Amouage Honour

by  Who Loves a Good Blade, Baby!



….I never liked the story of Madame Butterfly.  It’s a beautiful opera and I understand the elemental idea and emotion but, given what type of emotion usually grips me, while everyone else is sniffling I’m sitting there, ruining my dental work and rooting for Cio-Cio San to plunge that blade into Pinkerton’s guts.  Friends no longer offer to accompany me to that opera. “We’ll wait for a Wagner”, they say …”or Medea”.  “much more you

So it’s fitting that I missed Every Single Aspect of the romance that is in Honour Woman.  I’d read the glorious copy on Luckyscent and was very excited to try it – the notes!  The Notes! Pepper, rhubarb, coriander, jasmine, tuberose, gardenia, lily of the valley, carnation, vetiver, frankincense, amber, opoponax, leather !!!

SO right for my nose, my skin, my very being….

so, so wrong.

What I got was so far removed from any of those notes, save rhubarb (maybe) that for a minute I thought I’d maybe gotten a counterfeit sample.  On me, it smelled like a constipated frog burping up canteloupe.  Loving the Omani House as  I do, I was ….well, I’m not sure what I was.  Shocked, stunned?   Terrified?  Had I lost my True New Love?  Well, no.  After all, there is still Epic.  Tribute. Jubilation. Lyric.  Life can go on.

Turns out, Honour Just Isn’t Me.   But!  Read on…

After a last, desperate, failed attempt to get what the Luckyscent folks were jammering on about I took an opportunity to try it on two other people during one of my Saturdays Francine.  Mohammed, who introduced me to the Amouage line when it was at Nordstrom and  Miss Francine herself.


Well!  Finally!  It was lovely on Francine – I got hints of the jasmine and tuberose, with a slight undercurrent of the frankincense and a touch of the oppop.  It was lovely,.  A little melon-y on her, no frog.  But it was on Mohammed that Honour Woman lifted her rice-powdered face and belted out her beautiful aria.    The burping frog turned into a full-throated gardenia diva – and the slight blue cheese accord ( heavy-duty on me and, along with the rhubarb, is where I think I get the canteloupe-eating frog bits) well, it provides an interesting support for the lotv and the tuberose.   I still didn’t get the leather but I didn’t miss it – the frankincense is so beautiful in this (as it is in all Amouages) that it builds a sterling silver base for all those rich white flowers.  For all that, this isn’t a heavy scent at all – it is true to the more minimal aspects of Japanese-inspired perfumery – and there is an aquatic element in there as well – but on the right skin this is a shimmering, luminescent floral.   On others I could smell the romance.   Alas, for a woman like me who carries a jeweled stiletto in her evening bag, it’s not meant to be.

Honour Man is interesting.  I have not read Christopher Chong’s actual  brief  but the intriguing Luckyscent copy allows me to give my vengeful mien (and that dagger) free rein.    Yeah, like you didn’t know that was coming! .  Pink pepper, black pepper, geranium, elemi, nutmeg, patchouli, frankincense, cedarwood, vetiver, tonka bean, musk makes it a beefier, glammier Poive Samarcande.  I get traces of Epic, too, but  there’s a slicier/greenier edge to it (I think it’s the elemi, which is a turps-like resin – as if I lit a pine candle in my studio).  All in all, I see Honour Man as its own master – and I have high hopes for the son of Cio-Cio San…but which direction will his Honour take him?


Even though Honour is not for me, maybe it is for you!  Let’s see, shall we?   Drop a comment, tell me a story.  Do you cry with Poor Butterfly or do you give way to your Inner Ninja?  What are your hopes vis a vis the notes? Does M. Chong envision the son of Cio-Cio San returning to Japan in Zen fashion or does he go all Benihana in Bakersfield….the choices are endless.  Anyhoo, I will ask Pick to hit ‘enter’ on once again and the winner will receive a carded sample each of Honour Woman and Honour Man.  Winner will be chosen on Friday am, announced next Tuesday.

xooxox Musette, who does NOT own that blade, alas.   It’s courtesy  oh, well…it’s a tad too big for evening anyway…

Amouage Honour samples courtesy Amouage


  • mals86 says:

    Well, after them By Kilians (wow!), don’t enter me in the draw.

