Getting ready for a party recently, I put on an old tried-but-true and realized I´d never given it much attention on the blog. So here´s my brief, hot-weather kids-underfoot paean to Annick Goutal Passion, and the AG brand in general.
For some perfumistas, Annick Goutal isn´t niche enough. Pick an argument – they sell it at Nordstrom; it´s too pretty; it´s not sold in $900 casks and available only on alternate Tuesdays at the general store near the airstrip on Rarotonga. I´d counter-argue that any perfumer with Eau du Fier, Sables and Vetiver in its repertoire is plenty strange enough to qualify. I also happen to agree with Grain de Musc´s intelligent division of the AG line into various family members, with Passion being very much in the “mama” camp.
Passion has notes of tuberose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, vanilla, patchouli and oakmoss. The fragrance was created in 1983, on the early end of the AG spectrum, and (probably like everything else) seems to have been subtly reformulated over the years – I used to remember less vanilla.
Passion is a heady, Harlequin-romantic white floral that is very much not in my personal style, which is why my continued fondness for it confuses me. It´s not quite Fracas (what is?), but I wouldn´t want to find myself trapped in the theatre next to a woman wearing too much of it. There is something faintly lemon-candied about it at the opening that makes me think of PdNs like Maharanih; at the same time it smells very, well, Goutal. The hazy velvet of oakmoss is apparent from the start, grounding it while keeping it from being overly sweet.
If I were to assign temperatures to my perfume – and hey, it´s my blog, so here I go with my crazy theory – Passion is a warm scent. Its tuberose does not have the sex-bomb aloofness of Fracas, or the chilly hauteur of Carnal Flower. There is a casual sexiness about it; it´s the sort of scent that should be sprayed on before a date, with the hope (expectation?) that someone else will be helping you out of your pretty sundress later that evening.
In terms of technical merit I´d be forced to choose either Fracas or Carnal Flower as examples of why I am “into” perfume – the creative side, if you will. If, on the other hand, I wanted the men near me to lean in close, I´d choose Passion. Granted, people like what they like; maybe you are aroused by the smell of gunpowder, or mint. We´ve all seen the studies that say men dig the smell of bacon, or cookies. In spite of the name, Passion is stealth-sexy. If I wear Organza Indecence to a cocktail party, women look at me with suspicion. Its vanillic man-candy vibe makes it clear that I´m toying with their drunken husbands. Passion simply smells good; it´s the sort of scent that other women ask me what I´m wearing, while inducing cheerful flirtations from men.
My bottle is older and (knock wood) hasn´t turned, which AGs sometimes do. I have read online that the new formulation of Hadrien is wretched – apparently it´s been IFRA´d into something that smells like Lemon Pledge. I wonder whether the other Goutal eaux with citrus have been damaged. I can´t bear to think about it.
Do you have a favorite Annick Goutal? Hey, has anyone seen Mandragore Pourpre in stores yet? It says August release… I love the original and I think the notes for this one sound great. (via Fragrantica: bergamot, mint, star anise, amber, rosemary, geranium, pepper, patchouli, myrhh, incense and heliotrope.)