Ann Gerard Perfume: Subtle Gems for Autumn – By Marla
It takes Some Kinda Perfume to coax me out of my sandy hidey hole and actually write a review these days. So I’m happy to report, I have been lured by not one, but three new niche perfumes from Ann Gerard Perfume. And they are available on both sides of the Atlantic. And they don’t cost over $1,000!
Actually, I was intrigued with the new line of Ann Gerard perfume because she met all my stringent criteria on what a new niche line should and should not do: (http://perfumesmellinthings.blogspot.com/2011/12/mirabella-cat-announces-new-niche-brand.html)
Ann Gerard has a coherent style (I particularly love her moonstone jewelry), and her perfumes match the ethereal jewelry designs in terms of aesthetics. She came out with just 3, not 30 perfumes. There is a beautifully presented sample set for a reasonable price available ($65 at Luckyscent, for three 9ml bottles). The perfumes are well made and are neither sketches nor “everything but the kitchen sink” gamotches. She chose the ubiquitous Bertrand Duchaufour as her nose, but it’s a good choice, and the compositions are quirky, unique, and wearable. I bought the Discovery Set, and I’m glad I did. I’m seriously in love with two of the three, and flirting with the third. Good grief. What a tart.
The first, Cuir de Nacre, is the 2010 Pleine Lune renamed and repackaged. I was sad I couldn’t try this several years ago, but it was only available in Ann Gerard’s boutique in Paris. It’s a soft, sueded iris, subtle and shimmery like moonstone. Ozone and aldehydes are mentioned in the notes, but I get mostly the iris, suede, and cassie. There’s a dollop of piquant angelica at the top that gives it playfulness. It reminds me of Duchaufour’s Traversee du Bosphore for L’Artisan Parfumeur, but has none of TdB’s sweetness, and is much more delicate. So if you thought TdB was too sweet or nose-whomping (as I’ve read in some reviews), you might prefer this gentle cousin. Sillage is the most minimal of the three, and it’s also the most fleeting, but it does remain as a snuggly skin scent for quite a few hours.
The second, Ciel d’Opale, is a brighter, bolder riff based on the same theme as Cuir de Nacre. Linden, quince, lemon, and honeysuckle are set off with Sichuan peppercorns (quite a different pepper than the pink variety). It’s very green, slightly sweet, and reminds me very much of strolling in a garden at the bitter end of summer when the breeze is chilly but the sun still shines through the leaves. This is my favorite of the three, and a Mexican Jelly Opal (the most vibrant) is the stone I’d assign to it.
Perles de Mousse is described as a green floral chypre’, and Chanel’s Bel Respiro comes to mind, as does the original Cristalle. There’s a blast of retro aldehydes, then a quick turn to lush greens. Gradually the florals appear, and the drydown is very soft and lightly verdant. It’s a very modern take on the mean green aldehydic, in that it’s much lighter and airier than its ancestors. The stone I’d assign is Andalusite, with its dark green and brown flashes.
All in all, Ann Gerard Perfume has created delicate, ethereal perfumes that would be exactly right for a soiree at Tolkien’s Rivendell. My only small gripe is that they need to be reapplied more frequently than I’d like, but that’s probably the tradeoff for the ephemeral veils they create. I’m very pleased to see a new niche brand embrace such a lovely aesthetic, and I’m inclined to buy one of Ann’s moonstone necklaces to go with them!
Musette sez: You can sample all three at Surrender to Chance!