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Amouage Memoir Woman
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A Conversation on Arabie

A Package from Christos: Greek Sandals & Oud Cuir d'Arabie

A Package from Ines

A Package from Lavanya

A More Affordable Olfactionary

A Week of Wearing What I Like

Amouage Dia (pour femme)

Amouage Dia (pour homme)

Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

Amouage Lyric Woman

Amouage Memoir Woman

Amouage Opus I

Amouage Opus III

Amouage Opus IV

Amouage Opus V

Amouage Opus VI

Amouage Tribute

Amouage Ubar

Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant

Annick Goutal Heure Exquise

Annick Goutal Petite Cherie

Annick Goutal Sables

April Aromatics Calling All Angels

April Aromatics Bohemian Spice

April Aromatics Jasmina 

April Aromatics Nectar of Love

April Aromatics Rose L'Orange

Aroma M Geisha Green

Aroma M Geisha Rouge

Arquiste Anima Dulcis

Arquiste Boutonniere no. 7

At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)

At the Moment (Contemplating Change & Habit Rouge)

At the Moment (Marron Chic & Paris)

At the Moment (More Midsummer Delights/Epic/Geisha Noire)

At the Moment (Saki & Lubin Idole edt)

At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante)

At the Moment (Spring Pretties/Un Air de Samsara)

At the Moment (Summery Things...Love Coconut)

At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)

Ava Luxe Café Noir

Beatnik Emptiness Incense

Best of 2009

Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

Bond No. 9 Brooklyn

Bond No. 9 Little Italy

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

Bottega Veneta eau de parfum

Breath of God

Byredo Green

By Kilian Amber Oud

By Kilian Forbidden Games and In the City of Sin

Calyx by Prescriptives

Canturi by Stefano Canturi

Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

Caron Aimez-Moi

Caron French Cancan

Caron Parfum Sacre

Caron Tabac Blond

Caron Tubereuse

Caron Yatagan

Cartier II L'Heure Convoitee

Cartier IV L'Heure Fougueuse

Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

Chanel Bel Respiro

Chanel Chance

Chanel Coco

Chanel Coromandel

Chanel Cuir de Russie

Chanel Egoiste

Chanel No. 5 (vintage)

Chanel No. 22

Chantecaille Petales

Chantilly Dusting Powder

Clive Christian C for Women

Comme des Garcons Daphne

Comme des Garcons LUXE Champaca

Comme des Garcons Series 7 Sweet Nomad Tea

Costes by Costes

Coty Ambre Antique

Coty Chypre

Coty Paris

Creature by Kerosene

Creed Acqua Fiorentina

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie

Creed Virgin Island Water

DSH Perfumes Bancha Extreme

DSH Perfumes Quinacridone Violet 

DSH Perfumes Vert pour Madame

Deneuve

Devilscent Project

Dior Diorissimo (vintage)

Donna Karan Black Cashmere

EnVoyage Vents Ardents

EnVoyage Zelda

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss

Etat Libre d'Orange Rien, Rossy de Palma & Noel au Balcon

Faberge Woodhue Cologne

Favorite Fall Fragrances

Fendi Uomo

Fragrances for Sweden

Frapin 1697 Absolu Parfum

Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Frederic Malle Dans Tes Bras

Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Frederic Malle Noir Epices

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie

Frederic Malle Une Rose

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel

Ghosts of Perfumes Past, Present & Future

Gone Fishin'

Gucci Eau de Parfum

Gucci L'Arte di Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia

Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

Guerlain Attrape Coeur

Guerlain Chamade

Guerlain Encens Mythique d'Orient

Guerlain Jicky

Guerlain Mayotte

Guerlain Parure

Guerlain Samsara Parfum

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara

Guerlain Vega

Guerlain Vetiver (vintage)

Guy Laroche J'ai Ose (vintage)

Happy Solstice

Hermes 24, Faubourg

Hermes Caleche (vintage)

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

Hermes Hiris

Hermes Iris Ukiyoe

Hermes L'Ambre des Merveilles

Histoires de Parfums 1740

Histoires de Parfums 1828

Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette

Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine

Hometown Portrait, State College, PA

Honore des Pres Vamp a NY

House of Matriarch Carmine

How I Store Decants

Il Profumo Cannabis

In Memory (w/mention of Lanvin Arpege)

Jacomo #02

Jacomo #09 (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles

Jean Patou Joy

Jean Patou 1000

Jo Malone Saffron Cologne Intense

Jo Malone Sweet Milk Cologne 

Juliet by Juliet Stewart

Kai Eau de Parfum

Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant

Kenzo Summer

Lancome Magie Noire (vintage) 