    Just wanted to say, loved this post. LOVED it. Thanks!

  • Elizabeth T. says:

    The notes sound lovely! Wish I’ve seen this opera… last one I saw, alas was Aida. If I win I’ll make sure to watch it! :)

  • Lavanya says:

    I haven’t seen M. Butterfly..but i’d love to try the two honors..although the thought of that melon note does scare me..

  • Homura-chan says:

    Closest I’ve come to seeing Madame Butterfly was the Cronenberg film version of the Hwang play. Should probably watch the real thing some time, I do like that one aria.

    These Amouages both sounded great, sorry they don’t like you, Musette. Melon notes usually show up like background music for me so that’s not a worry. Still, I haven’t gotten around to sampling these yet.

  • LaLa says:

    Unfortunately, Fatal Attraction sort of ruined Madame Butterfly for me. That scene where Glen Close is sitting on the floor, flicking the light on and off looking semi-catatonic while the music swells in the background…creepy city. O Mio Babbino Caro, on the other hand, makes me well up every time.

    • Musette says:

      OMG! I forgot all about that scene 😮 She was terrifying, wasn’t she?

      xo >-)

    • Ann says:

      Oh, yes, I love “O Mio Babbino Caro” as well!! The minute I heard it on the wonderful Merchant-Ivory film “A Room With a View” I was on the horn trying to find out what it was.

      • OperaFan says:

        Hope you found out. It was Kiri Te Kanawa singing from an early ’80s recording for then – Columbia (now Sony). Probably still circulates around re-issued compilations of “Favorite Soprano Opera Arias”…. I know because I bought the LP when it first came out….

        :d (wish I could get these emoticons to work…)

  • Ann says:

    I’m late to the Honour party, but what a great post! Glad I wasn’t drinking anything or it would have been spewed from one end of my keyboard to the other! Your mention of the m-word has me backing very slowly away from this, but as you say, on the right person, it’s probably grand. P.S. We just watched Gnomeo and Juliet last week, and I think I liked it more than No. 1 Son. I wanted to see it again the other night and he just looked at me, rolled his eyes, and said, “Aw, Mom …”

  • mother courreges says:

    Musette darling,

    So sweet of you to mention me in your post:”>

    But, sadly, being something of a low-brow, all this operatic back and forth is flying high over my head:(:(

    Artsy-fartsy films are more my speed!


    • Musette says:

      oh, hush! We’re just talking about gutting cads instead of yourself! I think it’s a much better option, don’t you?

      Yeah, I’m SO highbrow – /:) I’m watching Gnomio and Juliet!

      xo >-)

  • Susan says:

    The very thought of Madame Butterfly and like tales is so depressing to me that I avoid thinking about them at all costs. I do like opera but some of the high tragic operas I just can’t deal with – they trigger me on all kinds of emotional levels, especially as gendered ones (so many sad tales of women). So while I would love to try these perfumes, I will just avoid thinking about how they might relate to the opera!

    • Musette says:

      I twist the songs to suit my 8-x self. For example, in Poor Butterfly it goes thus:

      but if he don’t come back
      I’ll never sigh nor cry

      I’m BUTTERFLY!

      xo >-)

      try it, next time you get stuck at one of those gender-tragic operas, it’ll cheer you up!

