Perfume Directory

Crimson Rocks (2020)
by Amouage


Crimson Rocks information

Year of Launch2020
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
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PerfumerDomitille Bertier

About Crimson Rocks

Part of the Renaissance Collection and inspired by the mountains of Al Hajar.  Perfumer Domitille Michalon-Bertier says:

While creating this fragrance, I was inspired by the crimson colour of the Rock Rose of Al Hajar and the shade of its mountains illuminated by the last rays of the April sun.

"I have used two different and innovative Rose extractions, allowing their majestic scents to unveil directly in the top note and then to reveal other facets in the heart of the composition. It is textured with Cinnamon Essential, which ‘smells red’ in my mind, but also with a surprising Jujube Honey Accord, recalling the specialty of the region. Finally, I have built a potent dry down with the heady, addictive notes of Oakwood, enhanced with Vetiver and Red Cedarwood.

Crimson Rocks fragrance notes

Reviews of Crimson Rocks

Sun-baked rocks in the desert – yup, this perfume will probably recall them, what with its hugely heated-up cinnamon and honey overdose done in a parched and weathered style. Reinforcing that impression, there’s a tang of salt about it (possibly from the cedar) for a short while, reminiscent of dried sweat in an arid climate or organic matter left out in the blaze. Somehow the rose (apparently ‘two different and innovative extractions’ are used here) gets a bit lost in this power-play, robbed of much of its personality and relegated to offering just a sweet aspect at the start before coming a bit more into its own in the heart. This latter stage holds my interest the most as I have a soft spot for woody roses and here the expression is powdery but not in a manner of cosmetics, rather finely milled and engrained with wood dust, just how I like it. Even the honeyed spiciness abates a bit. But on the whole Crimson Rocks is a bit of a curate’s egg for me – good in parts. It feels a touch too dense and even brittle – like a spiced-up halva that has turned to rock after being left out too long.
There’s an invisible bar Amouage followers have in their minds, held in place by what they perceive as quality of ingredients, beauty of execution, fabulous drydowns, among other things. For me, Crimson Rocks, though unusual and with a personality all its own, almost touches it but not quite.
30th December, 2020
Amouage Crimson Rocks (2020) is part of the Renaissance Collection, inspired by different areas and experiences within Oman. That said, what you are really getting here is an oriental rose perfume simplified to the extreme in the way that's most chic among Western niche perfumers in the 21st century. Domitille Michalon Bertier composed Crimson Rocks, and you can see that the concept drove the perfumer towards a cinnamon/rose mixture that is take it or leave it for me, but may appeal to others. These scents aren't explicitly gendered but the gendered bottles they come in offer passive usage suggestion, however in spite of that I think Crimson Rocks reads pretty gender-neutral.

The opening of Crimson Rocks is a big blast of this cinnamon, given oomph from pink peppercorn and an aldehyde before being sweetened into a "Atomic Fireball" candy sweetness thanks to a benzoin-ish honey note. I'm not the biggest fan of confectionery cinnamon in a fragrance so this is where my nose starts to ask the waiter for the check, but a nice jammy rose comes in to partially save it. A dry woody base of vetiver, musk, and a novel captive absolute called Oakwood CO2 (think whiskey barrels) completes the Crimson Rocks experience, which lasts about 8 hours on skin with quiet sillage. Recommended time of year is fall and I'd label this a romantic fragrance good for a date night in cooler (but not frigid) times of year, although if you're a fan of rose orientals (even simple ones), you could pull this off discreetly in an office setting.

The elephant in the room with Crimson Rocks is pretty obvious: This is a rose oriental without either patchouli or amber, using honey and cinnamon to provide the spicy warmth of the latter and a bit of rather modern and un-Amouage obvious aromachemical wizardry. I'm not saying they don't use ACs, as everyone who isn't artisanal does these days for cost and quality control, but I am saying the seams do show here a little too obviously for a house known for opulent, blended, and often opaque perfumes. This, combined with the weird cinnamon candy vibe just takes me to places I'd rather not go, rather than to the mountains of Al Hajar, although I don't hate Crimson Rocks either. Test for yourself before taking my word for it. Neutral.
01st October, 2020

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