Bipolar Bear – Review: Annick Goutal Songes

What is it with me and Annick? I adore the house, I like the romantic ideas behind the fragrances, I think the late Annick Goutal and her daughter Camille, who heads the brand since Annick’s untimely death in 1999, are highly likeable, I respect Isabelle Doyens work, I love the bottles, the entire visual presentation of the line, and still I am having a hard time finding a perfume that is an immediate winner for me.

This time I am struggling with Songes.


It was created by Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal in 2006. Official notes are: frangipani, tiare, jasmine, incense, vanilla, copahu balm, pepper, ylang-ylang absolute, vetiver, sandalwood, amber and styrax. Camille Goutal allegedly was inspired by the fragrant beauty of the frangipani flowers at sunset on the island of Mauritius. Songes means something like “to think about in dreams”.

It starts out with an incredibly strong burst of heady white flowers, the frangipani combined with jasmine and gardenia. That is where my reservations with the scent come in, I can take each of the three alone (well, maybe) but all three together – that is too much. And they are tenacious! In the first hour it has almost scrubber qualities for me, but when I am being brave and hang in there, for the sake of the blog, (and nobody is around for me to bother with sillage overload!!!) I am rewarded with a wonderfully soft and in contrast to the beginning, almost demure and feminine fragrance that entices and invites to dream, just as its name suggests. If I could have just the drydown, this perfume would be a winner for me. As it is, it strikes me almost as being a little schizophrenic or bipolar in its loud exuberance followed by demure, introspective and somber beauty.

The question is: Can I stand the first hour of unrelenting, overpowering heady white floweriness?

Do I have to? I don’t know.

What do you say? Do you wear fragrances that are not all good, all the time? Is your perfume allowed to have “bad” sides or do you wear only those that fit like a glove?

I am torn. Songes is not a shy creature, it has a big personality, does it match mine?

It does in the drydown, but our style upon entering a room is decidedly different. But maybe there is something I could learn there… (maybe not the bipolarity though ;))

Songes is available in 50 and 100ml Eau de Toilette and  50 ml Eau de Parfum in the regular feminine bottle as well as 100 ml Eau de Parfum the “moon bottle”, that has been available in various limited edition-incarnations over the years. 

Picture sources:, some rights reserved thank you!

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2 Responses to Bipolar Bear – Review: Annick Goutal Songes

  1. Kafkaesque says:

    Interesting. I have only one AG fragrance thus far and I too have to force myself to wear it. Unlike your experience with Songes, I have never grown to love Grand Amour. It’s an obligation, ordeal and chore to wear it. (Yes, for some crazy reason, I actually *do* feel obligated. It’s a large bottle! lol!) I normally love hyacinth as a flower but something about the smell of it in Grand Amour is hugely jarring to me. It’s green — very, very green hyacinth — but it’s not really that. I think it smells like the bottom of a vase of flowers that have been rotting and the water was left unchanged for over a week. Yes, I think that’s the main problem. On me, it smells fecund and slightly rotting in its greenness.

    I have to say, your review of Songes actually tempts me. One thing I hear about the AG line is that it has minimal longevity or sillage. And that’s on normal people. ME, for whom few things last long…. that wouldn’t be good. (It was one of the few reasons I opted for Grand Amour in lieu of some others.) But back to Songes, I actually really like a huge, overwhelmingly white floral fragrance, though my favorite genre is spicy, dark orientals and that is mostly what I am drawn to. Hmmm, I think I shall put Songes on my list and we shall see. Thank you for your review. If I buy it, I will let you know what I think. 🙂

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