This review of Amouage Interlude is going to be all over the place because that’s just the way my mind works – and there’s so much to say and refer to. So buckle up, it’s gonna be a wild ride!! But there’s some fun at the end, so hang in there. To up it to Eleven, Patty is adding her impressions as well. Dual Perfumistas!!!!
First, I want to excerpt a little bit from some of the PR that surrounds the two new releases from Amouage Interlude Man and Interlude Woman. Why? Because it’s actually interesting information, rather than the regular PR palaver we often get when a new scent it released. – so here goes:
In an interview for Omani newspaper The Week (via The Real Amouage Page on Facebook), Amouage Creative Director Christopher Chong said “Since I joined Amouage I decided that each of my creations had to be an act of a grand opera so each one told a story that was non-linear. I have done five so far so in the structure of a grand opera, this is the interlude when the actors need a break. ..
..He added that after five stories or perfumes, he was feeling rather tired and needed an interlude. Part of the reason for Christopher’s mood was from stress due to the social and natural chaos happening around him that he feels is unavoidable. He wanted to show people that you can be inspired by anything and everything , that inspiration doesn’t have to be pretty.
This is an interesting description because Amouage Interlude Woman is certainly not ‘pretty’ (keep reading….).. It’s described as a Floral Chypre but take a look at these notes (from Amouage):
Top Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Ginger, Tagete.
Heart Notes: Frankincense, Rose Absolute, Orange Blossom, Helichrysum, Jasmine, Opoponax.
Base Notes: Vanilla, Benzoin, Amber, Sandalwood, Agarwood, Oakmoss, Leather, Tonka Bean, Musk, Animalic.
Contrary notes. My first spritz of Amouage Interlude was mindblowing, to say the least. I was unprepared for a blast of…coffee? In fact, I thought I’d mis-smelled it! Coffee. Then the Sandalwood and Bergamot come rolling in and it’s all a big, cymbal-crashing cacophony and you wonder what in the world is going on … and the fruit comes skidding in on top of the coffee and the marigolds (tagetes) provide that healthy/sour-psychedelic vibe and the whole thing is vaguely surreal and chaotic and then…
….and with a deft conducting of the olfactory tempo…… it just. slows. down. And Amouage Interlude becomes this quietly insistent drumbeat of a scent, with the Frankincense and Sandalwood coming together, like the walking line of a double bass,. The coffee recedes but only enough that you keep sniffing to want to see if it’s really there – or if you just imagined it (it’s not in the official notes but I would swear to its being in there)! What you first thought was a standard walking bass line becomes this intricate rhythm that trills up and down the scale without ever shrieking its presence. Over time the jasmine and oakmoss (I always love the woody-moldy-sagey green of oakmoss) flex and stretch and form a web to support the softer notes. But even when it slows down and softens up, it stays off-kilter. It’s an unpredictable scent that no one will ever mistake for ‘wallpaper’. I’ve worn Amouage Interlude 4 times in anticipation of this review and it has yet to evolve in the same fashion twice. Amouage Interlude Woman is not a ‘safe’ or ‘pretty’ perfume – and it certainly doesn’t adhere to the romantic, rose garden-in-the-seraglio so many of us equate with Amouage. This is very much a scent for our global times, with beauty found in slightly jarring, odd juxtapositions but always underpinned by the extraordinary quality that defines Amouage. And once it settles down it smooths into a complex, BEAUTIFUL scent. Spray it on your arm and wait 30 minutes. Then run your nose up and down your arm. You will be pulled through a gorgeous olfactory spectrum. Remember the uproar when Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao was first unveiled? Interlude has an effect not unlike that – it shouldn’t be beautiful because it’s so ‘different’ – but, like Gehry’s epic design, its beauty lies in a structure that creates cohesion out of chaos. This is a true Perfumista perfume, promising many hours of deconstruction and decoding within a lovely olfactory framework. But don’t let that scare the Beginner’s Minds – it’s not at all unapproachable. Just be prepared to THINK about it. A lot!
