Amouage Honour Man, 2011

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Honour Man, 2011. Perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer

Amouage asks you to consider gender with their paired man/woman releases, the Golds, the Jubilations, the Dias, etc.. I don’t know all the Amouages, but I’m always leery of the boy/girl thing. It seems so rote, so perfunctory, like dressing babies exclusively in blue or pink. The quality of the perfumes, though, has always won me over (at least the three noted above), and the gender pairing becomes less important. But with each new matched-pair release, the issue comes up again.

For the Honours, it is the man who suffers. There is a progression from start to finish of Honor Man, but thanks to a composition overloaded with basenotes, mostly woods and resins, there is a lingering feel. A peppery start moves slowly to a sour wood heart, and eventually to a not unpleasant, but murky base combining vetiver, incense and coumarin.

The marketing pitch is opera, hinting at emotionalism and heavy theatrical symbolism. Unmet expectation of drama and comparison to operatic scale make Honour Man seem insignificant. A nagging problem with Honour Man, though, is that in a reversal of a recent trend, niche attempts to imitate designer. For all the opera, for all the narrative, Honour Man reads like an attempt to squeeze a boatload of possibly high quality botanicals into the shape of Iso E Super. Perhaps interesting as an exercise, but to my nose, unsuccessful as a costly product.

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