  • OperaFan says:

    Oh Musette, I can see you being a Wagner type for the likes of the vengeful sides of Brunhilde and Isolde, or even the crazy Kundry in Parsifal, LoL!
    Madama Butterfly was probably the first opera I became aware of and the “Humming Chorus” among my first vocal exercises. The tune bores me to sing but in the setting of the scene it’s very powerful. For me, the best music (and among the most glorious in all opera) is the act 1 love duet. For the moment, even though I know he’s a cad and she’s going to be betrayed soon after, I can’t help but be drawn in and it has to be a really bad pair of singers to keep me from using up half a pack of tissues.
    After that the opera kind of goes down hill for me, that is until the gut-wrenching moment when she had to leave her son after he foiled her initial suicide attempt. It wasn’t the fact that she was going to kill herself but that she knew she would never see him again that gets me. As a mother to a young boy, I can’t help but relate, and am welling up just thinking about it. [Okay, call me “soft” why don’t you?]
    So – Ummm, yes, Honour I’ve yet to try and would love to. The child, I just want him to take that louse for what he can get and walk away when he comes of age. Lets hope he’ll develop the honor that his dad lacked.

    • Musette says:

      I adore Brunhilde!

      When I first read about how M. Chong came to Honour Woman my first thought was ‘oh, no you di’int” (thinking he might’ve used Pinkerton as the muse for HM. Imagine my relief when I read about the son…. #:-s

      There’s nothing wrong with ‘soft’, sweets. That notion would unnerve any mom!

      xo >-)

      • OperaFan says:

        Maybe Sigfried and Brunhilde should be the inspiration for Mr. Chong’s next project? Either that or Tristan and Isolde. Both pairs die at the end so plenty of emotion to play with!
        Since he’s such an opera lover, there should be plenty of materials to draw from.

  • (Ms.) Christian says:

    Well, I do have MANY stories but none suitable for public viewing on Perfumeposse and I really don’t want to sample this; just checked in to say that your writing is in fine form. You made me cackle like the old hen that I am-to the extent that I had to close my office door.

    Keep at it, Musette!:x

  • Fernando says:

    I like the opera, but if I think coldly about the narrative I tend to conclude everyone in sight is slightly idotic, and Pinkerton is evil to boot.

    I love the description: “On me, it smelled like a constipated frog burping up canteloupe.” Oy vey!

    That Honour Man, however, does tempt.

    • Musette says:

      I think it’s a requirement, in opera, that everyone have something slightly ‘off’, don’t you? :-?

      I have never read any notes on Puccini’s thoughts – wonder if he thought Pinkerton evil?


  • OhLily says:

    It always makes cry. I like to imagine that there’s a boy amongst the kitchen staff who harbored a secret love for her. He also prepared Pinkertons next meal alone…Fugu.

    Thanks for the draw!

  • AnnieA says:

    Boy, do I hate “My man done me wrong” songs. That’s why Holly Cole’s “God will” is so great…

    • Musette says:

      I haven’t heard that one….must investigate.

      I’m with you. I much prefer the “he was a jerk so I ripped out his heart and ate it” kinda songs. Cheers a gal right up!
      xo >-)

  • pam says:

    Yes, I have seen a production of Butterfly and it was beautiful. But I’m with you, Musette, the plot makes me want to scream. No, she’s not the only jilted woman in opera, but Pinkerton has GOT to be one of the biggest jerks. She shoulda pushed him off a cliff.
    Would love to try Honour, but your froggie description will remain in my memory! Great review, whether I come to love or hate the fragrance.

    • Musette says:

      I have a sneaking suspicion that women everywhere, in each time, feel as we do, even as we applaud the beauty and virtuosity of the opera.

      ;)) and the vision of Pinkerton, flailing, as he pinwheels off into the abyss…..
      xo >-)

  • Irina says:

    for me it’s neither, nor, just the enchantment at Puccini’s music ( although I prefer Turandot)
    very sugestive frog/cantaloupe description, could scare me away but you leave us hopping for a different skin reaction- Honour Man seems closer to my taste
    would be so glad to try both
    I have no idea wich direction Cio Cio San’s boy will go- I’m ready for a surprise…

  • tammy says:

    YES YES YES!!!!

    Go Cio-Cio San, Go!

    Plunge that blade into Pinkerton’s guts, and then do it again one more time, please.

    I cannot listen to Madame Butterfly. I’d sooner listen to a frog belching cantaloupes.

    And my grandmother was married at 12, a mother at 13, grandmother at 27.

