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.
Before the Elements Showcase, I didn’t know anything about the fragrance brand M. Micallef. Ever since, however, I’ve become a fan and it’s all because of its latest release, Royal Vintage.
M. Micallef was established in 1996 by Martine Micallef and Geoffrey Nejman. The brand is based in Grasse and to date has over 750 retail locations across 39 countries. That’s impressive.
To me everything about Royal Vintage is a throwback as its name conjures. Many men’s fragrance bottles today convey their masculinity through their angles, which are usually sharp and square-ish and via its weight. A men’s fragrance that feels substantial in your hand must be masculine, right? The design for Royal Vintage, however, took its inspiration from vintage cars and iconic cinema. As for the scent, it feels familiar, something I can see many men instantly liking. What we have in Royal Vintage is a masculine scent with enough panache to claim signature scent status.
Like a firm handshake, the slightly peppery opening of Royal Vintage gets your attention. But it’s also cool and confident and the juxtaposition of bergamot freshens it up while adding a touch of sweetness. As it dries down, its woody, leather and musk characteristics are where the scent blooms and it keeps on going. It has wonderful lasting power.
The men’s cologne of yesteryear exuded a bravado that led me to reject them when I was younger. Their masculine quotient was on overdrive. While Royal Vintage reads unequivocally masculine and traditional, it’s quite mellow and possesses a quiet elegance. It reads suits and ties but I can also see it giving a t-shirt and jeans weekend an entirely new life. It’s timeless and can be worn anywhere and I suspect many will add this to their scent wardrobe for years to come.
Royal Vintage – 100ml EDP goes for $185 at Lucky Scent.
A sample of Royal Vintage was sent to me but my opinions are my own.
One of the things I fondly remember about my youth was going to church on Sundays. I missed a lot of Sunday football games but mom was happy her boys received their blessing. One thing that stuck with me was the church’s scent, which was a mix of body heat and old wood. With no air condition, we tried to stay cool with paper fans. They kept us cool and hot at the same time. That collective heat and that old church made for a scent that will forever be ingrained in my head. I used to wear my father’s Grey Flannel, but not enough to drown out that old church smell. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t bad, but I often wondered what it was like going to a Catholic church where they burned incense. That was the first thing I thought about when Mandy Aftel introduced me to one of her latest releases, Ancient Resins.
Incense has long been a part of religious ceremonies. It’s referenced in the bible and there are myriad historical references. Its perfume is meditative and it’s also said that the smoke symbolizes our prayers being taken up to God. History also tells us that people used it to perfume their bodies. I imagine Mandy drew upon this knowledge when she created Ancient Resins for the legendary Leonard Cohen.
Ancient Resins had me hooked from its opening notes; I wore it for a few days straight while testing it. It’s a body oil so it can be used to moisturize your skin. I chose to wear it as a fragrance and applied it to my pulse points as I would any other cologne. It opens subtly with a smoky, resinous presence and quickly quiets to a beautiful perfumed whisper. Don’t expect a bloom of perfume surrounding you. Ancient Resins wears close to the skin and in an intimate moment, it just might answer your prayers. If you’re familiar with frankincense, you’ll pick it up immediately as it contains a generous amount. The scent stays pretty consistent throughout its wearing and it lasts a long time.
A 50 ml. bottle of Ancient Resins is $40. It’s a steal gents.
Here we are a week before Labor Day and the melancholy of summer’s end is setting in. I plan on getting in at least one more beach day and BBQ before we say goodbye to summer 2012. With that, fall fragrance releases are here. Continue reading
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