Amouage Epic Man, 2009

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Perfumer Randa Hammami.

Any meal with more than two courses isn’t about satisfying hunger, it’s about having an experience. I, an American, am fond of the three-course meal, experience-lite. I see the value in a multi-course meal, but I won’t go so far as to have a ten-course Titanic dinner, or a twenty one-course Versailles bacchanalia. To my mind, a classic five-course dinner is the height of luxury.

Amouage have been known to imitate French style. God knows they have made a few ten-course perfumes. Epic man is their five course meal. It is the perfect middle ground between opulent and edited.

Even the choral top notes tell you that there is an emphasis on bass: amber, frankincense, oud, tea.  Tea? In a smart twist, Amouage do in fact include a tea-like note in Epic Man. It’s the perfect modifier to the five course perfume, it enhances the smoky and aromatic qualities of the other basenotes without adding additional weight, or, stretching the analogy, a few more courses.

I tend to berate Amouage for their tedious male/female perfume releases, and I think they deserve it. Please, let’s spare perfume the his/hers baggage. Perfume at its abstract heart defies gender, and in specific, Epic Man raises gender neutrality to a peak by combining fine ingredients and the best of both eastern and western traditions in the service of simply making a beautiful fragrance. The resulting hybrid treats gender as it does ethnic culture. It acknowledges it at the same time that it refuses to be encumbered by it. Epic Man is a reminder to ignore the marketing and smell the perfume.  If we must have a gender pairing, Epic Man should more likely be paired with Jubilation 25 for women. Both are the perfect examples Amouage’s stated mission to pair eastern materials and sensibilities with classical French perfumery. It’s no wonder that Epic Man smells first and foremost like success.

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