Suzanne's Perfume Journal

The last time I reviewed a fragrance from the über-luxury brand Amouage, it was the beautifully reformulated Ubar, which I said created “the feeling of twilight settling over the open walls of a warm city” somewhere in the Middle East. Now here I find myself once again with that same word—twilight—on the tip of my tongue as I try to describe Amouage’s latest scent, Epic Woman. They are entirely different fragrances, and yet, of all the women’s fragrances in the line thus far (absenting the attars, most of which haven’t yet been made available in the West), these two seem most reflective of the brand’s Omani heritage, meaning, both have a distinctly Middle Eastern sensibility as opposed to earlier scents in the line—the superb Gold, Dia, and Jubilation 25, for instance—that take a page (or two or three) from classic French perfumery.

Personally I’m an ardent fan of both styles and would like to blow a huge kiss to the Amouage company, letting them know they can play on whatever side of the perfume fence they’d like to (so long as they keep up their greatest tradition: that of using the finest aromatic materials and hiring the very best perfumers). If all Amouage chose to do was create scents in the classic French style for the western market, I would remain a glad and faithful customer—and with the company charting a path across the Arabian Peninsula with the scents they’ve introduced here recently, I find that incredibly exciting and yet another reason to applaud them.

However, enough with the cooing and kisses, let’s move onto the fragrance. Epic Woman is a floral-oriental perfume with notes that evocatively convey the sense of a journey along the Silk Road. Spices, the woody-resinous smell of oud, and the mint-like coolness of geranium are among the perfume’s opening notes, and they conspire to create an Oriental scent that is much gentler in terms of its spiciness than what one frequently encounters in the genre. At its start, the perfume offers profuse whiffs of cinnamon, cloves and red pepper, but they have a driftiness to them rather than a sharpness, smelling as if they are spices on the move, floating up from packages stuffed into saddle bags on a camel caravan. Very soon they commingle with the sweet scent of roses—languorous roses that have lazed under a hot sun and are now being stirred by the cool breezes of evening. Roses that caress you with their smell, that are voluptuous and, at the same time, pillowy soft.

Just when you think it couldn’t get any better than this, enter the scent of tea. The combination of black tea and roses is a marriage made in heaven, and perhaps because I associate tea with the late afternoon and evening hours, the addition of it here further adds to the contemplative, twilight-character of Epic Woman. This feeling deepens as the basenotes gather in strength, adding their smoky beauty to the mix, for they include a forest-dry gathering of frankincense, patchouli, and sandalwood, as well as leathery orris. The amount and quality of frankincense employed in this fragrance is pitch perfect: it adds smolder to the fragrance while, at the same time, magically expanding it.

At this point, the fragrance reaches an apex of sorts, such that it’s easy to understand why the name “Epic” is attached to it. It’s the perfect fragrance to have on your wrists as you step outside into the quietly mysterious and breathtaking hour we call twilight: when the stars go blue and, looking up at them, we leave the sometimes lonely, workaday world behind us and find ourselves swept up in something infinitely larger.

Amouage Epic Woman eau de parfum is available from a number of online perfume boutiques. $265 for 50 ml, or $300 for 100 ml.  I bought my bottle from

PRIZE DRAWING: If you live in the United States and would like to enter to win a 5-ml decant of Amouage Epic Woman, send me an email.  Drawing closes at midnight, eastern standard time, on Tuesday, December 15, 2009.  Drawing is now closed; the winner was Chris G. 

Image Credit: This astonishingly gorgeous photo, "He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven" is from zedzap (Nicholas Kenrick) at

Evening Star: Amouage Epic Woman

Review and Prize Drawing

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Dancin’ where the stars go blue
Dancin’ where the evening fell
Dancin’ in your wooden shoes
In a wedding gown

            --lyrics from Ryan Adams’ song, When The Stars Go Blue 

December 11, 2009: