Aomassai is one of Pierre Guillaume’s masterpieces. Another woody-gourmand, Aomassai is at once a delicious treat and a deep and mysterious – I almost want to say experience – perfume. The name is a bit confusing. The perfume is inspired by the art of the South African Baoulé tribe located in Ivory Coast, but the name is reminiscent of the Massai, a nomadic tribe from eastern Africa. But who am I to take issue with a name, when the perfume in question smells this good?
Released in 2006 as part of the numbered collection, Aomassai includes notes of caramel, toasted hazelnuts, licorice, bitter orange, spices, wenge wood, vetiver, balsam wood, incense, dried grasses and resins.
Aomassai starts out heavily edible, a sweet and slightly burnt caramel, hazelnuts, bitter orange and a dash of licorice makes my mouth water (literally). But it is not all sweetness, from the start there is an off note too, maybe it is the burnt sugar, maybe it is something green, grassy, vegetal, something like celery. It makes for an interesting combination, a duet of sweet and bitter I personally adore, but may be not so easy to tolerate for some.
But the gourmand fest does not last long, soon Aomassai takes a turn towards the non-edible. Darkest wood, dry vetiver with a strong nutty facet, a curl of burning incense, they all come together to form a deep, deep, dark wood scent.
Aomassai stays close to the skin, it is lightweight, insubstantial, despite the darkness and lingers for a long time. The drydown is a lot less weird than the first hour of wear time, it is a cozy and smooth resinous wood that invites you to relax and give in to its welcoming embrace.
I have been wearing Aomassai in the heat of summer as well as in cold temperatures and it works beautifully every time, so I think this is very wearable year-round.
Aomassai does nothing to curb my enthusiasm for PG (again, the line AND the man), on the contrary, it reinforces my belief that there is no better place to start looking for a gourmand scent than Parfumerie Générale.