This year Amouage have added a masculine counterpart to their feminine perfume called Beloved, which was launched as a special edition in 2012. Beloved Man is a special edition for 2013 and it is offered in a very select number of perfumeries around the world. For Australia this means only a handful of bottles are available and if you read to the end of this post and Beloved Man sounds like something you would be interested in, I recommend contacting your local stockist as the perfume will only become rarer as the year progresses.
My initial attraction to Beloved Man was the sense of nostalgia that comes from wearing this wonderfully refined scent. Although it smells entirely modern, there is also an intangible familiarity, which is part and parcel of the perfume’s theme. Amouage’s Creative Director, Christopher Chong says that for Beloved Man, he could have gone avant-garde with the formulation but he chose to stay with something that is nostalgic and represents remembrance. Lovers of fine fragrances who are expecting Beloved Man to give them an experience that is directional and avant-garde may prefer to wait for one of the house’s future releases as Beloved Man is a classical beauty, even if the perfume’s classical motifs have been deconstructed in a postmodern way.
Inspired by this spatial notion of timelessness, Christopher Chong has spoken about the perfume’s theme being connected to the movie and soundtrack of Somewhere in Time. It is the story of a man who is haunted by the portrait of a woman, with whom he feels strangely connected. Following a series of coincidences we discover the two have met before and although they are separated by decades of time, the movie’s protagonist (Christopher Reeve) defies the laws of time in order to find the woman in the portrait (Jane Seymour). Chong adds to this a tone of Death in Venice, which brings with it a darker edge and a feeling of unattainability, showing the bittersweet nature of love.
To create the fragrance, Amouage worked with perfumer Alexandra Carlin, who also created Honour Woman for the brand. Some websites have named Bernard Ellena as the perfumer behind Beloved Man; please note Christopher Chong has confirmed this to be inaccurate.
Like many classic masculines, Beloved Man begins with radiant oranges, bitter citruses and fresh peppery spices, which combined have an invigorating effect. Elemi resin adds to this spicy yet fresh top section and is a beautiful segues into frankincense, one of the brand’s definitive notes.
I asked Christopher Chong about Amouage’s olfactive personality, as he works with a diverse range of perfumers, from Jacques Cavallier to Alberto Morillas yet the collection remains tightly cohesive. He describes his role as a conductor and gives his perfumers a lot of credit to creative his vision, often encouraging them to deconstruct classical structures, but with respect. From a technical perspective, frankincense or a frankincense accord always appears in an Amouage perfume. Frankincense’s complex odour allows the perfumer to work around a variety of facets found within the raw material, such as the smoky aspect, the sweet bonbon, the medicinal or the earthy aspect.
Beloved Man contains a sappy, coniferous frankincense that adds to the perfume’s masculine freshness and mystery. Modern geraniums, blooming jasmines and luxurious orris surround these earthy resinous tones. There is also a strong presence of saffron that pairs beautifully with the floral heart of the fragrance and adds to the leather accord, which emerges later in the perfume’s evolution. At its most evolved, skin is left with a trail of precious woods, leather, musk and the ghost of orris butter. Even with these deeper sensual notes, Beloved Man retains its radiant character, feeling crisp and clean until the end.
I’m finding Beloved Man to be an extremely versatile scent. It is one that I have been enjoying as a work fragrance, on weekends and for travel (I currently have it with me here in New York). It has not left my side for more than a day over the past month. Like all things Amouage, I think men who appreciate quality and craftsmanship will enjoy Beloved Man the most. Although it is refined and smells expensive, it is not at all ostentatious. Walking through the streets of commercial Manhattan, seeing all the Fathers Day advertising, I think Beloved Man would make a perfect gift for a Father, or in fact any man in his late 30s and up.
Because Beloved Man is multi-faceted it will attract men for different reasons. Lovers of frankincense-powered masculines such as the extinct Gucci Pour Homme, or Miller Harris La Fumee could enjoy Beloved Man. Saffron seems to be a fashionable raw material in high-end perfumery at present and if you have enjoyed any of these perfumes give Beloved Man some attention.
Perfumer: Alexandra Carlin
Bottle Designer: Bill Trigger
Release Date: 2013
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Woody Oriental