Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Naughty or Nice? Agent Provocateur Maitresse

Notes: lotus, ylang ylang, osmanthus, jasmine sambac, velvet white suede
When I think "Maitresse," I don't think of the literal translation of "mistress" meaning "hostess" as in party hostess or lady of the house.  Nor the dubiously-moraled type that sleeps with your husband, either.  What comes to my mind is the naughty type of mistress, the type that you say, "yes, ma'am" to as she shackles you to the ceiling and prepares the ball gag.  The Maitress of the 1976 movie by the same name, she who works as a professional dominatrix and is the object of obsession for one Gerard Depardieu.  A Maitresse who smells of leather or latex and sex.

Alas, Agent Provocateur's Maitresse is Martha Stewart in Manolo Blahniks.  Far more the hostess than the dominatrix (although known to crack the whip when warranted.  Or not.) A rather unextraordinary white floral, a little sweet, a little powdery, but with an undertone of something akin to the scent of a brand new leather purse, or pair of shoes.  That "suede" note doesn't last long, however, and the drydown of Maitresse is merely a pleasant white floral.  Not entirely innocent, yet not a bad girl in the least.  A pretty scent.

I am a little disappointed, especially after the company's somewhat raunchy and definitely sexy Agent ProvocateurParfum.  Not to say that I don't like Maitresse - I do.  I like it better than the original fragrance (that patchouli thing, you know?) but I can't help but expect more naughtiness from a lingerie company.  It's not Victoria's Secret, after all.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Annick Gourtal Grand Amour

Notes: lily, honeysuckle, hyacinth, jasmine, mimosa, Turkish rose, musk, vanilla, amber, balsam, myrtle

Named for the love felt by Annick Goutal for her cellist husband, Alain Meunier, Grand Amour opens with hyacinth, sweet honeysuckle, and lily - a very heady but pleasing floral combination yet one that is not overwhelming or too strong.  These notes fade a bit after a brief period, and the scent becomes more about a delicious rose.  This is my favorite part of the scent, and it lasts a decent amount of time.  The musk and vanilla sweeten the rose, but do not make it cloying, and some of the earthy greenness of the opening notes does remain.  Much later in the drydown (although this scent lasts on me 5 hours tops), the composition turns stale on my skin, as the rose takes on a slightly rotten character.  A disappointing ending to such a promising start.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Annick Goutal Passion

Notes: tuberose, jasmine, vanilla, oakmoss

Passion opens up with a weird note that immediately reminds me of "hots," the chopped hot peppers one puts on an Italian coldcut or steak sub. I'm pleased to say that it promptly turns into recognizable jasmine note, but one that is neither heady nor indolic.  There is a sweetness beneath the flowers which is perhaps the vanilla, although it is not particularly vanillaic...more like a unflavored simple syrup type of sweetness.  But not cloying in the least.

In the drydown, the white florals and vanilla combine to the effect of cool cleanness, not exactly soapy, but in my mind, fresh nonetheless.  And I'm not finding the oakmoss in there anywhere.

I've stated before that I'm no fan of white floral scents (although I am noticing that they are growing on me), particularly jasmine, yet I find myself loving Passion.  My FFG* has given me such a generous sample of Passion that it is not likely that I will need to invest in a bottle any time soon, but, I'm pretty sure that when I find myself running out, it will go on my ever-expanding wish list.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Annick Goutal Songes

Notes: frangipani, tiare, jasmine notes, incense, vanilla, copahu balm, pepper, ylang-ylang absolute, vetiver, sandalwood, amber, styrax

Songes opens with a very indolic jasmine-strong white floral bouquet with tropical frangipani bringing a slight banana-esque quality to the scent, warm and sweet and creamy.  The fragrance is so well-blended that the vanilla sneaks in gradually, making it seem like it had been there all along, and is a perfect match for the creamy white floral notes.  While the above are the standout notes in Songes, there's also a noticeable bit of amber and a rather gamey-smelling sandalwood in the drydown which lasts several hours.  Many hours later, nothing is left but a slightly powdery yet still creamy vanilla.

Luxurious and heady, Songes is perfect for a romantic summertime evening, when there's still a bit of heat in the air and on the skin....

Monday, July 2, 2007

Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien

Annick Goutal is one of the more niche-y perfumers that my local Nordstrom always seemed to carry.  I never paid them much attention, because AG scents are largely on the floral end of the spectrum, and that's never been my preference at all.  Now that I'm spending more time discovering the various types of floral notes, I recognize that there are some of them that I actually like.  A lot.  This week, I will talk about a few of my favorite AG scents, starting off with one that is in the citrus family.  Eau d'Hadrien is celebrating its twenty-sixth birthday and is one of the original fragrances in the Annick Goutal line.

Notes: Sicilian lemon, citrus tree, cypress, grapefruit, ylang-ylang

Refreshing, and not at all sweet, Eau d'Hadrien starts with sparkling citrus, lots of fresh tangy lemon with the slight bitter edge of grapefruit.  Undercutting the brightness of the citrus notes is a smoky-edged woodsy note that anchors the composition, along with a bit of gentle ylang that becomes stronger as the citrus fades.  It reminds me just a little bit of Hermes Un Jardin Sur Nil, but not as sweet, and more definitely lemon than grapefruit.

Eau d'Hadrien is a very Mediterranean scent that makes me think of summers on the Amalfi coast, with its candy-colored pastel architecture and bright sunshine that makes the sea seem so astonishingly blue.  Not that I've been there of course, but a girl can dream!


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