Lanvin Via Lanvin (vintage) 

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer

L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l'Aube

L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

La Via del Profumo Balsamo Della Mecca

La Via del Profumo Hindu Kush

La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe

La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project

La Via del Profumo Sharif

La Via del Profumo Tawaf

Le Labo Gaiac 10

Le Labo Iris 39

Le Labo Patchouli 24

Le Labo Poivre 23

Little Lists

Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate

M. Micallef Vanille Orient

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir

Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles

Message In A Bottle 

Michael Storer Winter Star

Miller Harris L'Air de Rien

Miscellany

Missoni (original) by Missoni

Molinard Habanita

Mona Di Orio Nuit Noire

Mona Di Orio Oud

Mona Di Orio Vanille

Montale Black Aoud

Montale Boise Vanille

Montale Intense Tiare

Montale Patchouli Leaves

Montale Red Aoud

More Roses (rose cookie recipe)

My Heart Has Skipped a Beat (summer smells)

My Perfumes Have Theme Songs

Nasomatto China White

Neila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling

Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps

Nez a Nez Ambre a Sade

Northern Exposure "A Dash of Chanel No. 5"

Odin 04 Petrana (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Omar Sharif Pour Femme

Oriscent Pure Oud Oils

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

Oscar de la Renta Oscar for Men

O Tannenbaum Joint Blog Project

Parfum d'Empire Azemour

Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman

Parfum d'Empire Equistrius

Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba

Parfumerie Generale Indochine

Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique

Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu

Parfums DelRae Amoureuse

Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Paris, je t'aime

Pascal Morabito Or Black 

Perfume Quotes - The English Patient

Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue

Pretty Perfume Bottles 

Prince Matchabelli Aviance Cologne (vintage) 

Profumum Roma Acqua Viva

Profumum Roma D'Ambrosia

Puredistance I

Puredistance Antonia

Puredistance BLACK

Puredistance M

Puredistance Opardu

Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

Ramon Monegal Pure Mariposa

Recipe for Socca

Regina Harris Amber Vanilla Perfume Oil

Regina Harris Frankincense-Myrrh-Rose Maroc Perfume Oil

Robert Piguet Fracas

Robert Piguet Visa

Rochas Mystere 

Rome Vacation Photos

San Francisco Holiday

Sarah Horowitz Parfums' Joy Comes From Within & Beauty Comes From Within

Scented Reading

Scents of the Mediterranean

Scentuous Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Serge Lutens Arabie

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Serge Lutens Chêne

Serge Lutens Chergui

Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre

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Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Serge Lutens Un Lys

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental

Slumberhouse Rume

Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille

Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette

Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)

SoOud Ouris Parfum Nectar

S-Perfume 100% Love {More}

Stone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)

Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric Rain

Sweden Is For Lovers

T is for Taxes

Tauer Perfumes: Incense Extrême, Incense Rosé, Lonestar Memories, & Reverie au Jardin

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Diary of a Nose, Book Review

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit

The Intimacy of Scent

Thoughts of a Perfume Collector

Tightly

Tokyo Milk Ex Libris

Unlocking an Unknown: Webber Parfum 6T

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery Bed of Roses

Venimus Vidimus Vicimus, or How 3 Perfume Bloggers and a Husband Took Rome

Vero Profumo Kiki, Onda, and Rubj

Vero Profumo Mito

Viktoria Minya Hedonist

Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb

What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

You Can’t Put a Ring on It.  Amouage Memoir Woman...

This week I’ve been sampling Memoir Woman while contemplating Hisham Matar’s new novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, and the two make for interesting bedfellows. Both are as nebulous as stratus clouds—both have an air of mysterious, unfinished business about them—and both linger on my mind rather powerfully for reasons I’ll get to by the end of this review.

