Amouage Bracken Woman – review & giveaway

bracken womanIn the midst of Winter we are suddenly in this Vernal Vortex, with temps in the 40s and a cold, steady rain.  Gardeners in my neck of the woods are freaking out (and not in a good way) because Peony buds are emerging.  It’s January.  This is NOT a good thing.  I just went out a covered mine with a thick layer of straw, to halt any ideas of emergence.  Get back in the ground, you fiends!

But… it is nice to get a foretaste of Spring, in the brackish leafmold and sucking mud.  That sounds weird but it is those very smells that, to me, are the harbinger of Spring – wet wood, the almost-fetid green of emerging bulbs, cold earth – it’s always a cold smell but it exudes the smell of Life as well.  This is an odd segue into a review of Amouage Bracken Woman but it’s the best I can do because it’s both very elusive – and illusive.  Bracken Woman starts as a green floral but…not reeeaaalllly.  More the beginning of a green bulb, like the tip of a hyacinth as it starts to put forth its first leaves (I have a few of those right now, they look like ‘omg, will you get ON with it’ and it’ll be like that for the next 2 weeks – then suddenly, I’ll walk up to one of the pots and wonder where that flower stalk came from!).  Notes include include bracken accord, wild berries, lily, narcissus, camomile, smoky leather, patchouli, vetiver and birch.   I can attest to the ‘wet wood’ accord of the birch because I just axed up a river birch that had become rootbound.  I love the smell of river birch and, sad as it was to hack that thing into logs, it was a delightful sensory experience and omgosh it smells sweet as it’s drying in the log holder.  I can also attest to the Bracken accord – I am constantly pulling up those coarse ferns from my shade borders – it’s what gives the green note its hefty base.   There is nothing says ‘Spring’ quite like the sweetish, leafmouldy smell of bracken (or most ferns, for that matter).  Paired with the wild berries and narcissus note (with a touch of lily atop) the whole thing coalesces into what I can only describe as the smell that comes from bringing in florists’ carnations from the chiller and setting them in a vase along with garden dianthus – it smells of carnation but only in that way that carnation smells of Spring.

There.  That is just about as clear as the mud I’m slogging through!  Sorry – but it really is one of those illusive scents, where the combination of identifiable notes becomes an overarching idea of a note that is not in the notes.  (again with the mud).   This is not a carnation scent in the way that L’Origan (or DSH’s Souvenir de Malmaison) is, with those luscious, clove-y notes that beautifully replicate those tiny little dianthuses found in heirloom gardens.  That’s why I use the word ‘illusive’  in addition to ‘elusive’ –  the carnation in Bracken Woman doesn’t really exist – only the idea of it.  In truth, it smells more of the idea of a blooming plant.  Or one just ready to bloom.

it smells like these are going to smell in a little bit

I was going to tell you that it has Godzilla sillage and longevity, then I realized that my sample had leaked onto some papers on my desk.  So I went back and retried it and found that the sillage projects moderately strong and longevity is good – there are hints of it on skin even after 12 hrs!

I like it a lot and am going to enjoy it in my Spring rotation – and I would like to share a sample or two with you guys.  The Girl INSISTS!  Tell me what your weather is like right now.  Are you potting anything up to bloom indoors?  My paperwhites are blooming like crazy and it’s wonderful to come into the kitchen and be assailed by that lovely, sweet Spring scent.

Spring. Ish.

Spring. Ish.

In January.  I keep trying to remember to succession plant them, so I have enough to get me through January and February – and every year I forget.  DagNABBIT!  Ah, well.  February is when those juicy little hyacinths will burst forth – and I have at least 5 pots of those!  So I think I’ll be okay.

Anyhoo, I’ll have The Girl poke at random and we’ll pull a couple of names for a sample of this lovely scent – speaking of names:  where the rest of mah winners izzz?


  • devonellie says:

    I’ll take any reminder of spring…..please!

  • k11 says:

    It’s been cold here, but I feel like I can’t have a fire going in the house because there’s barely any snow on the ground [in NY]. Love the draw! I want it to be colder here with tons of snow. I think it makes the world look so beautiful!

  • Maureen says:

    The sun is finally shining here in suburban Philadelphia. It rained almost all week, but temps have been above average. I have not seen any blooms yet, but it was 53* yesterday, so they might be confused. I have managed to keep a poinsettia alive since Christmas…yeah! I would love to try Amouage Bracken Women….Spring!

  • tiffanie says:

    It’s great fun to read everyone’s weather reports. Here in the southwest US we’ve enjoyed rain and now a few days of sun.

