Genre: Woody Oriental
Notes: Cumin, pink bay, cinnamon, damask rose, jasmine, geranium, tea, amber, musk, frankincense, oudh, guaiac wood, vanilla, iris.
Epic Woman’s lush spiced mandarin rind top notes gain depth and provocative warmth from a judicious application of animalic cumin. Within a few seconds vanilli, amber, rose, and a very delicate frankincense join the spice and citrus to complete a traditionally sweet, dense oriental heart. Amouage makes much of Epic Woman’s tea note in its marketing, but don’t purchase Epic Woman expecting the smoky black tea of Tea for Two or the refreshing green tea of Bulgari. What tea I can perceive here is swamped in citrus rind and spices in the manner of Bigelow’s “Constant Comment.”
While the bay, frankincense, and a hint of oudh in the background reflect current fashion, Epic Woman’s fundamental style, weight, and scale recall the opulence of Shalimar, Habanita, Bois des Îles, and more recently, Bal à Versailles. Epic Woman also bows to contemporary tastes in eschewing most of the aldehydes and powdery notes that leave the aforementioned classics smelling dated to some noses. In some respects - its exotic woody base notes and decidedly boozy and persistent fruit accord - it aligns itself with the “modern” woody oriental aesthetic pioneered by Pierre Bourdon in Féminité du Bois and Dolce Vita, but Epic Woman feels heavier and more elaborately decorated than either. I attribute some of that comparative mass and opacity to an iris note that wraps Epic Woman’s oriental core in a plush velvet blanket. (Just as in Chanel’s Bois des Îles.)
Epic Woman is far less overtly floral than Gold, Dia, Ubar, or Lyric. Indeed, it may be the least obviously floral feminine scent from Amouage to date. While Epic Woman shares rose, frankincense, plummy fruit notes, and oudh with Lyric Woman, its rose does not dominate to the degree that Lyric’s does. In fact, so seamlessly blended is Epic that no single note cries out for attention. Instead, the composition reads as an integral, homogenous olfactory mass.
That’s not to say that Epic Woman fails do develop over time. Over the course of hours the balance shifts slowly from spices to woods. While the amber and vanilla remain relatively fixed, cumin and cinnamon give way to the increasingly conspicuous frankincense and oudh. While neither weak nor short-lived, Epic Woman is less likely to overpower than Lyric or Ubar, never mind Gold. Judiciously applied, it seems to me the most appropriate for daily professional wear of Amouage’s scents for women (excepting perhaps Reflection). In its favoring of spice and woods over floral notes, it may also appeal to the adventurous man who seeks a complex, spicy oriental fragrance.
Hard to describe
Ok, bear with me...It opens up with pine and dill pickles. I know...neither is listed. Perhaps the caraway seeds and the orris root combine. It isn't bad at all, sharp, fresh, green. It dries down to to more incense and is better behaved after 15min or so.
I tend to enjoy the men's offerings from Amouage more than the fragrances for women and own and adore Amouage Gold for men and Jubilation XXV. Epic is the exception to that rule, possibly because it is less overwhelmingly floral than some of the other female fragrances.
Epic is really all about the guaiac wood, incense, oud and vanilla. The initial slightly sour oud blast settles into a perfectly balanced creamy, edible blend that is exquisitely poised between sweet and savoury/sour.
Lasts a good four to five hours on my skin.
Heavy orientals are, for me, the perfume equivalent of wearing too much make-up, or eating too much cake... or wearing too much cake.
The amber and musk of the base wore too close, there seemed to be a teeming crowd of rich ingredients thoroughly blended in. Then there was the cumin up front on this one and I thought, Betsy, this is just tooo much. But persistence has its rewards, and while they may not be orgasmic, they do offer a fine, high quality, wearable fragrance for cool weather.
So while the start has the usual spicy density of rich orientals of a certain pedigree, I found the experience about two hours in, when the fragrance thinned a bit, to be the most compelling. A shy soft rose began to poke its head above the blend, and the spice subsided somewhat into the warm woods and vanilla. This epic creature had shed some of her more opulent garments and had become more of a flesh and blood person one could hold close and squeeze.
(For others who can’t abide cumin; the note does fade quite quickly here, about half an hour in.)
On subsequent wearings, the fragrance sang to me right from the start sometimes. I imagine the mind remembers the beauty that comes later on and projects it forward into the experience of the perfume.
Just another reason why you should always sample a scent before you buy. Epic gets raving reviews here, and I just want to add mine as a word of caution. I like Amouage scents. I adore both Dia and Gold and like Jubilation XXV too. I haven't tried the others yet. Today I am sampling Epic and it simply doesn't work on me. I can't tell any of the actual notes, as I am no expert, but it smells loud, really headache inducing and old ladyish in the worst sense of the word. I don't mind strong fragrances. En Avion by Caron is my all time favourite and that is strong stuff, but Epic just doesn't agree with me at all. So, if you are tempted, please sample before you shell out the £160.