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April 17, 2006

Perfume Review: Annick Goutal Eau du Fier


Although Annick Goutal fragrances are sometimes considered either frilly and pretty like Petite Cherie or subtle and wispy like Duel, Sables and Eau du Fier present another side of the house—scorched earth and leather in the midst of chiffon and silk. Sables displays an orchestration of the bittersweet immortelle flowers, which smell of hot rocks, curry spices and salty ocean breeze—a note that does not often take a center stage, especially not in its full glory.

Eau du Fier (2000) is a story of tar and smoke, accented by the delicate fruity sweetness. The watercolour quality of Annick Goutal fragrances sometimes renders them almost ethereal, however Eau du Fier proves that the light hand of Isabelle Doyen, the Annick Goutal in-house perfumer, can work magic. What might have been a base heavy and opaque composition instead has the quality of Persian calligraphy—an exquisite pairing of precision and grace. ...

The tarry accord forms the main pillar of the composition, with the smoked tea notes providing depth to the leathery facet. For anyone who has opened the tin of lapchang souchong tea and inhaled its smoky richness with pleasure, Eau du Fier will be a wonderful revelation. Its darkness is infused with a touch of translucence from the vivid citrus burst in the top notes. However, the best part of Eau de Fier is revealed after about half an hour, when the leathery apricot is married with the spices and tar, lending a beautiful and elegant twist to this memorable composition.

Although intended for men, Eau du Fier would work well for women, especially if they enjoy fragrances like Bulgari Black. Eau du Fier includes notes of bitter orange, osmanthus, salt flower, clove, tea, and birch. For reasons I cannot comprehend, Eau du Fier has a rather limited distribution, and the best way to locate it might be either checking the Annick Goutal website, or emailing the Dutch boutique manager directly at

Image: Persian calligraphy by Javad Bakhtiary from



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