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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Perfume Review: Amouage Gold

Amouage, which means “waves” in Arabic, suggesting waves of emotion, is the ultra luxurious fragrance line, started by His Highness Sayyid Hamad bin Hamoud al bu Said, the Sultan of Oman, as a means of revival of Oman’s perfume tradition. Thousands of years ago, the incense from Southern Arabia was one of the most prized substances, valued as highly as gold. Allegedly, the best incense has always originated from the Dhofar in today’s southern Oman. This incense is known as “silver (frank)incense”, which Pliny described as “brilliant white and gathered at dawn in drops or tears in the shape of pearls” and praised as the purest incense. (With the exception of Eau d’Amouage and Esprit d’Amouage, frankincense is present in all Amouage fragrances.) The master perfumer Guy Robert (creator of Dioressense, Caleche, Madame Rochas) was given the task to create “the most valuable perfume in the world”, sparing no expense. According to Amouage literature, Guy Robert describes Amouage (Gold) as his “symphony”, “the crowning glory” of his career.

Gold is said to be an all-natural fragrance composed of over 120 ingredients, including the legendary silver frankincense, as well as rock rose, lily of the valley, myrrh, orris, jasmine, ambergris, civet, musk, cedar and sandalwood. I must admit that, however hard I try to catch a whiff of the famous silver frankincense, I am unable to smell it in the top and middle notes. The incense and wood are overwhelmed by the heady, opulent florals. Rose and jasmine are most prominent on my skin, and I also smell a vaguely fruity note, which may perhaps be apricot, as well as, at the middle stage, an even more vague citrus accord. When the drydown comes, if I try very hard, I can actually smell hints of myrrh and frankincense, but still, the two are weighed down by the rich floral notes and there is no way for me to get to know and to savor the precious silver frankincense. Gold is undoubtedly a striking, grand scent, it is a regal blend worthy to be worn with the most magnificent evening gown, in the most lavish surroundings. It is a Classic Scent, by which I mean that it is an imposing floral bouquet, and the luxurious surrounding it brings to my mind are those somewhere in Paris, not in an Arabic palace. There is nothing at all exotic and Arabian in it, to my nose. That is my only complaint regarding Gold, apart from that it is a gorgeous scent that would be stunning in the right circumstances, worn on the appropriate occasion.

Since I do not anticipate being invited to mingle with Kings and Sultans in Paris, let alone in Oman, in a foreseeable future, and since nothing less majestic would be worthy of this scent, I cannot possibly justify buying a bottle. But what glorious bottles are those! Created by Asprey’s of Bond Street, London, the limited edition range of Gold bottles is made of sterling silver and plated with 24 carat gold, the “regular” bottles are made of lead crystal adorned with 24 carat gold. The design had roots in ancient Omani culture. The cap was inspired by the minarets of the mosques of Muscat and the panels on the bottle were taken from a thousand years old Omani door design.

Gold is available at, €192.00 – 290.00 and at Parfumsraffy, $84.00- 395.00, depending on the size and concentration.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the women's scent is quite heady, and much too floral for even my tastes. But the men's Gold is decidedly different. I have the Gold Cologne and find it to be the perfect frankincense scent. At first, quite rich and opulent, the scent quickly settles into a warm and aroamtic blend of woods (sandalwood really shine through, to my nose). These scents definitely vary among the concentrations and I encourage women to not be afraid to check out the men's scents!

2:44 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Now, I was really pleased to see that you managed to make this sound very nice without creating the felling that I must immediately run out and get it (which I can't afford to). But then Marlen had to come along and make the Men's Gold sound fabulous--and I remembered that I had heard this elsewhere! I am not afraid to wear men's scents; I am, however, afraid of spending more money than I would have thought possible (especially b/c I'm theoretically on a No-Buy:) Oh, well--another day; another lemming!

7:12 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

What lilyofbp said. The women's sounds like something along the lines of Joy or 1000; I can appreciate its beauty but not on me. But then Marlen gets all naughty and says the cologne is "the perfect frankincense scent," which means I have to try it... I swear I saw samples you could buy somewhere... yes, $8 apiece on parfumsraffy or a 5-set for $30, hey Marlen, which others do you recommend? Or M, have you tried/are you going to do any of the others? Onscreen they sound yummy (don't they always?)

8:23 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, I finally tried the women's version of Gold, but still agree with Marlen: the men's is better.

The only Amouage scent I've been really tempted to buy so far is Ubar, which is unfortunately discontinued, and as you point out: none of them are cheap! Great bottles though.

9:44 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you for the heads up on the men's scent. It sounds exactly what I hoped Godl for women would be like: starts richly floral, develops into an incense-wood blend. I must get my hands on a sample.

10:13 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am not afraid to wear men's scents either, but those prices are indeed scary. As Marchlion points out below, even samples are not cheap at all.

10:14 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Everyone needs a super ultra uber luxurious scent like that, right? I might find a decant somewhere perhaps, but the bottle, the bottle!!

