Monday, March 1, 2010

Annick Goutal Passion: fragrance review

All Annick Goutal perfumes have little stories behind them which adds to the enchanting, small scale appeal they have: Passion was the first fragrance which Annick Goutal created along with perfumer Isabelle Doyen in 1983 for her own use. The second one, inspired by the floral bouquets her husband offered her while courting, was Grand Amour; also a firm favourite of Perfume Shrine and to be tackled later on. Sables was made for Alain, Annick's husband, while Eau de Charlotte and Eau de Camille celebrate her daughters' childhood memories.

Passion dazzles amongst them with its headiness, its perceptible sillage and its great lasting power, "like a flower with translucent antennae and a mauve plastic heart.” Complicated, chewy, cruel, yet beautiful, like life itself, Passion made Tania Sanchez reserve one of her more poetic reviews of it in Perfumes,The Guide: "It feeks humid, narcotic, unsettling, like a moonless July night without a breeze". It could be one of those nights about which Raymond Chandler wrote: "Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks."

The artistry of course lies in how to manipulate the (excellent) materials: The exotic Ylang-Ylang has facets of banana and even coconut; sweet, buttery, creamy, almost bulemic. On its other end though it encompasses methyl salicylate which recalls wintergreens. Tuberose has facets of camphor which act as a counterbalance of its intense white floral sweetness. Pair them with a bitter green touch which supports the already present caphoraceous scheme (tomato vine leaves, the same as used in Eau de Campagne by Sisley and Folavril again by Goutal, plus oakmoss) and some vanilla to offset the "fruitiness" of the bouquet and you've got something unique!
Passion starts with a heady caphoraceous blast of what can only be sensed as vibrant tropical florals snowballing a cadenza of sweet and green notes that unify to the point where you don't know where the garden ends and the woman starts. There is something very ladylike about Annick Goutal fragrances, yet in classic French tradition the lady in question can forget all about ladylike manners in the bedroom. Passion is carnal, yet delicate and fragile at the same time, like a 22-year-old ready to be consumed by love. And even older ones...

Notes for Annick Goutal Passion: Jasmine, tuberose, ylang-ylang, vanilla, tomato leaves, patchouli, oakmoss.

Passion by Annick Goutal is available as Eau de Toilette (100ml) and Eau de Parfum (50ml, 100ml) in boutiques carrying the Goutal line and several online venues. Check Lianne Tio's Nederthelands boutique on this link as well.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Annick Goutal news & reviews, Interview with perfumer Isabelle Doyen

Photo from the film Betty Blue, 37.2°C le Matin via livejournal/Ohnotheydidn't. Photo of bottle of Passion by Elena Vosnaki.


  1. Absolutely brilliant review and great fun too... love the Chandler quote. I have not tried Passion having been a Hadrien's Water fan forever.. my bad... this will get me to give it a try. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous16:43

    If my husband will look at me like
    Jean-Hugues Anglade is looking at Beatrice Dalle than I need this AG ASAP.

  3. S,

    aww, you're so sweet. Hadrien is lovely too of course, although quite fleeting on me, so I usually end up using Eau de Sud instead (surprisingly more tenacious, very weird)
    Passion is absolutely stellar, I insist you give it a try! :-)

    Hope you're well!

  4. Anon,

    Anglade's fragile look is everything I simply ADORE about him! (plus the fact that he's amazing in just about everything and brave in his acting)
    Can't guarantee the fragrance will work quite the same, but it never hurts to try. I think it's lovely...

  5. I have bought this one but I did not like it - too heady? Not sure Helg but I like other Goutal's much better.
    I believe Lady Di wore this one too.

  6. M,

    I think I recall you're a Gardenia Passion (surely headier??) and Songes gal, or am I totally off?
    It didn't do Lady Di any favours in the love department, I guess... :-(

  7. Anonymous22:05


    I think review is amazing!!! It's pushing me to go in Annick Goutal's boutique and try perfume... and photo, real art of advertisement. Thanks to Perfumeshrine! 8-)

  8. Olga, you're too kind *blush* Glad you enjoyed!
    Do try the perfume, it's quite surprising in its own way! ;-)

  9. No , not Songes but my daughter likes that - I find it too buttery and "sicky" for me - especially on a hot day! .
    My daughter and I both wore Goutal's Tuberose on her wedding day !
    I do like Fracas and Jardin de Bagatelle in the tuberose department.

  10. Although it's my favorite Goutal with Heure Exquise I haven't tried it in years (at least ten years) - considering the actual environment of perfume reformulations thanks to IFRA regulations, do you think it remained the same or has it changed?

  11. Mystic Knot12:27

    Thank you for writing a fabulous eloquent review Helg. Passion has been on my mind recently and it is so refreshing to read a new review on this uniquely beautiful perfume.

  12. MP,

    I love Heure Exquise as well, had compared it to No.19 in the past. My own bottle is fairly recent (around 2 years or so) and seems as beautiful as ever. I do think that the jasmine might get affected, but surely the ylang and tuberose are more pronounced? You can certainly find a lot of AG older stock online, at any rate!
    Good luck hunting!

  13. M,

    Songes can be a bit too much, I agree, it's more "tropical". I prefer the EDT vs. the EDP exactly for that reason.
    AG Tubereuse, I don't recall it at all. I should probably ramage through my sample drawers and see where it hides!!
    And yeah, I definitely recall the JdB love! :-)

  14. MK,

    thanks for saying so and so happy you enjoyed. :D
    It's been criminally underappreciated I thought, needed some more blurb on it!

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Helg, what a beautiful review! assion is passionate. The Chandler quote is perfectly fitting. Thank you for the Betty Blue connotations. You know how much i adore that film.

  17. madeleine gallay02:47

    Just tracked this down, the way you made it sound ..

    opened, love the gold bag and it is everything you said

    reading the box, it says intense tuberose and jasmine single with vanilla.

    wingle? is that a real word? worried that perhaps someone other than Annick Goutal produced this with a strange word (well, strange to me as I can't find it in my dictionary)

    thank you!!

  18. Cat/N,

    thank you, I knew you'd like the refs! ;)

  19. Madeleine,

    thank you so much for posting a comment after following my recommendation!

    Surely they must mean "wiggle" though? Hmm. Maybe the cursive writing on the box is a bit sketchy and one has to glint one's eyes a certain way to see it as it was meant? I don't know, just guessing :-D
    Don't think I kept the box, though I do keep the pouches, they're so cute, aren't they? You got the EDP by the way.

  20. This has been reformulated, no? I smelled it tonight, and it's just a straight-up floral now, with none of the complexity I remember from the 80s.

    1. Welcome aboard the Perfume Shrine, Michael.
      It would be a great pity if Passion were robbed of its menacing mentholated coolness that felt so haunting. The Goutal brand has seen a change of hands in distribution but luckily not in direction, so it sort of disappoints me reading you say so. Seeing as some of the older scents were re-introduced lately in the newer packaging, one wonders whether this is a case of self-fulfilled prophecy?
      In light of your comment, it would be worthwhile testing the current bottles on the counters. Thank you!


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