Amouage Interlude Man : Pass the scalpel, please

Having loved the Interlude Woman so much I was chomping at the bit to try Amouage Interlude Man. With notes of incense, amber, bergamot and patchouli (among others), which I love, I figured it would be a sure-fire winner and a slam-dunk like its female counterpart, just with a different note set. Visions of dueling wrists, ecstatically sniffing (Man on one wrist, Woman on the other) to experience their various fireworks/gyrations, danced in my head.

AmouageInterludeMan Excitedly I dabbed and waited with bated breath. It was only a few seconds before something in the top notes struck me wrong — a cross between plastic and some kind of crazy-funky tobacco (maybe the pimento berries or oregano?) and … Ai-yi-yi!! It kept pinging my nose most unpleasantly — so much so that I had to keep my wrist a safe distance away for a while. (I think something similar made me give Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille a thumbs-down, if I’m remembering correctly.) Or maybe I’m just not a tobacco girl, though I do enjoy Serge Lutens’ Fumerie Turque and Chergui, among others.

Later on in the day, the Amouage Interlude Man was a much different animal: a creamy, rich leather-vanilla-patchouli-sandalwood mash that I really liked. I would have been happy as a clam if I could wear just that all day. But I don’t think I can stomach that top-note thingy to get to the lovely drydown, so it didn’t make the cut. This one’s going over to the DH column, to see if his skin can make it work better, top to bottom. Maybe I will be following him around all day, nuzzling his arm, ha! I am so envious of those of you who loved it, like Patty or Anita

So that got me thinking: If we could just go in to an otherwise wonderful fragrance and surgically remove the offending note(s) and be left with only our favorite parts, well, wouldn’t that be nice? A little nip here, a little tuck there, and VOILA! Customized scent perfection: Amouage Interlude Man just for Ann. But I guess that would be cheating, eh? But still kind of cool, nonetheless.

So tell me, have you ever tried a fragrance, hated the top, heart or base notes, but loved the rest of it? Were you able to endure the bumpy parts to groove on the good stuff, or was it just too much and you had to give the whole thing a pass?

  • Dionne says:

    My latest encounter with the “almost there….” phenomenon (yes, I am referencing Star Wars) is Seville a L’Frenchy French. That first half hour there is something really unpleasant going on on my skin, but after that it’s lovely. What was especially strange is it didn’t smell too bad at a distance, only when my nose was pressed to my wrist. I plan on trying out more OB fragrances before I decided whether or not Seville is worth acquiring despite that first bit.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Dionne! That is odd that it only smelled unpleasant up-close on your wrist — I wonder what it was that disagreed with you? So glad it got better for you; at least you weren’t rushing to scrub it off. Do try the Seville again, and keep trying OB in general; there are so many nice ones out there that you’re bound to find several that you love.

  • Darryl says:

    Whatever’s in the opening of Mugler A*Men that makes it smell like burnt coffee spiked with Lemon Pledge…ayiyiyi. I used to recoil from the tester and swear the stuff off completely, despite the lusciously smooth and decadent chocolate/vanilla drydown. Now I almost – almost! – enjoy the brash opening, which I now find bitterly tangy and herbal in a strangely appealing, wake-up-your-nosebuds way. It’s an unholy brew by any standards, though, and I’m frankly amazed that A*Men sells like it does.

    And while we’re on the topic of Mugler, I’d like to excise half of Womanity’s sugar content and up the salty woody stuff. Womanity could be the heir apparent to Dior’s Dune, in my opinion, if it weren’t for all that figgy sweetness.

    • Ann says:

      That is good news, Darryl, you’ve (mostly) embraced the weird. Dune and Womanity, you say? Will have to try a wrist-to-wrist sniff on those. Can’t believe I’ve not tried the A*Men, but it does sound good — gotta get a sample, thanks!

      • Ann says:

        BTW, Darryl, was it the original A*Men you mentioned up top, or one of the limited editions? Thanks!

        • Darryl says:

          The original, yes. The limited editions – to a one – have done away with that harsh opening and start off much smoother and sweeter.