  • Janet in California says:

    I would go full ninja. May be I am still in shock from having a 15 year old girl. She is 26 now and I still have nightmares.

    • Musette says:

      It’s a toughie. Even Puccini didn’t ‘approve’. I don’t know if it was her age or his general caddishness – back then a 15yr old married wasn’t a weird thing (Lydia Bennett’s marriage at 16 is only frowned upon because of the circumstances).

      But yeah, age notwithstanding, it would’ve been very cheering, had Puccini turned that blade outward…;)

      xo >-)

  • Maureen says:

    I never saw Madame Butterfly or Miss Saigon…have heard a lovely sonf from Miss Saigon. I know it’s a tragedy, and i would love to see it. Maybe Santa will put some tickets in my stocking! I would love to try these fragrances. Love the dagger!

  • bookhouseshell says:

    I didn’t know anything about M. Butterfly, but after reading the synoposis on wikipedia, I agree, blade to the guts would be much more satisfying finale. Please enter me in the draw.

    • Musette says:

      It is a beautiful production, very lush (at least it is at Lyric) – I came to Madame Butterfly at an early age – but reversed. My dad was a huge Sarah Vaughn fan (passed that passion on to me)…and she did an incredible rendition of ‘Poor Butterfly’, which I’ve been warbling ever since I started this post. I should probably rechristen it “Poor El O” ;))

      xo >-)

  • dremybluz says:

    Love Madame Butterfly opera, but guess my heart is to iron plated to make me cry. The Amouages sounds great. Love anything with tuberose in it.

  • March says:

    I’d rather have the knife. Also your description of that frog had me snorting inelegantly into my coffee this morning. That frog/canteloupe is one of my least favorites in perfumery…. have you thought about how dumb the word “canteloupe” looks? My spelchek keeps highlighting it, maybe it’s wrong. 🙂

    I have Malcolm McLaren sort of free-rhyming the story of Madame B on an LP I still have, somewhere in the early 1980s. It’s pretty great, actually.

  • Francesca says:

    Yeah, Pinkerton is the rare tenor-cad in the Italian canon. I saw a production at NYC Opera a couple of years ago—Butterfly still kills herself, but she angrily slashes her throat right in front of him.

    I always feel if “Un Bel Di” and the bit where she’s singing about converting to her husband’s church don’t make me cry, I haven’t gotten my money’s worth.

    Interesting experience with the Honour. I recently sampled Botrytis with a friend; luckily it was lovely on both of us, but quite different from wrist to wrist.

    Great post, as always!

    • Musette says:

      I’d love to rewrite parts of that! ;)) Then again, it wouldn’t be OPERA! It would just be a revenge/slasher show.

      I am always surprised when there is a HUGE difference – if you smelled Mohammed’s wrist and mine, both sprayed from the same vial, you’d be hard-pressed to believe it was the same scent!

      xoxox >-)

  • dinazad says:

    Canteloupe-burping frog? Musette, my dear, that’s a classic!!! And a be-jewelled dagger, huh? In my very much younger years I used to carry around a switchblade. I walked everywhere in the city and felt safer – until I envisioned myself telling a would-be attacker to wait just a second while I rummaged in the depths of my enormous bag for the knife. I wonder where it disappeared to? It was certainly the hit of the day at a hotel in Croatia when I decided that the knives there were too dull to cut open a breakfast roll and dug out ye olde switchblade….

    Madame B. has me foaming at the mouth, if I think about the story too much. And grinding splinters from my teeth. But then quite a few operas have that effect on me. Great exercises in suspension of disbelief! But then, there’s the music….

    • Musette says:

      Darling, if we didn’t suspend disbelief we couldn’t watch anything! =)) I got caught up The Walking Dead and finally had to stop watching it, as the characters do the most insane things!

      I’ve been there with the blade and breakfast, though usually it’s my SWAT knife, which was an anniversary gift from my ex-hub….:-?…very romantic, no?

