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Thursday, April 12, 2007

For the Boys, part deux ...

... once again, not really.

Review by Tom

Well, I have been waiting with bated breath for my sample of the new Andy Tauer to show up in my post, so far to no avail. I thought I'd do a whole lavendar extravaganza, covering Annick Goutal Eau de Lavande, SL Gris Clair and Encense et Lavande (a new fave) and of course Reverie du Jardin. Of course the US Postal service has thwarted those plans. I can't really complain because Andy was sweet enough to send it for free. But 24 hours is not going to be enough to do it justice, soooooo.

But since I wore AG last night, I thought I might just take a moment to run down memory lane and revisit a few from that ultimate niche house, the one that (for me anyway) started it all: Annick Goutal.

For those of you who were mere children in the 80's (er... like me!) and see Annick Goutal's festive, gold-capped fluted bottles in your local Bloomingdales and think "Niche? What's he been smoking!", let me take you back to New York City in the pre-Giuliani 80's. Your humble scribe lived in what could be called, well, squalor in a 4th floor walk-up in the East Village, overlooking Tompkins Square Park. This was before "Wigstock" and booming housing prices made that a demi-desireable address: the only reason any same person entered that park was to get heroin, or killed. Or both. I worked at a Soho gourmet food store of some fame that is still there (albeit at a different location) for about $2.75 per hour. One of my favorite things to do was to wander the aisles of the nicer shops on Fifth Avenue and diss the taste of people with more money than me (plus ca change, right?). It was in this vein that I discovered at Bergdorf Goodman Annick Goutal.

AG was completely different than the perfumes that others were putting out at the time. To give you an idea of a few of the perfumes released the same year as Hadrien: such light little numbers as Antaeus, Must de Cartier, Giorgio and Kouros. Imagine that first sniff of Hadrien or Folavril dancing across your nose. As strange as it is to think, these were something magical and new, especially since, although they were marketed in different packaging for men and women (fluted bottles for the gals and broad square flacons for the guys) the juice was absolutely the same. In 1981, this was as revolutionary as trying to market lipstick and nylons to men. One of the other things they did into the 90's was have incredibly generous give-aways, where you would buy a bottle of one and get a third-sized bottle of Hadrien. Needless to say, there were months that I subsisted on ramen noodles and purloined cheese to fund that little habit.
In any case, now that I have nattered you all into a coma, I will remind you of four of my favorites:

Eau de Hadrien

Colombina wrote "it was Eau d’Hadrien that single-handedly converted me into a fan of citrus scents". I once wrote that the only way it could be more refreshing is if were served over shaved ice. Sparkling lemons (true lemon, the first time I smelled it not from the fruit) and cypress. Years later I had the singular experience of sitting in the shade of a cypress on one of those blazing days in Los Angeles where the breeze feels like a dryer vent, sipping a tart lemonade with the barest whisper of gin and ice cubes made from lemon peel and simple syrup. For me, Eau de Hadrien is almost the distillation of that moment: cool tart lemony pleasure and enveloping warm wood.


Sables arrived in 1985, and I have to write that I was not instantly smitten. I came, I spritzed, I left. To my immature nose I got a hit of something that smelled like really good Maple syrup. To a New England boy this is a welcome scent. But on pancakes, not necessarily on my wrist. As I wore it, what I later came to know as immortelle became bewitching: alternating between toasty caramel and deep, peaty smoky scotch. An interesting blend of sandalwood, bitter herbs and pepper deepens the sweet immortelle, and although I never see it mentioned anywhere, I swear there's a sly musk in there. This is a tenacious scent: I can spritz it on in the morning and easily awake to its sweet embrace the next day, and I more than look forward to that morning after. Increasingly hard to find in the US, I have a bottle sealed and stashed as a talisman against it ever being discontinued.

Eau de Monsieur

Predating Eau de Hadrien by a year and Sables by four, Eau de Monsieur is almost a bridge between the two. Not anywhere near as heady as Sables, but with some of the same feel to it (I swear there is immortelle in there and even sent some to March for confirmation), it opens with tart oakmossy citrus and ends with with that musky sandalwood. All of it is simply amped down several notches from the admittedly heady Sables. It may be damning with faint praise to call this one Sables Lite, especially considering that it predates Sables, but there you are. Sables is something that I would only wear in cool weather or to some very black-tie affair. Sables is Bobby Short at the Carlysle and a carriage ride through Central Park sipping Cristal. Eau de Monsieur is a cruise along 17 mile drive in a polo shirt with the top down, a wicker picnic hamper and a checkered cloth in the trunk.

