Annick Goutal for Monsieur and Me

Musette is hard at work on the Chicago Thingy a get-together with perfume and chocolate in Chicago on a Saturday in September/October. Have you been to Chicago? Chicago has: great food; interesting architecture; excellent theater; amazing shopping. And did I mention chocolate? And perfume? Anyway, that is Musette in the photo, and … wow, look at her, does she not slay? (Musette, is that your bike? I think so.) She is working on a day of chocolate and perfumage including potentially: Saks, L´Artisan, Barneys, Nordstrom, Godiva, Lindt, Ethel´s, Vosges, Sarah´s Candies … wait, sorry, I had to wipe the drool off my keyboard. We´ll also put together a list of other things to see/do/visit, in the perfume/chocolate world and beyond. I took the architecture tour on the river and loved it. We are not calling this a Sniffa – the Karens own that name, as far as I know, so we need something else. I find Chicago Thingy amusing, but Musette quite reasonably thinks we need something more mellifluous in terms of getting the stores to sponsor stuff and cough up goodies. What do you think of Chi-cocoa Scentsation, suggested by our other fab Chicago volunteer, Shelley? Any other ideas/suggestions regarding any aspect of this thingy?

* * *

Annick Goutal Sables seems to be enjoying a (deserved) resurgence, my having run across it recently on the shelf in various places. That´s one I thought would have gotten the chop by now, because it´s so odd, but I´m happy to discover it in the lineup next to the masculine bottles of Duel, Hadrian, Mandragore and the rest. But all the Sables in the world can´t really replace Eau de Monsieur.

I have been told several times that Annick Goutal Eau de Monsieur is discontinued, although I don´t know whether that´s true — it´s the sort of thing sales associates tell you when they don´t have any. I have never seen Monsieur in a retail store. It doesn´t appear on any of the AG websites that I can find, and it´s getting a bit harder to find on the internet. Osmoz calls it a woody chypre and lists citron, oakmoss, amber and sandalwood, a list that feels suspiciously incomplete to me.

I´m pretty sure it was tmp00 who sent me a decant of Eau de Monsieur eons ago, when I was on one of my immortelle benders; he thought it smelled like immortelle, and I agreed. Among other interesting nuggets in The Guide, I was happy to see Tania Sanchez describe Eau de Monsieur as having “the crispness of citrus, a mossy chypre background, all made interesting by a touch of the fascinating caramel-curry note of immortelle.” She labels it citrus mossy and gives it four stars.

Eau de Monsieur starts off as a very Goutal-ish confection of citrus, woods and the sprightly herbal greenness you get from Hadrian. At that point it´s merely enjoyable – the sort of thing, like a higher grade Muelhens 4711, that you´d throw on on a hot summer day. The oakmoss makes its appearance, but even then it is delicate and nuanced; despite its name, this barely qualifies as a masculine. I´d call it solidly unisex, along the lines of Duel or Hadrian. It isn´t until well into the drydown (30 minutes or so) that the immortelle begins its wonderful, distinctive dance on my skin, its maple-curry sweetness tempered beautifully by the dryness of the oakmoss.

I think in its own understated way, Eau de Monsieur is a perfect scent – managing to give just enough (but not too much) of several enjoyable aspects of perfumery. It doesn´t have the kill-me-now, 48-hour one-note persistence that Sables has, the only time immortelle has worn out its welcome, and then some. If it had more of a chypre feel it would conversely be less accessible in warm weather, which is when it seems most right, although you could argue it´s essentially seasonless. It´s a cologne that´s more than a cologne, by which I mean it´s not gone in 20 minutes, yet it retains that element of refreshment. In contrast, Dior´s Eau Noire is many things, but refreshing it is not, at least not to me. The only suggestion I can make to the house regarding Monsieur’s improvement would be to resurrect it if, in fact, it is dead, and place it prominently on the shelf at a Sephora near you.

  • el-turbo says:

    Sept-Oct is a wonderful time to be in Chicago. Don’t forget a trip to Mertz Apothecary in Lincoln Square. They have soaps, lotions and potions from around the world… Maybe a glass of wine or espresso afterward at Cafe Selmarie, sitting outside the plaza. What about a trip to Devon Ave with all the fragrant Indian/Pakistani shops and people watching. Our new shining glory, Millennium Park, is not to be missed. How exciting!!! Perfume, Chicago and Chocolate. What could be better!

