From the first second I smelled Grand Amour, I knew I could not remain indifferent to this perfume. It reminded me instantly of the bushes of mastic where I used to hide as a little girl: either from friends and siblings while playing hide and seek; or from greater horrors imposed on little children by the adults of the world. The scent of the mastic bushes is unique and unmistakable. And although mastic is not mentioned as a note in this perfume from Annick Goutal – the precise makeup of this particular perfume creates the impression of the scent released from the crushed crisp leaves between little fingers of a child hiding in the dense evergreen bushes.
The gum or resin from this bush is the same “mastic” which is used to flavour baked sweets and ice creams in the Middle East and Greece (more about this later). The Latin name of this bush is Pistacia Lentiscus, and it is from the pisttachio family. In ancient times it was used to create a chewing substance (mastic is chewing gum in Arabic and Hebrew), and it is also used as a medicine and a spice. A synthetic substance with similar chemical makeup is created especially for the chewing gum industry.
For those who are unfamiliar with the aroma of mastic, and particularly that of the raw leaves, I would try to describe it as it is in Grand Amour: it is green yet not like grass or leaves, sappy, but not resinous, and with an undercurrent of powdery warmth, while releasing a gently and evenly floral aroma in such manner that no particular flower stands out. It also resembles Chamade in some ways, though I detect none of the galbanum, oakmoss or vanilla notes that are so prominent in Chamade. Perhaps it is the hyacinth, a note that appears in both perfumes.
When I discovered Grand Amour some two or three years ago at The Bay in Vancouver, I immediately lavished myself in it carelessly in excess that can be only explained by my excitement. I was not able to enjoy it very much, the memory of those evergreen childhood hideaways brought a throat-clenching sensation, like the one that visits us just before bursting into inexplicable, shameful tears. I neglected the fantasy of wearing Grand Amour, but haven’t completely given up. I took a vial with me on my trip to Israel this spring, and decided to wear it in the natural environment and compare it to the live bush. I was right about their similarity. But imagine my surprise when I managed to enjoy the juice for three days straight while staying at my Mom’s place, surrounded by the bushes and the spring blooming greenery. In Hebrew we say “Meshane makom, meshane mazal” which means, that when you change location or place, your luck might change too. So true for perfume.