10:16 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree, naughty Marlen ! :-) Quite a while ago I've tried all but one of Amouage scents, because I was lucky to get samples for free...Of course the samples are gone and I have only vague recollections about the scents. I do have a sample of Ciel though and will post about it next week.

10:18 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

If both you and Marlen say that it is better, then it better. :-)
What is Ubar like?

10:19 AM EST  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

I've only really given Amouage Dia a good try but am curious about Gold. I'm do like florals and spice :-)

1:08 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Sadly, I don't remember Dia at it supposed to be a "day-time Gold" scent?
I wouldn't call Godl very spicy. But it definitely is floral. :-)

1:23 PM EST  
Blogger Victoria said...

What a stunning bottle, I'd love to own this. Ahhh to be rich.

1:27 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Same here. I would love that bottle. Even empty. Have you seen the men's bottle? It is stunning too, supposed to look like a dagger.

1:36 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Actually want to reword my original comment...don't want to say that the men's is better, it is just more to my taste!

Ubar is a much softer scent, starts out floral, very smooth sandalwood dry down. I don't like the bottle nearly as well as the men's & women's Gold bottles.

2:06 PM EST  
Blogger Victoria said...

OK FINE!!! You send me off to look at the men's bottle and and now I'm lusting after Ciel pour femme!!

I was fine with the idea of letting these pass by! Oy! It's on your head missy!

5:12 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I went to look at Ubar bottles, and I must say they are not as attractive as the others. Not that it matters, it is the scent that matters. That's right. Ergo- I am not buying Gold just for the bottle. I am not. I am not. I am not. LOL

6:05 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Luctor et Enablemus!


I like Ciel a lot, will post about it next week, it is much more wearable in everyday life.

6:06 PM EST  
Blogger Victoria said...

Oh I think Marcy from Luscious Cargo sent me some samples of these awhile back. I must go home tonight and look. I must leave work now and go look!!

7:20 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Ciel is lovely indeed. Now that you mentioned Madame Rochas, I can sort of see the similarity, although Gold is much, much richer and heady. I love Madame R. and that makes me like Gold even more now :-)

8:31 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

That's right- work or trying new scent?...of course trying new scents should win. We know what our priorities are, don't we? :-D

8:32 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought my 5 sampler pack of amouage frags for less than $20 and they gave me 2 extra, free. Found them on * bay. They last forever (almost), as well.

9:09 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

That is the reason why I love eBay so much :-)

9:35 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I truly love this one, and yes I can detect the frankincense in Gold, but it such a perfectly composed fragrance that no one note stands out. It is present only to add depth to a stupendous floral. This is truly one of the greats.

Ubar is probably my favorite of the line, however - it is a woody chypre that masquerades as an Oriental, it is so lavish. It lasts a very long time on the skin, and you will hate to wash it off. It has seemingly disparate notes of Muguet and Civet, Bergamot and Sandalwood. Somehow it all goes together perfectly. I was told by someone who knows these things that it is no longer made because the high quality ingredients demanded by the House of Oman are no longer available, and they will not settle for cheaper materials.

3:32 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am so glad you can smell frankinsense in Gold (and I am a little envious).
As for Ubar, you are the second person who says it is their favorite in the line. I must find a way to try it.
That uncompromising attitude regarding the best ingredients is highly commendable, but if every perfume house acted like that...we would have lost so many old favorites :-)

8:30 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I received Gold mens and ladies eau de toilette as gifts from my Indian husband's family who live in Dubai and, not being rich ,I had no idea about Amouage. I feel bad I accepted something so expensive but feel good that I can enjoy its exquisite scent! I'd like to say thank you again to Geeta and Ashok.

10:57 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking for a cologne that wasn't so popular that I'd recieve comments like - nice cologne, my boyfriend used to wear that - so I looked outside the frame of offer at the local stores. Went to the net and bought Amouage Gold, for men, since I'm male. Naturally I had no idea how it smelt, but boy howdy, was I in for a surprise. At first it felt so intense I was overwhelmed by it, then it settled and I found the smell to be addictive, it's like a rose garden full of roses and plants, and you smell them all at once, but can never get enough.

This perfume has a 'problem' wearing off. You can smell it on clothes for even longer than a week, eventhough I only sprayed directly on the skin, wore a shirt over it, then the sweater.

My problems with this perfume: it does kind of require a worthy occasion, you don't want to wear this when going to go for a few beers with your buddys to the local bar, think Moe's from the Simpsons. Further, it's a bit heavy, and a little feminine, I suppose. As for the price, I think it's well justified, you do get what you paid for.

For purposes of less formal occasions I bought Amouage's Arcus, which was a bit of a disappointment, but only in contrast to Gold. It's not that intense, I feel like it wears off much faster (still longer than regular perfumes) and the price should be lower. However, it's a wonderful scent, fit for pretty much any occasion, it's not heavy, but far from smelling... empty. If Gold tends to turn to feminine side, Arcus is a determined male.

I must sound like I'm in a commercial, but I wouldn't trade those two for any other eau de toilette... I don't mind paying a high price if it's really worth it.

3:56 PM EDT  

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