Dark Times – Review: Parfumerie Générale N°10 Aomassai

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.

Image source: kaboodle.com, old tree via

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, Parfumerie Generale, Woods and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Dark Times – Review: Parfumerie Générale N°10 Aomassai

  1. Tara says:

    By pure chance I’m wearing my decant of this today! I love, love, LOVE Aomassai and you’ve captured it’s complexities beautifully. Love the caramel and that wonderful toasted facet which takes the edge off the sweetness. It’s great to have a gourmand with darkness and interest but without the heaviness. Fantastic stuff!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Pure chance? I think not. 😉

      This is really fantastic stuff, and I wish I had some left. I think a decant may be in order as a Christmas gift to myself. BTW, I found a great decanter recommended by Vanessa. Suze R via Scentsplits, she is very nice and has a great selection, and she is in the UK.

  2. andrea says:

    This one sounds like I would love it, I finally got my bottle of tonkamande and have been enjoying this for its almost edible quality, perhaps I will love this one even more. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have yet to find a PG I didn’t like (okay, Gardenia Grand Soir and Harmatan Noir are not really my thing), but the gourmands are excellent. So glad you are enjoying your long awaited bottle of Tonkamande.

  3. Ari says:

    I’ve always wondered if I need to try this, considering that I already have Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille. Are they different enough to justify hunting Aomassai down?

    • Olfactoria says:

      They are, in my opinion. I find Aomassai a lot easier to wear, since Un Bois Vanille (as many Lutenses) can become overwhelming easily. If I had to choose I would surely pick Aomassai, it is weird, woody, sweet, burned and dark without the heaviness.

  4. Sandra says:

    I have so many PG bottles that I am afraid to go and try another one. After reading your review I find it difficult to resist trying it.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m sorry! 🙂 But a lot of PG bottles are a thing of beauty!
      In my dreams I’d like to go to Le Parfum and tell them to pack up Aomassai, Musc Maori, Cadjmeré and Indochine – for starters. 😉
      Which ones do you have in your collection, Sandra?

      • Sandra says:

        Indochine, tonkamande, Praline et Santal, Cadjmere, Huitieme Art – Myrrhiad. I am looking forward to trying the new line he is producing next week. I understand he created a couple of the perfumes in that line too. Oh dear – I am in trouble…

  5. Suzanne says:

    Oh this is the best damn gourmand fragrance ever!!!! Why don’t I have a bottle??? There’s only a film left in my decant. **sigh***

    Thanks for reminding me that I need this, Birgit. Need it bad.

  6. deeHowe says:

    I’ve collected s few decants of Aomassai, and have narrowly resisted buying a bottle on multiple occasions… But only because this particular PG offering does not last well on my skin. Just s few short hours! So sad, because it really is s wonderful scent!

    I didn’t realize you loved this one B., but I’m glad to know you do 🙂

  7. anotherperfumeblog says:

    I agree, this is another winner from PG. I’m excited to see these two new releases in the line that are allegedly coming out in 2012.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I always look forward to new PG releases, but this fall’s Indochine has escaped me so far, aside from a brief sniff. I don’t know why, I always seem to forget about it… that needs to be remedied soon!

  8. Undina says:

    I really like your description and I think I’ll like this perfume when I try it. But I do not like the name: I don’t know how to pronounce it 🙂

  9. One thing I have learned this year is that if it’s PG it’s worth trying!

  10. Georgy says:

    In my perfect world PG would deliver all his scents personally to my home/boudoir try them with me and according to this results create a private scent for me……Georgeous by PG

  11. vanessa says:

    I love this one and agree that it works well year round. And I think your moody tree picture is the perfect illustration for your review! I don’t care for all the PG line by any means, but they deserve top marks for originality – they really do plough their own furrow regardless of popular trends, or so it seems to me.

  12. Sounds lovely! Wish it was easier to get a decant!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Gloria, lovely to see you here!
      There is a girl on scentsplits called Suze R, she has many PG decants at reasonable prices, shipping from the UK. I can highly recommend her.

  13. Must, must, must try immediately. Eep!

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