Amouage perfumes are among the more luxurious and special perfumes in the world. They are full of rare and beautiful ingredients that smell divine, they are encased in beautiful jewel-like bottles, and they cost a small fortune. The cost is not really a deterrent. I have found that if someone really really really loves a perfume, and how that perfume makes them feel, they will pay. The other thing is simply that the luxury market is simply that – luxury. I am overwhelmed by most of the Amouage perfumes. They are dense, rich and often heavy, and are a little more than I want in my perfume. Yet, there are a few that linger in my scent memory every time I try them, and the ghost of the divine scent haunts me. It whispers “Jane….you need an Amouage perfume….remember how that bottle felt in your hands? Remember that hypnotic scent?”
Amouage Gold Woman is a stunning and ethereal perfume. It is rich and complex, but also airy and ethereal. It has the elegance of the aldehydic florals of the 70s to my mind, even though it was created in 1983, and doesn’t actually have strong aldehydic notes at all. The perfumer is the same man who created Hermes Caleche, and I would say there is a relation to Caleche, in the cool, elegant, effortless way it smells like “old money” and grace. It is softer than Caleche, and less stringent and dated. At least on my skin. I remember years ago telling my perfume mentor aunt that I liked Caleche. She tole me I was far too young to think about wearing it, and perhaps that has coloured my impressions of Hermes Caleche, although I do respect it’s beauty. It’s very Grace Kelley, but not very “me”. Amouage Gold also has a cool modern rosy feel to it that was making me think of Paco Rabanne Calandre. Close but…not exactly right. Amazing that something so airy, so modernist yet classic at the same time, was lurking in that baroque golden bottle. On my skin it wears close to the body, and warms up with some of the most beautiful and quiet progression of notes I’ve ever experienced. I’ve read so many reviews that call it “big” and a “sillage monster”. I don’t get that- at all. It’s understated and gorgeous elegance on me. The frankincense note that develops actually purrs on the skin.
Still, something else was nagging me as I enjoyed the gorgeous transition of notes Amouage Gold Woman was going though on my skin. Elegant….green…I could smell rose, and a slight hint of a clean lily of the valley note. The mixture of sandalwood and resinous amber in the dry down is like a gentle kiss. You can barely detect it and crave more, but even the gentle notes you can smell are full of sensual beauty. It smells timeless, and I swear I smell oakmoss in there even though it isn’t listed. But, the woodsy mossy and at the same time, soapy rose is what stands out. Like, a gorgeous, expensive and rare rose soap. The nagging comparison that was lurking deep in my scent memory finally came out last night. I think it took so long because it’s been so long since I’d smelled it. What is it, you ask? Why, it’s the original vintage formulation of Yves St Laurent Rive Gauche.
I loved it dearly and was deeply saddened when YSL changed it to the unrecognizable perfume Rive Gauche is today. It’s nothing like the original, and I mourned the loss of what was possibly my favourite rose perfume ever. So take the cool Hitchcock blonde feel of a Grace Kelly type, but then mix it up with the effortless sexiness of Brigitte Bardot or Jane Birkin. Touchable hair that looks like you may have just tumbled out of bed, vs tied up in a silk Hermes scarf. I’ve never been that proper.
So, is exactly the same? No, and it seems to have almost half the number of listed notes, but it captures everything I loved about YSL Rive Gauche, including the elegant je ne sais quoi that only the finest French perfumes convey. Verdict? Love, of course. Thank you to my dear friend who gifted me with this beauty. I will treasure it.