A little late to the party (again) with this one, but what I lack in speed, I make up for with my fanboy enthusiasm. This summer I’ve been rocking of a lot eau de colognes, light florals and zingy citrus scents, so the first spritz of the warm, bakery tones of Sunshine Woman was quite a surprise. This is an unusual summer fragrance that flirts with gourmand tones of almond and vanilla, whilst also getting friendly with some hot and waxy white florals. So, if you want something a little bit different to the usual citrus follies of summer, then Sunshine may be something to consider. Click here to head on over to Escentual to read my review.
Amouage has put out some great work under the creative direction of Christopher Chong. With his innate ability to pair the traditions of classic French perfumery with artistic inspirations from the worlds of opera and dance (amongst many others), he has a flair for bringing out the best in the perfumers he works with, drilling down into their talent to create symphonically beautiful fragrances that range from the staggering to the bizarre. Amouage may have started as a house steeped in Middle Eastern tradition, but Chong has made it an international brand that absorbs a multitude of cultures from a wide variety of places.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the brand is the Library Collection, which houses a number of ‘opuses’ (now nine in total) that present compositions that celebrate ingenuity, the search for knowledge and the arts. The range from the wispy and ethereal violet of Opus III, to the harsh cracked, black leather of Opus VII, with a whole world in between. The collection strikes me as a space where all that matters is the composition and the inspiration behind it. The scents don’t need to find a huge audience and can therefore, be as unique and challenging as they need to be. It’s a refreshing direction from such an established house.
This year, Amouage is adding Opus IX to the collection. Inspired by La Traviata, the fragrance is described as a “soulful interpretation of the camellia flower”¹. In all honestly (and I could be being totally ignorant – stranger things have happened), I’ve not known camellias to have much of a fragrance however, they do have a wonderfully showy and flamboyant appearance, and Opus IX captures this bravado in a brightly coloured fragrance that utilises unusual ingredients.
I may be a bit behind on the Amouage-front, but I still cannot believe that the time has come (and now passed) for the house to launch their annual pair of fragrances. Last year’s duo, Fate Woman and Fate Man, were definitely a divisive pair, with some perfume lovers falling madly in love with the scents and others finding themselves not too impressed. My feelings were somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, seeing them as high quality outings, but perhaps not the most stimulating offerings from such a dynamic brand.
This year Amouage is launching Journey Woman and Journey Man, two perfumes inspired by “Shanghai deco, Chinese cinema and film noir” and for the first time, housed in striking two-tone bottles of rich red and gold. These new fragrances mark the end of the first cycle of the Amouage narrative and as much as they smell like Amouage fragrances, they don’t appear to be as noticeably bold as the perfumes that have proceeded them.
Journey Woman and Journey Man mark a change in the Amouage aesthetic, not only with the two-toned bottles, but also with their fragrant signatures, both of which are unusual takes on the house’s staple oriental opulence. With this new duo, Amouage moves forward into unchartered territory, speaking in the language of subtlety and scenting the air with an understated sense of panache.
I never know what to expect when a new Amouage lands on my doorstep. The entire output from the industry’s most luxurious of houses is complex, intricate and grand beyond much else found in perfume stores. This complexity means that they’re not always the easiest perfumes to pin down and I personally find that one has to spend a fair bit of time with an Amouage before they can truly say they know it.
Amouage’s latest edition to their experimental Library Collection, ‘Opus VIII‘, is no exception and much like the wickedly dangerous, galbanum-soaked leather jacket of Opus VII and the delectably intense, salty amber of Opus VI that have preceded it, this beguiling perfume created by perfumers Pierre Negrin and Richard Herpin in conjunction with Creative Director Christopher Chong, is perhaps the most labyrinthine composition to have ever exited Amouage’s doors.
A scary fact dawned on me this weekend – the fact that it is not long at all until my dear fiancée and I get married, 103 days in fact. And I mean properly hitched, thanks to our lovely politicians allowing for gay marriages to take place for the first time in the UK in 2014. It’s a brave and wonderful world that we’re leaving in and I hope that all around the world others will have the same opportunities that I am ever so fortunate to have.
Now I’m very excited for my pending nuptials of course, but there is a lot to organise and whilst Nigel and I are very much on top of things, the pressure definitely feels on to get things done in the little time that we have left. We’ve sorted the flowers, cake, venue, Butler & Wilson bling, favours and a whole host of other things – but there’s still a lot to do and I’m hoping not to turn into a Groomzilla anytime soon!
Of course, one of the most important decisions for me to make is what perfume to wear on the big day. I posted a little while back, pooling some of my ideas together for the big wedding scent hunt. So how far have I come now? Have I finally picked my wedding scent? Or am I just as clueless as I was when I first started this little journey? Well the answer is…
This week on Escentual I have revisited two fragrances that I reviewed a month or so ago – Fate Man and Fate Woman by Amouage. The latest duo from the famed Omani house have just launched over at Escentual and as usual are intriguing compositions full of surprise and mystery.
As usual, just click on the above image to head over to the Escentual Blog and read the review – it’ll be worth your time, I mention wizards and everything. You may also feel free to leave a comment either here or there, and I look forward to reading your thoughts.
I didn’t envy Amouage the task of topping their masculine & feminine duo from last year. Both Interlude Woman and Man were triumphs of perfumery, taking chaotic notes and throwing them together to create two challenging, yet wearable (and not to forget bloody gorgeous) fragrances.
This year’s duo – Fate Woman and Fate Man – certainly have big shoes to fill and it appears that Creative Director Christopher Chong has pulled out all of the stops to create two fragrances that are bold enough to mark the “end of the first cycle of the Amouage narrative” and leave one excited for exactly what wonders the beginning of the next cycle may entail.
Fate Woman (created by perfumer Dorothée Piot) and Fate Man (created by Karine Vinchon) “explores the uncertainty of the future and the universal principal by which the order of things is inescapably prescribed” and in their own, very distinct ways illicit polarising responses. They, as with many Amouage perfumes, are for those that adore excess and do not shy away from bold statements.