Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes

French house Annick Goutal makes charming scents in charming bottles, the sorts of bottles you want to wrap up and give as gifts.Among the hardcore perfume fans, Hadrian, Duel and Sables are among the most popular, and even the hardest of hearts might be melted by a spray of Gardenia Passion or Petite Cherie.

So when it was announced that the house had released Les Orientalistes –and they were developed by Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen – we were pretty darn excited.Here´s Patty and March´s take on this new line from the boutique in Paris.

When testing Ambre Fetiche, Myrrhe Ardente, and Encens Flamboyant we did some reading and saw comparisons of an incense or amber or myrrh to something similar in another line, but we’re both fangirls of Annick Goutal, so we also looked at these in terms of how they fit in with the other AG scents. You will find other myrrh, incense and amber scents better in some cases, or less, or just different, but you will be hard pressed to find three scents perfectly matched to fit like a tailored Hermes glove into the Goutal line.

Ambre Fetiche has notes of amber, frankincense, labdanum, styrax, benzoin, iris.

Patty: It’s fairly fierce on going on, not a subtle amber in the least, but not beastly (looking at Ambre Russe). Not being an amber groupie, this is a wearable amber on me, tempered by the incense in its base and feeling just a little on the sweetish side of amber, but not so much that it teeters off the sugar cliffs. Want to have some real fun with it? Spray it on over Sables. The dance between pancake syrup and incense has had my nose twitching in glee for hours this morning. Eau de Fier with this one or any of the incensi (?) is pure bliss.

March: Lord, what is it with me and amber? I’m sorry, but amber is one of those solo notes I’m completely unable to assess fairly. Smelling a dominant amber is like drinking a bottle of cough syrup — my stomach starts doing flip flops. The only ambers I really like are dirty things like Ambre Russe. Having said that, this isn’t as cloying as the Hermessence Nazgul. The frankincense and labdanum give a nice sharp edge to the otherwise too-sweet amber-benzoin combination; the “iris” registers more as a spicy adjunct to the frankincense than its own rooty-orris note (which on this occasion is too bad.) Would I wear this on its own? No, but amber lovers would, and it layers beautifully with the other two.

Myrrhe Ardente has notes of myrrh, benzoin, vanilla, tonka, gaiac wood, and honeyed beeswax.

Patty: Alone, this is probably not as easy/fun to wear — or at least not for me. I just don’t get a love or hate on it, it’s just, well, myrrh but combined with either the Amber or Encens makes this one come alive on my skin, takes some of the vanilla and sweet out of it. I can think of a ton of combinations I’d love to try it with.

March: This is my second favorite of the Orientalistes. There´s the medicinal note of myrrh in the opening, but it´s not overwhelming, much warmer and easier to wear than, say, Lutens´ La Myrhhe. If you like vanilla and benzoin – you´ll love this. If you don´t: look out. Between those notes, the tonka and the honey, this thing is sweet. Layered with the Encens, though, it´s nicely balanced.

Encens Flamboyant has notes of frankincense, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, fir and “pure extract of lentisque. Drawn from arid vegetation, it is also used in Kiphi, the prized Pharaonic perfume.”

Patty: Encens Flamboyant isn’t really flamboyant. That name makes me think of incense trussed up in a coochie girl outfit and pink hair. It’s pretty much a straight-up frankincense scent, along the lines of Avignon, with the warm Goutal’ish feel to it, but definitely my favorite of the three. Would happily wear this 8 days of the week, it goes with everything. So if you put on Sables one morning and go… huh… too much syrup, not enough pancake, throw some Encens over the top of it and have your breakfast in a monastery courtyard.

March: Having failed to be entranced by Jubilation XXV (what are you people smelling?), I was worried about whether I´d lost my lust for incense.Hah.I have no doubt that any number of you could provide me with explanations of why Amouage is a superior scent, but the Annick is my sort of incense.Incense scents are like black sweaters: I can´t have too many, and they´re all slightly different in their details.Flamboyant distinguishes itself by being neither churchy nor ethnic.It´s not cold and aloof.It´s … well, it´s very Annick.Peppery and spicy, with that fir note, I think it´s incense as a walk in the cold, clean outdoor air.It´s got excellent sillage – strong but transparent.

An aside: I don´t know whether the company ever said expressly that they were meant to be layered, but they seem designed that way.The Encens isn´t even a bit sweet, making it the perfect layering companion with the other two.The smell of the samples together when I ripped my package open was wonderful.

Patty: While none of these three will win prizes for breakthrough perfuming or some bold new take on incense, Goutal did what all perfume lines should do when they can’t make The Next Big Thing – tailor scents to fit their image, with their unique base, and that will complement many of the other perfumes in their line. So for me, this is the perfect addition to this line, and very well done.