According to Fragrantica the nose for Amouage Interlude Woman is Karine Vinchon Spehner who was the nose for Memoir (man) as well as a couple of L’Artisans (including co-perfumer for Batucada). If Interlude is any indication, we will be hearing (and smelling) many more intriguing things from this perfumer.
Patty – Damn you and your colors, Anita! But I’ll muddle through it to talk about this. Freaking looooooo-ooooo-ooove Amouage Interlude. I mean that, sincerely, from the bottom of my black little soul. There is this freakish discordancy on the open that almost stopped my heart, I swear, thinking – okay, I got no coffee. I was smelling melon and panicking. Nope, not melon, grapefruit and my beloved marigolds, dryly luscious. Then I forgot about it for a while because I had to, it was distracting to smell it close up. And an hour later I am thinking – man, something smells yummy! And it was so me. Me and Amouage Interlude. Nose in close? Not so much, but don’t care about that. The sillage on this is just gorgeous, it trills and dances in and out of your consciousness as you walk or move, catching one facet, then another. Christopher Chong and his choices are hitting their stride in ways that are just impressing me beyond belief. Creating scents that fit the brand completely, but move beyond it, making interesting, bold choices, with clearly a vision of where they are going. Every mainstream perfume company in America should take a look at what he is doing and then kick themselves in shame, throw out every last safe flanker they plan to release in the next 18 months and rethink what it is they are doing. /rant off Last note, not only was I complimenting myself on Amouage Interlude as I walked through the house, everyone I’ve run into while I’m wearing it tells me I smell great. For a funky little scent that makes me laugh in delight when I smell it up close, it morphs into a beautiful thing when it trails you.
Amouage Interlude Man. Well! Let’s start with El O. I hate him. He couldn’t care less about perfume, yet he has one of the most discerning noses I’ve come across. He can weave an olfactory definition before I can even register that I’ve sprayed something! I hate him. Amouage Interlude Man, 32 seconds after I spritzed him: “it smells like a really good jasmine and sandalwood incense stick. With …leather? and something like a cookie??? A warm cookie? (3 seconds later he amended it to ‘vanilla’)” (Yes It Does). I hate him. You know why else I hate him? I couldn’t keep my face off his arm the entire day. We are on Day Three – I sprayed him this morning and followed him all over the park (our annual Summer festival. People looked at me really oddly, as I kept sidling up to him like a lost dog and sniffing his wrist and neck…people Just Do Not DO That around here). This is seriously swoony stuff. If you do not want to make yourself look silly following your mate around like a rutting animal, keep him out of this scent! Or at least don’t spritz him with it at the Corn Boil. And while you’re at it, wear it at your own peril, ladies. It really is amazingly good.
Top Notes: Bergamot, Oregano, Pimento Berry Oil.
Heart Notes: Amber, Frankincense, Cistus, Opoponax.
Base Notes: Leather, Agarwood Smoke, Myhrr
Perfumer is Pierre Negrin who is responsible for some of those lovely Chantecaille scents. Alas, he also did Sean Jean’s Unforgivable. Amouage Interlude Man wipes that Slate of Shame clean – but…I’m watching you, Pierre.
Notewise it’s a nodding acquaintance to Opus VI, but Amouage Interlude Man is a softer, smoother incense, with a luxurious leather underpinning, as if you’d left a buttery-soft Hermes bomber in a room with a very high quality bakhoor. There’s a sweet roundness that reveals itself midway to the drydown (and this is where all the following-around and sniffing comes in) – I usually don’t like amber (or at least I keep saying I don’t) but it works beautifully here, balancing the Agarwood and Frankincense and keeping it from going into Three Kings territory. I get no chaos from Interlude Man – it exudes calm confidence, as if the wearer possesses the necessary skills to keep the chaotic world from your fragile doorstep. In today’s craziness that’s worth the price of admission right there.
I chose to use the ‘official’ notes on amouage.com website – Fragrantica lists a whole lot more notes (including COFFEE!!!) – but I can’t confirm those (go on fragrantica.com for more info).