Sorry for not responding sooner. Life has been crazy as I frantically search for a new place to live, just got into a car accident (someone made a right turn from a left turn only lane), and some other negative things. Some know of the trials I've had in the last year and it seems like they just won't relent.
Anyhow, I really wanted to do a long and proper write up for both scents as I feel they deserve it, but I have just been unable to bring myself to sit down and actually write such a review. I will say this, I really like both scents. The men's is primarily a smooth spicy/woody with a drydown of myrrh (sweet myrrh, or opoponax) agar smoke, light amber and a smooth sandalwood along with a lingering allspice accord which is the spine of the scent. The late drydown shares some similarities with Epic Man, although it is a bit sweeter, softer, and less overtly masculine (although still quite masculine).
The opening is an awesome blend of smooth citrus, sweet allspice, and savory oregano. The oregano only lasts a few hours, and is never in the forefront of the scent, but it does add a wonderful savory quality and herbal dimension. I also get a fennel/anise like note in the opening. The scent is smooth throughout - smooth and full bodied, and this seems to be something that perfumer Pierre Negrin excels at, as it is also evidenced in his other scent for Amouage, the wonderful Opus VI. There are similarities in structure between both scents - a brief citrus opening, a singular ingredient that runs from head to toe as the spine of the scent, and a supporting cast of notes that are deftly integrated and part of a full-bodied accord that sheds layers slowly and seamlessly.
For the opening, try to imagine a niche/Amouage-take on a scent like D&G The One Gentleman (similarities being some citrus, fennel, a spice present early on - in The One Gentleman it's cardamom and w/ Interlude it's the allspice). Now imagine that niche-ifed version of The One Gentleman cross with Epic Man, and a few hints of Tribute, too. That is Interlude Man.
Woman has some structural similarities but texturally and with regard to weight and density, feels like a whole different scent. I shared some thoughts via PM with the person who sent me the samples, and I think I'll just copy and paste those thoughts here as I think they better capture that scent than anything I could write right now in my current mind-state.
"I'll be sharing thoughts on the scents on the forum after I investigate them more fully. As of now, I must say initial impressions are very very good. I think your assessment was spot on, and I can't help but pick up on the jelly bean vibe now that I've read your words, but as you said, it really is "in a good way." Maybe it's just me but the smoke/sandalwood/patchouli accord calls to mind Tribute - a toned down Tribute but still Tribute. In fact, the smoke accord in Woman also calls to mind Tribute, although in Woman it is toned down even further.
I tested both on paper and actually decided to wear Woman first - have it on as I type this - as I was spellbound by it on paper. It seems so... colorful. Prismatic, even. With regards to color I get a lot of oranges, reds, purples, nuances of yellow, green, black and ochre. There is one oddity in the opening I can't pin down, that kind of milky/clean note that you aptly said is pear like. I do read pear from it, but also get some nuances of green apple and almost a milky fig quality. That note persists for quite some time but is cleverly woven into the opoponax note that surfaces in the early heart. These make for a really interesting contrast to the spice/wood/florals that continue. I'm wondering if this is in part from the marigold note. That is one natural essence I don't have experience with, but the Good Scents Company lists it as being "sweet green apple floral spice." Other sites list it as being floral, herbal, medicinal, fruity, and with citrus, honey and hay nuances.
One thing I noticed about the two scents is that while they are noticeably different they do share a similar core structure, which I'd describe as spice + smoke + smooth sandalwood. With man it is mostly allspice and some oregano (in the early opening I do pick up a fennel note quite clearly, even though it is unlisted), and with woman it's mostly ginger (as far as the spice part goes, I also get a fairly persistent grapefruit and of course a beautiful floral melange). Ah, and they both feature a smooth leather note that is part of that accord (and Tribute's, too, if I recall correctly).
Ah, the heart of Woman is such a beautiful thing. The opoponax/ginger/sandalwood/smoke accord is so beautiful, warm, balmy and smooth, and the lingering citrus combines so beautifully with this floral melange, which smelled strongly of rose absolute early on, and then shifted and showcased a wonderful orange blossom note and now a semi-grapey jasmine that is supported by the grape/wine-like nuances of the opoponax note. I think there's a hint of castoreum too that not only contributes to the leather note later on, but earlier on adds its smooth darkness and a hint of tar to complement the smoke and agar.
The scent feels extremely natural. Man does, too. No obvious abuse of iso e super or any of the other 'cheap smelling' synthetics here. I think both of these are a step up from the Honour duo, which wowed me initially but later left me less than enthused (well, I do still like Honour Woman quite a bit).
Anyhow, I'm rambling. It's just that the experience of Interlude Woman, particularly, could not have come at a better time as I've been looking for a very colorful, prismatic scent that still has depth and is not overtly synthetic - which seemed like an exceptionally tall order that I'd never get filled. So far, Woman really fits the bill for what I was seeking. It's not even what I thought this scent I was dreaming of would smell like - my imagination is not good enough to have conceived of smelling this. It's always nice when reality actually exceeds your dreams!
And another PM reply of mine with some more thoughts on Woman (and a few on Man, too)
"A quick thought about Woman and the mysterious pear-like note...
I don't know what to make of the published notes for woman. Cafleurebon lists the following - Interlude Woman is a floral chypre with notes of Bergamot, Rose, Frankincense, Sandalwood Nut, Coffee, Kiwi, Honey and Agarwood. A base of Amber and Vanilla inject warmth to the fragrances contradicting accords. Nose is Karin Vichon Spehner of Robertet
I asked Chris about this on his facebook page and he said...well, I'll just copy and paste as I'm not sure exactly how to read it:
SculptureOfSoul - Hey Christopher, the Cafleurbon article lists kiwi, honey and uh "sandalwood nut" as notes present in Interlude Woman, while all the other press releases don't have these listed. Just curious if they are present? I do sometimes think I smell honey in Woman.
Christopher Chong They are right. It's the discord. Its just plain ordinary nut. what is sandalwood nut?????
So I don't know if those notes are actually present per se, or if they result from the discord or are secondary notes from one of the ingredients listed (for example, helichrysum oil has honey nuances, as does the marigold). Anyhow, kiwi does kind of make some sense as far as what I'm smelling. The note is quite persistent and I still smell it 3 hours after application. It's when I 'sniff around' that note that I get the nuances. If I focus on that note then the scent seems simple. It's weird because with some breaths I get a fruity floral with light spices, and with others I pick up the wood and smoke notes much more clearly and the scent smells almost decidedly masculine. I do think I would prefer if this note, whatever it is, was toned down slightly, but then again this is a first wearing and I know how deceptive they can be. Sometimes our brains/noses just fixate on something and really exaggerate its role in the overall composition on the first wearing or two.
Anyhow, just some thoughts on the notes. Oh yeah, fragrantica also lists coffee as a note as well, and sometimes I swear I can smell coffee. I wonder if it's one of those synthetics that smells like more than one thing - as I'm thinking of Armani Attitude and its coffee/opoponax note. The kiwi/pear/guava-ish note, along with honey, also made me think of the original Anvers by Ulrich Lang which lists guava and honey as notes and has a similar note in the heart, and again has me wondering if it is one of those multifaceted synthetics that is not clearly one specific note.
Anyhow, tomorrow I'll be wearing Man. On paper it seemed simpler to me than Woman, but that's not a bad thing. I think Memoir Man is simpler than Woman and much prefer it, for instance. I think Interlude Man is going to combine many facets of other Amouage scents I love into one unified whole - I get bits of Tribute and Epic Man in it, along with a tiny hint of Memoir, and the pimento from Reflection, etc. It shares some texture - that ultra-smooth dryness that is comforting rather than scratchy - with Opus VI, and that is what I'm loving so much about Pierre Negrin's style."