Would that they would bring out a less expensive coffret of all three of these scents (we couldn’t find a great photo, but the existing coffret, a LE of the trio in 50 ml parfum strength in a white leather coffret) is 500 euros. Individual square 100ml EdP bottles are also available for 120 euros. Available only in Europe for right now, their availability in the United States has been pegged so far for mid to late 2008.

We’ll be taking tomorrow off, so we want to wish each of you the very best in the New year!!!

image: Edwin Long, Love’s Labor Lost, 1885, Dahesh Museum of Art, New York

52 Comments
Judith January 1, 2008

Back from NY and chiming in a day late--my impressions are similar to Marina's: I don't like the myrrhe, but that is my taste not their fault (never thought of layering--should try), amber is fine amber, liked the incense best--really liked it, in fact--but thought it was too much like many others I have smelled and own. On another front--March, I finally got enough Silver Factory to spray, and I do believe you are right that this makes the difference. I sprayed enough to get sillage (important to me) and I am enjoying it very much--MAY more over to more than that. I received a compliment at a New Year's party on it (although when the complimenter asked what it was and I replied "Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory," she looked really perplexed, and then brightened and said, "Oh, Andy WARHOL!". Ok. Sometimes I wonder if I should make up names):) Happy New Year to you!!!!

Masha January 1, 2008

I found the Encens a bit mushroomy/fishy also, and the MA was very nice in the drydown, a very good quality myrrh or several myrrhs were used. The Amber I liked best (it's a labdanum-based scent) but I couldn't believe the price! So I went home, mixed some good quality labdanum resin with real vanilla, neroli, and carnation in perfumer's alcohol, mixed it up, let it sit a bit, and got almost an identical scent for $10 instead! But full disclosure, AG's just don't work on me, the sharp thing happens. The 3 incenses are definitely worth a try, though, I just balk at the price.

violetnoir December 31, 2007

Happy New Year! Y'all simply rock! <:-p Hugs and love today and throughout the coming year.

Catherine December 31, 2007

These sound like fragrances I hope to love, yet AG perfumes never settle well on my skin. My mother and sisters love the AG samples I give them, however. So if I get around to ordering samples--probably when Aedes carries them (no more Europe-exclusive lemmings for me *hides phone*)--they will probably be the beneficiaries. Happy New Year, everyone! It has been fabulous finding you! :x

Robin December 31, 2007

Well, these sound nice but somehow was expecting more of a wow factor. March, you still haven't come around on Amouage Jubilation?? Best of everything in 2008 to you all!

Divalano December 31, 2007

I have a serious case of the Wants for these but since I'm officially out of money for the time being I'm just going to have to sit with it & wait. Can't think long enough to post anything clever or insightful about amber since I have to be running off & shouldn't even be skulking about on the Internet but I adore amber, am always curious about incense (love/hate for most incense). Happy healthy joyous new year to you all!

Marina December 31, 2007

For me myrrh is one of those notes that I’m completely unable to assess fairly, so I won't even say anything about Myrrhe Ardente. I thought Amber was just, well, amber. I liked Incense the most, in fact, I liked it a lot, but it is very much along the lines of other incensey-woody things like Black Tourmaline or Bois d'Encens. Also, none of them strike me as very "Goutal" :d Still, a nice, quality line...albeit wildly overpriced. On a different note, Happy New Year to Perfume Posse!

Malena December 31, 2007

i was more than curious about these & fortunately i wasn´t disappointed! i like the amber best, it gets a bit sweet on me, i only smell the incense note in the beginning. i like most amber scents, but they are always kind of strong, so i rarely wear them. this one´s lovely, though & i can see myself wearing it quite often. it´s my fist AG purchase in a pretty long time. the myrrhe is nicely done as well, but i get some weird note - like german herbal candy or something like that. it doesn´t put me off, but it definitely needs more sampling. i´m surprised by the incense: it´s smooth *wow* :"> like a more incensy version of SL chêne. it´s wonderful, though i´m rarely into incense scents: this is great :) i´m wishing you all a happy new year!