          I could totally be alone on the Womanity/Dune thing, but I do think they cover similar territory in feel, if not exactly notes – creamy, salty skin and smooth woods, a “beachy” feel without aquatic accords, muted florals and (mostly) tempered sweetness. Womanity strikes me as Dune done brighter and pinker, clearly aimed at a younger crowd.

          • Ann says:

            Thanks, good to know! I need to explore all the A*Men ones then. I’ve been wanting to wear Dune again (haven’t sniffed it in years and years), so that’ll be fun.

  • nozknoz says:

    Great idea! I would definitely love to have Guerlain Vetiver pour Elle with 1/10th the musk, which wipes out what would otherwise be a wonderful floral vetiver perfume. I’d also like to have L’AP Timbuktu with a much lower level of that salty-celery-cumin note (maybe the cypriol??), which usually wipes out the rest, which people who aren’t hyperosmic to that note describe as fresh and foresty.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Nozknoz! You’ve mentioned some good surgical procedures there. I’m with you on the Timbuktu; a little less of the celery-cumin-y vibe would suit me fine. Does the Vetiver Pour Elle come in different concentrations, just to see if that might help get rid of some of the musk?

      • nozknoz says:

        VpE used to be exclusive to duty free shops in France, so I don’t know, but that’s a good idea in general.

        And frak me, but google indicates that Sear’s has the 4.2 oz Les Parisiennes EdT version for $450! Just as well I’m not mad about it.

        And how could I forget: I want several of the Ormonde Jaynes with the Iso E Super dialed WAY down!

        • Ann says:

          Very interesting, Nozknoz. Too weird about Sears, huh? And I’m with you on the OJ line; I like several of them but maybe it’s the Iso E Super in them that puts me off a bit. I can dab them and do OK but sprayed, they’re too much on my skin.

  • Austenfan says:

    Cartier Baiser Volé: Stunning topnotes but I don’t like the drydown. ELdO Bijou Romantique more or less the same.
    I am still not overly fond of the topnotes of Aromatics Elixir but what comes after that is so gorgeous that I really don’t mind.

    • Ann says:

      Ah, another lily fragrance. I remember liking the BV but can’t remember the drydown. Need to re-try that and also the AE — it’s been so long since I wore the Clinique that I must refresh my scent memory. It’s got terrific presence, I do remember that!

  • Maureen says:

    I absolutely loved Donna Karan Gold, but something in it gave me such a headache (I tried 3 or 4 times) that I had to give it away. I really wish I knew what that was, so I could slice it right outta there, and enjoy the really pretty parts, and so I will know to avoid it in other fragrances.

    • Ann says:

      Maureen, that’s too bad about the DK Gold; it’s a lovely fragrance. Maybe it’s something about how the lily interacts with other notes or something because I’ve had a few lily scents that made a bit headache-y as well. Keep trying until you find one that works for you.

  • mals86 says:

    It seems that the closer something is to love, except for that oooooone thing, the more annoyed I get!

    I really loved DelRae Coup de Foudre for two hours, and then it did a disappearing act. Buh-bye, thoughts of full bottle! And thank goodness for Laurie Erickson’s willingness to tweak her formula for a custom fragrance, or I would not own a half-patchouli version of SSS Tabac Aurea. There are others I’m not recalling at the moment, just that they exist.

    But THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! for spelling “bated breath” correctly. You rock.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Mals! Thanks for the shout-out — it’s good to know I did at least one thing right today, ha ha! And how cool that you have a custom version of the Tabac Aurea — I know you smell wonderful in it …

  • kennycologne says:

    I received many negative comments the day I sampled Interlube Man at work. I can’t remember the last time someone said something negative about what I was wearing. I found the drydown to be more disgusting than the opening.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, no! So sorry to hear this, but I understand. Maybe pass it on to someone else and put on something that you know smells fabulous on you and rake in the compliments.

  • Tai says:

    Oh Shalimar you evil b*tch. I love your hysteical top and your cream/lemon/incense middle, but I just can’t with your base. There’s something incredibly fusty that I just can’t get over, and that’s saying something since I love me some grandma scents. I can understand the devotion to this one, but that ending makes it a no-go for me. Just out of curiosity though: anyone know if the EDP or pure parfum versions make it any better? I love Guerlains in general and I hate to not be able to thoroughly enjoy this bad gal.

