Dear Scent Diary,
There are few niche perfume houses that can get perfumistas as frothed up about a new release the way Amouage can. The respect and reverence for the house, Creative Director Christopher Chong, and the perfumes themselves are palpable, if not overtly stated in every tweet, fragrance board comment and blog post devoted to them.
I was lucky enough to participate in a very early split of the two new Amouage Summer 2013 releases, Fate Woman and Fate Man, hosted by a fumie in Dubai who attended the launch event where she not only met Christopher Chong, but had the lasting thrill of having him sign her bottle.
After a couple of wearings of both fragrances, here are my impressions:
Amouage Fate Woman: From the first spritz, this chypre oriental is instantly likeable and wearable. The fresh bergamot at the open over the rich, sweet, woody base is likely responsible for my positive knee-jerk reaction. As things develop, the trademark Amouage rock rose lifts its head, followed by jasmine, though never far above the crowd – they stay within the woody, slightly spicy, insence-y, syrupy blend that strikes me as a relative of Andy Tauer’s famous base, affectionately known as ‘Tauerade’. An animalic hint gives it complexity and juxtaposition. After about 10 minutes, the sweetness thickens the perfume, though it never becomes sugary or dense. Instead, it becomes stupidly gorgeous. It begins to waft at this point and continues to project for the rest of its (very long) life on your skin.
Amouage Fate Man: The first spritz of the pale green liquid took me by surprise with its complete lack of familiarity. I’ve never smelled anything quite like it. It opens with an inky, dense ‘blackness’ that is smokey, bitter and intense. It’s a brick of spice, cumin in particular, that’s been wrapped in black liquorice and set on fire. What you’re smelling is the thick black smoke the fire is producing. It is fascinating. After about ten minutes, the density breaks and the perfume turns softer, allowing you to smell some lovely woods, lavender and immortelle, with the cumin/liquorice fire still burning in the foreground. The projection is low but the lasting power is great, much like its sister. After many hours, the fire burns out and a slightly sweet warmth develops over the calm.
In my opinion, both these perfumes are fantastic. They last well over 12 hours, with Fate Woman throwing her weight around most, even at the end. Fate Man stays powerful but close to the skin for most of its life. At the very end, both scents share some notes in common and their resemblance as siblings is apparent. While Woman is beautiful and knowable very quickly, Man is a mysterious enigma that you want desperately to understand. They are each other’s yin and yang.
I would consider Fate Woman to be quite unisex as the florals never dominate and its sweet woodiness is akin to the drydown of any of the Tauer masculines. But I would imagine many women finding Fate Man difficult to pull off since it lacks any feminine cues. It is killer though, and of the two, it is the one I would consider Art (perhaps unapproachably so). I would recommend sampling each, regardless of your gender.
Perfumer for Amouage Fate Woman: Dorothee Piot.
Perfumer for Amouage Fate Man: Karine Vinchon-Spehner.