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Mon Parfum Chéri – My Beloved Perfume (December 9, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Photo - Wikipedia - Ava Gardner, December 1953.

One of Hollywood's most glamorous actresses

I read the blogs, so I see the announcements about upcoming launches. This past May, Robin at Nowsmellthis wrote about the September launch of the new Annick Goutal scent, Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille, as “very feminine, elegant and mesmerizing fragrance, inspired by Hollywood glamorous actresses”. I immediately noted the launch date in my calendar, and promised myself I would get a sample in September, by hook or by crook.

Well, hooks and crooks didn’t work, since Annick Goutal is mighty hard to find in Toronto, (how can this be, in this so-called world-class city of over 5 milIion – but that’s a story for another day). My more distant sources had no stock yet, so I gave up on a sample, and asked Gwen to buy the EdT for me on a recent NYC visit.

I’ve been waiting for Mon Parfum Chéri, which translates as My Beloved Perfume, for what seems a long time. I love chypres, and have a fondness for the “Grande Dame” vintages, such as the 1940's iconic Rochas Femme, which I've always associated with the glamorous actresses of the 40's and 50's, like Ava Gardner. I've read that when Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen created Mon Parfum Chéri, they took their inspiration from the classic chypre structure like Femme,  to build a deep, dark, feminine scent with a modern spirit. An hommage to the past, but firmly planted in the present. I can’t wait to smell it!

I open the box, admire the dark red ribbed bottle, with its saucy black tulle and satin ribbon, spritz, sniff – and smell almost nothing! Just a faint hint of powdery iris. I try again, and again, and again, but my nose has been rendered useless by a hideous cold which has cut me off at the knees for the past two weeks. I think I’m gonna cry, but I suck it up, put Mon Parfum Chéri back in her box, and go to bed.

Two days later is a different story. My nose is restored, so Mon Parfum Chéri comes back out of her box and ......and what a stunning scent! The few notes listed are violet, plum, Indonesian patchouli, iris and heliotropine, and first off I get dry, powdery iris, faintly sweet like the petals, peppered with a touch of spicy clove from the violet, becoming rich and buttery as the powder sensation develops into a purple haze of these two unique floral notes. No citrus to be found in this chypre, but there is a hint of raw green funk from the patchouli which makes it sooo interesting.

Soft almondy heliotrope moves into the mix, which tones down the earthy green and amps up the feminine feeling, and the scent starts to feel like it will swerve into a sweet floral when the darker notes gather momentum and move into the centre. Earthy patchouli notes at first, vegetal and erotic, wrap around dark ripe purple plums, their fruity sweetness forming an accord with the patchouli that has nuances of woods and tobacco. Finally, I seem to detect vanilla mixed with the almond heliotrope and the powdery florals, and as this amazing mix dries down, the sillage settles at a constant volume, discreet but demanding. 

This Grande Dame is a contemporary Femme Fatale, soft, feminine, voluptuous on the outside, but tough in her core. She lures you in and then seduces you with a fascinating play between light and dark, refined and raw, floral and fruity, sweet and earthy, all on her own terms. The play between the iris and pathchouli is so unique – I can’t remember smelling this mysterious accord before, it has an ancient timeless feel to it. The subtleties of the astonishingly few notes in Mon Parfum Chéri continue to surface and fall away in waves, always beautifully balanced, always pulling you in for yet another seductive whiff, like being pulled in for another kiss by your beloved.

I believe that Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille, this newest star in the Annick Goutal line-up, is a definite 5-star perfume. It is extraordinary, and already has become one of my few beloved scents, Mon Parfum Chéri.

Today, we’re adding Mon Parfum Chéri par Camille to our decant sample offering. Decants are $4.00.

Note: It’s been twenty years or so since their first launch, but the Annick Goutal line is still truly niche perfumes in the French style. Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen have stuck to Annick Goutal’s vision and continue to create a cohesive range of superb scents for women and men. We own a selection of their best – click here to see our listings which include Les Nuits d’Hadrian, Eau du Sud, Heure Exquise, Sables, Encens Flamboyant, etc.