Sunday, November 9, 2008

Annick Goutal : Encens Flamboyant and Comme des Garcons : Kyoto

Of the new "Les Orientalistes" trio of Annick Goutal fragrances, Encens Flamboyant is far and away my favorite. It is the least sweetened of the trio, and has that smoky evergreen quality that for some reason I suddenly crave this fall. As usual, my perfume cravings are tied to sensory experiences I can't have. With my recent balsam cravings, I know what I really want is a walk through a Wisconsin evergreen forest, pine needles scenting the air and silencing any sound of my steps, with snow and woodsmoke in the air.

According to the Annick Goutal website, the notes in EF are: three different types of frankincense, balsam fir, roseberry,
cardamom, sage, nutmeg, and mastic.

But as I sat with my nose pressed against my hand, whimpering with happiness, I thought suddenly about the mostly neglected sample vial of Comme des Garcons Kyoto I have in my perfume closet. Of the CdG incense series, I own and love Avignon, but I thought this turnaround on fir scents might mean I'd finally understand the love out there for Kyoto as well. And this was, in fact a revelation for me!

According to LuckyScent, Kyoto's notes are: incense, cypress oil, coffee, teak wood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, everlasting flower, Virginian cedar. The incense is unmistakeably frankincense, but this is a drier and woodier fragrance than EF. Nonetheless, the two fragrances were much more similar than many other pairs I've imagined might be twins.

Now many others have already covered the seemingly magically ethereal yet sustained incense of the CdG fragrances, so I will try not to go on and on, but I wanted to share a comparison of Kyoto with EF (each dabbed on, with K on the left and EF on the right). The remarkable, dry, delicate frankincense smokiness of Kyoto just goes on and on, perfectly balanced with and weaving in and out of the woods. That may sound linear, but the CdG scents achieve that amazing shifting, swirling quality of incense wisps in the air, and it is anything but boring. In EF, which is extraordinarily similar, there is a juicier quality with the balsam, and it turns into more of a fir-tree sap with a hint of spice in the drydown.

Looking at the notes for Kyoto, I think the drier quality is probably due in part to the woods, which are not balsam, but cypress and cedar. In the drydown, EF smells more and more like laying under the Christmas tree when I was kid, or the fir sap that I got it on my hands after climbing evergreens in the woods, but Kyoto gets drier and woodier.

Both have much to love, and as I alternately sniff hands, my preference changes throughout the drydown. Kyoto demands my appreciation with its ascetic beauty, but Encens Flamboyant captures me with nostalgia.

(Image is my own, all rights reserved.)


Rose said...

Lovely post. These scents seem like a bit of a departure for the Annick Goutal line. I tried them all but all at once and think I got everything a bit muddled! must re- try!

I love the CDG incense series. I really adore Avignon as a scent but on my skin it's just not as good as on other people I have smelled it on- very frustrating! Kyoto is my second favourite of the series, the cedar is beauitfully done.

ScentScelf said...

Today's reading was pleasant education for me. Just learning incense scents...though I do have some Nu, and like it, as well as Black Cashmere. Nothing serious, though...the Diptyque I tried near the start of my perfume journey was too much, but I should revisit that, and other, incenses.

Good to see you back. :)

Rose said...

I'm not that keen on the Diptyque either, but love other scents of theirs.

Incense wise I really like Santa Maria Novella Melograno as well- it is sort of soapy but with full church incense too- very unusual.

Thank- you!

Abigail said...

I like the way you tied these two fragrances together. I often do the same - I smell a new perfume and I then realize a facet of another perfume I wasn't fully appreciating. Funny the way this olfactory journey of ours works ;-)

+ Q PERFUME said...

I loved this postings.
Sometimes I do the same thing when I have a fragrance description but i want to check the notes or find out what they are not telling us.
the is a green note that I found in Annick G's chéfrefeuille, in Versace Pure Crystal, in one of Rancé's fragrance. It is a green top note that always smells the same but somehow you look at the brand's description and none have a commom note in the first accord!
I added you in my blogroll, so wellcome!