Annick Goutal Eau de Camille & Eau de Charlotte ~ fragrance reviews

Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte perfume

The Annick Goutal line occupies a rather in-between place among perfume fans — the company probably qualifies as niche based on their size and their limited distribution; still, they are available in a number of mainstream stores (three department stores in my local mall carry them), and the line doesn't feel niche. The feminine perfumes are emphatically pretty, romantic even; they don't, like so many niche perfumes, challenge traditional notions of what a woman ought to smell like.

Eau de Camille and Eau de Charlotte are both very much in that mold. They were created by Annick Goutal for her daughters:

Camille, 25, wanted to smell like the terrace of their home in Paris — "so I created a mixture of ivy, cut grass and honeysuckle for her," Goutal says. Charlotte, 22, asked her mom to create a scent that reminded her of all her favorite sweets — especially black-currant jam. Says Goutal: "When my daughters started growing into their femininity, I was inspired to create innocent scents that are feminine but have a touch of insolence." (via Town & Country, 6/1/1996)

Camille's fragrance, Eau de Camille, was released in 1983 and includes notes of honeysuckle, syringa, privet and ivy. As advertised, it is fresh and outdoorsy, with a crispness that recalls a morning in early summer. The green in the top notes is slightly bitter and dark, and very like just-crushed leaves and stems (and vaguely reminiscent of my own buried-in-the-shrubbery favorite, Sous Le Buis). The green remains throughout, but gets paler and grassier as it dries down, and the floral notes add a touch of sweetness without ever quite overtaking the scene. I hardly notice the lilac, but it does soften the characteristic sharpness of the honeysuckle; the base is mild and woody.

In my own collection, Eau de Camille has always taken a back seat to the newer, brighter, more sparkling Annick Goutal honeysuckle scent, Le Chevrefeuille, but they are actually quite different. Le Chevrefeuille might be thought of as a honeysuckle fragrance with green undertones, while Eau de Camille is a green fragrance decorated with a little sprig of honeysuckle. If you can't decide which one to put on in the morning, they layer beautifully.

Eau de Charlotte launched in 1982, and has blackcurrant bud, mimosa and cocoa. The opening notes are sticky-fruity syrup, but Charlotte calms into a lovely blended floral, sweet but not overly so, with subtle fruit undertones and touches of cocoa and vanilla. It has a lightly powdered finish, and a warm, cozy-comfort kind of air.

Eau de Charlotte is rich but I wouldn't call it heavy, and I'm not sure I'd call it a gourmand either — it isn't the sort of scent that will send you flying off to the pantry, at any rate. It has a youthful quality (more so than Eau de Camille) but it is neither insipid nor unsophisticated. Of the two fragrances, Eau de Camille suits me much better, but both ladies were lucky to have Annick Goutal as a mother: they might have otherwise ended up with Vera Wang Princess.

Eau de Camille is an Eau de Toilette, and is available in 50 and 100 ml bottles. Eau de Charlotte is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum, or 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette. For buying information, see the listing for Annick Goutal under Perfume Houses.

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34 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I've not tried E d Camille, but it sounds like something that would appeal to me. E d Charlotte I have and love. It's a scent that satisfies an occasional fragrance need that nothing else I have quite fills.

    I'm a commuter and ride a very crowded train each day. Invariably when I wear Charlotte, someone crushed up against me comments on how nice I smell. If, by wearing this fragrance, I'm doing my humble part in keeping the train ride a tolerable olfactory experience, than I'm happy! :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh, that's great, R! Vera Wang Princess indeed!

    I am such a sweets slut (yum…black currant jam and cocoa!), I have to say that I prefer Eau de Charlotte. It is a wonderfully original comfort scent.

    Hugs!

