Friday, December 3, 2010
Amouage - Memoir Woman
In my limited, pop-culture understanding, the concept of Yin and Yang is about the balance of male and female aspects. In perfume marketing, that's usually a no-no. Perfumes are divided between those for men and those for women and SA's will die of shock if you wander between the two counters. But perfume lovers know that, just as pink looks great on men and women look hot in tuxedos, perfume notes may seem masculine or feminine, but really, who cares? Crossing that line is not only fun, it should be encouraged.
That's why I find it odd when perfume houses release "Man" and "Woman" perfumes. Maybe they think that people will feel more comfortable buying a gender specific perfume. Maybe they're right. But, although I haven't smelled Amouage Memoir Man, I can tell you that Memoir Woman is not a feminine scent. In fact, it's a blend of masculine and feminine notes. It's an intricate dance of a perfume.
Memoir woman starts with a rather bracing wormwood note, combined with cardamom and pepper and clove. It's sort of medicinal and spicy and this is the point at which it seems most masculine to me and reminds me a bit of Mechant Loup by L'Artisan Parfumeur. Then it softens and becomes more of a comforting, spicy scent, like Like This by Etat Libre d'Orange. At this point it's perfectly unisex.
In the heart, jasmine and rose bloom underneath a trellis of wood. This is the most feminine part of Memoir Woman. The transition is a little surprising, just when I thought I had a spicy masculine scent, now I have a woody floral. But the story isn't over yet.
My favourite part happens about 12 hours after application, in the dry down, when Memoir woman becomes an old-fashioned leather chypre. Smooth, musky leather and lovely oakmoss are wrapped in a creamy, resiny labdanum. This part is either old-school feminine or unisex, depending on how you feel about perfumes like Bandit. I can't keep my nose away from my wrist once it gets to this point.
Memoir woman is a complicated, changeable perfume and one of the best Amouage scents I have tried.
Nose: Daniel Maurel and Dorothée Piot
Notes: Top notes: cardamom, mandarin orange, pink pepper and wormwood; middle notes: clove, incense, pepper, woodsy notes, jasmine, rose and white flowers; base notes: musk, french labdanum, oak moss, styrax and leather.