      Key to knives-for-protection: carry them In Your Hand. Or, at the very least, in your pocket, with your hand in your pocket. That’s the dictum from Old Evil Auntie Musette! 😉

      xo >-)

      • KirstenMarie says:

        If I move to DC shortly, Evil Auntie Musette (you’re too cool to be old!) I will remember that!

      • Joanna says:

        OMG love The Walking Dead btw.

        • Musette says:


          explain to me why a bunch of people are walking around in sleeveless shirts and not even a knife-taped-to-a-stick to protect them? That’s the part that just got me ‘done’. I’ve been in GA in the summer, I know it’s hot. But this is ZOMBIES we’re talkin’ bout here. One Bite! 8-x

          And yet you’re still in sandals?

          Hey, for a really interesting look at zombies, check out Colson Whitehead’s new novel Zone One

          xo >-)

          • Joanna says:

            Ohhhhhh Girl I know! One of my favorite things about watching that show is yelling at the screen! I don’t get into television much but for some reason this show hooked me. Sunday’s episode broke my heart but I guess I knew that was coming.
            Will check out the book, thanks!

          • Musette says:

            El O threw me out of the den after I yelled (for about the 4th time) “Put a freakin’ BIKER JACKET ON! You Morons!” 8-|

            I would’ve been piiiiiised if that had ended any other way (no spoilers here, in case TWD fans haven’t seen it). That sort of balanced out the no-jacket, no-swords (or at least some long,stout, pointy sticks – which worked for millennia, btw.)

            Stompin’ down the road like some pouty pre-teen? Carrying a plastic bag? Or was that a sweater… What’s THAT about?

            xo >-)

          • Joanna says:

            I don’t know! That show needs a badass chick. I like the Maggie/Farmer’s daughter character and hope they keep her around. I’m ready for Andrea to become a Walker though I bet Sophia’s mom kicks the bucket next. BTW, constipated frog burping up canteloupe might be a very Walker type fragrance. The mental image makes me shudder. It also sounds like something Etat Libre d’Orange would do. Is it horrible to imagine that if I were a character in that show I’d go through all the empty houses and stores collecting perfume? Well yeah, and guns and knives and food and stuff. Necessities.
            As far as zombie books. I recently read the 2 books in the Hallowmen series by Amanda Hocking. I especially enjoyed the 2nd one. Admitting to reading her stuff sort of feels like copping to reading Twilight. So be it.

  • Jennifer says:

    Closest I’ve come to Madame Butterfly is hearing one of the opera’s songs sung by Charlotte Church. The Amouages sound interesting though (and likely dangerous to my checking account!)
    As far as notes go -the gardinia and tuberose and piney notes sound nice but the melon is a bit worrisome. hmmm…

  • Joanna says:

    M.Butterfly makes me sob! It’s not just the music and the story itself but it’s the idea of this 15 yr old girl loving with that big, pure heart that only a girl of that age has, only to be used and cast aside. It’s the idea of the longing and the waiting and the hope that lived in her only to be crushed. It kills me in M. Butterfly’s contemporary Miss Saigon too.

    • Musette says:

      That’s the part that makes me 8-x, though obviously it was written for a different cultural time.

      Alas, at my age I’m no longer a fan of longing and waiting though at 15 I’m sure I was, much to the annoyance of my parents (I remember those incredibly tiresome times, playing the same sobby records (45s!) overandoverandover…….:-< xo >-)

      • Joanna says:

        It’s not really identifying with Butterfly that gets me, although at one time it probably was. I have a child that age now and part of being the parent to a teenager is standing by while their heart gets broken while they’re learning about love and wanting to protect them. It’s hard for me to not view Butterfly from the viewpoint of a parent now…although yes this story was from a different time. *sigh*

        • Musette says:

          I totally agree. The story easily translates across the years, if you take out the marriage part.

          I remember those teenage years, both as a teenager and a step-parent. You want them to LISTEN when you tell them it’s going to be okay – but you know they can’t – because you couldn’t when you were their age….. Trying times.

          xo >-)