The past couple of years have seen Bertrand Duchaufour branching out from the sort of dry, incense-laden fragrances I have always associated with him. To a repertoire that includes Timbuktu, Avignon, Dzongkha, Paestum Rose, Eau d’Italie, and Jubilation XXV he has added bright, aquatic florals like Magnolia Romana and Fleur de Liane, a gourmand oriental in Havana Vanille, and now, with Amaranthine, a grand scale tropical floral composition in the lush mode of Givenchy’s Le De and Annick Goutal’s Passion.
Amaranthine may be the biggest departure to date from Duchaufour’s accustomed style, but it also seems to me one of the most successful. Few besides me have had any love for Magnolia Romana, and I’ve been underwhelmed by Havana Vanille, but Amaranthine? Even if you detest this style of fragrance, you have to give Amaranthine credit for both sheer impact and sureness of construction. There’s nothing shy or tentative here. Indeed, Duchaufour’s approach to new aesthetic territory has been complete immersion.
Amaranthine may be heady and dense, but it’s also elegantly balanced, at once avoiding the sometimes challenging gaudiness of Fracas and the staggering weight that can make even scents as fine as Van Cleef & Arpels First or Amouage Gold hard to wear. The structure may be large, but its details are all clear and in proportion. The scent is potent and lasting, and creates sizeable cloud of sillage, yet stops just short of being overbearing or oppressive.
What does it smell like? Ylang-ylang is the dominant floral to my nose, teamed with a creamy jasmine, orange blossom, cloves, and a hefty dose of animalic indole. The resulting accord is at once sensuously languorous and dangerous, full of come-hither/beware tension. The drydown, when it finally arrives, blends tonka, vanilla, warm musk, and woods into plump, cozy olfactory cushion, which in retrospect one realizes the seductive floral body has reclined upon all along. Amaranthine may be an odd duck in the mostly prim, staid Penhaligon’s line, but that doesn’t mean I like it any less.
Sweet milk and cardamom – amaranthine opens like some kind of dream pudding. It resembles a number of L’Artisans in the foamy, soft-focus realization of its notes and the discretion of its presence. The whole thing undulates, hanging on to its milky sweetness for the course, but sometimes inflecting towards a faint, waxy green, then moving languidly towards a jasmine dusted with garam masala, with several tiny changes in between. At times the spicing gets a tad heavy and dirty for such a wispy creation but then it shifts again and rights itself. It’s an invitation to laze and daydream. The deep base seems similar to late stage Safran Troublant.
This has been my favourite perfume for about 12 months. Normally I'm not that enthusiastic about floral scents, but the spicy elements in this really appealled to me. When I first apply it I get a strong, crisp green-floral scent with a bit of a sharp edge. Within a couple of minutes I find the scent warms up and the sharpness transitions into a complex mix of spices and there is a definite stage where I notice the clove and sandalwood scent more so than any distinct florals.
Interestingly, my friend tried this once and none of the depth in this fragrance seemed to come out on her skin. Within 2-3 minutes of contact the perfume had turned into a very soapy flowery scent and I couldn't identify any of the herbal/spice elements. Goes to show how influential skin chemistry and pH can be, I suppose.
My one real complaint about this scent is its longevity. Considering the price of Penhaligon products, this perfume is quite short lived- on me about 2-3 hours max. You need a purse atomiser if you want it around all day.
I read the reviews to get a handle on this fragrance but it left me more confused. The descriptions of Amaranthine are unlike my experience. I'm getting something so different I think my skin is taking this in its own direction. Its name for me is Ambiguithine. But I like it's chameleon like propensity, nonetheless.
The opening on me is a dominant dry green leafy note, similar to CdG's "Calamus", all that banana leaf/coriander/tea/cardamon vibe. The freesia note is subtle, more a modifier that keeps the opening from being strictly green, makes it more an ambiguous cool green.
It slowly becomes more voluptuous, more smooth, more coolly floral, but the green note still has a huge presence, and drives the fragrance for me. There is no heat in it - it's cool, subtle, a little iconoclastic. Where is the naughty note, the corrupted flower? The clove, the ylang-ylang? Apparently my skin cleaned it up.
The drydown is only vaguely milky and lightly sweeter, but it's by no means a comfort note. With that base it should be fairly strong. But I keep getting that dry green note all the way into drydown.
My conclusion is whatever that green note, my skin is picking it up and amplifying it. Which is fine - the fragrance just is what it is on a person. I have problems wiith frags when I have expectations and I expected a little bit of skank in this. But none is there. What I get is intriguing, nonetheless, and unique. I call this fragrance cool floral green. I like it - 4 out of 5 stars.
04th October, 2012 (last edited: 20th January, 2013)
Some perfumes, rather than attempting to stop perfume time (Bulgari Black), embrace it wholeheartedly. Such is the case with Penhaligon's Amaranthine, which is a pretty white floral one moment and a husky come-on the next, resulting from milky lactones deepening a familiar fruity-floral structure. Great, unpretentious fun, and interesting all the way through.
03rd September, 2012 (last edited: 12th February, 2013)