    My mother has a patch of leather fern that runs wild in her backyard garden, so each year in late winter or early spring I help her thin it out. I love the green/brown/black smell of crushed vegetation and damp earth as we work. It reminds me of the days when mum was an amateur florist and our house was so often filled with the scent of cut flowers and greens.

    That’s how the leather fern patch started. Mum had a piece of fern from the flower market that rooted in a vase, so she stuck it in the ground and 20+ years later she has a never-ending supply of greenery for her flower arrangements.

  • Koyel says:

    I am in Amsterdam for a conference, and it’s COLD. Below freezing. This CA/south-of-France girl cannot handle it. Thankfully, it’s sunny.

    My mother’s paperwhites started blooming riotously in mid-December, and are just about done now, just in time for her hyacinths. My own hyacinths are poking out smellily too. Mmmm.

  • Lori says:

    The weather in CT has been confusing to say the least. We keep cycling between warmer than usual to colder temps and just had a Nor’easter with icy rain but no snow. Looking forward to Spring and think Bracken will be a welcome change. Thanks for the draw.

  • Claudia S says:

    It gets down to 40° here at night! I’m not looking forward to the seeing the gas bill next month–

  • Luanne Teall says:

    We have been blanketed by fog for the last few days. The weather person says the sun will shine next Tuesday. That’s 6 days away!

  • Sylvia says:

    Here on the ‘No Coast’ Missouri has been a hard freezing 5 degrees, then a balmy 65 degrees, then a rain rainy 40 ( did I say raining?) and now 60 and feelin’ like spring again today. Poor pear trees are budding. I’m growing a basil plant on my windowsill so I can rub the green crinkly leaves and smell that heavenly pepper basil bite! It’s helping me hold off the winter blues. I’m a floral wearer so I want to smell Lyric- I think that’s the Rose one- and I’d love to smell this. I’m missing green growing stuff and flowers!
    Thanks for the draw!

  • tamm says:

    Its a rare ” cover the plant, bring in people and plants” night. The Poinsettias are still briiliant!.

  • Bastet says:

    Cool and rainy here in Virginia, but at least it’s not ice. And the only flowers in my house right now are orchids – beautiful but unfortunately no scent.

  • Fleurycat says:

    Here in the PNW we’ve had ice and snow storms that have wreaked havoc on many trees and branches, many of which split from the weight of one or the other. The snow was beautiful, but now we’re back to our usual winter rain and and I asked my daughter last night if she could smell Spring. I could. All those early spring buds are now forming and I know exactly the earthy, cold , damp but life affirming fragrance you’re talking about. Also, we’re in fern country here (so many summer, winter and fall ferns and I love them all) and it won’t be long before Lily of the Valley pips start poking up. Well, maybe awhile, yet, but they are also the essence of that chilly floral Spring scent, like Hyacinths. I’d love to try Bracken. I still haven’t tried the Lilac scent. Did you like that one.

  • maggiecat says:

    North Texas weather…well, it’s about 72 now but will drop 30 degrees tonight and the high will be 52 tomorrow. Low tomorrow night around freezing. We’re pretty good about cramming all four seasons into random weeks, so we dress in layers. Bracken Woman sounds interesting…I’ve had mixed success with Amouage, but some true loves (Dia, Lyric)

  • malsnano86 says:

    We had some below-zeroF weather two weeks ago, but we’ve been in the 40s with nigh-incessant rain since. W(@*%&!~!!! Could be worse, but I don’t like it at allllll. Also, now I am pretty sure I need to test this Bracken Woman. Dang it. Like I need another Amouage lemming.

  • Sarah west says:

    All my tender and semi tender plants are tucked away in my greenhouse covered in white insulating fleece. I love ferns but my hardy evergreen ones are looking a bit sorry for themselves at the moment. The frosts have turned the garden into an icey winter wonderland. I can’t wait for spring to see the new fronds unfurl. To think ferns are one of our oldest plant groups and saw dinosaurs wandering around.
    Bracken celebrates plants of great beauty and endurance.

  • audesko1 says:

    Rain and Rain in California. We need it! Thank you for the chance to test a new scent!

  • Tiara says:

    I always plan to plant bulbs to bloom during the winter and somehow never do. Here in SW Ohio, we had 60 degree weather this past weekend but will have snow flurries by this coming weekend. The grandkids have to ask their dad every morning which coat they’re supposed to wear–fleece or winter?

  • Tara C says:

    San Diego is cold and wet… hoping the rainy season is over soon as it’s cutting into my outdoors time. Looking forward to sniffing Bracken, it sounds lovely!

  • Chelembound says:

    Winter in upstate NY has been confused. I really reveled in your imagery of sprouting bulbs. Can’t wait. This sounds lovely. Thank you for the draw.

