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Amouage - The Softness of Being Strong (Miguel Matos)

Amouage - The Softness of Being Strong (Miguel Matos)


This is an article from Miguel Matos as published on here


Everywhere I look, I see so many people wanting higher concentrations of their favorite fragrances, claiming that they want more, higher, heavier and stronger, and they want it now. On the other side, I see brands wanting to please their costumers by launching their fragrances at higher concentrations. That, to me, is problematic, because not every perfume works well in a higher concentration, there are terrible candidates for Parfum, staying much more balanced and harmonious in Eau de Toilette or Eau de Parfum.


Here's the thing that many will refuse to accept -  scents often become less powerful in terms of projection when they are concentrated. In fact, the more volatile notes can become totally obliterated, creating a lazy and heavy perfume that does not want to fly off from the skin, rather staying there for a longer time without going far. There are other things that can ruin a perfume when we over saturate it, namely losing its character and elegance.

Amouage's creative director, Renaud Salmon, knows about all of these matters profoundly. I have heard him talk about the way he selects which fragrances are suitable for a higher concentration, and if by concentrating them, they need to be reworked and tweaked. I think he is doing a very intelligent work at this, especially in what concerns the Extraits collection (Interlude 53, Epic, Reflection, and Honour). They are perfect examples of how to densify a fragrance without ruining it. And I would like to focus my attention on Interlude 53 (composed by perfumer Pierre Negrin), but also calling out your attention to the maximum exponent of concentrations, their Attars, especially the oh-so-delicate Orris Wakan - a delicate Attar, does that even exist? Oh yes, very much so.


Interlude 53 in its Extrait incarnation (53%) has achieved a greater perfection, in the way that it is rounder, despite being very strong and with a lifespan of more than 24 hours. It's true that the top notes seem to have been muffled by the denser, darker base notes. However, in this case, the scent did not get ruined. It lost a bit of the initial explosion and directed its strength towards the middle and final stages of the composition. It became more mysterious, more obscure, moving directly to the dark tones. There's, to my nose, a licorice feel to it, both in synesthesia and olfaction itself. It's a pitch-black smell, but a texturized and lively one. It allures us like the entrance of a cave. We fear what's might be inside, but the darkness sparks our curiosity. That's one effect that I always love about these perfumes. Leather and aromatic tones are very noticeable, creating a multi-layered experience, but there is also iris, smoothing out the edges. Interlude lost some light but survived the metamorphosis to Extrait beautifully, without losing its signature, becoming bolder in an elegant way. Oh and if you are wondering about the oregano note, it's still there, but slightly twisted.


Now, going to the Attar collection: attar is the highest concentration we can get, but in Orris Wakan, there is an apparent paradox. If you think it will be a powder bomb, it's not. I have been wearing it this summer, and here in Portugal it has been an extremely hot one. I would never think of wearing an attar, but I knew that Orris Wakan has a different behaviour. I find it to be among the most delicate fragrances I have. It is a somewhat vegetal, watery iris note, so comfortable and kind. It is as elegant as iris can be, of course, but it also sings low, close to skin, and with a beautiful freshness to it. Orris Wakan, composed by Julien Rasquinet, is not as melancholic as many irises can be. It has a whipped sensation by the use of white musk, bringing a lot of air into the accords, and then the lactonic woodiness of sandalwood. It feels like a caress, something I wear for myself and not for others, a pampering scent. This is not to say that Orris Wakan does not have a big presence. It does have it, but in a polite, sophisticated way. And there you go, thicker does not always imply "beast mode".

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