Eau du Fier is one of those perfumes that make me wonder if I actually enjoy the way they smell or the fact they're so unusual and unconventional. It's probably a mix of both, since this Annick Goutal creation (by house perfumer Isabelle Doyen) is not the only tarry perfume I like. But there's something to be said for the uniqueness and element of surprise whenever I spray myself with it.
Eau du Fier smells mostly like a cocktail of Lapsang Souchong with a splash of non-sweet orange juice. The opening is extremely smoky, medicinal and would challenge many people's idea of perfume, unless they're familiar with CDG Tar, Tauer's Lonestar Memories or at least Bulgari Black and Tea For Two by L'Artisan. Still the last two have a nice dose of vanilla that makes them go down easily enough, while the Goutal has little to none sweetness. My skin tends to neutralize heavy smoky notes and reduces them to their woody or shrubbery origin. Eau du Fier becomes very much a tea scent with an almost sheer quality. It's a lot less heavy than one would assume after the birch tar assault of the top notes and settles very close to the skin, feeling more exotic than avant-garde.
I enjoy the entire journey and find it very wearable on days I don't have to mix with the general public which might raise an eyebrow at a woman who smells of a burnt substance. It's not a perfume I'd recommend to wear for a romantic date for either men or women, unless the object of your desire is a tea connoisseur who would appreciate the nuances. Still, the bottom line is that Eau du Fier smells good in an off-the-beaten-path way and is worth becoming part of one's perfume journey. If you can find some, that is.
Eau du Fier was released in 2000 and vanished from our shelves around 2005. A few European Annick Goutal boutiques had it until a couple of years ago and while the official Goutal website doesn't even mention its existence, a handful of bottles still make an appearance overseas, which is how I found and purchased mine.