    • Musette says:

      el-turbo, You’ll be joining us, I hope? I know this is blasphemous but I was going to offer up Merz in the downtown Marshall,er, Macy’s for those who would like to do that without the travel uptown (though I adore the original Merz and adore Selmarie – perhaps an option for Not Saturday?). It won’t be on our Saturday ‘group’ jaunt but this is a very casual thing so folks can pop in and out as they like, I think,and Macy’s isn’t that far from Nordie’s, which will be our southernmost stop. There used to be a Shiseido store over on Lawrence and Kedzie (I think) Do you know if it’s still there? It’s one of those storefront places where they bring it in directly from Japan and always have stuff that isn’t sold at the mainstream stores. I’d love to get any/all ideas from folks who have little, out-of-the-way, niche shops like Merz and Shiseido to come forward with their suggestions.

      I hope the weather is a bit more consistent, whenever we do it. Friday it was nearly 80, now it’s 40! Yikes!

      • Shelley says:

        Sheesh, yeah, the weather…had my little toesies ready to peek out, and BLAMMO, back into nice thick socks. The gardener in me know better…but really, sleet yesterday? For Pete’s sake…

        Merz is a delightful place, of course. Any lurking aroma-therapists will go ga-ga at the essential oil collections. I like it as part of the Off-Mich menu. (Pick three from the cocoa column, two from the unique shop column…)

        There are going to so many wonderful little spots that people are going to think of. Shiseido, eh? I never noticed…will have to try to drive by. (What, me Google? When I might have to WALK IN and check it out???) 😕

        • March says:

          Yeah, the weather here got cold again too. In the 70s, and then in the 40s. I’m ready to start complaining about the heat. /:)

  • oeditrix says:

    Also, Eau de Monsieur sounds wonderful. I love AG men’s/unisex scents, but Sables is still too syrupy for me and the oakmoss sounds like it balances things somewhat. . .

    • March says:

      If you like the other AG men’s scents, you should definitely consider trying Monsieur out. It’s 1/5 the immortelle of Sables, and separate from that is a flat-out lovely scent.

  • oeditrix says:

    I live in Chicago too, and am also a recent perfume enthusiast. This is so exciting! Don’t forget there’s a Chanel boutique in the Drake Hotel here, so Les Exclusifs are on the scent menu . . . .

  • Lindsey9107 says:

    Hi everyone! I am a newly converted perfumista, and would love to meet a bunch of you in real life! I’m here in Chicago, so if I can help with anything let me know. 🙂

  • Shelley says:

    All I am going to say for now is that Musette is smokin’ … in prose always, but holy cow, what a pic! And to have a bespoke bike rather than bespoke suit; wonderful. I’m feeling like that Bandit I got in the mail today got here just in time.

    Am thrilled to be helping with the off-Mich Boulevard portion of ChiCocoa Scentsation–and more so at the prospect of touring the scent bars with such fine company!

    • March says:

      It’s going to be great, I am very much looking forward to it, and thanks for offering your help. :)>-

      • Musette says:

        Hey March (and everyone):

        Me, smokin? ME? Lemme tell you about Shelley. You want smokin’? How about a woman who runs an ENTIRE ORCHESTRA….as a side job!!!! PLUS, plays killer woodwind….AND goes and finds the conductor when he is late for the show?;;) (that was so cute, btw)

        I had the distinct pleasure of meeting her on Sunday, at a concert her orchestra gave. We met, hugged and immediately started sniffing each other’s wrists, like Very Confused Dogs=)). She wore Bois des Iles in honor of Tchaikovsky and I wore a dab of Schiaparelli Shocking which, even lightly applied, is pretty potent.

        anyway, she’s extremo-cool…AND she’s bringing a virtuoso violinist/trapeze artist to the Scentsation! I’m already in love!

