Amouage Memoir Woman, 2010

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(image Ashleigh Good)

Perfumers Daniel Maurel and Dorothée Piot

Memoir Woman is a moving target. It opens as an orange incense chypre, with spices and some huge white floral notes (jasmine, tuberose) holding an impatient sweetness at bay. Soon, though the flower and the spice hang in, a syrupy thickness takes the lead and Memoir comes to feel strikingly similar to Serge Lutens’s Cèdre and Arabie. By this time, you realize that Memoir won’t so much blur genre lines as jump over them. It’s moved from mixed-bag chypre to syrupy sweet and finally lands in the balsamic spicy oriental camp.

All of the above. More is better. Bigger is better. You get the idea. There’s nothing either subtle or minimal happening here. Wearing it, I keep flashing to the image of an insect caught and preserved in amber.

I recently heard an interview with a Danish film director who noted the difficulty and ultimate payoff of delivering the unexpected while maintaining a believable narrative. She might as well have been talking about Memoir Woman.


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