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Many of PG's line have gourmand notes, so it's not surprising that a full gourmand would be so rich and full. Caramel and licorice are the primary notes, but as with Yohji Homme, there is a distinct roasted quality to the entire fragrance that keeps it from becoming sweet and cloying. Take Yojhi Homme, roast it for another couple hours to take out the sweetness, and you'd be close to this.
There are definitely some background notes of wood and incense that give body and depth to the Aomassai, but in a discrete way that never interferes with the gourmand-ness of the entire fragrance. The incense becomes somewhat more noticeable in the base, at which point the composition in general becomes slightly musky. Serge Lutens' Un Bois Vanille is a similar fragrance in that it recreates an aromatic atmosphere (of say, a coffee shop or a bakery), but for some reason Aomassai is less sweet and more wearable. Perhaps this is because Aomassai does not rely on vanilla or coffee notes, as most gourmands do.
I'm perplexed at the reviewer that experienced poor longevity. I literally dabbed the back of my hand with the sample vial - not even one spray - and I could smell it for hours and hours. Two sprays would be more than enough for a morning-til-bed application for me.
If you like the PG line you have to try to this - but avoid at all costs if you don't like gourmands.
Published notes: caramel, toasted hazelnuts, licorice, bitter orange, spices, wenge wood, vetiver, balsam wood, incense, dried grasses, resins (per Luckyscent.com)
13th October, 2008