        • Shelley says:

          :d Musette, you have a way of making folks feel mighty fine…

          I am laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes…can you imagine…Musette introduces herself to me, and it takes me all of a sentence and 1/2 before I’m holding up my arm and saying “Smell this!” and asking what she has on. I’m not sure what entertained that little section of the audience more: the music, or the Perfumista & Her Faithful Wanna-Be (that would be me) show.

          More soon…I see you are discussing Merz below…good stuff…

          • March says:

            Well, that sounds … pretty much like two perfume-crazy women getting together. Fun, isn’t it? That’s how Louise and I met — in the fragrance section in Sephora. We sniff each other in public all the time, and do get some strange looks.

            Thanks to both of you for all your work on this, I think it will be fantastic. <:-p

  • rosarita says:

    ChiCocoa Sensation, how cool is that?! Well, I’m excited, and Musette looks absolutely smoking hot in that pic 🙂 So, yes, I can drive up from farm country for at least one day if not both. My husband and I have wanted to do that architecture tour forever. There’s a walking one in Oak Park that focuses on Frank Lloyd Wright homes, too. And is the Chanel boutique on Michigan Ave. included? Here’s hoping somebody hires me for the summer, I need to save up…$-)

    • March says:

      Musette’s going to check out the Chanel boutique and see if they have Les Exclusifs, not all of them do. Ours doesn’t, for instance. :-w

      Yay, I would love to meet you!

    • Lindsey9107 says:

      Hi! Chicagoan here – are you rosarita on MUA too?

      Wanted to say I’ve done the Oak Park walking tour you mention – it is well worth it!

    • Musette says:

      <:-p (this had better be Celebration Guy). Rosarita, are you near an Amtrak line? I’m deeeep in farm country and luckily can take the train in – and I do! About 1/5th what it costs to drive and no drama.

      Can’t wait to meet you. We’ll swap cow stories with Patty!!!


  • Vida says:

    CHICocoa Scentsation! What a GREAT reason to visit my birth place! Missed meeting all you lovelies at the NY Sniffa, so look forward to new friends (and 10 more pounds due to chocolate!)

  • kathleen says:

    Hot Shot!!!

  • pavlova says:

    Musette — you are simply fantastic beyond words! That photo looks like a still from a movie set, and you are the star . Would LOVE to come to Chicago and will try to make it happen. The combination of perfume, chocolate, champagne, and meeting all of you makes the trip just irresistable.

    • Musette says:


      If you only knew….that was a hellish ride up Mulholland Hwy, to the Rock Store. Let’s just say that rushing up a cliffedge switchback @ 70mph on the Flagship of the Indian Motorcycle Federation is not for the faint of heart, especially ifyou’re in a pack of psychos. My regular bike is a Harley Road King – that Indian bespoke bike was designed by a 6’6″ man with a wingspan like a pterodactyl. I was just mustering up my nerve to wrestle it for the cliff-edge ride back down! It was a lot of fun, though! Incredible photo, though – I will be using it as my ‘poster’ when I’m ninety! Can’t wait to meet you in Chicago!

      • March says:

        You know … I *thought* that bike looked big for you, even though you are larger than life. 🙂

        • Musette says:

          They’re HUGE – but not much larger than my regular bike. It’s the damn handlebars. Rey Sotelo designed those bikes and he’s taller than Shaq! Oddly enough, the bike is very well balanced…but it’s way big!

  • Teri says:

    How marvelous to have a scent-centered gala in my home town of Chicago, particularly if one knows the etymology of the city’s name.

    The name Chicago is derived from the local Indian word chicagoua for the native garlic plant (not onion) Allium tricoccum. This garlic grew in abundance on the south end of Lake Michigan on the wooded banks of the extensive river system which bore the same name, chicagoua.

    From such a stinky start in life, Chicago has come a long way. lol Please post the details when they are all arranged, I’d love to have an excuse to go home for a visit. :d

  • Robin says:

    Was already jealous that I couldn’t come to Chicago to smell perfume, now you’ve added chocolate and Musette!

    Eau de Monsieur might as well get discontinued, right? It won’t be the same without the oakmoss. I’m waiting to see what happens to Eau de Guerlain after they de-moss it — to me, Eau de Monsieur was Eau de Guerlain, embellished.

