Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Immortelle Beloved


Immortelles (helichrysum italicum) – those aromatic, button-like golden flowers found along vast stretches of Mediterranean coastline – are the stars of Annick Goutal's rich autumnal brew, Sables (1985). Sweet and dark like the maple syrup notes the flower produces, Goutal’s accord is grounded in precious Mysore sandalwood and vanilla, with just the right amount of Indonesian pepper for a subtle spiciness. Like Serge Lutens’ Chergui minus the coumarin, Sables is a deeply individual “comfort” scent which is eminently wearable by both sexes. Lacking the vocabulary capable of embracing phenomena which fall outside the male-female dialectic, one is tempted to call it masculine. It exudes notes of cigar humidor (sans cigars), Indian temple (altar and floral offerings), wild honey and celery seed, albeit without the wormwood edge of Caron’s succès de scandale Yatagan (1976). It is the type of scent that one longs to smell on a cashmere scarf or a Pendleton wool shirtcoat: unique, artistic in temperament, but kind. And it has the longevity to make that sort of encounter a strong possibility.

4 Comments:

Anonymous dinazad said...

When I first smelled Sables, I was flabbergasted. To me, it did smell of sand, of wet sand and algae tentatively warmed by the early morning sun. Or still warm even though already cooling after sunset. It smelled of solitude and long walks and wind and sea and of the warmth and comfort and warm drink awaiting you at home. Completely unique and not necessarily easy to wear - it asks for a strong personality to complement (possibly it just makes you feel like a strong personality. After all, you had the guts to wear it! Which can only mean you have the strength to carry it off). Incredibly long-lived, too!

November 1, 2007 at 3:15 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

I must have grown up with different algae than you, but I can only attribute the strand-side notes to the flowers themselves (and their terroir). Usually iodine, slightly rancid green notes and saltwater-soaked woods come to mind when I think of algae and kelp - things which are pronounced in AG Vétiver but not here. I'm curious what others have to say, as this may have a lot to do with skin chemistry. On the blotter, sometimes I can only smell that deep sandalwood in the top notes.

November 1, 2007 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger helg said...

Like I have said many times, this is the essence of a desserted volcanic beach beside a fossilised forest on Lesvos island in Greece: all sugary sand, hot water and no fish at all.

Beautiful...

November 1, 2007 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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December 30, 2009 at 3:15 PM  

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