    • Ann says:

      Tai, I’ve heard many people swear that the parfum was what did the trick and finally won them over to Shalimar. I have not tried it, however, so can’t vouch for it personally. Maybe it’ll be the ticket for you, though.

  • Zazie says:

    Actually, many of my favorite fragrances featured “difficult-to-disgusting” openings for me.
    But if the difficult part is only transient, if what follows is swoon-swoon-swoon, I will accept (and eventually find myself loving) what seemed like a flaw. Because of it, the fragrance will always retain an “interesting” quality, will never be rated “just pretty” – and because it took time to conquer, it will be a true long-lasting love and not just a flirt.
    Chanel n°5 extrait and Shalimar are luminous examples of dearest favorites which I used to delay testing because of their unappealing top notes…
    On the other hand, I will never forgive an unsatisfying base or a weak, artificial heart!!!
    90% of the perfumes I try are dismissed because of this rule.
    hummm, I think this statement is true, for me, also for what concerns human beings! 😉

    • Tai says:

      Zazie, that Shalimar opening is a bit histrionic, non? It’s like that darling and crazy old auntie that you love but can’t help laughing at.

    • Ann says:

      You’re right, Zazie, sometimes the challenge makes the scent more endearing in the long run if you grow to love it. But my rule of thumb is: If it makes me feel icky, queasy or headache-y, it’s outta here. I still haven’t found the love for Shalimar though, try as I might. And I love your comment about a weak or artificial heart — not good in people or perfume!

  • audrey says:

    That is the worst!!!! But yes. Been there, still doing that. My frenemy fragrance is Bruno Acampora’s Seplasia. The top notes are soooooo awful on me, I think it’s the geranium (and the fact that it’s a super highly concentrated oil) but it is painfully strong and bitter. Like, cleaning agent allergy sneezing strong. And it lasts a long time, about 2 hours. BUT. The middle and drydown of the fragrance are truly incredible on my skin, and that parts lasts about 8 hours longer. I actually have a full bottle of the oil because I love it so much, but every single time I spend a couple of hours with my arms fully extended out from my body.

    • Ann says:

      Wow, Audrey, you must really love it to struggle with those top notes for so long! But it sounds like the good stuff lasts way longer, so it’s worth it.

  • Oop, sorry, I meant “edt”, naughty Spell Check keeps changing my words! 🙂

  • There are a myriad of fragrances I would love if not for one note–usually pepper or cedar. I don’t mind a little pepper but it is overused and the overdose in Velvet Love ruined that fragrance for me (and I so want a good modern carnation), Speaking of carnation, the modern formulation edp or eat of Bellodgia has a horrid, distracting pine note, which reminds me of Pinesol and ruined the entire thing for me. I would do surgery on these fragrances in a heartbeat!

    Too much cedar unfortunately either reads (a) too masculine or (b) the kids’ guinea pig cage, neither of which I want to wear. It isn’t always a deal-breaker, but it definitely dampens my enthusiasm and I would willingly use the scalpel to the cedar in SDV and L’Heure Fougeuse, but then again I would probably destroy their charm!

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Sherri! You are so right about the pepper — they are just wearing it out these days.
      You had me practically spitting my cereal with the cedar and “the kids’ guinea pig cage” — too funny! But at least it’s not a complete deal-breaker for you on the SDV and the Cartier; it would be sad to have to completely write off those two beauties.

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    Virtually anything with an overload of cumin, including Femme, Jubilation 25 and Absolute Pour le Soir. Cumin does not make me think sweat, it makes me think Mexican food. I find it distracting for first hour. SL Santal Blanc is practically a different fragrance after two hours. I like part two, not part one, so I keep my sample but would not buy a FB.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Mrs. Honey, you come sit by me over here in the “no cumin allowed” corner, although I rather like the MFK Absolue Pour le Soir. Unfortunately, cumin on my skin nearly shouts “B.O.” so that’s definitely a no-no. I need to re-try the SL Santal Blanc; in the meantime, you can borrow my big padded clothespin (see comment above), which I’m going to invent, to get you through to the better half of it.