    • March says:

      I can’t believe you’re going to skip the chocolate. [-( I know about your dark addictions, woman! You neeeeeeed a trip to Chicago. Explain this to your family, I am sure they will understand. 8-|

      Eau de Monsieur de-mossed is … the most depressing thought. 🙁

    • Musette says:

      C’mon, ya know you want to>:)

      see? even the little [-o< says so (or is it this oneo:-) I can't actually tell if that's a halo or a muffin on his head!) xo

    • Robin says:

      I do need a trip to Chicago! But the year’s vacation money is already spent, and here it is only April 🙂

  • Patty says:

    Musette, you are my hero! And I’ll absolutely be there with bells on.

    So how did I miss Eau de monsieur? I need to rectify that, it may be the Sables I can sleep with instead of just flirt with.

    • March says:

      Patty, it was so darn pretty. Just immortelle on my arm all afternoon and evening, but soft and nice and not clobbering me over the head like a frying pan.

    • Musette says:

      Holy Mackalackerel! You serious? Whoo-hoooooo!

      This is beyond exciting You AND March? Dang. I’m beyond excited.<:-p (I'm trying so hard to not use all the exclamation points in the Known Universe as well as all the caps. This is going to be SO MUCH EFFIN' FUN! - see how long that lasted? Shelley will be getting with the Off Mag Mile Sunday in a few days - I will start getting the rest of the stuff started (hotel info, etc). Are we going to stick with the fantabulous Chi-cocoa Scentsation?

  • Anthony says:

    !!!!!!!! I want to know what perfume Musette is wearing in that picture! Chicago is an amazing place… I lived there studying with the Civic Orchestra for a year, and it’s changed so much since I was living there (only 5 years ago). IF you all find yourselves with extra time, a drive around Evanston is really worth it and beautiful. It’s JUST north of the city where Northwestern University is… there are tons of shops and restaurants and it’s a great place for lunch, and there’s a Peet’s coffe there 😀 😀 :D. Anyway… I wish I was still there to be able to participate.

    • March says:

      Chicago is great in all ways except … well, the weather frankly. I have a dear friend there, from college, and I went home with her over Thanksgiving and thought I would DIE. My wussiness was apparent.

      • Musette says:

        Die from cold? Or hot? Here, you just never know! I was born in Chicago the day after Thanksgiving in the year of Our Lord I Ain’t Tellin’….and according to all present it was 80 degrees that day!

    • Musette says:

      Anthony, I was either wearing Calyx or Bal a Versailles. Since it’s a mad-rush Event, it was probably Calyx. Two bizarrely-opposite frags, though, huh?

      I grew up in Evanston, back when it was more of a hick town. It’s so totally changed now – they’re fighting over some godforsaken highrise! For all that, it’s still a lovely place.

      Wish you could come, too! You never know…..:-?

  • violetnoir says:

    Oh my goodness, Musette, you are fine! 🙂 I love the photo, and wish that I could be in Chicago in the Fall, instead of the summer, for the perfume-chocolate get together, as I love them both!

    March, AG’s perfumes are so wonderful! My sister wears nothing but her fragrances. I want to smell Eau de Monsieur and…Musc Nomade…I want to test the latter one so-o-o badly. :((

    Great post and photo. Thank you, darling!


  • aelily says:

    I was so jealous reading about how fun the Sniffa was; now I am SO excited about a Chicago event and like the name Chi-cocoa Scentsation. Please keep me posted.

    This post was interestingly coincidental. I am working my way through an AG sample pack (thank you TPC), and wore Sables yesterday. I put it on in the morning, (using a dabber-wand-thingy), worked out last night, showered last night, and still smelled it in my hair this morning. And it was only one note, ALL… DAY…AND…NIGHT… Now, it is a yummy note and I did enjoy it, but I was unprepared for the incredible, (almost unwanted) staying power! I will have to locate Eau de Monsieur to try.

    • March says:

      Love your description. All day, all night. Didn’t you just want it to vamoose already? Excuse itself and go home?

  • GGS says:

    Love to do a Chicago thingy! There is typically a fall Sniffa event in NYC though, so for those of us who might try to do both, it would be hugely appreciated if you could separate the 2 events by three or four weeks so our credit cards can cool off!