  3. Anonymous says:

    That is nice — livening things up on the trains :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes, it is original R! And hugs to you :-)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great to see so many Goutal reviews here lately, Robin! :) It's one of my favorite houses. I agree that Camille & Charlotte are lovely scents – the whole story behind them makes them even that more interesting. I don't think I'd wear either as a man, but I might give Camille a try on the next spring day.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I've never smelled Eau de Camille or Eau de Charlotte, but, after reading you review, it seems that I'd wear more often Eau de Camille and Eau de Charllote would be perfect for those days I'm just feeling sad and need a warm, comforting “hug”, like today.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Do come back and comment if you try Camille. It is not as obviously unisex as some green scents (Sous Le Buis would be perfect if it were still available), but I really do think a man could wear it. Let me know if I'm wrong :-)

  8. Anonymous says:

    Eau de Charlotte might be hard with your hot weather, although the EdT is said to be much lighter than the EdP. Camille I should think you could wear any time, yes!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Today it's not that hot, you know. I'm wearing Allure Sensuelle EDP and it's not overpowering at all (only a little in the purse and around the neck). I was looking for something “warm”, and for me it means vanilla. Maybe it could be possible to wear Eau de Charlotte at evening. :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    LOL at Vera Wang Princess :-)
    Eau de Camille leaves me rather cold, and I find Eau de Charlotte overwhelming, almost in the Mecheri-Loukhoum kind of way. This one is probably my least favorite from Goutal's line. I don't know why I have such a reaction to it, it is, objectively speaking, a pretty, charming little scent.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely need to revisit Camille. I wander in and out of green phases and I'm guessing I last tried it during one of the out times. I think I'm in a permanent green phase now. There was a period during which I adored Charlotte, but it just hasn't managed to hold my interest over time. It's a little sweeter than what I'm comfortable w/ these days.
    As a side note, thanks to Patty I've been able to try Ellie. If you love fresh green scents, this might really work for you. I can't quite explain why, but it definitely has the M. Roudnitska stamp on it. Not at all on the surface like Amoureuse, but the more it dries down, the more it seems to me as if it could have been a component somewhere w/in Amoureuse. I also *never* spray. But this scent is one that begs to be sprayed. They need to make an edp of it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the al the reviews on Annick Goutal lately. While I'm no fragrance expert by any means, it's my opinion that the fragrances she created are truly special.

    I'd become a fan of the line in the mid 90's and on my first trip to Europe, instead of being drawn to all the obvious sights in Paris, I made a beeline for one of her shops on rue de Castiglione. I was fortunate to make another trip there in the fall of '99, shortly after she passed away apparently and the news struck me like a death in my own family. I recall tears welling up and being asked by the sales associate, “Are you alright?” All I get out was “I'll be fine…but it feels as if I knew her.”

    Thanks for letting me share. I'd never told that story to anyone so it's nice to let it out.

  13. Anonymous says:

    thanks for the Annick Goutal reviews! While we're on the topic, what do you think of Ce Soir ou Jamais? I fell in love with it a year or so ago when i tried a sample, but it's kind of schizophrenic! Sometimes it smells amazingly lush and gorgeous, but other times it rather overbearing and “mature”. But when it's good, it's definitely worth it! I'd be interested in trying Eau de Camille, i love that fresh, honeysuckle spring-ish scent.

  14. Anonymous says:

    HI R: I have worn Eau de Camille ages ago and as I remember it, I think of it as more “unisex” than, let's say, Bel Respiro. EdC was “soft” near the end…but I loved the opening. It's certainly as unisex as many of the Lutens' scents don't you think? K

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oh, don't burst my dreams, LOL! Seriously, I'm sure you could find the right weather for Charlotte.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for weighing in, K — yes, I'd think it was as unisex as the SLs. Unless I'm forgetting something, it is the only one of the AG feminines that is — most of them are VERY feminine.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh my, Loukhoum nearly kills me — I don't find Charlotte that heavy. But I can't see wearing it on a hot summer day.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Oh, Ellie sounds like something I definitely need to try, thanks! Unfortunately, there are no plans to make an EdP at the moment — they are already working on another parfum, Ellie Nuit.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Julien, what a nice story, thanks for posting. I can understand your reaction — her fragrances are very personal.

    I hear the shops are absolutely lovely, and I do wish they'd open one in New York.

  20. Anonymous says:

    You know, I meant to review Ce Soir ou Jamais awhile back when I was reviewing a bunch of rose scents, but then I got rose-d out before I finished. I will review it soon — it is lovely, but I can understand your reaction to it — sometimes the roses feel a day past their prime, and that is both what makes it beautiful, and what makes it hard to wear at times.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I know. I saw that when I went to email them to ask about the possibility of an edp. :-) I'm convinced I need to start setting up an Ellie Nuit fund.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Late to the party. Sigh. Why, oh why, couldn't *I* have Annick for a mom to make me a special perfume?