  • I’m so sad for you that the Interlude Man top not doesn’t make you weep for joy. It gives me Stendhal Syndrome Moments.
    Portia xx

    • Ann says:

      Me, too, Portia, me, too. Because I do adore the later parts of it. Hey, maybe I could spray it, put a big clothespin on my nose until it wears down and then enjoy it.
      BTW, have you tried Interlude Woman? Would love to know what you thought of it as well.

  • Louise says:

    Sadly, so many new releases have either Ambroxan, “blonde wood”, or white musk in the base. These are all deal-killers for me; either unpleasant and synthetic and/or sharp and sometimes asthma inducing.

    I’m often resorting to older classics and perfumes released even 2 years ago. That leaves me a vast array of pleasant choices!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Louise. I definitely agree with you, especially on the Ambroxan. If a scent has too much of it, I start to feel a little icky. So sorry some of them take you into asthma territory — pretty scary. And a big yes!! on many of the older scents — gotta love them!

  • Catherine says:

    When I broke up with Brit I actually really loved London until I got to the screechy fake cedar base. Couldn’t deal with that. And more recently both Slumberhouse Sova and Baque (which I still think are really beautiful) go through a bit of an awkward phase about 1-3 hours in where they pretty much smell like the dried sour plums my dad loves, but not just the dried sour plums, the entire somewhat scary Asian dried goods and traditional Chinese medicines cramped little store where they’d sometimes have boxes of them. Happily I find it mostly weird rather than a deal breaker and the opening and ending are really lovely, and I imagine that most other people don’t have as strong of a scent association as I do. ^^;;

    • Ann says:

      Catherine, I still love London, and thankfully don’t register the screechy base you mention. Maybe you could still wear it and enjoy it, just hurry and scrub it as soon as you see it’s hitting the drydown. Gotta try Slumberhouse now; that dried plum/Chinese medicine combo does sound different, but in a good, interesting way. I don’t mind odd as long as it’s not off-putting enough to make me queasy/headachey.

  • Lisa D says:

    Oh, lord, I can’t count the number of scents that have come so close, only to miss by a note or two, often unidentifiable. Perhaps it’s the daffodil in Le Temps D’Une Fete, or the immortelle in Jeux de Peau, the peach in Vraie Blonde, the flour in Bois Farine, or the air freshener in Un Crime Exotique.

    I’m with you on the Interlude Woman, though – that was wackily beyootiful!

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Lisa! Glad you like the wacky Woman, too. I’ve not sniffed most of those you mentioned, except for the Jdp, but I’ve heard that the immortelle in it is a deal-breaker for some folks. Air freshener in the Un Crime Exotique, you say? Ouch, that’s got to hurt.

    • Samantha L. says:

      Ugh, I agree on Un Crime Exotique! I should’ve loved it but the cinnamon Glade smell was hideous!

      • Lisa D says:

        Samantha, wasn’t it disappointing? I was sure I was going to LOVE it, and things looked good for about 20 seconds, and then it all went to hell in a potpourri basket. 🙂

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I don’t have a decant of Interlude Man but I’ve only tried the women’s version. I’ve only worn Interlude Women once and remember it being a little different and a little difficult. Definatly going to give it another go tomorrow.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Eldarwen. I can see how the Interlude Woman can be a bit tricky and difficult, but do try it again and see if it grows on you. If not, there are lots of other lovely fish in the sea to wear. And the Interlude Man might be great on you …

  • Musette says:

    Ann, if I could excise that oily musk note out of Drama Nuui I would be the happiest girl in Drama Land. That note broke my heart.


    • Ann says:

      Oh, no, sorry to hear that, dear A. I’ve not tried the Drama, but oily musky note does not sound good.

      • Musette says:

        it was the weirdest thing: I got a sample from LS, fell in LOVE – HARD! SO hard that I bought a fb.

        First moment was wonderful. Then this oily musk notes crept in….bleargh.

        Tried it several times (it is to me what Kingdom is to Shelley). No Go.

        Soooo saaaad.

        xo A

        • Ann says:

          Ouch — what a bummer! Especially hate to hear that after you went for a FB.
          BTW, not a Kingdom fan here either, no way, no how. Five women at my old newspaper tried it, and all five got big-time B.O. out of it. You should have seen all of us fighting to get through the restroom door at the same time to wash it off, like a stampede! I’m leavin’ that one for Ms. March …