Goutal Paris Grand Amour apped by Michelyn©
Younger than springtime are you
Softer than starlight are you
Warmer than winds of June
Are the gentle lips you gave me — “Younger than Springtime,” South Pacific
The Lovers by Pierre Auguste Renoir 1875©wiki commons
For 18 years, he brought her every week fragrant white lilies, their blooms aslant as if weighted by their scent. It was always spring. Honeysuckle and jasmine twined about the bower, blowing kisses through the open window, hyacinth shook her glossy locks in the glimmering sun, and all the garden seemed to embrace. Goutal Paris Grand Amour, created by perfumer Isabelle Doyen under the creative direction of Annick Goutal, is a love letter written in fragrance, the heady, giddy profusion of spring flowers. Instead of fashioning a simple lily soliflore, Doyen opted for an exposition of romance with poignant, elegant April and May flowers that suggest different elements of passion and devotion. With its heady, vernal bouquet of white florals, Grand Amour juxtaposes heart-fluttering young love with the steady, quiet beat of tenderness.
Alphonse Mucha Princess Hyancinth 1911
Around a central note hyacinth the other flowers peek and flirt, Grand Amour traverses similar ground that great floral hymn to the heart, Guerlain Chamade, both in spirit and composition. But where Chamade roots its spring blossoms in greenery and casts a sophisticated glitter of aldehydes over the spray, Grand Amour surrenders to amber, vanilla and myrrh that give it a dreamy, amatory quality. As it develops, Grand Amour’s flowers seem to bloom on the skin, spreading wide their lush petals, yet stopping just short of overwhelming prettiness.
Hyacinth is queen of Goutal Paris Grand Amour, dancing with a different partner in a varying tempo at each stage. In the first spray, she is the essence of early spring with her piercing, peacock loveliness. An apposite smell of rain drifts around the hyacinth, and a waft of indefinable sweet spice, not unlike mace but not as pungent as nutmeg, filters up as the first hint of lily come through. The ingenue trill of honeysuckle, with its elven green undertones, flits and trips around these two lush flowers. In these early moments, Grand Amour feels like a sister to Petite Cherie, an e.e.cummings spring, when the world is puddle-wonderful and everything is impossibly young, dancing to flutes and piccolos.
Lilies by Michelyn (May 2021)©
The heart of Goutal Paris Grand Amour is what I think of as its signature. Still dominated by hyacinth, now leading a swaying waltz, the lily becomes lusher and more stemmy and adds roundness to the fragrance. But thanks to a central blend of rose and jasmine and the powdery delicacy of mimosa, the fragrance also becomes more refined and romantic. It is at this point the perfume most resembles Chamade, if only for a few moments.
photo by Lauryn©
But Grand Amour moves in its own direction, past glowing rose dotted with musk to the sandy, dark woodiness of myrrh. Myrrh is an interesting choice at this later stage, as it adds a sedate, tonal contrast with the luxuriant florals. I don’t detect much vanilla in here, which I worried would lead the perfume towards dessert-like sweetness, but it usefully adds a soft-focus quality to the dry-down as it mingles with the amber and musk. Goutal Paris Grand Amour has a melodic, sweeping quality that reminds me of Schumann piano concerto. It is a genuinely lovely, timeless fragrance that will pull at your heartstrings with that same, welcome tug as finding a bouquet on your doorstep in spring.
Notes: lily, honeysuckle, hyacinth, broom, jasmine, Turkish rose, Indian mimosa, heather, vanilla, amber, musk, myrrh.
Disclaimer: Bottle of Goutal Paris Grand Amour generously provided by Europerfumes the U.S. distributors for Goutal Paris. My opinions, as always, are my own.
Lauryn Beer, Senior Editor
Art Direction by Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief
Goutal Paris Grand Amour bottle, photo courtesy of the brand
Thanks to the generosity of Europerfumes for one registered reader in the U.S. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what strikes you about Goutal Paris Grand Amour based on Lauryn’s review and whether you have a favourite Goutal Paris fragrance. Draw closes September 3, 2021
For more background on the brand, please read Michelyn’s interview with Camille Goutal from 2010, Hernando Courtright’s 2016 Behind the Bottle with Camille Goutal, and Olya Bar’s 2021 review of Tenue de Soiree
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Available September 1, 2021, the 40th Anniversary of the brand at New London Pharmacy, ZGO Perfumery, LuckyScent, Beverly Hills Perfumery, Twisted Lily, stockists throughout the USA and The Goutal Paris US Site here
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