My first recollection of cumin in a fragrance was Le Labo’s Rose 31. It confused me early on as I found its warm, sweaty body order like smell jarring. When I realized it was supposed to be there, the scent grew on me. and it has become one of my favorite scents. Saffron caught my attention when I was in Paris a few years ago and sampled L’Artisan’s Safran Troublant at the Lourve. Its sweat heat was an instant win for me. Both cumin and saffron are prevalent in the opening of Amouage’s Fate Man, which not only caught my attention but has continued to excite my olfactive bulbs.
Fate Man for me has been a troubling scent. Every time I’ve worn it, I realize another layer and for that reason, I appreciate its craftsmanship. The very first time I wore it, I picked up the cumin and saffron right away in the top notes and they pretty much overshadowed everything else. On another wearing, about four hours or so after applying it, I was in awe that my nose picked up the floral notes in the middle. I surely didn’t think it would go there after the pungent opening I experienced and that dramatic shift impressed me. I have since recognized there’s more going on in Fate Man’s opening and that tug of war between the freshness of mandarin and the zestiness of ginger and the animalic presence of cumin piques my interest. I should footnote here that my early test of Fate Man occurred in the middle of the summer and perhaps that heat agitated the cumin enough that it presented itself in stereo while the other notes were in analog.
If you’re a fan of Amouage’s collection of fragrances, you’ll recognize that Fate Man fits the story they’ve been telling. Their use of pungent spices, incense and woods has become defining traits of the brand. But Fate Man illustrates what I love about perfumery – just when you think a scent has flattened out, an interesting twist occurs and wakes you up. The right turn it takes in the middle was such a surprise for me that it sealed the deal on how I feel about it. On top of that, its longevity is superb. If Fate Man is your first encounter with Amouage, the amount of cumin you detect could affect your perception of this scent as it can be a polarizing note. In other reviews I’ve read, it would appear cumin played it’s part as opposed to my experience where it played an extended solo. Nevertheless, I suspect Fate Man will do well for Amouage and I look forward to the next chapter in this ongoing story Christopher Chong is superbly narrating.
Fate Man – 50ml – $280.
A few months ago while I was in Philadelphia for another #phillyweekend getaway, I bumped into an unassuming record store that caught my attention with it’s boxes of $1 vinyl. #ILoveVinyl and I couldn’t help myself. Digging in the crates is fun and what ensued was an hour and a half of searching for gems. I blew a nice wad that day but I scored an unopened copy of Madonna’s first album, Madonna. While I’m not the biggest fan, I recognize her brilliance and there were moments in her career that caught my undivided attention. For a #FunFriday post, my scented partners in crime, Carrie, Dariush and Thomas have agreed to post about the material girl and tie it to fragrance.
The year was 1992 and America was a completely different place but that wouldn’t stop this agent provocateur from exploring her sexual fantasizes. In conjunction with the release of the Erotica album, Madonna dropped Sex. Just a year prior to its release, Magic Johnson revealed he was retiring from the NBA because he became infected with the virus that causes AIDS. This obviously propelled the disease into the mainstream and surely exacerbated the controversy surrounding the book. Consider the following when thinking about where we were then:
Bill Clinton was elected President
Riots broke out in Los Angeles following the Rodney King decision
Home Improvement was a popular television show
Boyz II Men was on the radio
Reservoir Dogs, Lethal Weapon 3, The Bodyguard and Basic Instinct were in theatres
The average monthly rent was $519
The book was raw. The leather, the acts she depicted, and the nudity pushed all the right buttons. If you had to pair a scent to the book today, what would it be? What scent could one wear to push another persons buttons and temp them to touch? What could give the night more legs when it seemed like there were none? What’s raw and brings the heat? What’s good and bad all rolled into one? If we had that magic potion, I’m sure we’d all be wearing it daily. The following scents, however, are sensual, a little dirty and pack some serious heat:
Comme Des Garcons by Comme des Garcons
Tobacco & Tulle by Liz Zorn
Secret Garden by Mandy Aftel
Absolue Por le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Anima Dulcis by Arquiste
Epic Man by Amouage
In the song Human Nature Madonna says, “express yourself, don’t repress yourself.” It’s clear she listened to these words and for that she’s loved around the world. By the same token, each of the fragrance I’ve selected was created by perfumers whose work is loved by many for its point of difference. They bring artistry to the craft that can be likened to musicians, especially those that aren’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers with their work. Sound familiar?
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Amouage, Arquiste, Commes de Garcon, Liz Zorn, Madonna, Maison Francis Kurdjkian, Mandy Aftel, Masculine scents, Men's Fragranes, Sex, Sexy Scents
Top L to R: Chad Murawczyk, Harry Sheff, sipping Macallan 12 and talking scents, Amouage’s Attar, Tribute
Life has a way of getting in the way at times and the last few months have been intense. In addition to moving, I was deeply involved in completing a research paper for my Masters degree. Needless to say, there wasn’t enough hours in the day to get to blogging…but I’m back! Continue reading
A few months back, the Editor-In-Chief of Antenna magazine contacted me about writing a piece on scent. We talked about this a few years back but the stars finally aligned. Part of that delay was my own. I really like Antenna’s editorial point-of-view and wanted to be sure I was ready with my own. When that email finally made its way into my inbox, I was ready.
To me, scent is a detail more men should pay attention to. We make conscious choices about the clothes we wear, how we style our hair, yet for some, when it comes to scent, we couldn’t be bothered. Well, this piece in Antenna is my attempt to reverse this thinking. I hope you enjoy it and if you do, let them know.
Thanks to Kaity and Sarah for making this dream of mine a reality.
