For months now, my backyard has been a dull landscape of pea gravel and weeds with a naked plum tree in the middle. Practically overnight, the garden — I see it from my desk right now — has erupted in color: shocking pink peonies and rhododendron, purple iris, yellow roses and pale, newly green leaves. It’s the perfect time to drain my samples of two tender, warmer weather fragrances, Ann Gérard Perle de Mousse and Ciel d’Opale.
Perle de Mousse and Ciel d’Opale (along with Cuir de Nacre) were created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and released in 2012. To me, the Ann Gérard perfume style is classic, subtle and sophisticated. Despite the light, joyous vibe of Perle de Mousse and Ciel d’Opale, they feel made for full grown women (and discerning men, of course).
Perle de Mousse is a green chypre that reminds me of a softer, gentler Balmain Vent Vert. Perle de Mousse’s notes include aldehydes, pink pepper, bergamot, green mandarin, galbanum, ivy, lily of the valley, hawthorn, Bulgarian rose, clove, jasmine, gardenia, lentiscus absolute (aka mastic), ambergris, musk and vanilla.
Perle de Mousse opens with a dizzy whoosh of aldehydes, green galbanum and sweet, rather than tart, citrus. Moss is not far behind — the fragrance is resolutely a chypre — and thanks to rose’s juiciness and tuberose’s fruit, the citrus slips seamlessly into its spring-flower heart loaded with lily of the valley and a hint of spice. Perle de Mousse’s flowers are lovely, but the fragrance’s dose of moss gives the fragrance a whiff of fusty pencil lead that elevates it from pretty to beautiful.
Perle de Mousse has definite sillage, but it wafts as sheer and light as chiffon. It lasts a whole evening on skin. Perle de Mousse would be ideal for May Day, spring lunches in bistros, and occasions that cry out for pink champagne (the good stuff). I’d been thinking I wanted a bottle of Ann Gérard Rose Cut, but Perle de Mousse tempts me.
Perle de Mousse is wonderful in spring, but Ciel d’Opale feels made for summer. Ciel d’Opale’s notes include quince, lemon, galbanum, Sichuan pepper, cassie, jasmine, mock orange, honeysuckle, amber, cedar, guaiac wood, vetiver, sandalwood and vanilla. If Perle de Mousse reminds me of a softer Vent Vert, Ciel d’Opale could be a softer, better-mannered Amouage Ubar.
Ciel d’Opale is a green, sunny floral lemonade with lots of honeysuckle and linden. Its cassie keeps it from being too pretty-pretty, although it’s still unabashedly pretty enough to charm someone who hasn’t smelled a lot of perfume. The fragrance sings in the higher registers and smells very femme to me.
Instead of being overtaken by base notes, Ciel d’Opale’s honeysuckle-linden combo persists to the perfume’s last whiff on skin, about three hours for me. It would be perfect to wear with a sundress to an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Ann Gérard Perle de Mousse and Ciel d’Opale are available in 60 ml Eau de Parfum for $165. For information on where to buy them, see Ann Gérard under Perfume Houses.