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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My drummer must be different: Annick Goutal Les Orientalistes (Ambre Fetiche, Myrrhe Ardente and Encens Flamboyant)

By Linda

Almost every review I've read about these scents describes them differently than I will. I was so excited to sample these, as I am addicted to Annick Goutal Sables and I am pretty keen on spice and amber and Eastern resins.

I tried Ambre Fetiche immediately and was rewarded with a truly pretty amber scent - warm and spicy, sweet and smooth. As it bloomed and deepened with my body heat, I was impressed by its cheery quality and its voluptuousness but it is sweet, maybe even too sweet for ol' sugar-loving me. Even while I was gobsmacked by all that sexy candy, I was wishing it would do something more devious.

It's gorgeous, with a certain head-shop undertone that undergirds its luminous golden glow with purple velvet. There is a kind of smirking spiciness to it that actually (gasp) projects a minor sillage - a mere ghost of something wicked under that smooth golden amber halo. It's like a lovely amber-perfumed creme brulee - sweet, flawlessly creamy and smooth, and not particularly novel to my jaded senses.

I find it difficult to pull my nose away from my wrist, but I have to confess I like my amber dirtier. All told, I wish the leather in it was more prominent and the vanilla (which is admittedly creamy and gorgeous in the scent) were less so.

Would I wear it? Oh, sure. In a heartbeat. But it's kind of unilinear in development. I would probably select a naughtier scent for a date, and a more work-safe scent, fresher and less immediately tumbled from the sheets, for work. That leaves me with few occasions on which I'd choose it. If you're looking for a (literally!) vanilla-amber scent that is beautifully crafted and simply elegant, try this one.

Next, I tried Encens Flamboyant. I like frankincense perfumes on other people; half the people I stop and ask about their scents tell me they are wearing frankincense oil from the health food store. I've tried frankincense oil from the health food store. But frankincense scents seem to be inevitably horrible on my skin, and sadly, this one is no exception. (My partner practically banned me from his airspace, so I don't think it's just my nose could be my skin chemistry, or it could be that it just isn't my ball of wax.)

At first I got nothing but Virginia Slims smoke and very, very faint drugstore rose cologne. I naturally enough recoiled from it for a while, but I resisted scrubbing it off. As I sniffed it in pure revolted fascination, other notes started to emerge. A kind of a lemony middle note, faint and fascinating, weaving in and out of the cigarette smoke and cologne. And then, absurdly, but completely persistently, it began to smell exactly like my hands do after I've scrubbed something with Comet cleanser.

WTF? Cigarette smoke to Comet, wow. Glamorous, this one is not. Smells like Eau de 1970s Sexploitation to me. Horrible.

It becomes inoffensive but still perplexing on the dry down on me, still very Comet but thankfully the cigarette smoke gives way to a sort of candied evergreen scent from the fir balsam. I was thanking my stars that it settles down to a very low roar at about this point.

On the bright side, one of my best friends is crazy (!) about the smell of Comet on her hands. She will doubtless inherit my sample. What a lucky girl!

Although I was firmly of the opinion that I loathed myrrh, after finding that I hated Crazylibellule and the Poppies' Encens Mystic and a couple of other myrrh-y fragrances, I winced, gritted my teeth, and applied Myrrhe Ardiente this morning. At first sniff, I thought┘ hey, that's actually not bad, it's kind of like birch sap - yes, it's like Beeman's Gum on the opening. What a scream!

A few minutes later I sniffed it again, thinking, oh, it's not. But yes, yes, it IS! Boylan's birch beer, Beeman's Gum, a thin and almost minty birch tree aroma that I was pretty wild about but found totally herbaceous, weird, and unlike my usual preferences.

I started thinking about how it would be on a hunky guy √ like retro sunshine and as if he'd fallen out of Mayberry, all wholesomeness and nostalgia, whoa grampa, whoa! Hot stuff! And about the time I was really laughing at myself, I realized that I smelled oh-my-goodness-gorgeous.

That whiff of almost petunia-y spiciness that I was attributing to the amber? That winking oeillet, sassy carnations a block away spiking the breeze, that ooh-la-la fresh-air summertime flirtation? THAT was emanating from what had formerly been super-fresh and super-wholesome? My wholesome fantasy was grinning wickedly and bidding me to play hooky! Clearly we were leaving Mayberry, romping through the rain-washed streets of the Big City, waiting for the museum to open. Then the tonka warmth and benzoin lushness cuddled up like a cozy bed partner nuzzling my skin, and I realized I had been seduced by the Nice Guy and his lipstick-stained sheep's clothing was strewn all over the floor of his den.

This one evolves so riotously that I think it's a must-try. It starts out so innocent, so hygienic, so bright┘ and takes you from hello, to joyous crush, to mad lust - and you never forget what you first saw in him, because that sweet retro chewing gum brightness stays faintly with you even when you've accepted the flowers and fallen into the creamy, cuddly dry down.

Myrrhe Ardiente is absolutely smashing on a woman and I think it would be equally devastating on a man. I want a bottle. I really, really do. It's the kind of idiosyncratic gorgeousness that I would wear absolutely anywhere┘ to work, on a date, to the theater, to the market, to go birdwatching, to a wedding, to bed, anywhere.

