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How many Amouages do you need?

droplets of water on a lotus leafI wondered when Amouage Memoir came out why I didn’t go nuts for it like everyone else right away. I am a huge Amouage fan and am in danger of falling in love with almost all their scents; but this one sort of didn’t register with me. I don’t even remember where I first sniffed it, quickly, in passing, and then I didn’t care much. Then everyone was raving about it and, sheep that I am, I ambled along looking for some till I could get my hands on a decant, and now of course I’m testing it a bit more regularly.

And here’s the thing: though it behaves differently at the opening (was that a touch of tea I smelled? Was that some honeyed tobacco reminding me of Back to Black?), what I mostly get from it is a spice/floral/frankincense/vanillic drydown that reminds me of Ubar, plus a burnt cedar note that is not unattractive but is not my primary reason for living either. In other words: yes, of course, it’s delicious, it’s gorgeous, but I don’t need to run out and get it to add it to what I already have – it’s here.

Perhaps this is only to my nose? I don’t know. There’s a certain Amouage-ness to most Amouages; I personally would walk over broken glass to get it but I won’t deny that it’s there and pretty similar in many of their perfumes. In fact the Amouages that don’t have it, like Honour, are really disappointing to me (except for Ciel, I think that one’s underrated.) In this drydown I smell “Amouage” – a combination that all together smells like nothing but an Amouage, and something that for me ties together my memories of Homage, and Gold, and Ubar, and yes, this Memoir.

But this similarity between Ubar and Memoir seems even more similar than could be attributed to the usual Amouage-ade.

(And I wince even writing that, because “the usual Amouage-ade” comes with a number of different inflections. The flowers take the center here, the frankincense here – there are so many different effects in the different perfume. I’m not implying that Amouages are cookie-cutter, or boring. Far from it! Just that one can find some similar scents in their various constructions, because that’s part of their family identity.)

Then I looked up Ubar and I remembered: my Ubar is the old Ubar. I know there are lots of other people out there who loved it too. But it’s richer, darker, less floral, I think, than new Ubar – certainly, to my nose, more vanillic. It’s kind of like an EDP to today’s EDT.

So perhaps what I’m noticing is a similarity between older Ubar and Memoir?

All of which is just to say, after my post about the similarity (extreme similarity) between No. 23 from Ava Luxe and Ormonde Jayne’s Woman, perhaps I am having a hard time sniffing perfumes except in relationship to what I’ve smelled before.

At this point there are so many smells in my smell bank, they are generating connections. I spent some time this afternoon going back and reading perfume thoughts I shared with friends two and three years ago, and that nose, I now realize, was not a particularly well-traveled nose. The former me just flat-out didn’t like a lot of things I not only love now, but wear. And for sure, the former me didn’t register a lot of things the current me registers in a perfume.

So I have to assume I will continue to develop my nose and continue to smell, not just differences, but similarities with the things I have already smelled. I’m not just comparing perfumes now to tea, or grass, or other everyday objects; I’m comparing them to other perfumes, and that’s a richer library with a lot more complicated items in it. And it lacks a Dewey Decimal system.

Is it getting tougher? Easier? I don’t know.

As mused upon yesterday, I’m still dying to try Opus VI. I posted yesterday the roundup of others’ reviews of it. At this rate I will be the last perfumista in the world to try it. Considering trekking in to MiN NY next weekend to see if they have it.

In other news, I did buy a perfume today, but it was for Scents of Self’s Smell Good, Do Good fundraiser for Refuge, a London women’s shelter supported by Patrick Stewart. (Head on over! It’s still open!) I allowed myself to buy something I’d been thinking about anyway (Fleur de Chocolat) for $15 to support many things firmly on the side of Good: women’s shelters, Patrick Stewart, Ari the blogger at Scents of Self. Otherwise I haven’t bought a damn thing and it has been much harder than I thought it would be. But, I can tell that it’s good for both my brain and my wallet and it continues apace. I’m also noticing, in my old journal, how long I would contemplate a perfume purchase, and how carefully I considered them. That’s what I intend to get back to. Or closer to it than previously.

However, I cannot believe how slowly this month is going.


Image is many many tiny worlds by uBookworm; via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.

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4 comments to How many Amouages do you need?

  • Let me start with answering your question: All of them! Ok, I’m kidding, I can do without a couple of them but I want most of Amouage creations.

    With Ubar I have a strange situation. It is my most favorite of all Amouages. I tried it, I think, in the current formulation (I doubt Aedes would be sending a vintage one in their sampling program). I liked it so much that I bought a decant of it on eBay. At that point I didn’t realize there were different formulations so I bought it without asking. But later when I read that there were two versions I assumed I had a newer one. Then I bought a decant of the vintage Ubar (from a person I trust). And I can barely smell a difference (if any!). Recently I got a full bottle as a gift and I’m afraid to open it: what if ALL samples I had before were of the vintage perfume?

    • Judith

      I’m pretty ok with “All of them.” 🙂 I’m right there with you, it’s a rare thing when Amouage doesn’t do something I absolutely adore.

      I think the two Ubars are similar; I personally found the older one to be more vanillic, and since at the time I was desperately searching for vanillas (as they did not cause my beloved to go “ew” when he smelled me), I preferred the older Ubar. I’m not sure which I would do now, since I have a FB of the older one.

      That said, if you have a full bottle – OPEN IT! WEAR IT! RIGHT NOW! GO ON, I’LL WAIT! 🙂

  • basia

    Your perfume purchase can’t be held against you if it’s for charity. I got the Guess from Ari’s fundraiser. I figure it’s like Girl Scout cookies–you must buy them because they’re for a good cause!

    • Judith

      That’s what I figured. It is indeed a good cause! Looks like there are still quite a few things to buy. I’m sad/mad I missed out on the Cafe Noir, but it’s all good.

What do you think?