4 luglio 2017

Annick Goutal Sables (1985)

Annick Goutal Sables in 1985
In 2015 I started contributing to the Cafleurebon Modern Masterpieces Serie from one of my summer must, Annick Goutal's Sables which I am happy to share here too.
July is holiday time and in South Europe the coasts are a blast of Mediterranean smells floating in the heat, highlighted by the salty sparkle of sea breeze. There’s a wide range of bushes well representing this image in the perfumer’s palette and a good part of them is also present in many dishes, but definitely immortelle succeeds in conveying the mighty sun at its zenith.
 Launched exactly thirtytwo years ago in 1985, Annick Goutal Sables masterfully renders this warm embrace by fearlessly building a unique, revolutionary architecture around immortelle absolute, a raw material Annick certainly met during her training years in Grasse and which she definitely felt in love with.

Immortelle alongside the Corsican Coast (Bruno Petrigilia)
Indeed immortelle shows here its angular glory from top to bottom but Sables is not an overdosed natural material show, but a pure evocation. The opaque dryness of sand is exalted here by a good dose of cinnamon that goes pretty well with the medicinal anise-licorice aspects of immortelle. The savory bitterness you get on your lips by the shore feels just perfectly hinted by pepper coupled with the herbaceous and animalic aspects of the plant, its hay and maquis facets surrounded by the curry-like spiciness. You can almost bite the mellowness of sunkissed skin from Mysore sandalwood in the base, infused with the warmth of amber tinged tobacco and tonka bean nuttiness that make it yummy enough to forecast what a few years later would have been called gourmand, yet one step ahead from edible hokum.

Clytie - Louis Welden Hawkins
I always pictured Mme Goutal in my mind as a kind of white witch, a classic beauty with porcelain skin living in a fairy cottage facing the Bois de Boulogne, growing herbs and flowers in her backyard, le jardin potager and picking them to concoct potions and cast spells to protect her beloved ones, namely her daughters and her husband. Perhaps because of her Provençal childhood, actually there’s always something rural and bewitching in her creations and Sables makes no exception.
The word helichrysum, the botanical name of immortelle, come from the Greek words Helios, sun and chrysos, gold which refer to the beautiful yellow flowers from which an essential oil, a concrete and an absolute can be extracted. Words are ancient spells for who feels their power and in Sables you can definitely smell this golden radiation. The sun is also that star shining bright on your life, the loved one at the center of your live giving you warmth sheltering embrace.
Even the word immortelle referring to the flowers keeping their beauty even when the rest fades, sounds more than a promise of eternal love. Given also its tenacious smell, it’s no wonder Mme Goutal composed Sables for her husband, the cellist Alain Meunier after vacations spent together on Ȋle de Ré and Corsica.

Annick Goutal's husband Cellist Alain Meunier
Sables magic still goes on and on after more than thirty years, a repackaging and a few tweaks by Isabelle Doyen on the formula. It still bears the crown as the reference for immortelle and above all, it is truly the first to use  the flower in a major way, predating  '70s chypres such as Hermès Amazone and Guerlain Parure which use the ingredient in miniscule amounts . Sables also inspired many perfumers: from the more syrupy Kurkdjian’s Eau Noire for Dior or the exotic Fougère Bengale to the dramatic chypre Pierre Guillaume’s Corps et Âmes. A reflection of this modern masterpiece can also be found in Serge Lutens signature, specially for its bittersweet dryness in Chêne, Mandarine Mandarin, Chypre Rouge and  juxtaposing  a sandalwood milkiness in Jeux de Peau.

Sables current release - credits Annick Goutal Paris

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