When I first wore my sample of Memoir Woman, I was somewhat dumbfounded; from an email exchange I had with another perfumista back in December, I had the impression that this was a leather-and-incense perfume. In my experience, leather and incense tend to be declarative—even if they do not announce themselves up front, it usually doesn’t take long for them to make their presence known—but waiting for this combo to surface in Memoir Woman is like waiting for Godot. My first hit of this perfume was a hazy, masculine-leaning, green-spicy weirdness I couldn’t identify, except to say I thought I smelled cardamom and cinnamon in its midst. Somewhere around twenty minutes into its wear, I finally detected a bit of ylang-ylang or tuberose (or likely both), but overall this fragrance wasn’t giving up its secrets. Rather directly, I went to the LuckyScent website for a notes listing, which I’ll include below, but what I read in the site’s description of this perfume intrigued me even more. According to the blurb, Amouage’s creative director, Christopher Chong, conceived the two Memoir fragrances (there is also a Memoir Man, which I haven’t sampled) as “a new interpretation of the ‘space’ between man and woman, one that is almost impossible to resist.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am always impressed when a creative concept has been successfully executed. Even without the dialogue that Memoir Woman apparently holds with its companion scent (the men’s version), this perfume does indeed achieve a feeling of “space” that speaks of the personal and is deeply compelling. In other words, the hazy, green weirdness of Memoir Woman does not evoke the green space of the great outdoors, nor does it suggest the kind of neatly-defined interior space—an absinthe bar in France, for instance—one might imagine by reading its list of notes. (Absinthe, cardamom, mandarin orange, pink pepper, wormwood, clove, incense, pepper, jasmine, rose, white flowers, musk, French labdanum, oak moss, styrax and leather.) The green notes of Memoir Woman are not sharp greens, medicinal greens, or even liqueur-like greens, though the latter probably comes the closest in describing them. They are murky, warm and human-smelling without being dirty in any way; they have a gentle barbershop feel to them for a couple minutes, when the perfume is first applied, but rather quickly they segue into a smell I can’t relate to anything else I’ve ever sniffed in the natural or material world. The spices are the most pronounced component of this fragrance, and yet are fuzzy enough that the clove in it reminded me more of the softer scent of cinnamon; taken altogether, the spice notes create a sense of intimacy within Memoir Woman. Incense and leather, on the other hand, are muted aspects. Sometimes I think I am able to discern them, but they are so well-integrated into the overall composition that, at most, they provide a light smokiness and a touch of something human to this perfume.

But if spices are this perfume’s most pronounced element, the soft-focus effects of oak moss and musk are the most defining, precisely (and ironically) because they lend a shroud of diffuseness that makes this fragrance so indescribably mysterious. To my mind, they are what account for its amorphous quality and the sense of space you can’t quite put your finger on because, married as it is to the odd green-spicy fuzziness I just described, it seems to have no parameters by which it can be defined.

Which brings me to the book I mentioned at the start of this review. Anatomy of a Disappearance is a novel that feels much like its subject matter—sketchy and unresolved—but which, like Memoir Woman, is all the more powerful for what it doesn’t say, and which reminds me of the latter for various reasons. The heart of the story speaks of the troubled (or maybe I should say reticent) relationship that often exists between fathers and sons. Specifically, the story follows Nuri, a fourteen-year-old boy who has been living in exile with his parents in Cairo, Egypt, and whose life loses its bearings when the death of his mother is followed by the mysterious abduction of his father, a wealthy Arab dissident whose political ties to his homeland have cast a shadow over this family. What casts an even bigger shadow, however, are the relationships Nuri’s father has had with various women in his life—and interestingly, the way the reader comes to know both son and father is through their respective bondings to these women. Particularly to the beautiful young Mona, whom Nuri discovers and falls in love with first, when father and son, now living on their own, are on vacation at a seaside hotel in Alexandria. Mona winds up becoming Nuri’s stepmother and (because Nuri feels a certain claim to her) a bone of contention between the two men—or at least in Nuri’s eye, maybe not his father’s: By the end of the novel another woman will emerge who will provide another vantage point from which to view the relationships between its three main characters. Without giving the story away, the novel at this point takes a turn that would strike me as unconvincing were it not for this one line, spoken by a minor character in the book: “Something occurs between a man and a woman that no one can access.…A secret that even they might never know.”

I’ve observed enough relationships to realize just how true this statement is. The space between a man and a woman is something you can’t know or access or fully understand, no matter how close your own relationship to these two people is. Yet, even if you can’t draw parameters around it or get inside to ferret out its truths, you feel this space: it’s every bit as palpable as it is mysterious.

I can’t say whether this is what Christopher Chong had in mind when he came up with his idea for the Memoir fragrances, but the scent of Memoir Woman resonates with me for this reason. And while it’s not the first fragrance I would purchase from the newest additions to the Amouage line, damn if it’s not proof as to why this perfume house continues to impress me.


Amouage Memoir Woman eau de parfum was composed by perfumers Daniel Maurel and Dorothée Piot and can be purchased at ParfumsRaffy.com, LuckyScent.com and Aedes.com; 50 ml (1.7 oz) for $250.


Photo (top of page) is a stock photo from Getty Images taken by photographer Pete Pacifica.

Book photo is from Wikipedia.com and bottle image is from LuckyScent.com.  




Posted by Suzanne Keller, 2/18/2012.


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