The Many Talents of Annick Goutal
Annick Goutal didn’t get her start as a perfumer, or even a fashion designer, as so many perfume makers do. Instead, she was a talented pianist, as well as a model. She had a full life – raising a young daughter alone, battling breast cancer, and finally marrying a man she’d known since they were children. When she opened a skin cream business, along with a friend of hers, she realized there were two things that would make it better – packaging and fragrance. This is how Annick Goutal discovered her nose for fine fragrances, and in 1980’s, her first perfume collection was released.
The Art of the Nose
Annick Goutal’s father made chocolates, and that’s what she remembered most when starting her skin cream business. Years of packaging tiny treats, as well as years of piano, had given her skill in arranging things into pretty little bundles, which is just how she pictured she would do with little pots of cream. Beautifully handwritten tags were to go along with the bags that contained the pots.
But that wasn’t enough for Goutal. She met a perfumer to see if she could discern what was missing from her skin cream, and found a whole new form of music. Scents have notes, accords – they can even harmonize. She spent years learning how to compose perfumes, memorizing various scents, and perfecting her talent, just as she perfected her skill at the piano. Her hard work paid off with her first perfumes, which were great successes, and it wasn’t long before she was able to open her first salon.
Each of her fragrances was something special to her, bringing back the memory of special moments in her own life. She even likened her perfume creations to a symphony, building her special scents note by note, until she developed that perfectly balanced harmony. Best of all, in the eyes of Annick Goutal, she was allowed to create what she desired, composing scents that mattered most to her. For instance, when her daughter Camille, seven years old at the time, wanted a perfume that smelled of ivy, Goutal was able to create a mixture of honeysuckle, freshly cut grass, and privet tree to create Eau de Camille.
This method of creation has touched all the unique fragrances Annick Goutal has to offer. When her stepdaughter, Charlotte, wanted something less naïve than Eau de Camille, Goutal created Eau de Charlotte, infused with notes of cocoa and mimosa. And for her husband, she devised the cologne which she named Sables.
Annick Goutal Compositions
Sables was an instant hit when it was released in 1985. It was deemed irresistible by many women who caught its scent. This exotically woody fragrance opens with cinnamon and immortelle, and contains notes of black tea, sandalwood, pepper, and amber. It is spicy, strong, and a little seductive.
Many of Annick Goutal’s scents are perfect for both men and women. Though Eau de Monsieur, an early fragrance, seems to have a masculine name, this woody fragrance is suitable for either gender. A balance of amber, lemon, oakmoss, and sandalwood give it a peaceful balmy aroma.
Annick Goutal had a particular fondness for lilies. This love is encapsulated in the 2003 fragrance, Des Lys. This is a feminine scent like a field of white lilies interspersed with stronger Casablanca lilies, making it fresh and floral – pertly innocent.
Another universal fragrance created by Annick Goutal herself is Eau de Sud, a bright and exciting citrusy fruity perfume. Juicy notes from grapefruit, bergamot, lemon, and lime permeate this fragrance, with just the hint of mint, patchouli, and other scents to give it a certain weight.
Passing the Torch
Annick Goutal passed away in 1999, leaving her perfumery in the hands of the daughter Camille. The work that began decades ago still goes on, with the help of perfumer Isabelle Doyen. At the time of her passing, Goutal had more than 25 fragrances created under her name, and the legacy goes on.
The talent that brought Annick Goutal to her true calling seems to have been passed on to her daughter, who is one of the main noses behind the Annick Goutal brand, which is still going strong today. The company still releases new fragrances each year, each one as perfectly balanced a composition as the last.