    Never tried Eau de Monsieur, but hearing about the opening green notes makes it sound very interesting. I can only enjoy Sables in the bottle, too heavy on the maple syrup to be wearable for me.

    • Musette says:

      well, I already have a girl-crush on you, so we’ll have our little Forbidden Love, shall we?;).

      I always picture you as this raven-haired, Bebe Neuwirth type (with a better haircut) and cherry-red lipstick, making menses and womenses alike swoon as you speak lyrical French with abandon. You’re in a slate green Chanel suit in this picture, btw. Hope you like it!:-)

      You get on down here (over? up?) for the Thingy!

      • Louise says:

        Bebe, eh? hmmm…well, I got me short spiky red hair at the moment, but the occasional bons mots and red lips are close :d/
        I am hopin’ to make it to the Chicago-Choco-Coco bachanal-let’s get is on, baby :d

    • Musette says:

      GCS –

      I think that’s an excellent idea. I’d blanked on the Fall Sniffa – since we’re definitely not trying to compete we’ll work our schedule around theirs. Back to you all with definite dates, anon.

  • Suzanne says:

    Don’t know a thing about Sables, but had to comment because Musette is hot!! I’d love to know what scent she’s wearing in that photo. Tabac Blonde is what’s going thru my mind.

  • Debbie says:

    A hotel(s) needs to be pointed out for those of us coming out of town. It needs to be something close to the action so that we don’t waste time and money on transportation. When I was there, we were so far out that I spent too much on cab fare. Maybe a couple of recommendations?

    • March says:

      Yep, we’re going to pull together an info packet that has stuff like local hotels (I definitely want to be downtown) and other shopping info. We’re not going to hit everything in one day, let’s be realistic. So the goal is an info sheet on other perfume shops and boutiques in the area that people can visit on their own (I am assuming most folks won’t go for just *one day* if they can have longer time there, so much to see. And info on the museums, the boat tour etc. I thought the boat tour would be cheesy but it was great.

  • Debbie says:

    It is so great how the Chicago event is shaping up! I love Chicago. My husband had to go there once for something. I went along and explored the museums. Fantastic! I’d love to do an architecture boat tour too.

    I thought Sables was great, but not sure if I could wear it. I think you’re right about it going on too long.

    • March says:

      If Louise says it goes on too long … well, it goes on too long! 😉 Fragrances have difficulty attaching themselves to her skin.

  • Louise says:

    OMG-I already had a girl-crush on Musette from her witty comments…but now the leather…swoon :d

    I just haven’t met an AG that likes me :(( but will give Mr. a spin. Sables is too much, even for me-hard as that is to

    • March says:

      Hahahaha! Sables too much for you? Makes me feel oddly better. Sables is one of those goAWAYalready!!! mistakes I made in the overspray, addicted to that smell. And it stayed on my clothes forever. That said, I believe I saw it at our Saks last time, and that pleases me.

    • Musette says:

      Louise, my comment to you is way down with GCS for some reason.

      Lordy… here’s[-o< this one goes to the right place.

  • Silvia says:

    The next time I harbour the (dis)illusion to be a biker chick when I ride my 100cc Peugeot scooter to work, I’ll picture Musette and hide in shame.
    Chicago is so cool: the Art Institute is probably one of the best museums I have ever visited and I have read all the VI Warshawski books by Sarah Paretski. Now with perfume and chocolate, it’d be an irresistible place, if only there wasn’t an ocean in between…

    • March says:

      Aw, c’mon, don’t let an ocean stop you! 😮

      /:) Well, I understand, but we’d still love to meet you.

      The Art Institute is excellent.

    • Musette says:

      Don’t you dare! You get on that scooter and work it!!!!

      I’ll let you in on a little secret. Bikers are really stupid on scooters the first few times. Reason: we LEAN to make turns (have to). with scooters and trikes you actually turn the wheel. Let me just tell you how stupid a biker, in all his/her biker-glory looks when they do an Arte Johnson on a scooter (especially after they’ve dissed the scooter and rider! I have a friend who literally just…fell over! I didn’t think it was possible to fall down laughing – but it is!