Posted in Good Read
Tagged Amouage, Antenna Magazine, Atelier Colgone, Carner Barcelona, Cuirs, D.S. & Durga, Diptyque, Duro, Fall Fragrances, Good Read, Jim Parsons, Joya Fragrances, Liz Zorn Perfumes, Men's Colgone, Men's Fragrances, Nassomato, Oolang Infini, Rivertown Road, Staghorn Sumac
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, members of the beauty and fragrance industry gathered to attend the second installation of the Elements Showcase, which took place at Skylight Studio in New York City. It describes itself as, “the first-ever curated event devoted to the art of fragrance design.” Essentially, it’s an opportunity for buyers and members of the press to connect with niche fragrance and skincare brands. Participants included MCMC Fragrances, Atelier Cologne, Odin, Caron, Six Scents, Ursa Major, Bond No 9, Histoires de Parfums and many more. For a fragrance enthusiast like myself, it was two exciting days. Continue reading
Posted in News
Tagged Aesop, Amouage, Bond No 9, Carner Barcelona, Caron, D.S. & Durga, Dorie Greenspan, Elements Showcase, Harry Sheff, Histoires de Parfums, Joya Studios, Le Labo, MCMC Fragrances, Odin, Six Scents, Ursa Major
Amouage was founded 25 years ago, in accordance with the wishes of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, ruler of the Sultanate of Oman. It was his desire to create a global luxury brand with roots in Oman under which the traditional Arabian love of perfume making and gift giving could be preserved and celebrated.
It was also his intention to tell the world about the ingredients particularly found in Oman, the rarest frankincense from Dhofar in the south of the country and the rarest rose of all, the rock rose harvested high up in the mountains of the Jebel Akhdar range towering over the Sultante’s beautiful capital, Muscat.
The Amouage miniature men’s collection contains six .25 oz bottles. Included in the set I have are Lyric, Jubilation, Reflection, Gold, Dia, and Silver. Each has very distinct characteristics but all are rich with great lasting power. The packing and presentation is simply beautiful. Right now, my standout favorites include Dia and Silver…but I’ve only just begun.
Amouage Miniatures set for men – $260 (and worth every penny)
Posted in Fragrance Review, Product review
Tagged Aedes de Venustas, Amouage, Amouge Dia, Amouge Gold, Amouge Jubilation, Amouge Lyric, Amouge Reflection, and Amouge Silver, Christmas Gifts, Men's Colgone, Men's Fragrances, Men's grooming, Men's Scents
So as you know, September 10th was deemed Fashion Night Out. Kudos to all who participated. Stores were packed, people were shopping and the weather held up quite nicely. I decided to partake in the festivities but with my own twist. I made it a fragrant night out.
My first stop was Bergdorf. The main store was bananas. Zac Posen painted dresses in one of the 5th Avenue windows and a large crowd gathered to take photographs. My good friend Ainsley Connell and I made our way into the store but quickly exited as the crowd was quite thick. A good thing for them, not so good for us. We went across the street to the men’s store which was much more relaxed. After checking out some of the wears, we quickly made our way over to the fragrance counter. Before we could even begin asking questions, we were introduced to Cuoio by Odori. I found it to be extremely sophisticated and quite masculine. The bottle’s packaging, which seemed familiar with its wood and leather accents makes it worthy of being prominently displayed on your mantle of colognes. We then sampled two stand out scents, Vetiver Ambrato by Bois 1920 (earthy, woody, very sexy) and Lyric by Amouage (modern take on Rose with spicy, green accents). I highly suggest checking these two out. To me they possess the distinct characteristics one should search for when looking for a new fragrance. Also, if you’re still hanging onto the belief that rose scents are for women, its time to come from under that rock – and smell the roses. Come into the light and start with, Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Homme…if this doesn’t change your mind, nothing will…Our next stop was Barney’s.
To my surprise, they had the Comme des Garcons/Monocle collaboration, Hinoki. My first introduction to Comme de Garcons was Odeur 71 and ever since then I’ve been a huge fan of their fragrances. I was introduced to Monocle magazine about a year and a half ago and truly enjoy reading it from time to time. Thus when I heard about the collaboration, I was quite intrigued. I am happy to report, I was not let down. It is quite woody and resinous but also quite sensual. We then sampled a few scents from Byredo Parfums, Bal D’Afrique, Pulp, and Fantastic Man. The guys are hot right now and after smelling these three scents, I know why. Each have their own unique quality bot for me, Fantastic Man was the winner. It has a traditional appeal but they dry down quickly updates it nicely.
Before heading to the lower level in search of champagne, I wanted to get a whiff of Nasomatto’s Black Afgano. For me, this was the winner of the night. I became a fan when I discovered Duro and this also swept me off my feet. From Afgano’s opening, I detect what smells like cumin. I’m not sure if it’s there and the salesman wasn’t quite sure but there was a sweaty factor I recognized. With that I knew this is for a confident man. If I was invited to the after after party where the unmarked door opens to a fete that doesn’t really start jumping until 3:30 am, this is what I’d wear.
The moral of the story for this rather fragrant night out is it’s all about sampling. Gents, if you’re looking to add to your collection, get out there and try a few things before making a rushed decision. How many stores do you visit before purchasing a new camera or television? How many questions do you ask the salesman before buying a computer or new stereo? The same reasoning applies. Do this and you’ll make better decisions about which fragrances suit your taste and style.
Posted in News
Tagged Amouage, Bergdorf, Bois 1920, Byredo, Fashion Night Out, Hinoki, Monocle, Nasomatto, Odeur 71, Odori, Parfums de Rosine, Zac Posen