Eau de Sud

Eau de Sud was introduced in 1995, long after I had left that hovel in New York and settled in another hovel in beautiful Beverly Hills. The people at Neiman Marcus, as the kind people at Bergdorf Goodman before them, were lovely about letting me play, and of course I was hooked again.

If Hadrien is a cool citrus, Eau de Sud could be called a hot one. Its lemons are combined seemingly with a black pepper note that's very summery to me and a salty note (not aquatic, never that) that makes me think of tanned flesh. Mint, basil (the merest breath of them) and verbena keep the scent from becoming too harsh, and there is to me a very light, but not white musk that makes the scent sensual in a way that the fresh and innocent Hadrien is not. Also, while Hadrien can be very fleeting (what better excuse for another sip, I mean spritz?), Eau de Sud has lasting power. Even though I consider Hadrien to be a desert island scent, I sometimes find myself reaching for Eau de Sud more. Now that spring has finally sprung, I can see myself reaching for it again and again.

Annick Goutal fragrances are available at Nordstroms, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. I would venture a guess that those nice people at Bergdorfs might even be able to scare up a bottle of Sables, if you ask pretty.

Next time, Reverie du Jardin, and all the love for lavender. If the bloody thing ever gets here.


Anonymous Andy said...

ah, I can't believe you did not get it yet! some got theirs in the US after amazing 4 days! Well, it is the 12th day since I shiped and Easter in the middle should get it anyday. Can't wait for your thoughts about it.

12:25 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


As fate is it's wont, it was waiting for me the day I sent this review to Columbina (Tuesday). I wrote this from work and came home to find the sample. I was tempted to write something to stuff a review in there, but as usual, you've made something that should not just be spritzed on and tossed off in an afternoon. I need more time in Reverie as it were to describe it. I will write that you have challenged my definition of lavender, in a fascinating, subtle and new way. But that's for next week. Suffice it to write that I've been sniffing my elbow for a while now.

And that I'll be slightly star-struck and goofy at ScentBar on the last Friday this month. I want to grill you like a steak to find out how you did this, but I promise to be nice.

1:05 AM EDT  
Blogger faizanjax said...

I quite like SL Encens et Lavande -a smoky incense note wrapping around a great quality lavender. And thankfully none of the needless spice-and-dessert market note bashing that Sheldrake shows off in the typical SL scent (whether warranted or not). The only lavender scent which eclipses Encens et Lavande in quality is the superb Creed Royal Scottish Lavender.

1:15 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Annick! I love AG. You can rave about Annick all you want. I have a collection of those little bottles, which discounters used to sell online too, along with teeny ones.

Sables I am still on the fence about, because it will not go away. Monsieur you are right about -- unless we're nuts, that's immortelle. Some of the AGs work better than others on me (my personal fave is probably Mandragore, and I'm also partial to Ciel,) but there's not a single one I don't find at least charming. In the middle of some skank binge, they're perfect as a palate cleanser.

7:19 AM EDT  
Anonymous Andy said...

Hi TMP00
Take your time, indeed and please, please be nice with me on this Friday....I'll give my best, though!Greetings and I am glad you got it!

7:19 AM EDT  
Anonymous BrothaG said...

What a great piece on AG, Tom! For me, too, it was Goutal that rocked my world when I first smelled Eau d'Hadrien. It was so simple yet so breathtaking, and I knew from that moment on that I had to 'get back' to fragrances (I had always loved them in my early years but had kind of lost interest in them until said moment). It opened a true world of scented memories and showed just what fragrances can do. Nearly all of their offerings are unique and subtle to me - they speak a story of nature like no one else can. Good to see your post.

7:32 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

My love for Goutal has been rekindled after I became obsessed with flowers. Le Jasmin! Le Muguet! Des Lys! Ah! :-) But Eau d'Hadrien will be forever and ever my most favorite AG scent.

8:12 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Love seeing AG getting some respect. Eau d'Hadrian is one of the only scents that I have ever actually finished multiple bottles of. Sables is one I feel I *should* love, but for some reason can't wear it. Part of it is that my skin just amplifies the maple syrup note to an unfortunate extreme and part of it is that I rarely care for scents that have the half-life of plutonium. Still, I keep coming back to it to see if something has changed w/ my skin chemistry and I can wear it because I adore the way it smells in the bottle.

8:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

What a great history lesson for a perfume nerd born in the 80ies (early, mind you). And beautifully written too. You make me crave that Eau d'Hadrien although it doesn't sound like my type of scent at all (Sables, on the other hand, does. Nothing ever lasts or throws on my pale, dry skin... Nothing but the insect repellant horror that is CdG 2.)

9:35 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Confession here - I ignored AG for a few years after giving Hadrien a cursory sniff and deciding citrus wasn't what I wanted at the time (which was a skank fest). Then last year I fell for Songes and have since been sniffing whatever AG sample I can find. I also really really like Mandragore. Based upon your lovely review, Tom, I'm going to seek out Sables and give Hadrien another chance. Thank you!

9:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

(Me and Antaeus, we are of the same vintage. And we recently found each other. Annick Goutal, btw, is very niche to me since the brand is not videly known or distributed in Sweden.)

9:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Andy, I haven't gotten my sample either but then I have everything sent to my sister in the United States because the mail in Mexico is sporadic.

Tom...great reviews. I remember the days when I was totally broke and yet I had to have a bottle of Hadrien (perfume mind you). Nothing else would do. I was broke but I sure had good taste.

I wore Sables yesterday as my SOTD. Thank you again for all of my samples! It is tenacious and I liked it. I am not sure I love it but I can tell it's one that grows on you. I get loads of mapple syrup and some vanilla and maybe some musk. I will try again in a few days.

10:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom...major question here. Have you tried Perfume Generale's Yuzu Ab Irato? I think I might be close with the spelling. I tried the sample of Guerlaine's Vetiver and found it very similar to the PG! Has anyone else thought that? It took me hours to figure out where I had smelled it before!

10:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous ghostranchguy said...

just got a bottle of goutal's lavande and i'll be curious to read what you have to say about it... i confess to rejecting goutal - just felt too accessible... but lavande is strangely creamy and vaguely beachy a la montale's sandflowers (which i currently love)... have to say i gave up on encense et lavande ages ago... to my nose sl's lavender lacked incense and was way skanky (as in a freshly-opened bag of chicharones - fried pork skin... VILE !)... how such a beautiful plant can be rendered fleshy is beyond me... oh well to each his own nose i suppose

11:47 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I usually love that touch of the souk in SL's scents, but I agree that it's best that it was left off EetL. (which is quickly becoming a must-have)

12:12 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I could have gone on much further if I was near a Bloomingdales and could refresh my memory more easily. Eau de Charlotte, Eau de Camille, the sadly gone Fier, so many stunning fragrances. It's sad that Ms. Goutal is dead, but it's wonderful that her beautiful creations are still with us, and that her house is creating more loveliness in her absence.

12:18 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


"they speak a story of nature like no one else can"

how perfectly put!

12:19 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think I can always tell when I am ready for spring when I start to reach for the AG..

12:20 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Hadrien is the all time bottle champ- I can't think of how many I've happily emptied. I love Sables, but it is (Oddly for a house known for light and fleeting) tenacious, and definatly a cool-weather scent. But on a cold, rainy night its warm brandy embrace is to die for.

12:23 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


You maight try Eau de Sud. It has more lasting power than Hadrien. Sables I adore, and in your cooler weather you can wear it a lot more often.

12:25 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Give it a spritz- actually, while you're there give them all a test drive. There's not a lot of skank in the line (and if you've been a constant reader you know the devotion to skank around this blog) but what they do they do so very beautifully.

12:27 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Really? I would have thought that they would be more readily available in the EU. The big website for them is in Belgium- is that a difficult trip from Sweden?

(I'm an ugly American with geography- I think of the EU as being sort of like me driving to Santa Barbara for lunch or San Francisco for the weekend..)

I'm the same vintage as Guerlain Vetiver. Oy, Ize be OLD

12:32 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I'm sure yours will show up, mine finally did. I think you'll be as fascinated as I was.

Broke and smelling good- story of my life!

You didn't find Sables a bit much in the heat? Of course with the strange weather patterns we've been having this year it could be snowing in Mexico..

12:34 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I did, at ScentBar and thought exactly the same thing. Guerlain Vetiver with mint. I can't call it a miss for them, but it was a miss for me.

12:38 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I love AG Lavande. It's gorgeous.

I don't get the chicharones in EetL heavily, but I know what you mean. I get incense, thank goodness, and lots of it.

