Like almost every form of art, fragrance is deeply tied to occasion. Clothing and costumes suit different events, movies suit certain moods, and songs can either enrapture or deflate an audience depending on the situation at hand. The most basic element that affects fragrance is temperature, as it directly affects how a perfume will radiate off the skin and inhabit the area around the wearer.
It’s no surprise that fragrances are often sorted into seasonal appropriateness. If you wear a dense perfume in hundred-degree heat, you’re going to invite annoyance rather than appreciation. However, there are certain perfumes that seem to defy our basic evaluation of seasonal appropriateness. These fragrances make us question our base impulse to assign lighter compositions to warmer temperatures and heavier ones to chilly days. You don’t have to look any further than Annick Goutal’s Nuit Etoilee to find such a rebel.
Nuit Etoilee Notes
Top Notes: Mint, Citron, Orange
Heart Notes: Pine Tree, Fir
Base Notes: Immortelle, Angelica, Tonka Bean
Nuit Etoilee is a French phrase that translates to Starry Night, and when I bought this fragrance nearly seven years ago, I expected something dark and mysterious. Mint, pine, and fir notes suggest a dark and herbal wooded scent with wisps of sparkling citrus notes to cool the air.
It’s not the absence of such notes that makes Nuit Etoilee surprising, but rather the heightened presence of unexpected players. By far the most dominant note in this fragrance is citron. For those unfamiliar with citron, it comes across as a softened lemony scent not uncommon among cleaning materials. It’s quite dry and somewhat lacking in the expected lemony sourness. This leaves room for the mint note to add sharpness to the fragrance’s opening.
Pine and fir are certainly present in Nuit Etoilee, but they’re secondary players. The brightness of citron and mint carry through the life of the fragrance even as clean foresty notes become more pronounced. Those looking for a raw foresty perfume are destined for disappointment.
That being said, there is something about the mint-citron body of Nuit Etoilee that gives it a magical cooling affect. We often associate mint with coolness, but somehow the citrus and light woods enhance this greatly. Nuit Etoilee is the only fragrance I’ve worn in the heat that actually makes me feel a touch cooler.
In such a way, Nuit Etoilee might seem a bit too bright and sunny to suit its namesake. It would suit a winter night much in the way a streetlamp does. However, it is one of the loveliest perfumes for warm days I’ve found, and its comforting affect surprisingly draws quite a few compliments in my experience. Ultimately, this fragrance is far more versatile and odd than its namesake suggests. Nuit Etoilee is the sort of polite surprise that’s likely to win over those around you in the most unexpected of situations.
Samples of Nuit Etoilee are currently difficult to track down, but the bottle is quite common on eBay.
Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!
The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based on house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.