    There is just something about this line… you know how much I'm enjoying these, right? although I think you and I have different favorites … I know how Julien feels. If Serge Lutens' fragrances disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow, I'd mourn the loss of some genius fragrances. But if Annick Goutal disappeared, I'd be much more bereft on a personal level. AG scents *probably* make up a larger share of my bottle collection than anything else except Guerlain, and I wear them more … you know what I miss? I never see them any more. All the fragrance discounters used to carrry the cutest little half-sized bottles shaped like the regular ones. I loved those.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Late to the party. Sigh. Why, oh why, couldn't *I* have Annick for a mom to make me a special perfume?

    There is just something about this line… you know how much I'm enjoying these reviews, right? although I think you and I have different favorites … I know how Julien feels. If Serge Lutens' fragrances disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow, I'd mourn the loss of some genius fragrances. But if Annick Goutal disappeared, I'd be much more bereft on a personal level. AG scents *probably* make up a larger share of my bottle collection than anything else except Guerlain, and I wear them more … you know what I miss? I never see them any more. All the fragrance discounters used to carrry the cutest little half-sized bottles shaped like the regular ones. I loved those.

  24. Anonymous says:

    March – I have one of those little bottles! So cute – got it as a promo, and it was filled with Hadrien at the time. Once you buy AG from my department store they forever invite you to semi-annual promotion events. Wish AG sold their perfumes in that size, they are adorable (and refillable too!).

    I am so enjoying these reviews, especially since I'm fresh from sampling all the AG scents!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Happily for me, the Nuit is less likely to attract me — it sounds darker & more oriental. But haven't even tried Ellie yet so what do I know :-)

  26. Anonymous says:

    Hey, you and me both — I'd take an Eau de Robin, although that doesn't sound good, does it? Which is your favorite AG, by the way?

    Nordstrom had those little bottles recently as a gift with purchase, but can't remember which scent they were.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I wish they all came in that size too! You can also find AG sets with little tiny splash bottles in a pouch, maybe 5 ml each?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the double post– my laptop kept wigging out on me.

    Mandragore and Petite Cherie probably get the most regular use, and I don't think you like either one of those. Violette gets my attention right about now … I have historically been less fond of the green ones you mentioned (seemed too sharp for me) but now I'm thinking I need to go re-try them. I also like Ciel and Jamais a lot, but have to be in the right mood. Also, I realized: I associate the AG line with *travel* because I tend to drop those minis (those teeny ones) into my travel bag! And that positive association stays with me.

  29. Anonymous says:

    That's it. I *need* some more of those, I seem to have used most of them up and/or given them away… they must still be online somewhere!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I like almost all of those — except Ciel, because I've never tried it. Mandragore I originally thought was nice but too fleeting, but I love the new EdP version (even if I'm too cheap to buy it).

  31. Anonymous says:

    Camille sounds lovely, and is the name of a dear friend, to boot. However, I can't deal with Charlotte, which (who?) turned on me exactly as did Sables: a nasty, burned-sugar-and-melting-plastic note. V sad. So poor Charlotte is going out today in swap!

    Hadrien – now that's a good summer one – though no lasting power.

    I think AGs are not my thing, really.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Have you tried Eau de Sud or Mandragore? Two more great summer scents, although the Mandragore EdT isn't terribly long lasting either, and the EdP isn't easy to find. But hey, you might be right and the line just isn't for you :-)

  33. Anonymous says:

    Eau de Charlotte- I received sample today, it's pleasant, but no 'wow' factor for me. It's sweet and powdery, and quite lovely but I can't find any depth to it.

    To be honest it kind of reminds me of L'air Du Temps…delicate..even though it doesn't have the same notes..so I may be talking nonsense. Bear with me, I'm a nooobie ;)

  34. Anonymous says:

    Not sure it has any great “wow” factor for me either, although I do like it. Not my favorite from AG though.

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