventionally beautiful. :)

I've only smelled Black on paper, and didn't get the "hot rubber" effect. It just smelled like vanilla to me. I wonder if the "black" part comes out more on skin?

violetnoir said...

Tea, osmanthus, salt, smoke, leather, some citrus...What's not to love, Abigail? I seriously need to test this one.

Thank you for your great review.


Martha said...

Birch tar! Birch tar!

Excitement. Ever since I learned that Patchouli 24 should really be Birch Tar 24 I've been excited about that note. _And_ tea _and_ smoke _and_ rubber? Ooh.

And bitter orange?! And osmanthus? Did they make this for me?

It sounds fabulous. It also sounds like a (distant) cousin of Serge Noire, rather than a Goutal. It also sounds like Something Else To Grieve.

carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

@Mals: "jolie-laide" doesn't convey the idea of sexiness and only applies to women. Think Isabella Blow...

As for Eau du Fier, its toughness isn't unique in the Goutal collection. Duel and Sables are pretty potent stuff as well. In fact you could say that tough strain runs through the masculine side of the collection, though I find it's also seeped into Encens Flamboyant. I believe it reflects Isabelle Doyen's more rebellious traits (as does, for instance, her Turtle Vetiver for Les Nez).
Anyway, thanks for reminding me of Eau du Fier, I'll be re-trying it next chance I get.

Renata Tavares said...

I think i found an image of Eau de Fier on the Web. It is on Annick Goutal´s NL website:


Anonymous said...

They stock it in the rue de castiglioni branch in Paris - I got some for Christmas and it is wonderful.