Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Jubilation XXV by Amouage

Total Reviews: 86
Ratings are all at the end if you want to skip the hoopla...but:

I'm Tellin it Like I'm Smellin it:

Berries, incense, and booze in a nutshell.

Absolutely stunning. This is number two of two from the Amouage line that are "holy grail" fragrances to me and my personal definition of holy grail means a scent that meets the holy trinity: Olfactive Artistic Journey, Versatility, and Qualifies as a signature scent for the lay fragrance connoisseur. One might ask why Reflection Man or Memoir aren't in this list, well to be quite frank, Reflection reminds me of a JPG Le Male shaken (not stirred) with seltzer water with the florals tones down and the incense turned up. Beautiful, but not an olfactive journey. Memoir is too dark, rich, and brooding despite it's greener side to be considered versatile.

See my Sunshine Man review for deets.

Here, I speak from Bias because Jubilation XXV is my signature scent and has been for about five years.

FYI: if you have any questions about magnetic vs non magnetic's your answer: Doesn't matter. The only difference I notice is, the cap on the magnetic one attaches faster lol. As far as the juice goes, I think they're the same. I think with any high quality niche perfume house, batches are subject to change given ingredient dosage and alcohol content and oil concentration. I haven't noticed any differences and I have had a new bottle per year until the magnetic ones came.

Anywho, right off first spray, think berries, incense, and booze. BIB is the hallmark of this gorgeous scent but it truly is a celebration. 25 years and still on top! Amouage truly did it with this one because it really is a journey. I get some sort of berry (initially I thought it was juniper berries but it turns out it's blackberries) and citrus (orange I believe) and incense all in one. It gives it this amazing smokey vibe kind of like the one you get in Aventus but a lot more subdued, but there lingering in the air providing some sort of biblical aura. Speaking of, it's the biblical base (opoponax and myrrh) carrying the cedar and floral notes that provide that boozy sensation. Honey, cinnamon and clove enhance this and let me tell you BD annihilated this scent in a good way.

Berries, Incense, and Booze all toppled across a base of smoke and honeyed vanilla.

Please, never discontinue this masterpiece and beauty. Should the day come we will all be paying hefty hefty prices for this juice.

I damn sure will.

Scent: 10/10

Longevity: 10/10

Sillage: 10/10 - I think the aura that this surrounds you in is mystical. I've had people tell me you're wearing something "magical, brilliant, seductive, beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, etc etc" I had one lady run up to me from a Target next to a DSW I was at, and told me she would pay me if I told her what it was after I messed around a little and said I don't share my scents! I told her and she literally whipped out 20 bucks, I said no, just enjoy the scent for what it really is! I hope she heeded my advice or I'm going to ask for that money back!

Versatility: 10/10 - I know some people save this for special occasions, etc...why? Enjoy this for what it is. Like I said, holy grail - holy trinity - olfactive beauty, versatility, and qualifies as a signature. Wear it for that and I guarantee you'll make analogies to Donnie Darko (the more you watch it the more you uncover).

Overall, this is my scent. My signature, my best, my favorite. They say a true fragrance connoisseur has no signature.

Then deem me not a connoisseur, but someone who smells damn good because he's wearing this most of the time ;-)

Must try and perhaps, if one has the finances, must buy!
13th April, 2017
I have joined the fan club for this one: a warm, smoky, slightly sweet oriental, with a dash of immortelle. The smokiness in this elevates it among the orientals I've tried, and I've worn it several times in the couple weeks I've had it. I have started picking up on a menthol smell as part of the symphony, and it works, but it's challenging, intriguing, but medicinal.
01st October, 2016 (last edited: 14th October, 2016)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Absolutely fantastic scent. Ridiculously well blended. Oscar Mike Golf this is awesome. It's honey sweet slightly spicy slightly woody... with slight oud notes... Just stunning. For the price I would try before you buy if possible. Enjoy!
30th September, 2016
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It is sweet, woody, oudy and amazing. The notes pyramid does not do it justice. While there are many notes, there is no cacophony, just harmony.
All notes sing together and you cannot tell them apart. A very well-blended mixture this is.

Subtle and long lasting. A big thumbs up
29th September, 2016
For the old white cap version:

Rich and luxiruous spicy-oriental fougere. Soft and creamy resins are there from the beginning along a hint of spice (coriander, cloves and cinnamon are detectable to my nose).