Anne December 31, 2007

One of my always resolutions is when I think something good about someone I don't just keep it to myself. I seek that person/persons out and tell them. So to the Posse... thank you. What goes on here has added so much joy to my life. You all are truly beautiful people. Re: the AG's that I've tried, appreciate Hadrien and thought I'd found a fav with Mandragore but it was gone in an hour. Several have mentioned this sharp note thang. I get that too with the AG's and it sorta keeps the juice out there for me, doesn't allow the scent to settle, blend with me/my skin. Weird. Waiting for my samples of this new trio to arrive. I have high hopes. Oh, Lee if you're there. What is Nazgul? :)>-

chayaruchama December 31, 2007

Firstly- I'm thanking you all for such a memorable year... Wonderful folk, you are. Agile minds, loving spirits. Be blessed in the New Year ! Secondly- I'm with CC and helg- I think that there is a touch of ?Australian sandalwood lending its spiky resinous self to this mix... maybe even a little Ambroxan. I like the first two, and am OK with the Encens- but it seems like a sheerer veil of other scents I've smelled. The MA really breathes life if you pair it with a soliflore carnation note- like Prada Oeillet. AF feels much less about amber than it does about incense... But PART of the fun is how varied our responses are- and what our noses pick up ! Love to you all...

Louise December 31, 2007

I was very eager to try the trio, full well knowing that AG and I don't have a solid relationship. Most of the line runs away with Maria's AGs. For the few that hang around, I just wonder why they just don't really like me? They're so lovely on others. On me the Flamboyant is all March fortunately doesn't get-very cold and sharp. I love me some incense, but this simply doesn't work on me. The Myrrhe is so very quiet on me, I pretty much note only a smidge of beeswax. The Amber is the best of the crowd, I think, and as a full-on amber freak, I appreciate its quiet, dry charm (sorta like one of you bloggers;) ). But I still prefer my fuller ambers-Russe, Blue, and lately, Aurea. Ah, money saved. I am so happy to look forward to all the gifts of chuckles and wisdom the Posse will share with us this upcoming year. Happy, safe New Year to all. :d/

MattS December 31, 2007

Damn. No more incense reviews! Talk about something I don't like. Devote a week to sweet, girly florals. Awww, heck you guys could probably sway me on that as well. I've yet to explore the AG line at all and have kind of been on the fence about it but this bunch could lure me in. There's no such thing as debtor's prison any more, right? Speaking of florals, not necessarily girly or sweet, I did get a whiff of Fracas this holiday and that is some heady, lovely stuff. My mom received a sample of it in with a Christmas gift and I was tempted to swipe it when she wasn't looking. I would love to smell it on a woman with a gun in her hand. :d That would be an elegantly dressed woman with a revolver not Ma Kettle with a shotgun. Just for clarification. Happy New Years to all! Champagne toasts all around!

Nina December 31, 2007

Being an amber/incense junkie, I've been panting for a review of these, so megathanks. I'm detecting contained approval, rather than stampede-for-a-bottle? There's not a single Goutal that has leapt out at me screaming 'I'm yours!' so far, so I have my doubts. But still...damn, will that browser EVER open on TPC?...these are must-tries. Happy New Year, Posse, and thanks for the brill blog!

helg perfumeshrine December 31, 2007

I have heard good things about those three, so you only confirm my suspicions that I must sniff those. Encens sounds more my thing (love incenses and a dry one sounds exquisite) but maybe the rest could also see good use. The leather case with the three Orientalistes is delectable, isn't it? The sharp note that Denyse mentions though has me in a little doubt: benzoin, it can't be (it has a hazy caramel tone to it from the batches I have smelled). I suspect some synthesized odour? In any case... Have a great new year ahead!:x

Lee December 31, 2007

I'm not an amber fan really (and though I love the Nazgul, that isn't so much about amber to me) but I thought this amber was exceptional. The myrrhe is mushroomy to me more than sweet, and the Encens has some strong similarities to Chene (thanks Lou for suggesting that - you're dead right). They're a great trio of scents. Unlike you two, I'm not a AG fanboy. They just don't mesh with me. I admire Hadrien, Sud, Sables, Duel, but they just sit there pouting on my skin. Mandragore is gorgeous but never lasts. Eau de Fier - must sniff some time...

carmencanada December 31, 2007

Like you, March, I'm really not too keen on amber: any time it dominates, it just eats up every other smell and makes me queasy. But the new Goutal is just about at the level I can tolerate, and the incense note cools it down a bit. Once more with the Goutals, though, I get this sharp, spiky note I also perceive in Vanille Exquise and the Jasmin. I thought it was benzoin, but I smelled benzoin on its own (with Patty at Patou) and it's not sharp at all, so I'm at a loss to pinpoint its origin. Do you get it too, and if so, any idea what it is?

Gaia December 31, 2007

*happily trotting after Tom to the TPC*

Maria December 31, 2007

I love incense of course. I admire several Annick Goutal fragrances--for the five minutes or so they stay on my skin. Okay, with Eau de Fier it's more like ten minutes. I'm not getting excited about these; they'll just dump me and go on to someone new after they've gotten me all interested and hopeful. :((

Joan December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR! You all smell soooo goooood...

tmp00 December 31, 2007

These read so yummy- off to TPC I go...