Sables by Annick Goutal

Sables is a scent of exotic promise; an accurate study of the amplitude of the immortelle flower.

It is the scent of dry put through muslin cloth, with the immortelle flower captured, tweaked, and given an inflection in a sterner direction. However, given the distinctive and unaligned nature of the immortelle flower the effect of dry that is found in Sables; a waterless breeze, is clashed with a peculiar unctuosity. A syrupy, treacly, and viscous texture is smelled – a golden glow with an intensively deep caramelised sweetness. Rendered bacon fat, maple syrup, and caramel removed of gourmand connotations with a current of anisic freshness through celery: a crisp, vitreous note adding clearly detectible murmurs of freshness and clarity.

For a perfumer, immortelle is thus a challenge. It is a perfume in itself, and adding more atop of this flower complicates the already complex. In my experiences, it is best added as an ingredient of suggestion, subtle reverberations to fill in the void within a perfume. Immortelle adds incredible substance to a perfume in trace elements – a comforting gourmand suspicion, an amber-driven lookalike, and/or golden tinge and amiable tint to an olfactory artwork.

Sables, as a scent focusing on this flower, plays with it positively. The gourmand inflection is there, and whilst it is challenging to nullify, the flower is instead not necessarily wrangled into submission, but placated by letting it flaunt itself, and then adorn it with complimentary notes.

Sables is an immortelle scent done very right.

Sables © 2016 Liam Sardea

© 2016 Liam Sardea

At first, Sables is grassy. My vintage bottle riddles around a fecal territory, cut with an undeniable impression of dry grass and straw. For me, an idea of native Australian spice pushes outwards, including facets of peppercorns, dried fruits, dried berries and an overarching bitterness like over-brewed Assam tea. The bitterness subsides slightly as the syrupy trailings of immortelle brings itself forward, yet equilibrium is reached between bitter and sweet. Nothing topples or trumps another, but the two form a melange converging into a scent of balance, washing away both bitter aromatic qualities and sweet, possibly sickly impressions to create harmonised bittersweetness. Like simple chemistry, this is excellent neutralisation.

Impression is core to the scent’s excellence – as a warm envelopment is detected at the beginning, that itself branches into uniquely personal ideas. The sweet caramel smells of a young scotch, spent coffee grounds, butterscotch sweets, diaphanous tobacco smoke, raisins, dried and fermented black tea, burnt sugar, fenugreek and cumin. Even opposing flavours of the culinary spectrum clash in this olfactory work. It is a scented treat harnessed within the single flower. Any accompanying notes serve to amplify or detract the flower, and essentially compliment it.

For instance, there is a frank pepper note found in Sables, forming the heart of the scent existing concurrently with the immortelle flower. Deep and mellow tones of cinnamon appear too, complimented with vanilla to add a variation to our dry spice. It has a classical progression: a series of segments absent of interlude. Sandalwood is interesting here. It is a creaminess of another type, pulling into a new stratosphere of familiarity with a more prominent lactic edge. I enjoy Sables’ herbal melange with a hint of tannin and minerality, capturing the idea of hot air and cool rocks in the shade. It is underpinned with the smell of burning wood, way past the point of caramelisation and insinuating the idea of smoke.

Sables is constructed well, and blurs the distinction between culinary and scented descriptors. Sables has it all: a salty herbal reality, a bitter acridity, sweet impressions of burnt sugar, spiced amber accords, and the dense umami complexities innately with immortelle combined with a light veil of tobacco smoke and funky herbal astringent accoutrements.

Alternatives: Fumerie Turque by Serge Lutens, and Like This by Etat Libre d’Orange. 

Crystalline immortelle.

Subjective rating: 4/5

Objective rating: 4/5


4 thoughts on “Sables by Annick Goutal

  1. Ah!, I adore the older Sables. I bought a bottle last year, but unfortunately it was the newer stuff, and it left me a little cold, so I moved it on. Thanks for the reminder to track down some older juice! 😀

    • Someone may have read your review ;).

      If I can get my act together, and some vials, I’ll send you some. The top notes are a bit damaged, but it normalises in 15 secs.

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