I know I'm a wee tiny minority on the Encens at least, and it makes me feel like a complete freak so I'm asking you all, have you tried these three? Does anyone else get lulled to sleep by the Ambre? Does anyone else get that cigarettes & cleanser vibe from Encens? Does anyone else get the birch beer and kisses thing from Myrrhe?

Image source, annickgoutal.nl.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Joan said...

I had a similar experience (that you had with Encens), with LeLabo Vanille 44. I was expecting to love it, and, I have to admit, was thrilled with the whole locale exclusive aspect of it. The sample arrived, I took a sniff.....
AJAX. I couldn't get rid of it fast enough!!!

10:53 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I didn't get the Ambre the way you did; I liked it. The Encens was gorgeous on me and the Myrrhe was a close second.

I'm so sorry the Encens went so wrong on you! But you have the Myrrhe, right?

11:35 PM EST  
Anonymous sweetlife said...

Haven't sniffed these yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed your riotous reviews, Linda.

8:17 AM EST  
Anonymous Divalano said...

Amber's one of my favorite notes in a scent composition but AF is the only mainly amber scent that's ever worked on me & I've tried many. I adore & crave it. It starts off salty/spicy/tangy on me, blooms heady, sweet & deep. In it I feel intensely feminine & smugly feline. There's just enough silage to make me feel enveloped, not enough to kill bystanders. You're right, it could use more leather & it is a bit much for work but perfect for me on cold winter days off.
Encens? Not on a bet, frankincense & I only hang out in very small doses. Myrrh Ardente? Yes, herbal root beer or maybe cream soda. Interesting but not much more than that for me.

8:51 AM EST  
Anonymous Silvia said...

Honesty is always much appreciated in reviews, will make sure I dig this one out when I eventually get to try these scents. Thanks.

9:29 AM EST  
Blogger Ducks said...

Joan- haha, a kindred spirit. I'm so sorry... it's always a nasty shock to detect household cleaning products in your bottle. Unfair of the cleaning products industry, I think!

Tom- I don't have a bottle yet! Only samples. I will have to indulge in this one, I fear. I wish the Encens were better on me. It's nifty in the bottle, but so painful on my skin.

Sweetlife- thank you! :) I always enjoy yours so much.

Divalano- you are so lucky! I don't think I get as much complexity as you do from the AF. I love "smugly feline"... I know just what you mean!

Silvia- just make sure you take me with a grain of salt; the other people who have reviewed this trio have had different results. Your mileage may vary!

11:25 AM EST  
Anonymous Flora said...

Linda, I am chuckling over your Technicolor descriptions of these perfumes! I love the idea of the Myrrh Ardente, since that is one of my favorite notes. Frankincense is fab on me too - no hint of scouring powder yet, but I have not tried these particular scents. I certainly will check these out when I have the chance. Goutals generally agree with me.

Non-floral scents have to be pretty darn good to rope me in, White Flower Queen that I am, but I am learning to appreciate them more and more recently.

LOL - I just noticed that my word verification for commenting on this post has the word "AJAX" in it! :-D

4:18 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

What wonderful reviews! I find differences in skin chemistry endlessly fascinating. I'm always shocked by people who say that scents smell the same on everyone. I'm constantly testing my perfumes on willing guinea pigs (mostly DH and close friends) to test how they may differ and the differences can truly be quite dramatic. Someone needs to make this their dissertation topic. Myrrhe Ardente went in a very unfortunate direction on my skin (painfully, cloyingly sweet), but you've convinced me I *have* to resample due to your mention of Beeman's gum. Love that stuff!

5:06 PM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I DO love me some good candor, Linda.

I like the MA best, myself.
AF is lovely on me- but I find the incensey woods 'scratchy'- not velvety. A bit hoarse-in-the-sandalwood-voice....
EF is OK- but it doesn't sing, it merely hums, on me.

5:28 PM EST  
Anonymous Playsby Scent said...

I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your reviews! At least in part because I felt very much the same way about the Ambre Fetiche - an odd example of how something can be perfectly nice and I'll still scorn it.

Some people have wondered how I ever managed to get married.

I haven't given the Encens a good try yet. Comet?? Not a great romantic scent. You could smell like you just finished cleaning up the tiles after hacking up your last date.

7:20 PM EST  
Blogger Erin said...

L, I can't say I found any of them must-haves, but I like the MA best, too. I thought the other two were pleasant - and I must say I liked them better than I normally like Goutals - but they didn't blow my socks off. I was starting to wonder if I was crazy for preferring the Myrrhe, so it was comforting to read this!

8:13 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, how could someone describe Encens Flamboyan just like I would ?
I mean, this one was the third one for me to try, because I thought it would be my favourite. But I hated it with all my heart. All the morning, I took myself looking for someone smoking a bad cigarrete around me. Oh ! "Oh ! It'm my smell!". Just to, in the end, smell like something awful I don't kow what (maybe it is because I never smelled Comet).
But... I felt in love with Myrrhe... Today,I think it would be the one that I would choose, if I had to keep just one of my bottles.
Great post!

1:45 PM EST  
Blogger katty said...

I love the drummer sound, i feel energizer every time that i listen music where the drummer is notable. i think any band could be sustainable itself without a drummer.
costa rica investment opportunities

2:29 AM EDT  

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