The first thing i had noticed when testing this gem 6-7 years ago was how the notes are blended in harmony and the luxury feeling was there at first sniff. Sharp spices soften during drydown and a general "incensy-balsamic" texture builds up for several hours. Cedary, yet a little sweetish woods appear and the whole blend embraces your body as a rich, mysterious and charming scent.

Sillage is very good and lasting power is enourmous on the skin. So please spray it sparingly, 2 sprays is more than you need.

A very "chubby" Thumbs Up.
11th April, 2016
An incense powerhouse that can be polarizing for most.
It shines in cold weather when it projects out of your sweater and jacket making you feel warm.
07th April, 2016
Definitely the best of the Amouage line that I've tried so far. The opening is very nice and reminds me of the dry down of Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens. A nice sweet, festive incense. I didn't find the longevity or sillage to be as strong with this fragrance as I have with the other Amouage frags I've tried. I also didn't enjoy the dry down as much as I did the opening, but it's still a nice fresh scent that is extremely wearable. I would like a bottle of this one depending on the price.
17th March, 2016
High, cool, clean opening with hint of fruity/spicy sweetness underneath. Sharp note of frankincense. Then still prominent sweetness tempered by dry woodiness and something mossy and green deep within the scent (oakmoss?). As it dries down the fougere comes to the foreground until it's very oakmossy with dry woods.
16th March, 2016
Review for the Magnetic Cap Version.

Labdanum Ciste, Coriander, Orange, Davana, Frankincense, Blackberry, Honey, Bay, Cinnamon, Orchid, Rose, Clove, Celery Seeds, Gaiac Wood, Patchouli, Opoponax, Myrrh, Atlas Cedarwood, Musk, Moss, Ambergris, Oud Wood, Immortelle.

Since I no longer have any previous-formula Jubilation XXV to do a side-by-side, it makes this review easier. I liked it 6 years ago and I still like; enough so that I purchased a bottle with the magnetic cap. There are some differences, but no deterrents and the current is certainly not inferior.

What I do notice about the current Jubilation is that it's a more linear wear. The volume was never boisterous to begin with and it remains as such. The Frankincense is the theme on my skin with assists from an array of notes that are fairly seamless. There's intermittent whiffs of clove, woods, earth and herbs and they accent instead of bloom.

Others may experience something different than I, but at least during my wearings, the Incense sits smack in the middle while helped along passively by the rest of the composition. Jubilation XXV has a rather staid totality, but it's completely appropriate.

Formal demeanor or not, this is a nice scent and worthy additional to a persons wardrobe. You simply need to like the Incense note and you'll be G2G. If you're not sure, but your curiosity is piqued, grab a sample and try it. The current price point is far better than it used to be. Sillage is average with longevity approximately 6 hours plus more as a skin scent. Thumbs up for Amouage's current rendition of Jubilation XXV.
23rd January, 2016
We finish our Late lunch. We are chauffeured to George V Paris. With a nod to Concierge we are escorted to our room. It is That Room. The door opens, we are drawn into the rooms by Whispers of Myrrh and Frankinscense, a Forest of Red Roses and carefully placed Orchid. There is the faintest of Indolic. Clothing disappears, the bath has been drawn, bubbles and all. My girl, dips with her toe and slides in with a squeal. I take the shower as any man should. As I finish and gaze, upon the beauty before me, I know I must join. I slide in beside and whisper to her ear. She squeals again, slides out, runs from the room. I follow in moments to find her naked,frozen,mesmerized by the the lights of our Paris. I join her and am drawn to the dream. The spell is broken as I pinch that sweet bottom. We dive into the cloud and to my great surprise, the sheets, the fragrance of Sweet Cedar. On a table are two glasses of Kir Royale.
What happens next? Well you know!
That,is Jubilation XXV.
Frankiechocolate1 asked and this is my answer.
21st January, 2016 (last edited: 20th January, 2016)
The best from Amouage.

J25 is an absolutely fantastic fragrance that would be iconic if it were from any other design house and about $250 cheaper. From opening to finish J25 does not disappoint. The list of notes is extensive and the blending of scents are nothing short of masterful.

For me J25 is a honeyed oud, myrrh and cedar fragrance, with some eastern spice and berries over the top. There's many more notes playing a supporting role at various stages, but the main theme is a sweetened and exotically spiced woods. Totally masculine and infinitely wearable. There's nothing out there to adequately compare it to. Average sillage and 8hrs+ longevity.

I've only sampled a handful of fragrances from Amouage, and J25 was one of the first. I'll need a second mortgage loan to buy the houses's entire collection, but I'm considering it. Thumbs Up.
05th December, 2015
This might be the most hyped of all Amouage men's fragrances, and after finally trying a sample, I'm a bit puzzled as to how to classify Jubilation XXV. Sweet and fruity, but woody and spicy, with some incense, it's difficult to attribute even a set of categories, let alone one or two, to this labyrinth of a perfume. Partly this may account for its appeal, as its more optimistic triers can take what they like from it. But it also adds versatility---I could see Jubilation XXV being worn in a lot of circumstances, formal and informal, cold and warm weather, day and night alike.

I have a difficult time detecting the multitude of notes listed here. Sure, the labdanum is there, and perhaps some bay leaf, but beyond that, the spiciness is difficult to break down. And as for sweetness, I get some fruit, but not blackberry in particular---honey could be there, as well? It's rounded out by a base that includes cedar, musk, and patchouli---again, though, I still struggle to get everything that's described as being part of this.

I'm not sure it rings true to its name, but Jubilation is an interesting and agreeable, albeit not amazing, fragrance. I'm not yet sure I'd reach for a bottle and deviate from its legion of supporters, but I'm intrigued to the point of wanting to try it again. Projection and longevity are decent but nothing of the powerhouse variety. Surely worth trying since it's so beloved, but I'm still on the fence over whether it's bottle-worthy or just sample-worthy.

7 out of 10
04th December, 2015
Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh...

I have a huge amount of respect for this fragrance. It is a rich, deep oriental which is mysterious, opluent, & regal. The ingredients are top notch, the perfumer is one of the best in the game. The house is expensive. What more to say?

Well, for me, it's a great one, but I have smelled this kind of smell before, namely in Yves Saint-Laurent - Opium pour Homme both the EdT and EdP versions. Now that doesn't mean that this one is not unique. In fact, I see this as a better, improved, "niche" version of those fragrances.

Oman is a country famous for the production of Olibanum, or frankincense. It has the best in the world, and Amouage have used the best kind here. In fact, every ingredient is blended well. You get dried, aromatic blackcurrant and bayleaf, honey and cinnamon, followed by incense, sweet myrrh and opoponax. There is also even a hint of oud, but in my opinion it's not prominent.

I think I would enjoy wearing this one. It's in my style for sure. However for the time being I have my Opium pour Homme - Eau de Parfum, which for me represents a really high and luxurious kind of fragrance for my tastes and needs. I would say try first to see if Jubilation XXV is to your liking. I highly recommend it for people who like heavy, rich and complex kind of scents. Really high quality stuff here. Almost a perfume fit for a king in my opinion.
12th November, 2015
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I can't add anything that hasn't already been said about the beauty of this scent.

This is a must try for any fragrance aficionado.

I have had dreams of wearing this scent. I will always have a bottle.
It's a bit of a skin scent on me but WHAT a skin scent.

It is majestic.
05th November, 2015
One of the most beloved, if not the most beloved, Amouage Jubilation XXV is simply put the most beautiful and comfortable not only Amouage but also incense perfume in the market. I have a fondness for incense perfumes and tend to misjudge them as fragrances because I like the note very much but in this case as an incense synthesis and as a perfume in general Jubilation XXV stands really high, royal as some would say.
The most majestic light and transparent frankincense paired with spices, flowers, fruit and amber in a rich, powerful and noble composition. The perfume opens with a smoky fruity vibe but soon settles in an airy atmospheric drydown that lasts all day and envelopes its wearer in a cloud of romance and adventure. Bertrand Duchafur did his best here and as an expert orientalist he hit all the right buttons. The fragrance is classy but also easily wearable making it an ideal choice for lovers of incense but also for people looking to just smell great without necessarily having to resort in intellectual compositions. Jubilation XXV has brains but it isn't simply a technical exercise or a perfume that speaks to the mind. It is foremost a beautiful and heartbreaking fragrance and thus strikes straight in the heart of the wearer.
Perhaps some find that the ISO-E Super is a bit foul but as in most cases mentioning a well-known aroma chemical doesn't really destroy a composition. I am sure there are other synthetics too which because unknown don't bother its critics that much. To me this is a superb perfume. The ultimate heartstopper.

29th September, 2015
A sweet blend of honey, flowers, oriental spices and oud. A Persian confectioner's dream.

Complex and pleasant, a real treat!
16th September, 2015
What can I say about this masterpiece that hasn't been said already? This is my signature scent and IMHO the definition of magnificent! If you haven't smelled this fragrance I recommend ordering a decant, but be ready, you'll be ordering a bottle soon after! Perfect 10 out of 10 fragrance!
20th June, 2015
Fit for a king, they say – and in this case, they mean it quite literally, because the Sultan of Oman frequently gifts bottles of Jubilation and Gold to other monarchs when they pay official state visits to his sultanate. And if I were a visiting monarch, I too would be delighted to find a bottle of this resting on my pillow.

Jubilation is a richly spiced oriental that has the best of everything in it – an opulent Frankincense, jammy fruit (orange and blackberries), warm pie spices, a hot, smoking oud, and a superbly salty musk and ambergris reconstruction extending it all at the tailbone. The opening, in particular, has a berry and dark chocolate effect going on that’s interesting (I assume it’s the patchouli interacting with the fruit and incense).

It’s very balsamic, from the myrrh, opoponax, and Frankincense, smoky thanks to the labdanum and guaiacum, and very sweet – almost syrupy sweet actually – thanks to the big dollops of honey. Sweet enough for a woman (this woman included). I love it.

Opulent, rich, oriental, smoldering……I’m thinking Omar Sharif with those bedroom eyes of his. But it’s classy, too. Although Jubilation is rich, it wears quite lightly and is a teeny bit famous for sillage that comes and goes all day, making you wonder if you’ve put on enough (you have). A couple of sprays under a shirt will provide subtle wafts of gorgeousness all day.

Funnily enough, I never would have thought of trying this for myself but for a mistake someone made while filling a sample for me. I had requested a sample of Jubilation 25, the woman’s version because I wanted to see if it was much different from the sample of the extrait I have. The sample came marked “Jubilation 25”, so I sprayed it on one wrist and a bit of the Jubilation 25 extrait on the other wrist. Immediately, I knew that it couldn’t be the same perfume at all – this one was far sweeter, softer, and more affable than the Jubilation 25 I was familiar with. I put two and two together, and interested, began looking into the reviews of Jubilation XXV.

Now don’t get me wrong – I love Jubilation 25, and as a piece of “art”, I still believe it to be greater than XXV. But Jubilation XXV is a much easier wear. It has a sweet juiciness to it that just comes off as more friendly and approachable. Jubilation XXV is a dopey Labrador to Jubilation 25’s sly cat.

I’m a fan of many Amouage fragrances, but I really feel that the Jubilation brother and sister pair represent the pinnacle of the house’s artistic achievement to date. Released to celebrate Amouage’s 25th birthday in 2007, the Jubilations kicked off a new era for the company. And out of the house’s “couple” scents, the Jubilations are also the most different from each other. Unlike the pairings that followed (Lyric, Epic, Memoir, and Journey), the Jubilations are utterly different in feel and texture to each other, and even the notes that do connect them (fruit and Frankincense) are treated so differently as to render any similarity between them on a purely technical basis moot.
16th June, 2015

Such a classy scent,elegant yet intellectually masculine. JUBLIATION brings to mind a sophisticated and stylish man,who as a rule,is slightly overdressed for every occasion.I fell in love with the fragrance. one of those fragrances when you wear it,you can be sure to get lots of compliments from both women and men alike.this one could be perfect for ROMANTIC occasions.Sweet, Glamorous,Harmonious,Chic,Luxurious, Warm,Expensive and Impressive.

It opens with fruity accords of orange,black berry with coriander and labdanum that transition to a lovely heart of cinnamon,clove, honey,rose and orchid and manly elements like musk,oud,cedar and oakmoss in the base notes.the smell reminds me of a prince charming a man who is successful at what ever he sets his mind to.It smells exceptionally good and has a lot of appeal for use at NIGHT or during cold weather.It is suitable for a beau.

Sillage?Above Average.

Longevity?Good on my skin.

02nd June, 2015
A heady concoction that is big in scope, but does not have any rough edges. Amouage Jubilation XXV Man opens on the skin with a burst of candied, syrupy fruits with an underlying note of oud. The blackcurrant is discernible. The fruitiness subsides after a while. The heart is a trifle floral. I can pick out the cinnamon and the honey. The oud and the resins are more prominent in the base, with a subtle woodiness.

Personally experienced good projection and longevity. Perhaps leans a bit towards the masculine side, but easily wearable by women. This could be a good introduction to Amouage for individuals who like sweet fragrances and don't appreciate harsh oud fragrances. Wearable in almost all seasons, except for perhaps summer. More a nighttime fragrance. Perhaps more suited for wearing at home - it has that comforting factor.
25th May, 2015
Jubilation XXV to me is like Reflections older brother with more darker and spicy notes, take out the Joop vibe and add some more woods and spice. I would give it a thumbs up and I can see why its gets a lot of good reviews on here but it just doesn't suit me for some reason, I was going to vote a neutral but I can appreciate the quality of the scent and how it attracts a following.
16th March, 2015 (last edited: 17th March, 2015)
My guess as to what Brad Pitt's Achilles would have worn to battle in "Troy".
11th March, 2015
Jubilation XXV has never sat right with me. It’s clearly a very, very good perfume, but its bombast has always come over as a bit sickly for me. The oud/honey/berry/rose combo is a winning accord for sure, but it’s just overblown and, frankly, a tad stomach-turning.

In true Amouage style, this is hyper-complex—absolutely loaded with “stuff"—and yet it remains both elevated and coherent. It’s very loud at the outset; the sweet fruit accord with a spiced oud shadow is especially prominent, but it’s nested upon a balsamic base that cradles it well. The Eastern influence is apparent, and the fragrance is westernized with respect. It manages to feel masculine and even a little traditional, but all under the auspices of a compelling Middle-East exotic-floral style. And despite all this, I really don’t like it much at all.

First, it’s extraordinarily sweet—irritatingly so. It’s obviously designed to appeal to that sweet-toothed modern masculine market, but one with more refined sensibilities. For me however, it’s too much sweetness. Next, the berry accord is super-pronounced and, although I do find it to be nicely staged against the other notes, it cuts right through to the forefront of the mix and dominates for much of the ride. Thankfully, most of the opening barrage does settle fast, but it settles into a rose/oud combination that’s just a tad too reminiscent of Montale’s assembly line approach to “aoud.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s leagues better than anything Montale would produce, but at it’s core, it’s really just a rose-y oud with berry nuance. The result is a fragrance that I really do appreciate and respect, but don’t enjoy too much myself.

But what is of interest is that Duchaufour’s at the wheel of Jub-XXV—an impressive feat, but also a bit of a sad reminder of his legacy before he started phoning in duds for every Tom, Dick, and Harry. This scent demonstrates serious skill—and it’s utterly deserved of the praise it’s garnered. But you’ve got to be okay with sweetness, fruit, and a fairly ridiculous degree of opulence to get along with this. Fortunately, most people do—but for me, it’s a little bit too gaudy to be a perfect fit.
07th January, 2015
KIG Show all reviews
United States
Having the opportunity to sample, and own one of Amouage’s most talked about fragrances has been a journey.

More than year ago I received two samples – Jubilation, and Interlude Man.
Both captivated me in a different way. One was classy, had panache so irresistible, that all my arguments about the price started to evaporate like snow in the Sahara desert. The other was like a modern twist on fairy tale, but was I ready for it…

Straight to Heaven’s vibe executed better, without annoyance, and chemical residue was the turning point when making the decision to purchase. So what if it doesn’t last 12+ hrs like the rest of the line? Eight to ten is good enough for me.

Tart blackberry and dried fruit dominate the opening proceedings. Next, I can detect olibanum, guaiac and orchid. Immortelle is almost symbolic, just like the rose. Opoponax and Myrhh have a lot to do with the perceived incense aura. If you are looking for oud, don’t expect the overdone chemical, and nose itching interpretation found in mainstream perfumery, it is a backbone, polished and almost pretty. Patchouli is not expressive, and like the oud presses the envelope of spiciness, and woody backdrop to the fragrance.

By the way, all the talk about reformulation seems nonsense. I tested the “original”, according to some. Now I own the one with the golden, magnetic cap, and tested both side to side – no difference in smell, longevity, or sillage.

Very well done, and worth every penny.

20th September, 2014
The almighty hyped up Jubilation 25. "Feels like royalty", "There is nothing like it". A few quotes I've heard many times about this one. Jubilation 25 is certainly a nice fragrance, but I wouldn't say I feel like royalty when I wear it, and I wouldn't say it's entirely unique. To be quite frank it kind of just smells like a really resinous, incense-y, prune juice to me.

High quality, most certainly. That I can tell just by the fact that everytime I spray this on my skin, it takes an hour for the oil to dry up, just by looking at it. That tells me there's a high concentration of fragrance oils in here, which is a plus. Strong powerful ingredients, combined with a master perfumer like Bertrand Duchaufour. Ya it's hard not to like this one. One of the better, longer lasting blackberry notes around. The incense is irritable if you love incense like I do. It's resinous, it's dark, it's spicy, it's sweet, there's a Gothic edge to it. It lasts forever, it projects pretty well. There's quite an abundance of notes here in this one, but the blackberry, cinnamon, resins, and incense are the shining stars here. The base, I get more of an oakmoss, patchouli, woodsy combo, along with a fitting oud note, used very well here.

The thing with oud for me, is it's usually just paired up with rose, and often times fails for me when put in with so many other notes. Bertrand Duchaufour's expertise really shine on this one, and I think it's his best work, out of everything I have tried.

The price.. that's the only drawback. If it were 100 bucks less, this would be the best thing on the planet. If you have the money though, this one is worth it, and if you know me, I don't much condone niche fragrances, price gouging their customers. I simply find this fragrance to be beautiful though. Time and effort put into it. Great use of ingredients. You're paying for the artwork too, and Duchaufour is no slouch on this one. Stunning!

On another note though. It does remind me very much of Varvatos Vintage, which I have. So for the time being, until I hit the lottery, I will stick with Vintage, even if I have to reapply it twice.
19th September, 2014
I got it finally , and what a lovely fragrance it is , very incensy , woody oriental which has a hint of some Gucci's fragrances like Envy and Rush for men but far more better and high quality then those, Awesome blending of so many notes never get cloying , A trail of Myrh and Olibanum makes it dark smoky and sexy. So far the best Amouage I have tried.
13th July, 2014
The founding concept of Amouage is the hybrid that results from a meeting of cultures. Eastern materials and sensibilities, Western methods and composition. Omani direction, European perfumers. Combining cultures shifts power and transforms identity. It's not easy and although the outcomes can’t be predicted, some consequences can be expected: assumptions will be exposed, borders will be redrawn, mores will be dissected, and the full ramifications will play out over a timeframe of generations.

Notions of beauty reflect cultural ideals and changes can be examined as bellwethers of larger societal change. Early hybrid models of beauty, such as Amouage Gold (1983), might appeal to one generation, seeming opulent and dramatic, yet not meet the needs of the next-generation. To them the style might be objectionable, ie. offensively orientalist or melodramatic.

To a younger perfume wearer or someone new to all perfume, the original Gold Woman looks like the perfume equivalent of The King and I, dated, out of step, presumptuous. Jubilation XXV reflects more of the contemporary school of multiculturalism. It exposes differences rather than smoothing them over. Each perfume is a reflection of the perfumer’s sensibilities and artistic approaches. Guy Robert, who composed Gold, is a classicist, and therefore a traditionalist. Gold is considered both Robert’s crowning achievement and the realization of Amouage’s goal of ‘the finest, damn the expense.’ The fact that the apotheosis of French perfumery came from Oman might have shocked at the time, but can be seen as a best-foot-forward approach sometimes taken at a meeting of polite strangers. 

Bertrand Duchaufour, perfumer of Jubilation XXV (2004) is more of a postmodernist, and is known for breaking down form in order to rebuild it into the vision he prefers. There is a logical through line from his previous work to Jubilation XXV. From his work for Comme des Garçons, where he stripped wood down to its essence, to his use of fruit as spice, to his fascination with frankincense, there is a direct line from his seminal Timbuktu to Jubilation XXV. I don’t mean to imply that by having come after Gold, Timbuktu is the product of a more enlightened sensibility. The multi-culti world-arts philosophy that Timbuktu’s post-modernism refers to is starting to look a bit long in the tooth in retrospect.

From Shalimar to Opium to Ambre Sultan the perfume industry is so steeped in cheap 20th century Euro-orientalism, that its cultural bigotry, often couched as fantasy, often passes unnoticed today. Gold and Timbukto are styles of a cultural myopia that is common to the perfume industry despite long-standing criticism. (Don’t get me started on by Kilian’s full-blown orientalist new lines. It makes the 1920s French Oriental fantasy perfumes seem positively PC.)

So, here's the thing. Does any of this after-the-fact interpretation matter? My point is that it matters if you bring yourself to it. If you give it your attention, an art object, a perfume, can be read. It deserves examination and deliberation. Consideration and pleasure are two non-mutually exclusive sides to perfume use. Why not take both?

Here’s the real fun, though: what if your experience of a perfume doesn't fall in line with the reading? Which side is true? Critical thinking and the pleasurable use of perfume are both parts of the art of perfumery. But the two aspects collide for me. Gold does have that King-and-I feel to it, that old-school western colonial flavor. It's a flavor I would kindly call distasteful, and more likely call historically naive and ignorant. Yet despite my better angels, I love Gold. It is sumptuous, it is decadent. I love to spray it on and embrace the extravagance! Does this make me a hypocrite? My cold, poststructuralist soul tells me that Jubilation XXV should win my heart, that I should refuse the the thoughtless chauvinism of Gold. But in spite of my appreciation, I actually don't like Jubilation XXV. On anesthetic level, it's not pleasurable or satisfying. On the compositional level, it feels as if Duchaufour tried to shoehorn the entirety of an Arabic sensibility into a bottle of Timbuktu.

Perfume discussions very infrequently play out as an argument of gut versus intellect. Why not? The uncommonness interests me. There is a contemporary assumption that perfumery is not, cannot be, an intellectual practice, neither for the perfumer nor the wearer. This presumption is false and goes unquestioned because we’re not taught to think about or discuss perfume. The Gold versus Jubilation XXV argument tells me that there's much more that can be unearthed from perfumery than we imagine. If an art-form works rigorously with aesthetics, intention and expression, as perfumery does, then it holds that our discussion should rise above opinion and preference.

Let’s be thoughtful about perfume.

19th June, 2014 (last edited: 18th May, 2015)
Genre: Woody Oriental

When Amouage first emerged oh those 25 years ago, it was noted for (OK, notorious for) outrageous pricing, rare, high quality ingredients, engaging noteworthy noses, and ridiculous snob-appeal advertising. The fragrance market has since changed, and so has Amouage. Thanks to the current craze for "prestige" designer scent lines, you can now pay as much for scents from Comme des Garcons, Armani, Hermès, or Christian Dior as for Amouage Gold or Dia. Meanwhile Amouage moved (stooped?) to chase a younger, hipper market with "clean, fresh" scents like Arcus and Cirrus. These were less individual than the earlier offerings, and even eschewed or downplayed Amouage's signature frankincense note.

Last year's Reflection duo were a positive development. They were composed by outstanding noses (Roucel, Sieuzac), showed much more originality than Arcus or Cirrus, and won some favor from bloggers and critics. (Pace Luca Turin.) Now, hot on their heels come the two Jubilation offerings, the first since a new artistic head announced a major change in direction for the house.

So how does the male scent, Jubilation XXV, relate to the rest of the Amouage line? For starters, the frankincense is back. With a vengeance! Frankincense aside, Jubilation bears little resemblance to Gold Man, whose abundant aldehydes, sweet heady white flowers and civet make it difficult for some men to wear. It is also a much thicker, darker, and woodier fragrance than the buoyant and well-named Ciel Man. Jubilation XXV is a more closely related to Dia Man than of any other Amouage offerings. Yes, Jubilation is denser, sweeter, and more opulent than Dia, but their frankincense/floral/leather accords run parallel, if distinct courses. With Reflection, Arcus, and Cirrus, Jubilation has nothing in common.

