Review of Annick Goutal Ce Soir Ou Jamais by Mac789
Several Christmases ago, Sephora packed a sample of Ce Soir ou Jamais into my order. The sample was the eau de toilette formulation and I found it intoxicating and as close as one could come to a rose absolute.
Figuring richer is better, I bought eau de parfum and then rarely wore it. EdP was rose petals and leaves macerating in a good quality Bordeaux. So winey was the EdP that I found it difficult to wear; the wine and rose together seemed tannic, and when this was joined by the green notes the composition went sharp and never quite settled.
I recently picked up a bottle of eau de toilette and am happily reunited with the sensation that I had when I first smelled Ce Soir ou Jamais--carefully adulterated rose with a complex, spicy/musky undertone.
Although it was claimed that 160 essences went into its creation, Ce Soir seems more reductive than that number would indicate. In EdT, the rose is front and center, touched very minimally by the red wine note. A light fizziness lasts throughout the heart bouquet. The spiciness is mysterious. It seems closest to cinnamon's hot/dry qualities, but it is equally possible that it is nutmeg.
I do not normally care for fruity rose scents (Nahema a prime example), but the fruit notes in Ce Soir seem to be touched upon the scent's structure very carefully. Very little sweetness is involved (compare to Nahema, where on me the sweet passionfruit dominates) and, if anything, the pear note is an unripened d'Anjou, still with some sourness in place of ripened fleshiness. Cassis isn't noticeable.
Ambrette seed stands in for musk here, perhaps with addition of an Atlas cedar note. As Ce Soir dries, and quite remarkably, I do not lose anything of the whole. This doesn't mean that Ce Soir is linear, it is simply that as each component introduces itself, it stays attached through to the basenotes. Ce Soir is somewhat like Feminite du Bois as it approaches the base, although the comparison might seem far-fetched, and yet it places Ce Soir firmly into the "neo-chypre" category, which is one I like very much.
Unlike F. Malle's gloriously ripe Une Rose, Ce Soir's rose seems to be a rose with withering edges. A slight effect of decay reminds me of Patou 1000, although without the vase full of murky water that holds 1000's bouquet.
Although clearly marketed as romantic fragrance, Ce Soir is far from that notion. There is nothing winsome about it, and neither is it a lusty rose or even a sexy one. In fact, it seems to have a quirky remove to it, in the same way Feminite du Bois does--it's a rose not for lovers but a rose for the covert eccentric.