I’ll make this a super-short intro, since I am putting two reviews in one post:
Amouage is awesome. They make awesome perfumes. They are expensive, but ALWAYS (and I have tried every single one of their main perfumes) worth the price. Their art work (in my opinion) also ALWAYS matches the juice and its story whilst on skin. They just launched Interlude Man and Interlude Woman, and one description (from hauteliving.com) is as follows:
In the House of Amouage’s latest introspective creations for man and woman, ‘Interlude’ evokes an air of disorder while maintaining a sense of balance and tranquility through the inventive use of Frankincense and Myrrh. An orchestrated blend of technical skill and creative integrity, the fragrances take one moment in time for self reflection and personal discovery to compose internal harmony from external chaos.
“I interpret what I see and feel into scents,” says Christopher Chong. “All the social and natural chaos and disorder surrounding us today can be translated to a much more intimate level. The interlude moment is a reflection of all the trials and tribulations one overcomes to attain personal satisfaction and achievement.”
Notes (stolen, with picture, from Fragrantica):
Interlude Man is a spicy — woody fragrance that opens with zesty bergamot, oregano and pimento berry oil, perpetuating intervals of conflict which are countered by aromatic notes of amber, frankincense, opoponax, cistus and myrrh. Eternal notes of leather, agarwood smoke, patchouli and sandalwood in the base add lasting layers of depth and texture. Perfumer: Pierre Negrin.
Interlude man opens with a waft of burned salty woods. I am suddenly transported back to places where some sort of REAL incense is burning. I say “real” because lots of perfumes have a note similar to incense, but this note just transports me to memories of how it actually smells. I’m no longer in my living room, but in a temple — like really really there. Some sort of salty bacon note is coming through this because of the burning, I hope that goes away soon…
Closer to my skin, there are notes that I am anosmic to, clearly. What I can smell is something watery sweet and cool, but barely there. This is very sheer closer to my skin (at least in the opening notes). Some more wafting ensues: there is some tobacco that is being burned at this ceremony, which is in a damp place. Closer to skin it is clearly sage and herbs that are being burned, and it makes me glance at the sage smudge stick I have in a bowl infront of me.
This goes away to reveal a pure leather, which is what has probably kept it so cool. It starts getting stronger, and you can almost taste it. This scent is rugged yet blended so well it is sophisticated too. It really does scream MAN (unlike Jubilation XXV, which is also for men, and is slowly going to the top of my wishlist).
Mustiness of the oudh is constantly there, but adds to the darkness of this fragrance. The “grassiness” that I noted in Memoir Man is slightly here too, but it has a wetness to it I suspect is caused by the oudh. The grass was fresh in Memoir — here, it is manly and rugged; stomped on by a lone vigilante in his journeys to save people. This smells like something I’d like to smell on my man when he’s been out in the desert for a few days without a shower, saving kittens and risking his life for little toddlers. Yes, that’s the kind of guy that wears this — the sophisticated and caring man who lives inside the body of a rugged cowboy.
The incense comes through 30 min later, and the sweetness I love so much (the kind that hits you at the back of your throat) is there, but without losing the ruggedness. Okay, maybe just a little. This is now my man who has had a shave and shower (after saving the world), and is now ready to have a picnic with me at night — on a flying carpet. It gets sweeter and sweeter in its wafts (the slightly bitter wetness still prominent closer to skin), but keeps the grassy leather, as if to say, “I may be cleaning myself up — but I’m still the man.”
I find that the tobacco and burned woods come through more later on in the dry down, but with a little added something, namely a not-too-dry sandalwood (one of my favourite notes). This note weaves in and out of the picture, and fills me with glee every time it shows it pretty face.
Bottom line: You’ll love this if you love a good leather/burned scent. Of course, it is an Amouage — you will feel like you are wearing a 1000 dollar jacket when smelling this — the quality is clear.
Notes (stolen, with picture, from Fragrantica):
Interlude Woman is a floral chypre fragrance that reveals an interlude moment of unity and serenity. The sweetness of bergamot and bitterness of grapefruit in the top notes (together with ginger and tagete) create turbulent tensions while rose, frankincense, jasmine, orange blossom, helichrysum, opoponax and sandalwood in the intricate heart are masqueraded with an unconventional combination of nut, coffee, kiwi, honey and agarwood. An opulent base of sumptuous vanilla, benzoin, amber, sandalwood, oakmoss, leather, tonka and musk inject warmth to the fragrance’s contradicting accords. Perfumer: Karine Vinchon Spehner.
It opens with…. a burst of citrus?! In a woman’s scent?! Amouage, really? I am in for a surprising rollercoaster ride, I see. I was totally expecting either a spice or flower. This is definitely feminine, gosh, after the cool roundness I suddenly get this soft sweetness that totally makes me imagine a feminine petite princess, waiting to be rescued by the man I described in Interlude Man. There is a herbal quality to the lemons — this has been done before, so many times, but as usual Amouage finds a way to do things AMOUAGE STYLE (with capital letters, of course!), and doesn’t end up smelling like a copy-cat.
The grapefruit makes its way to the stage, and is now dancing with the herbs; what a light and gorgeous scent! After trying Parfum d’Empire Iskander, I am starting to appreciate citrus more, and this is one beautiful citrus I am currently smelling. I could see myself enjoying this one in the summer.
There is a musty note (probably patchouli or oudh — I sometimes confuse the mustiness of the two) which is slightly putting me off when mixed with the citrus. I’m not a grapefruit fan, and only love Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune because it reminds me of the Kenyan coast with its everlasting realistic juicy grapefruit note. When mixed with other things though, it’s not a favourite note of mine.
Although I know that a lot of gorgeous notes are blended well in this one, I find it less complex than Interlude Man, and the sillage/longevity is less too. I do really like this scent, and could see myself sharing a bottle with someone, especially for summer and spring (Who am I kidding — I live in Africa: it’s ALWAYS warm!). However, call me a purist — but I want my grapefruit pure or non-existent. That is why I’ll say this is a no for me (unless I’m given a bottle, which I would then wear more often than I should). For the royal price it is sold at, I demand dark heaviness and complex changes that make me feel like I am watching a story unfold on my skin.
In a way you could say that this fragrance (to me) is very much like those 10,000 dollar cocktail dresses — if I’m spending 10,000, I demand a wedding gown with elves made out of chocolate and hand embroidered ladybirds! Even though this one does dry down beautifully (incense and oudh, but very sheer), I am disturbed by the constant grapefruit. Others have been luckier, and report immortelle and incense alone. I guess this just is not my Amouage… Honestly speaking, I suspect I shall give this one another try on its own and then report my notes in an edit below. I think this one may need to grow on me.
In this sense, it matches the strong character portrayed in my men’s review — yet also contrasts through its own femininity and softness. It reminds me of those couples who are such obvious opposites — yet so interesting to watch! I don’t know if this is what Christopher Chong meant by “tension”, but the artistic intention comes through loud and clear if this is what he did mean. I have to also let you know as a reader, that this is my individual experience — mostly everyone else has got a complex scent from Interlude Woman, so perhaps my skin just is being silly. I will put this in my “try again” folder…
Bottom line: This is gorgeous for warmer days, or cooler days when you need a brightness in your life that doesn’t scream like Amouage Honour does, but softly sings and serenades you throughout the day. I don’t know how they managed to put in citrus fruits without making it masculine, but they’re Amouage and can do everything, so…