Journey Man is Amouage’s latest perfume in the house’s Main Collection. It syncs harmoniously with the collection’s existing perfumes, having many hallmarks of an Amouage men’s fragrance. Yet from the point of storytelling, Journey Man is unique. It marks the beginning of a new era in the brand’s evolution. Last month when I met Amouage’s Creative Director, Christopher Chong, we talked about where he wanted to take his audience, having directed one of niche perfumery’s most successful brands for the past 8 years. In his interview he said, “When I first started, people didn’t know who I was. It took customers and the press some years to get to know me. Now I think we have reached a stage where they know more about me than I know about myself. So I decided that in the next cycle, it is much more direct. I want to have a more intimate dialogue with the world, rather than telling my story behind a narrative.” The narrative for Journey Man comes from Christopher’s interest in Chinese film noir, especially films that portray the underworld of 1920s Shanghai. It was a vibrant period in modern Chinese history, and during the early 20th century, Shanghai … Read More »
Last month I met Christopher Chong, the Creative Director of luxury Omani perfume house, Amouage. Christopher was in Australia for the press launch of his latest fragrance, Sunshine. It is the first eau de parfum from his Midnight Flower collection, which launched last year. Aside from a conversation about the new fragrance, we talked about his 8-year tenure as Creative Director of Amouage, and we spoke about the brand’s direction for the future. With 40 fragrances for Amouage under his belt, Christopher shows no sign of slowing down. Last year he announced the closure of what he termed Amouage’s first cycle. Earlier this year he launched Journey Man and Journey Woman, the first fragrances of his anticipated second cycle. I had heard that this second cycle related more to Christopher’s own life experiences. In order to understand the future, I wanted to understand the past. Below is a transcript of our candid talk, covering Christopher’s own journey with Amouage, his creative process and some interesting thoughts on what might come next.
WMSSL: How did you begin your work with Amouage?
Christopher Chong: It was just by chance. They wanted someone that didn’t come from the industry. Before we joined, things had been … Read More »
Having been a reader of the hugely popular website CaFleureBon for a number of years, I was happy when a recent conversation with the site’s creator, Michelyn Camen, turned into an invitation to contribute.
My first review for the American perfume site is about Sunshine by Amouage. It is a change of direction for Amouage if you consider its existing collections. Like other Amouage fragrances that have been assigned a female gender, Sunshine feels perfectly at home on my skin, particularly once the bright floral notes settle and the cade, patchouli, papyrus and tobacco base notes rise out. This combination of floral, woody and gourmand notes makes Sunshine an interesting floral scent on male skin.
Sunshine is easily one of my favourites for summer with an exclusive Australian launch set for December. Other countries will have to wait until February, unless you have the fortune of having an Amouage boutique in your city. In which case 100ml bottles are now available.
By following the link below, you can read the back-story and my personal thoughts on this new fragrance.
Alternatives: Diptyque Opone, L’Artisan Parfumeur Safran Troublant, Hermes Osmanthe Yunnan
Creative Direction: Christopher Chong
Perfumer: Sidonie Lancesseur, Robertet
Bottle Designer: Bill Trigger
Release Date: 2014
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Floral
One of my favourite writers on the topic of perfume is world renowned author and perfume expert Michael Edwards. His book, Perfume Legends, is a key resource when I am researching legendary perfumes of the 20th century. His Fragrances of the World database is a reference I always use when I write about a perfume on my blog. Michael Edwards has an office here in Australia and Mrs Edwards is Australian, so even if a majority of his time is spent in Europe, America and more recently, the Middle East, Michael returns to Australia every year and I have had the fortune of hearing him give talks about perfume for the past two years; his fragrance masterclasses are also legendary. Earlier this year, Michael accepted my request for an interview and I began recording my conversations with him as part of my research. The final recording I made with him was a talk he gave for Sydney Perfume Lovers, a group of Sydney-based perfume enthusiasts that meet regularly – their calendar of events is posted on their Meetup website. For this event, the group’s founder, Catherine du Peloux Menage organised a Q&A with Michael. Catherine … Read More »
Fashion critics say a great designer gives you what you want before you know you want it. Before Christian Dior launched Dior Homme in 2005, I did not feel a need for vanilla in the perfumes I was wearing. I was more interested in the fresh tonic notes of fragrances such as Frederic Malle’s Angelique Sous la Pluie and L’Eau de L’Artisan by L’Artisan Parfumeur. The first time I smelled Dior Homme, I distinctly remember my experience. The way IFF perfumer, Olivier Polge, cocooned his base of soft vanilla in iris and leather made immediate sense to me and Dior Homme felt instantly at home on my skin. The experience opened up a new world of possibilities, and lifted my self-imposed vanilla embargo. Not only did Dior Homme smell fantastic, it also reset the narrow boundaries of masculinity as defined by designer perfume brands. It spoke of freshness, modernity and sophistication, without being pretentious or cliché. Dior Homme’s innovation went hand-in-hand with the French couturier’s eponymous menswear label. In 2000, designer Hedi Slimane became creative director of Dior Homme. In the same way M. Christian Dior redefined women’s couture with his “New Look” collection of 1947, Hedi Slimane redefined men’s ready-to-wear in … Read More »
