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Let me state right up front that this might seem a strange connection of dots in terms of perfume comparisons (and here is where I plead “novice” perfumista), but I have been wearing Amouage Jubilation 25 (the women’s version of the Jubilation scents) a lot recently, and somewhere in the middle of its development—and in the middle of whatever I’m doing that day—I will catch a whiff of it and for a brief instant wonder if I have put on Fracas by accident. “This isn’t Fracas, is it?” I’ll wonder for a blinking second before the other half of my brain laughs and answers back, “No, silly. It’s her cousin, Jubilation.”
“Ah, yes. Jubilation, the wealthy cousin. Or, at least, wealthy by virtue of being a kept woman, right?” A deep sniff of my wrist confirms it, as the other half of my brain helps me sort out the confusion.
They are both smolderingly sexy and glamorous; they both possess that most coveted of feminine real estate: acres of creamy white flesh that they use to their advantage in manipulating men. But their personalities and circumstances are markedly different. Fracas is more forceful, likes to be the one calling the shots; she’s curvier than Jubilation and doesn’t believe in keeping those curves under wraps. Fracas might be in the dough or she might be out, but she’ll be damned if any man is going to keep her, wealthy or not.
Jubilation, on the other hand, is a sleeker, more feline beauty (had she been in the movies, she could have played Cat Woman), and she likes to drape her long limbs in silks and furs that encircle her agile frame like a cocoon. She carries the earthy, slightly oily tang of fur on her skin even when she is not draped in one, which causes men to conjure up fantasies involving bearskin rugs whenever they think of her. She is more refined and aloof than her cousin, and she can afford to be: installed in a penthouse apartment in the wealthiest area of the city, Jubilation is the province of one man only and wants for nothing (except for a little excitement every now and then, a little diversion—the kind of diversion her cousin Fracas seeks, nay, commands from a seemingly never-ending legion of men).
Ahemm. “Yeah. Sure. Alrighty then,” says the tiny, annexed part of my brain that goes by the name of Logic and which resides who-knows-where, having disappeared shortly after I began this strange hobby of smelling and writing about perfumes. Logic is having a good laugh over this conversation and telling me that if I am going to draw comparisons between these two scents and refer to them as cousins, then perhaps I’d better get something down on paper. