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Fragrance Review: Amouage Fate Man

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Amouage Fate Man

Genre: Woody Oriental

Fate Woman is a honking big oriental fragrance that would have fit right in among the monumental spicy orientals of the 1980s: Opium, Cinnabar, and Coco. Its masculine companion scent feels like something of a throwback, too: a dense, serious woody oriental that conjures distant echoes of late 20th century masculine icons like Héritage and Zino Davidoff.

Nice saffron and citrus top notes introduce a complicated central structure of resins, woods, rose, and spices. This mélange is very well-blended, especially for something containing a significant dose of immortelle. There emerges from time to time an immortelle/lavender/black licorice accord that fleetingly recalls Francis Kurkdjian’s Eau Noire Cologne for Dior, though set here amidst more elaborate surroundings of woods and spices. The Amouage “signature” frankincense is listed in the Fate Man pyramid, but it’s comparatively reticent in this context, crowded by woody base notes and the dominant character of immortelle. Cumin is detectable (more on paper than on skin), but not overwhelmingly animalic in that manner that some describe as “sweaty.” It’s the combination of rose, labdanum, leather, and spices that hearkens back to the woody orientals of the 1980s and 1990s.

Indeed there’s plenty of labdanum on display, alongside a sharp, dry cedar. This cedar counterbalances the sweet gourmand heart notes, but feels a mite abrasive once exposed during the drydown. It’s at the drydown that Fate Man risks losing me altogether. The wood and amber base notes seem very ordinary by the house’s otherwise high standards. The labdanum lacks the sensuous, enveloping quality it assumes in Amouage Gold Man and Dia Man, and the cedar smells bare and very far from luxurious.

Despite dessert tray cues like saffron, ginger, immortelle, and licorice, Fate Man is much less sweet than 1990s gourmands – it doesn’t leave me with that over-stuffed feeling I can get from A*Men or Lolita Lempicka au Masculin. Nor are its central accords cacophonous and clashing as are A*Men’s. (The latter very much by design.)
Yet for all that it avoids excessive sweetness, Fate Man still feels opaque and mildly oppressive in its heart, then disappointingly barren in the drydown. It just ekes out a lukewarm recommendation, but does not approach, much less displace, Amouage's similarly complex woody oriental Jubilation XXV in my affections.

For more reviews of Amouage Fate Man, see the entry in the Basenotes Directory.

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Updated 29th July 2014 at 01:04 AM by Way Off Scenter

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