I'd always wondered if their move to (in my very snooty opinion) Bloomingdales-level stores put people off. I hate the SA's at Bloomingdales: the last time I was in there (showing AG to two of my co-workers) the SA kept baldly trying to steer them towards whatever gook-de-pop-tart they were flogging at the moment: Boink Me Brittney Spears or Paris Hilton Blow 'Ho. Baldly stating that whatever it was was far better than AG. So annoyingly persistant was she that I finally had to just get rude and say it: "Lady, I wouldn't use that womans toilet, why would I want to smell like her?

12:48 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:27 PM EDT  
Anonymous Maria B. said...

Tom, which presentation at ScentBar did you sign up for? The 5 or the 7 p.m.? My DH and I signed up for the 5. We hope we'll be able to go. It's several hours' drive for us, and we're not sure DH has enough leave time. If we make it, you won't be the only star-struck, goofy person there. Look for a short, middle-aged woman with dark curly hair and purple glasses. She'll be accompanied by a man who is naturally bald (no fake head shaving there).

7:24 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Tom, Maria, I envy you that you'll get to meet Andy and the LS guys. Andy, I envy you, because you'll get to meet Tom and Maria.

7:27 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

Lovely Review..

I am hoping DH agrees to drive (with) me to the Scent Bar for the Friday at 7(or 5)-but considering traffic on 405 esp on Fridays( and the fact that he is soo busy) I won't blame him if he doesn't..:(

( i reaaalllyyy hope I can make it too- I loved my sample of the Reverie ..have been sniffing my elbow for the loongest time now ..:))

8:58 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Maria B-

I'm going to the 5pm presentation. I hope to see you there! I hope your husband can get the time off- see my comments to lavonda- maybe you can meet up beforehand? I highly recommend Sweet Lady Jane's cakes and it's a nice excuse to avoid traffic...

12:39 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I truly wish you were going so that you could meet Andy and Andy could meet you and, of course that you and I could meet. And then there would be cake...

12:41 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Lavanya, where are you coming from that you'd take the 405? Even so, 5pm would be easier than 7pm traffic-wise. You could plan to get to West Hollywood at like four, stop at Sweet Lady Jane on Melrose for a nice piece of cake and then wander over to ScentBar at 5. You could come even earlier and hit Apothia, Santa Maria Novello, All Purpose and Palmetto right in the neighborhood. Just sayin...

12:47 AM EDT  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

I'll be driving from Irvine...

My husband just saw my message (and your reply) and melted-said he'd try to take the afternoon off to take me(" seeing that you've been smelling your elbow for so long", he said..:))..

Reserved 2 spots for the Friday at 5..will definitely try to sample some cake (and stop by at Apothia etc)..

So hopefully if everything works out, see you there..:)

1:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

Tom - Annick Goutal is available in 2 fancy department stores in Stockholm. I consider that niche... On the other hand, I had never heard of Thierry Mugler or Angel before I became a perfume nerd myself, and they are everywhere... When I thought of perfume, I thought of something like Chanel-Donna Karan-Kenzo-Estee Lauder-Gucci-Ralph Lauren...
Belgium is... well, you might just as well hop on a plane to any country within the EU, it's not more or less of a hassle... Driving is not such a great idea, especially not for lunch ;) You could drive to Norway or Denmark in a day, depending on where in Sweden you live. I wouldn't drive to the other end of the country for lunch though, I'd be there for dinner if I get there at all before nightfall... Sweden is an oblong country, and we don't have Autobahns...
Guerlain Vetiver is a great vintage too!

11:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Andy said...

have you seen that Annick goutal are launching a new site ?

It looks liek it could be worth wating for

5:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the past few months, I "nursed" the final spritzes from my second bottle of Eau du Sud. It was a tough couple of months! I'm awaiting the arrival of bottle number three.

AG Eau du Sud is a fabulous secret. I don't know anyone else who wears it and I've taken it as my signature scent. It is romantic without being heavy or floral. I don't find it at all feminine, but it's lightness makes it a very personal fragrance. Throughout the day you catch whiffs of it on your hands, your collar or cuff, giving you a moment of luxurious freshness. It is, of course, strongest when you have just put it on, and your boyfriend or girlfriend will love smelling you with it on when you are fresh out of the shower, dressed for work.

I recommend purchasing it from Amazon or an online vendor. You can get a bottle for around $60 online, as opposed to from Bloomingdales or Saks, where I spent over $110 buying the first two bottles. Lesson learned.

5:13 PM EST  

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