Annick Goutal’s career as a perfumer was never presumed. She rebelled against her parents wish for her to become a professional pianist and in her youth dabbled in the modeling industry before giving in to her passion for scent following a chance meeting with a Grasse perfumer. She later opened a small-scale perfumery in Rue de Bellechasse, Paris in 1980. Five years later she had a dedicated clientele and signed an agreement with the Tattinger group putting her name along side the famed champagne house and Baccarat Crystal. During the 1980s her success was immediate amongst niche European perfume circles as well as America where she was stocked by luxury department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks. Sadly Annick lost her battle with breast cancer in 1999 at the age of 53. Her daughter Camille Goutal now continues her legacy. She is joined by house nose Isabelle Doyen. Together the pair has released a series of fragrances to honour Camille’s mother in the same way Annick had honored her daughter with creations Petite Cherie and Eau De Camille, two perfumes Annick created for her daughter as she progressed towards adulthood. Eau D’Hadrien was one of Annick’s first creations. Launched in 1981 and thirty years on, it is still relevant to today’s consumer. For Eau D’Hadrien, Goutal was inspired by the Mediterranean and Marguerite Yourcenar’s novel Memoirs of Hadrien. It conjures a sense of gardens filled with citrus fruit ripened by the Italian sun, a place she held close to her heart. The Annick Goutal range offers its unisex fragrances in either masculine square glass or the more feminine decorative bottles. For the collector, limited edition crystal butterfly bottles that are hand painted and numbered are released to the public from time to time. Eau D’Hadrien represents a classic Italian cologne with a French twist. The later Eau Du Sud (1997) offers a more Mediterranean eau de toilette and Camille’s Les Nuits d’Hadrien (2003) offers a sweeter citrus option with an addition of amber and precious woods.
Eau d’Hadrien offers no surprises in the way it unfolds. Instead, its beauty lies in the selection of its ingredients. I like to think of citrus notes as being green, yellow or orange based on the fruit that has been pressed to obtain its perfumed oils. To me, Eau d’Hadrien is a yellow fragrance because its structure revolves around the scent of Sicilian lemon, citron and bergamot. The addition of grapefruit and green mandarin brings a bitterness that plays nicely against the sweetness of ylang ylang, the main floral note that warms this citrus cocktail. Ylang is paired with aldehydes giving the fragrance effervescence and Goutal’s signature rose in small dosage to provide the floral component with more complexity. It is Annick’s use of cypress that won my heart. Annick knew she would achieve her vision of the Mediterranean by including it in her composition. She spoke of the scent that can be obtained by rubbing the branches between your palms. The cypress note in Eau d’Hadrien adds an earthiness that in some ways mimics the scent of human sweat. It adds an authenticity and character lacking in other traditional eau de colognes. Gently melting away to a silage of soft musks, lovers of this style of fragrance should make Goutal’s Hadrien a must try.
Eau d’Hadrien’s wearer is French in their approach to style and Italian in their approach to life. Food lovers should enjoy this scent. I see it being worn by men on summer weekends, entertaining friends over a bottle of wine, splashing olive oil around the barbecue as they create a feast to be enjoyed by friends and family. Paired with a warm smile this cologne will win the hearts of all who come in contact with it. For skin types that feel they have issues with acidic scents, you may wish to sit this one out. All others, I encourage you to explore a bottle.
Acqua Di Parma Colonia, Hierbas De Ibiza Eau De Cologne, Creed Royal Water, Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte, Guerlain Cologne Du Parfumeur, Annick Goutal Eau Du Sud, Annick Goutal Les Nuits d’Hadrien, Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte.
Perfumer: Henri Sorsana (Robertet)
Bottle designer: Annick Goutal
Release date: 1981
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Citrus