Amouage releases a new perfume duo – Honour Woman and Man. I had the good fortune of receiving samples from the company early.
As usual, I got it all wrong beforehand. From reading the notes and this review on Ca Fleure Bon, I was wary of the Woman’s version (you know that white florals and I do not go together well, although I have some that work for me by now) and eager for the Men’s scent. Of course it is the other way round. When will I learn that notes list are a lovely thing once you have the thing right under your nose? Reading it before I have the juice in my hands, does not help me obviously. But enough babble, you are all waiting for the review, aren’t you?
One more thing, before we start – look at that bottle, people! Thankfully what is inside is just as beautiful, or more so, than what is outside. (And should you not like the bottle, smell it anyway, the perfume is gorgeous, bottle or not.) No more distractions now, I promise!
Honour Woman was created by Alexandra Carlin and Violaine Collas and lists notes of pepper, rhubarb leaves, coriander, jasmine, tuberose, gardenia, lily of the valley, carnation, vetiver, frankincense, amber, opoponax and leather.
Honour Woman is astounding for me, because not only is it beautiful, but it surprised me in many ways. I usually find white florals to be loud, overpowering and often screechy, soapy and unsubtle to the max. Judging from that notes list, knowing the maximalist approach of more is more that Amouage is known (and loved, I might add) for, I expected to be hit over the head and kicked in the stomach with a single spray.
Not so. Not so at all. Honour Woman is, if not really subtle, then refined, elegant, soft-spoken, tender almost and incredibly beautiful. This is what high quality materials smell like. Amouage perfumes are worth every cent, because from top to toe, or rather juice to outer packaging everything is luxurious, top of the tier quality.
Quality you can smell. And so can others. I receive compliments left and right when I am wearing Honour Woman. The sillage is there, but if I don’t over apply - two sprays will do nicely, it is not too much, I am very sensitive to wafting, I want to stay under the radar, not draw attention to myself through perfume, I wear perfume for the people rather closer to me.
Honour Woman starts out green and interestingly fresh, like the smell inside a florists shop, the coriander lends a spicy facet, but only very softly. Soon the flowers make their entrance, first it is the green lightness of lily of the valley that I smell, but soon jasmine and gardenia join in, I hardly detect tuberose (a good thing as far as I am concerned) and they last for hours, softly singing with a pure and clear voice. It is the voice of a solo soprano in a church choir, rather than a voluptuous opera diva haunted by her own vibrato.
Slowly the white florals give way to a warm and comforting as well as comfortable base of soft amber and incense, with a hint of vetiver that serves to keep the memory of the green facet alive.
Never have I smelled a white floral so lovely and heartbreakingly tender. The inspiration to this fragrance was the opera Madame Butterfly, and as Christopher Chong, creative director of the house, stated in his interview on Ca Fleure Bon “Honour is about the elements of love, betrayal and reconciliation.”
I find this beautiful idea incredibly well executed in the perfume. There is no loudness, no diva-esque flamboyance, no no-holds-barred floral dominance. Instead Honour Woman captures the duality of love and pain, the two sides of the medal that always pairs tears and laughter, sadness and joy, tragedy and lust for life.
Honour Woman has the power to carry me away, as this review bears witness, to a place of sublime tenderness, to the fragile place of balance between the extremes of our emotional spectrum, where the knowledge that life and death are forever closely bound together, to the center of our being, of our soul.
Honour Woman reaches me in that place, it comforts me and strengthens me. I feel more me, more my true self, I don’t feel the need to be something for somebody.
Honour Woman honours the woman I am. We are a perfect match.