The mundane meets the magical in Annick Goutal’s Eau d’Hadrien*. There is nothing particularly original about this fragrance, which pairs a few intensely astringent citrus notes with a woody base. In fact, the particular accord of grapefruit, lemon, ylang ylang, patchouli and cypress reminds me of a particular aromatherpeutic synergy which left so little impression on me that I completely failed to remember what it was or where I smelled it. Upon research, I discovered that this particular combo if essential oil would result in a synergy for menopausal varicose veins and cellulitis**…
The initial citrus overload can be likened to getting sprayed by grapefruit essential oils right from its pores when attempting to peel it – resulting in two things: grapefruit juice dripping down your wrists and arms, and teary eyes. It will leave those tangy, tingling residues on your tongue for hours to come, and your fingers will remain bitter for the day. The citrus monopoly gradually becomes tolerant to soft, woody, powdery-sweet floral note of ylang ylang (I believe it’s the third grade of the essential oil by the smell of it), and underpinnings of sappy-green, bitter and warm-woody notes of cypress and patchouli. Cypress and lemon are one guaranteed way to smell like cleaning agents. For some reason, in l’Eau d’Hadrien this does not bother me.
Yet, the non-ambitious banality of Eau d’Hadrien is precisely what accounts for its charm: it gives you the same satisfaction of thoroughly cleaned house, fresh acrylic paint fumes still emanating from the walls, the carpets are still moist and exhaling that intensely orange aroma, the beds are made with fresh white sheets, and all you need to do is light a little candle and put your cold (and damp) feet up and relax while your bath tub is getting filled up with a pine-scented bubble bath.
I’ve been ignoring Eau d’Hadrien for many years, solely because it is a citrus. I mostly smelled lemon and a few herbs on the few occasions when I tried it, but I never really worn it properly (i.e.: on my skin, for an entire day). But I did enjoy tremendously the Eau d’Hadrien shower gel and lotion, which I found to be quite different from what I remembered Eau d’Hadrien to be: Sappy, green, citrusy, fresh, woody, brisk, bitter, sour, astringent, herbal. It does not feel mudnane at all. In fact, it has that sappy, resinous leafy feel reminiscent of Grand Amour's mastic. I really love it.
I even lit the candle last night and today (you guessed it, my place and my studio are being painted... I can now enjoy the fruit of my - and other people's - labour). The candle has a gentle throw, which fills the whole house with a delightful green tea and citrus aroma. It is significantly sweeter than the Eau de Toilette, and has the balsamic leafy tonalities of the body products.
Top notes: Lemon, Grapefruit
Heart notes: Citron, Ylang Ylang
Base notes: Cypress, Patchouli
* This review is for the Eau de Toilette, by the way. I haven’t tried the Eau de Parfum yet, but I’ve heard it is softer and sweeter, with the ylang ylang more pronounced and the cypress mellower. The lasting of the Eau de Toilette is excellent – it lasted on my skin for a good 7 hours, and there were still traces of citrus in the dry down.
** With no disrespect to aromatherapy at all, so please don't get me wrong; I do, however, lack the knowledge of understanding how a synergy such as that would work, so my knowledge is based on the separate actions of each of those oils and what they have in common, not being able to predict beyond that...
Both cypress and grapefruit oils are good for treating cellulite and water retention; Lemon and cypress help reduce varicose veins; cypress and ylang ylan gare excellent in helping to cope with menopausal symptoms, as well as menstrual crapms and PMS symptoms; and both cypress and citrus oils in general are stringent and disinfectant, which might explain why they are used so often in household cleaning products.