  • HeidiC says:

    “Illusive” instead of “elusive” — I love it! That’s a perfect neologism. That’s going to be in my head the rest of today, I know it.

    In Minnesota, it got near forty for several days, and a lot of the snow and ice melted and made it very foggy — it felt like March! (I actually pulled out my sample of CB’s Black March as tribute!) I actually got to run outside several days in a row! But lest we forget spring is still a couple months off, it’s back to snowing today. Le sigh. Maybe a perfume sample draw will help? Thanks!

  • Sapphire says:

    Arkansas is going back and forth between spring and winter, too. My husband likes to keep the house cold in the winter, so I celebrate the spring-like days because I don’t freeze as badly working from home. Thanks for the drawing!

  • Lucie says:

    It’s cold and raining on the California coast. Can’t complain because we need the rain, but we’re never prepared for it! And I was lucky enough to see a rainbow peeking out over the ocean yesterday.I only have a few little container plants, so I love green smelling perfumes to get my fix of Spring!

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    I got up at 2:30 this morning to listen to the wind howl and watch the big evergreens in my neighbor’s yard sway in the wind. It was sleeting sideways. Still very windy, wet and cold today–probably will be for most of the day. I am way behind on getting some paperwhites going but your post has inspired me to find them at a nearby farm stand. I love hyacinth but don’t feel like trekking across town in this weather to find bulbs. Mainly I just want to curl up in the blankets and stay home–wish I could! I love your description of the mucky smells of early Spring, they are so gorgeous. Might have to try this Amouage Bracken thingy. XOXOX P.S. I am wearing Le Maroc Pour Elle today. For me, it is a comfort.

  • Connie says:

    Ugh, as a gardener I completely relate to this. The bulbs are poking up and buds are near to bursting, which is so wrong for this kind of year. It makes me worry when I think about the warm winter last year, and how all the fruit buds were killed by an early April heavy snow.
    Still, sounds like Bracken Woman could be a bit of spring happiness in these days of raw wet weather.

  • Kathryn says:

    It’s a dispiriting gray day of freezing rain here in Maine, a good day to curl up and escape into some fantasy gardening with a pile of seed catalogs. I keep things as brightened up as I can inside, with two fuchsia pink poinsettias and three pink amaryllis in bloom. The narcissus bulbs are waiting until the amaryllis play out and my hyacinths won’t pop for another month so I don’t have anything fragrant right now. Time to spray some perfume!

  • lizbee says:

    Double rainbows and sloshing puddles of rain here, too. It’s been glorious and dark and wet for days. Except for the wet socks, I’m loving it. Everything is so green. I’m really looking forward to testing Bracken Woman.(rubs hands together gleefully)

  • March says:

    Don’t enter me, but BAHAHAHA on the sillage/desk blotter. I have done that exact thing! Also, this sounds fantastic. I am so ready for spring. And so far ahead of myself.

  • rosarita313 says:

    Your weather is my weather, isn’t it freaky? Up here close to the lake we have permacloud this time of year so it’s just been one dreary day after another. I love that cold mud leaf smell you are talking about, and carnations and hyacinths, so Bracken sounds good to me. I’m envious of your paperwhites! The cat prevents me from having plants inside.

  • dinazad says:

    It’s cold. Very cold. And – as it always is in our city in winter – gray. Up in the mountains we have picture perfect winter weather. Unfortunately, work is in the city. Sigh.
    I’m trying to find loving homes for my mom’s orchids, and I’d love to have some paperwhites. A few years ago they were selling paperwhite bulbs everywhere: in supermarkets, at newspaper stands. Now they seem to have gone out of fashion completely. Ah well, at least the poinsettias are doing fine. I get one every year, so right now I’m caring for six of them…..

  • Tatiana says:

    Another Californian here and it’s been raining. Hoping for a break tomorrow and the day after so I can get out and do some garden clean up. I really need to prune back my roses and the rosemary that has grown so tall it’s obscuring the bottom half of my windows. Lots of weeds to pull up too.

  • Patchgirl says:

    It’s cold and raining in the CA desert, but when the sun peeks out the mountains are snow dusted. Quite beautiful. I’ve been craving green scents the last week, experimenting with Chanel 19 in its iterations and Silences so this sounds like another possibility.