What of Jubilation XXV itself? Fruity top notes - especially blackberry - introduce the heavier cinnamon, clove, frankincense, and immortelle. I give Bertrand Duchaufour, who composed this scent, special credit for his handling of immortelle. With its peculiar bacon and pancake syrup (some say fenugreek) profile, this potent floral note tends to hog the spotlight wherever it appears. Not so here. The note is beautifully integrated, adding warmth and sweetness, yet never overwhelming its neighbors. An ambergris reconstruction in the base notes lends Jubilation XXV a sensuous, yet slightly "dangerous" animalic glow. The luxurious drydown persists for hours and hours and is perhaps this fragrance's best feature. Oudh, myrrh, and opopanax engage in a complex dance upon a stage of leather. The medicinal astringency of oudh and myrrh offer a perfect balance to the sweet opopanax.

Jubilation XXV is not a revolutionary fragrance or a blockbuster release, but it is an easily wearable and distinctive scent of obvious high quality. I believe Jubilation XXV represents a return to form for Amouage after a string of less-than-distinguished releases. Now that the rest of the fragrance world (for better or for worse,) has caught up with its pricing, the house of Amouage may become more relevant than it once was. One can now spend Amouage prices, if not more, on a fragrance and get far less in return. If Amouage maintains its commitment to top-flight ingredients and continues to engage noses as accomplished as Bertrand Duchaufour, it may become a house to watch over the next decade.

Prolonged acquaintance with Jubilation XXV has cemented the fragrance in my esteem and my affection. In retrospect, this scent, along with its sister Jubilation 25, marks the beginning of a revival in output and quality for Amouage under the artistic direction Christopher Chong. The superb Homage and Tribute attars, the two great rose-and-incense Lyric scents, and the frankincense and spice-laden Epic twins that followed all sustain an admirable trend.
19th June, 2014
Amouage - Jubilation XXV
In the same way that Ferrari made history by building cars around their engines- Bertrand Duchaufour has done it by building perfumes around Frankincense. Both are made with flair, stylish precision, deep passion and fine-tuned with great craftsmanship. Jubilation XXV is a very good perfume that breathes in a very baroque kind of way but is approached with a minimalistic point of view. All notes are mixed to gain a maximal effect on eachother and on the perfume as a whole. This perfume doesn’t show any bumps or flaws on its road and it accelerates and speeds up as smooth as a Ferrari with automatic transmission.
A very distinct rich, spicy opening (with a surprising jammy blackcurrent-note), results in an evenly rich, an layered, intense dryout. After ca. 45 minutes it smells very similar to Feminite du Bois, with the same (gourmand)rosy-peachy-cederwood tone, which I found very surprising, and a bit disappointing because it was familiar. But in a way, that’s a good thing because it has a very mellow, gentle and simple feel to it which gives this perfume a chance to take a rest from the intensity of its top- and base-notes. The difference is that its dryout is more smoky-animalic-resinous orientated. Its also the best part of it- a gorgeous honeyed-frankincense with a back-up of tar/smoky-amber, myrrh, cedarwood, labdanum, peru-balsem, iris, and a touch of sandalwood and oily orangeblossom- it also gets a slight leathery, raw-edged, oily skin-feel to it and the waxiness of beeswax.
Overall the sweetness in the whole perfume is perfectly balanced, and it holds the same intensity from start to finish. Very flowery too, from the lavender in the top, the rose in the mid, to the iris in the base. Great thing about XXV is that its basenotes already shine their light and warmth upon the top- and mid-notes, as soon as you spray it on your skin- great interplay and dynamics between the ingredients. I imagine that this modern perfume dresses up and blends very well with the scented interior-ambiance of a Ferrari oldtimer- they're both classics with an independent, luxurious and distinctive feel of soul, air and beat of heart.
Somehow Duchaufours's perfumes, especially its dryouts, seems to connect and communicate with the warmth of the human blood-stream; that changes, adapts and personalizes the perfume to the skin of its wearer. His perfumes have a customized feel-fit to them, and really settle down on your skin- in their own special way. I guess this links the color of Ferrari-red to the color of human blood; and vice versa...
04th May, 2014
A jubilation indeed! Rich, balsamic, fruity, floral, masculine, dense, spicy... bittersweet tasty berries, foggy mist, honey, resins. Boozy vanilla drydown. A real circus of notes and accords, perfectly-balanced in a light-and-shadey, crisp and elegant scent, more consistent than one may think judging from the complex composition. Somptuous and sensual Oriental decadence at its best. Moderate projection and great persistency.

13th February, 2014 (last edited: 16th April, 2014)