Christopher Chong is one of the most innovative creative directors in perfumery. For the length of his tenure at Amouage he sought to define the edges of modern perfumery. It is why I eagerly await what is next for him. Until then we have his final two perfumes from Amouage to look forward to. The penultimate release Amouage Love Mimosa finds a perfume which embraces some of the most unique synthetic ingredients in combination with similarly versatile natural ingredients.
Love Mimosa is the final perfume in the Secret Garden collection. Through the first three releases I remarked on how it was the entryway to the wider Amouage aesthetic. Focusing on lilac, cherry blossom, and tuberose the first three were opulently designed florals carrying gourmand-y twists to match the floral keynote. Love Mimosa is not a floral gourmand instead perfumer Elise Benat was looking to highlight the synergy between some of the most dynamic synthetic ingredients and natural ingredients. Each phase of its development highlights this harmonic.
The first phase matches violet leaf and the Calone analog Cascalone. Cascalone was developed by the chemists at Firmenich to remove the melon and low tide facets of the parent molecule. What is left behind is a purer sea spray effect. The violet leaf replaces the melon with a shimmering vegetal green piece of the top accord. This is a cool breeze off the ocean through the grass of the dunes. In the heart the mimosa shows up. In the early going some orris provides amplification to the powdery nature of mimosa. Mme Benat uses the expansiveness of the jasmine-on-steroids synthetic Paradisone to expand that powderiness into an opacity which allows the other half of mimosa to take precedence. That occurs as ylang-ylang brings out the richer slightly animalic quality buried underneath the powder. Ambrox is the synthetic in the base which acts as a late day sunbeam setting the mimosa aglow. The Ambrox is a catalyst to allow the deeper carnality of the mimosa to stand next to the powdery bubble created by the Paradisone.
Love Mimosa has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.
If the first three Secret Garden scents were meant to entice someone into the Amouage aesthetic; Love mimosa asks them to step more fully into that. Love Mimosa doesn’t feel as much an introductory perfume but a place to go after that. The composition that Mme Benat achieves makes Love Mimosa an ideal fall floral. In one of his final statements, from his position at Amouage, Mr. Chong seems to ask you to come deeper into a different style of perfumery.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Amouage.
Amouage is one of my favorite perfume brands. Creative director Christopher Chong has made it the epitome of what artistic perfumery should aspire to. His visionary art direction has consistently taken risks. He has made Amouage stand for a particular exploratory place in the fragrance world. All that makes it a difficult brand to recommend because the collection is so unusual. Last year it seems like Mr. Chong also realized having a more welcoming entry point to the Amouage aesthetic would be helpful. The result was Lilac Love the first scent in the Secret Garden Collection. I thought Lilac Love succeeded in being a gentler version of the Amouage aesthetic more easily accessible. This has been borne out through the last year as I successfully recommended it many times with very positive feedback for doing so. Amouage has now expanded the Secret Garden Collection with Blossom Love.
Christopher Chong (photo: Ben Rayner)
As much as I complain about too many rose fragrance releases in the spring; in 2017 I received a few excellent cherry blossom focused new perfumes of which Blossom Love is one. Lilac Love was a floral gourmand composed of lilac accord, orris, and chocolate. The same perfumers, Elise Benat and Nathalie Lorson, repeat the floral gourmand style for Blossom Love. This time the trio of notes are a cherry blossom accord, amaretto accord, and vanilla.
Most cherry blossom fragrances start gently but the perfumers open Blossom Love with a bit more volume. Their cherry blossom has depth provided by a syrupy rose which elegantly supports the gentle blossoms. It gives the early moments the presence familiar to Amouage fans without also adding in the also typical complexity. This is why I see Blossom Love as something more easily accessible as any perfume lover can just sink in to the cherry blossom without complexity getting in the way. Next the amaretto accord appears and it is more almond and less boozy than I expected. There is a subtle hint of alcohol but it is the sweet almond which arises to meet the cherry blossom. It is a soothing duet of ingredients kept at a moderate level; anymore and it would become cloying but the perfumers have pitched it correctly. Comforting vanilla bolstered by toasty tonka are the final part of Blossom Love. In the last hours, it has firmly become a cherry almond vanilla dessert fragrance.
Blossom Love has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I was already excited at the prospects of being able to use Lilac Love to introduce Amouage to perfume lovers. Blossom Love will be just as affable an introductory experience. Step into the entryway to one of the best perfume brands out there.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Amouage.