  • Judith says:

    I have only been to Chicago for conventions. I would love to go again for something more fun!:)

    • March says:

      This would DEFINITELY be more fun than a convention, unless the conventions you go to are a lot more fun than the ones I’ve been to.

  • Marina says:

    I would love to go to Chicago again, loved the city! (It won’t be the same without Ina though 🙁 )

    • March says:

      Well, it won’t be the same without Ina. She’s the one who showed me all the goodies the last time, and introduced me to Sarah’s. :@)

  • MattS says:

    Omigod. Enough about Annick Goutal, Musette is HOT!! I love it when we get to see pictures of people who comment all the time. They always surprise. Okay, I wanna go to the Chicago Thingy and do a shot with Musette. Does Barney’s Chicago have a bar?

    • March says:

      They have a bar, but I think it’s only stocked with perfume. 😉 Any chance you could save up some simoleans and make it? I would love to meet you.

      • Musette says:

        Me, too! And thanks for the compliment (insert blushing emoticon – I don’t trust them one damn bit today:-)

        Save up those simoleans! We’re drinking tons of GOOD champagne after the event, followed by martinis, followed by some ibuprophen.


        • MattS says:

          Hot chicks and great scents, champagne and martinis?? Chocolate notwithstanding, I’m there. I’ll head up the Hot Guys Contingent. Any takers? Let’s all start saving our Financial Stimulus Checks; we’ll be patriots, doing our part to get the economy going. I’ll accept that responsibility.:d

          • March says:

            Dude, is your stimulus check REALLY going to last until fall? :-w Be honest with me, now.

            You should definitely come, though! We welcome masculinity at these events. >:d<

          • MattS says:

            Ummm…no. There’s a couple of full bottles I’m needing and a pair of Frye boots I’m jonesing for mighty bad. Investments, you know. But I totally wanna come to this and I don’t mind being the Token Guy.

  • tmp00 says:

    I will be seriously po’d if this is indeed gone! I love and adore Sables, but this is like Sables brother- the one who starts to look better and better with his polo shirts and even temper while Sables is insisting in doing his yoga in the nude while your maiden Aunt Yetta is visiting.

    Not to say that I am indeed glad that Sables is out there again but dammit this one deserves to stay too! But Goutal has wounded me in the past with the death of Eau de Fier; just twist the knife why don’t you!:((

    • March says:

      I know, I know! And you’d think they’d hold onto one called Monsieur, of all things. I remember when you sent it I was focused mostly on the immortelle, but all around it’s a great unisex fragrance, and you’ve got me giggling but you’re right, it’s much better behaved than Sables.

  • sweetlife says:

    Holy crap! Musette you are:* and no doubt inspire a lot of :”> and :* in those black leathers, girl. Whoooweee. Now I feel like even more of a l-) for not keeping up more properly with our correspondence. Forgive me?

    All that and smellin’ good too. It’s too much.

    (Now waiting to see if the emoticons will cooperate)

    • sweetlife says:

      OK, that first little guy is supposed to be something else and is followed by blushing guy. You know, until I became a posse-ite I disdained all emoticons, but over here it just feels so right, somehow.

      Anyway, you get the idea!

      • March says:

        It wouldn’t be the same without the emoticons, would it? Although we used to have a lightbulb guy in an earlier iteration, and I miss it.

        Whistling Guy is always Question Guy now. The rest of them play along when they feel like it. I did wonder about your choice of the kissing chick!

        • Musette says:

          You two! (blushing guy:-) Thanks, sweetlife! That’s me, with my mouth wide-the-hell OPEN, as always, yellin’ away!

          I know you are busy – holla when you can. And see if you can take some time out to come to Chicago!

          One last thing: with your phenomenal creativity in writing….do you have a name to put on the table? We simply cannot call it Thingy!


          • sweetlife says:

            Well…since you’ve flattered me so shamelessly I’ll put my brain to work on it, today. Chicago — chic — chocolate — hmmm…

            Hey, once y’all reminded me of the Art Institute it greatly weakened my resistance to another trip (been traveling too damn much lately). Wish I still had friends in town, as that’s what makes the NYC Sniffa doable for me…we’ll see, maybe I can think of a way to make it a “business” trip.