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.
Top: Bergamot, Cinnamon and Chilli Pepper
Heart: Rose, Narcissus, Jasmine, Frankincense and Labdanum
Base: Vanilla Bean, Frankincense, Benzoin, Castoreum, Patchouli, Oakmoss and Leather
How Does it Smell?
Upon first sniff Fate Woman is all toasted candy-floss, powdered sugar and maple syrup. Gourmand notes are placed firmly and squarely in the luxury and opulence of the orient, evoking a delicious and exotic sweet that probably costs a small fortune, but is entirely worth the price.
The syrupy, honeyed aspect intensifies with time, supported by delicately stewed rose and jasmine petals. Immortelle adds a touch of spice and emphasises the rich sweetness that appears to underpin most of Fate Woman’s structure. At this point the collision of sugar and flowers creates a face powder effect that is rich, decadent and incredibly ‘Amouage’ in feel.
In the base Fate Woman deepens further, unveiling leather and incense nuances. There is a holographic nature to the sweetness, which appears to sit on a plane far above the skin, separate from the resinous warmth of Fate Woman’s base notes. It’s a pleasing contrast that gives a lovely amount of lift to the heavier notes.
Fate Woman is an interesting beast and is likely to satisfy most Amouage fans – it hits all of the right notes and serves as an unusual, gourmand addition to the collection. It’s perhaps not quite as compelling as last year’s Interlude Woman – a truly weird and wonderful perfume – but it is intriguing enough to earn its place in the Amouage stable.
Top: Mandarin, Saffron, Absinth, Ginger and Cumin
Heart: Everlasting Flower, Rose, Everlasting Flower, Lavendin, Cistus and Copahu
Base: Labdanum, Cedarwood, Liquorice, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood and Musk
How Does it Smell?
When it comes to Amouage it would be fair to say that for the most part I find myself falling for the feminine member of a duo as opposed to the masculine, with Interlude (although I love both of those) and Memoir serving as the exceptions. Fate Man is unique in the sense that I can’t quite decide how I feel about it.
The top notes see Fate Man unleash a wave of citrus, spice and absinthe. At first it’s relatively zingy, with ginger taking the lead, but – and here’s the sticker – the absinthe gives off a heap of bitter green smoke that unsettles the boat early on. There are times when this bitterness seems harsh, even angry and times where it almost appears as a welcome layer of depth among the more translucent notes.
Immortelle is the key link between the top and the base, with the curried facets connecting with the spice of the opening and the caramelised sugar matching the plush woods in the base notes. Vanilla and sandalwood plushen things further and in its end stages Fate Man seems worlds apart from that mean spirited absinthe drinker it started out as.
Fate Man, like its feminine counterpart is very Amouage in its style – robust and resinous with cues from both France and Oman, and I’d be very interested to see what others make of it. Having spent quite some time sniffing Fate Man (it’s always good to spend a lot of time working out these Amouages I feel) I’m still on the fence, maybe in time I’ll fully work it out – if it’s meant to be that is.
Both Fate Woman and Fate Man are available in 50ml (£200/£185) and 100ml (£245/£225) Eau de Parfum. They are currently exclusive to Selfridges and Amouage in the UK.
Samples provided by Amouage. Image 1 via fragrantica.com. Images 2 and 3 via selfridges.com. Notes via amouage.com. Quotes via nstperfume.com.