The fifth Goutal rose after Rose Absolue, Quel Amour, Ce Soir Ou Jamais and Rose Splendide, Rose Pompon, the latest release from the Parisian house of fairy tale charms, is clearly targeted at a younger, more fresh-faced clientele.
Fusing very natural smelling essences of Rose de Bulgarie and Rose Taif with tart, fresh upnotes of blackcurrant/cassis and summertime raspberries, Rose Pompon follows the house’s more commercial and easily comprehended (some might say faceless) releases such as the light-headed Vent De Folie (2014), and the neroli-green tastic L’Isle Au The (2015 – and please forgive me – I still haven’t worked out where the French accents are on this new computer keyboard).
The blackcurrant/rose idea has been done several times before, of course, most notably in perhaps the originator of this idea – Diptyque’s seminal L’Ombre Dans L’Eau, a perfume I own and enjoy on occasion for the greennees of its English smelling snobbery and the riverbank imagery it evokes; and also Yves Saint Laurent’s big nineties hit Baby Doll, which was also cassissy and grapefruit-kissed, if a bit sharp and sassy about its Lolita-ish, phoney eyelash frills.
The hallmark of an Annick Goutal creation though is always a sensation of effortlessness and of symmetry – a seamlessness that comes from all the notes working in carefully calibrated harmony, and Rose Pompon is no exception to this rule of beautifully balanced clarity. While the central idea feels familiar, it is nevertheless done to perfection: optimistic and happy (just what Parisians probably need at this time), the tart fruit notes blended nicely with the dew-freshed roses, a safe and unthreatening scent that would be perfect as a jolie young teenage girl’s debut.
I just hope that the house is not going to get too soft around the edges and ‘sell out’. While the classics in the stable (which dates back to the early eighties) such as Grand Amour, Passion, and Heure Exquise were all very ‘proper’ but full-bodied, classical bouquets, in recent years, the house has also come up with some quite unusual curiosities: Mandragore Pourpre, Nuit Etoilee, Eau Du Fier and Un Matin d’Orage – all quite daring perfumes in their way, as were the Orientalist sequence of scents from ten years ago or so – Myrrhe Ardente, Encens Flamboyant and Musc Nomade: all distinctive enough to remain in my scent memory (and of course I could never forget their exquisite Songes – possibly the best tropical floral ever created). While I am yet to smell the new Les Absolus D’Annick Goutal, comprising 1001 Ouds (really? Did you have to?), Ambre Sauvage and Vanille Charnelle – because obviously, nobody in Japan would ever buy them even though they sound right up my street – my feeling is that in the last few releases by the company, there has most definitely been less bite and brain, more kiss.
But that’s OK. And the Japanese girls eagerly smelling Rose Pompon at the Takashimaya counter in Yokohama the other day certainly didn’t seem to be complaining. Annick Goutal here was dishing up exactly what these customers were wanting: something pretty, something pink – something happy.