Annick Goutal’s Ce Soir Ou Jamais (1999)

Annick Goutal Ce Soir Ou Jamais © Victor Wong
Annick Goutal Ce Soir Ou Jamais © Victor Wong

The first time I smelled Annick Goutal’s Ce Soir Ou Jamais (Tonight or Never) it was freshly sprayed on a test strip in a department store. Its opening was so beautiful that I almost bought it immediately, but I didn’t and shouldn’t because I was already holding a shopping bag in my hand. The opening smelled of ripe Bartlett pears, it’s so juicy, sweet and lovely, I felt that I had levitated half an inch above ground. (Actually it was ambrette seed note that I was smelling.)

The second time I visited the counter, I smelled Ce Soir Ou Jamais again, but from the bottle cap. The fresh opening was already gone, and all I got was Miss Fatturkish Rose. “Miss Rose? I didn’t expect to see you here.” “Yes, hun, I got stuck in this cap for a while. Can you ask the sales assistant for a pry bar?”

In my head there’s a mini war going on… Should I bring Miss Rose home? I already have a lot of rose perfumes. Ombre Rose, Robert Piguet’s Rose Perfection, even Portrait of a Lady… well, who am I kidding, I of course lost. What a meaningless war. I bought a bottle.

When I reached home, I sat down and checked out some fragrance reviews online. One of the reviews of Ce Soir Ou Jamais was, “Annick Goutal, or whoever wearing this perfume, you are responsible for cleaning up the floor when people throw up after smelling it.” I frowned. I then reached for my Perfumes review book, and Tania Sanchez wrote, “Tonight or Never? Never. Two stars.”

I was upset, I tore open the shrink-wrap and sprayed myself crazy. I levitated a full inch above ground and floated around the living room like a piece of cloud.