  • flowergirlbee! says:

    would really love to smell this one..i love the outdoors and all things weather has been crazy cold winds one minute ,then heavy rains,then dry and hot ,then muggy and hot.your body can’t adjust quick enough.i live in melbourne and it lives up to it’s four seasons in one day reputation.thanks for the give away and good luck with your bulbs ; )

  • solanace says:

    It’s been a VERY rainy summer here. It’s great because reservoirs are full, considering we had a serious draught a couple years ago, but gosh, the house is a mess – the dog keeps bringing mud inside and I can’t put the clothes to dry, they are rotting inside the washing machine. Plants are having a blast, though. There are eight different orchids flowering in our front yard telling me it’s the rainforest, so it should indeed be raining. Get over it, human, I hear they say.

  • Jeanne says:

    Right now in CA with family. Wet, wet,wet and bone chilling cold.
    Going home to Ohio soon! Goody goody! Tired of the whining

  • I’m in Muscat, Oman, right now actually! We visited Amouage yesterday and smelled this scent in the factory tour. It literally brought me to tears; I’ve been looking for a perfume forever that smelled like walking into a flower shop, and this is exactly that.

    However, to answer your question: I hail from Saskatchewan, and when we left there is was -32C and SNOWING. I needed a little blast of green and spring more than most.

    Back to Bracken: My brother and I had a little chuckle over the name, though. “Bracken” and likened it to our first word association: brackish water, and then with a little bit of fun we decided to refer to it (playfully) as Swamp Bitch perfume. But it feels wrong to even make that joke after smelling it, because there is nothing swampy about this perfume.

  • Here in Buffalo we are alternating each week it seems- rain then snow then rain again. Winter to spring and back again. Not potting anything since I’m about to move so I’m enjoying my little pot of primroses on my dresser. Funny, today was my first time trying an Amouage perfume, ever. I tried my first sample of Amouage Gold and promptly, immediately fell in love. Love. First thing I thought was vintage, vintage, vintage. Wow. So now I want to try all from Amouage though hard to see how they can beat Gold.

  • Winter here in Texas is basically Spring with a few intermittent cold fronts and a couple of surprise freezes and a snowfall gone before the next afternoon.It’s 52 degrees this night and I’ve got nothing blooming. Plants are better off without me in their care as I have a black thumb. An Ivy and a potted cactus once died in my care, sorry 😉

  • mikasminion says:

    It’s typically undecided in TX. I’ve hauled my plants in and back outside thrice so far and tomorrow it’s supposed to be almost 80 before it starts cooling off again later this week. Things that froze back have begun to bud out already and one patch of my paperwhites (in the ground) have a good 8″ of green leaves waving around but no bloom stalks yet. I’m trying to resist starting my spring repotting until the threat of a freeze is past.

  • RoseMacaroon says:

    I think the other Californians covered it. I had the most complete view ever today of double rainbows. Prior to this year’s political environment I never felt any connection between rainbows and hope for some kind of a future, but today it was really happening.
    This ‘fume sounds incredible, and thank you as always for the draw.

  • Nancy says:

    It was 72 today in Southwest Florida and breezy. More of the same tomorrow.

  • Morrigan says:

    Is there a page or tag we can look for to check winners of previous posts? It’d be such a shame to have won something and not know.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Cleveland winters have always been strange. We have been having unseasonably warm days and rain for the past week. Cold and snow are coming though and later in the week. I haven’t noticed any plants coming up yet but I am sure they will if the weather does decide to stay warm.

  • sunnlit says:

    Well, the weather here on the Central Coast of California is wet and cold. By cold, I mean 40 degrees today. It hailed this afternoon!!!
    I know, I know—-we are babies when it comes to “real” weather.
    Thanks for the drawing.

  • Nelle says:

    Our weather is crazy its cold, than warm and now today hard nonstop rain all day! The weather is really all over the place the flowers do not know when to bloom!

  • Caroline says:

    Amouage isn’t usually a house that works for me, but I do love carnation, so hope springs eternal! Here in suburban Chicago, we’ve had what I think of as Jack the Ripper weather, misty, dreary, and blah, but at least the peonies aren’t attempting to bloom. The rain has me dwelling on what to do about the lake that’s now taking up the front walk after a heavy rain. Put one drain in over the summer, but it’s not proving sufficient–the area’s really low.

  • Taxi says:

    Like Janet, I’m happy for rain even if it’s cold & inconvenient. Sadly, i didn’t get pots going in time but I’ll buy pre-planted hyacinth pots. Blooming hyacinths smell divine!

  • Olivia says:

    Our weather is just like yours, but thankfully I have plants that can stand the craziness. The birds I worry about…they’ve been chirping like it’s spring!

  • Fernando says:

    Here in Maine we are promised either snow or sleet or freezing rain tonight. It has been pretty cold, so I don’t think any plants are feeling eager yet.

  • Janet says:

    We have had rain for most of the year. 4.5 inches in the last 5 days. After years of drought it is glorious!