Guerlain’s Jicky is always eulogised as a symbol of change in perfumery. When Jicky was launched in 1889, it was heralded as one of the first perfumes to use synthetic raw materials and historians call it the first abstract perfume. Although Jicky smells of its composite parts, the overall composition is abstract; it is not trying to replicate the smell of anything that exists in nature. This was revolutionary thinking in 1889. The end of the 19th century was a time of innovation and creativity that nourished all art forms. In the year of Jicky’s birth, the Eifel Tower was inaugurated, Impressionism was in full bloom and the seeds of Modern Art were beginning to sprout. Riding the coat tails of La Belle Epoque, the French perfume industry enjoyed a renewed spirit; it was a time of optimistic effervescence and creative perfume houses made small steps that contributed to Jicky’s remarkable stride forward. In 1882, perfumer Paul Parquet created Fougere Royale, which was the blueprint for Jicky’s structure. Parquet’s structure was so remarkable, it is still used in men’s perfumery today and perfumes that borrow from it are classified under the term fougere. In the seven years that separated Fougere … Read More »
The story of La Parfumerie Moderne begins in the small resort village of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage on the northern coast of France. Overlooking the English Channel, Le Touquet was an early 20th century playground for holidaying British aristocrats and wealthy visitors from all over the world. Business thrived and grand hotels were built on a palatial scale to accommodate visitors. The most notable grand hotel was the Royal Picardy, built in 1929. It was advertised as the largest, most luxurious hotel in the world. For 20 years the Royal Picardy was the jewel of this affluent seaside village but these lucrative years were short lived. War and the Great Depression crippled business and the hotel fell into a state of disrepair. In 1951 it closed its doors forever.
Years later we meet the main character of La Parfumerie Moderne’s story. In the 1960s, Philippe Neirinck was a young boy. The son of hoteliers, he regularly vacationed in Le Touquet with his parents. The Neirincks spent time in one of the vacant palaces, which had closed to the public. While the adults amused themselves, these empty palaces became the playgrounds of children. Wandering from room to room, young Philippe would imagine the hotel … Read More »
At the start of the month I received samples of MiN New York’s recently launched Scent Stories Volume One, and over the past week I have been wearing, smelling and pondering over the eleven new perfumes. I have noticed sentiments increasing inside and outside the perfume industry, which are causing brows to be raised, followed by the comment “not another new niche perfume launch!” Niche is now a crowded space and I was very curious to smell what MiN New York’s Chad Murawczyk and Mindy Yang were serving up. As business partners, the pair own and operate one of Manhattan’s finest independent perfumeries. Their Soho boutique is a beautifully curated space, which supports the work of niche perfume’s foremost creative thinkers. How would the pair bring a fresh perspective to this densely populated market that thrives on newness? For one, the approach is different. Instead of allowing the collection to be distributed through multiple channels, this first volume of Scent Stories is available exclusively in the Americas from MiN New York. Small scale production plays into the way the collection is experienced, by appointment only from the Members Vault. Becoming a member requires registration. Applicants are evaluated not by wealth … Read More »
Last year when I met perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux, we spoke about many things. We spoke about his work as a Senior Perfumer at Givaudan, one of the world’s most successful producers of fine fragrances and we spoke about Arquiste Parfumeur, a highly acclaimed collection of niche perfumes that Rodrigo co-authored with his colleague and friend, perfumer Yann Vasnier. It was Arquiste’s owner, Carlos Huber, who kindly offered to connect me with Rodrigo when I visited New York. More often than not, perfumers work silently behind their clients and this meeting was a rare opportunity to talk directly with the man responsible for creating multi-million dollar fragrances for some of the most influential names in the fashion and beauty industry. High above the streets of Midtown Manhattan, Rodrigo’s office read like a resume of his career. His desk was filled with rows of neatly coded laboratory vials, modifications of projects he was currently working on. Finished bottles of Rodrigo’s work sat proudly along the sill of his office window. Amongst these bottles were some personal items, which had played a part in inspiring the perfumer. A brightly coloured piñata became a prop in a story about Rodrigo’s Mexican heritage and he … Read More »
Cyber Garden by CoSTUME NATIONAL is co-founder, Ennio Capasa’s latest men’s fragrance. The idea is inspired by a tapestry of curated plants known as the CNAC Wall, one of three spaces in Tokyo’s Aoyama Complex, which houses the brand’s Japanese flagship boutique. CoSTUME NATIONAL commissioned botanist and artist Patrick Blanc to create a vertical garden, the largest of its kind in Japan, which hosts over one hundred species of plant life across a 12 x 3 metre vertical plane. Visitors are able to admire the wall whilst enjoying a drink at the long bar overlooking Blanc’s living installation. Ennio Capasa sees the Aoyama boutique as more than just a retail space, it is “a place of lifestyle and experience where aesthetic, art and nature find the perfect balance.” It is this utopian ideal, which seeds the idea for Cyber Garden. Capasa describes the scent as “the garden of the future.” The olfactory architect behind the concept is perfumer Antoine Lie, a name that is well established in both the niche and mainstream arenas of perfumery. Cyber Garden amalgamates these two worlds, pairing some easy-to-wear commercial notes and accords with some more experimental, avant-garde ones. Artistic perfumes are often marketed with … Read More »