It is always interesting to me to watch perfumers construct accords for that which they cannot extract from their real sources. As I’ve mentioned many times a leather accord can act almost as a signature as each perfumer will generate their own version slightly different than others. While I am a big fan of leather the other more common fragrance note which cannot be extracted easily, and in quantity, from nature is lilac. You might think that odd to hear since the tiny flowers have such projection and presence in nature. There have been many perfumers who have taken on creating a lilac accord for a perfume which would feature it. The most recent is Amouage Lilac Love.
Amouage creative director Christopher Chong is usually a man who likes to probe the boundaries of what modern perfume can be. Lilac Love is not one of those fragrances. It is the most straightforward Amouage perfume, I think, ever. Lilac Love is a soft floral gourmand with nothing very surprising in the overall architecture. Despite saying this, it is undeniably an Amouage perfume but one which is also moving further towards a European aesthetic while leaving some of the Middle Eastern part of that equation behind.
Mr. Chong worked with two perfumers, Elise Benat and Nathalie Lorson, on bringing Lilac Love to life. The lilac accord is fresh but with one key point of abstraction which is what gives it its brand identity. Chocolate and vanilla provide the gourmand part of the classification.
The perfumers choose a fascinating group of floral notes to construct their lilac accord: gardenia, heliotrope, jasmine, peony, and rose. This produces a slightly dewy version of lilac as all of these notes get into place over the first half an hour or so. Once they come together this is where you get the Amouage touch as a very powdery orris presents itself as it coats the lilac in a fine layer. While the powderiness is most apparent there is also a strong rhizomal nature also here and it is what connects to the chocolate which is now arriving. It adds an earthy element to the sweetness of the cocoa bean. That rootiness also connects to the patchouli in the base. Sandalwood and vanilla are the finishing notes and they work as expected; the vanilla adding more sweet to the chocolate while the sandalwood pulls the patchouli back from being quite as earthbound.
Lilac Love has 16-18 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I have said it in previous reviews Amouage is a perfume brand which is best appreciated by those who love experiencing perfume. Mr. Chong has overseen a brand which has never shied away from taking multiple risks. Lilac Love feels like it should be the perfume which is in every Amouage display having a little red arrow pointing to it which says, “Start Here!” It is a fantastic introductory scent into what Mr. Chong has developed while being something a more casual perfume lover can access. I would also mention that this is a lilac that will do well in colder temperatures because it is supported by so many other powerful notes. In other words, if you need a reason to wear, or try, an Amouage, “Start Here!”
Disclosure: This review is based on a press sample provided by Amouage.
I kvetch about this constantly but nothing makes my heart sink more than opening an envelope and having a bunch of samples tumble out. Once the number gets higher than four or five the weariness descends. Right after the New Year I received an envelope containing the eight new releases from Rituals. It was too early in the year for me to just pass over them. Especially since in the previous releases No. 19 Sandalwood & Patchouli is one of my favorite compositions by perfumer Fabrice Pelligrin. There is quality to be found within the deluge. This was the case with these eight new releases as Fleurs De L’Himalaya stood out.
One of the reasons Fleurs De L’Himalaya captured my attention was because perfumer Elise Benat used some of the most recognizable synthetic aromachemicals and from them fashioned a fantastic tableau matching the name on the bottle. This overall collection from Rituals is meant to capture an Eastern aesthetic. When it is at its best it does this effortlessly. Fleurs De L’Himalaya is undeniably Eastern as it is inspired by the Valley of Flowers in the Himalayas. Imagine a field of flowers growing surrounded by some of the grandest peaks in the world. There is something transformative about one’s senses at high altitude. Vision seems sharper, hearing more keen, tastes are cleaner, and smells have a preternatural effect. I have never been to this part of the world but I have been in a field of flowers at high altitude. In Fleurs De L’Himalaya, Mme Bernat captures what a patch of jasmine might smell like way up there.
Fleurs De L’Himalaya opens with a clear blue sky of sparkling lemon. It is joined by a gentle green tea note sweetened with a peach. The first synthetic Mme Benat employs is Calone. This is not the Calone of thousands of marine fragrances. Here Mme Benat uses it as the stiff breeze that has traversed the snowpack to reach the valley. This is a case where all of the clean ozonic qualities of Calone are displayed beautifully. On that breeze comes jasmine deepened with peony. The peony replaces the natural depth indoles would provide. It is a clean form of jasmine which is then lifted by Hedione until it fills the entire metaphorical valley. In the base the massive mountains are represented by an accord of Norlimbanol, Ambrox, and patchouli. It is woody to be sure but the patchouli provides a grounded quality which pulls your senses up to the top of the surrounding massifs.
Fleurs De L’Himalaya has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
Mme Benat has crafted an outstanding scentscape in Fleurs De L’Himalaya. Let it take you away to a field of jasmine at the Roof of the World.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Rituals.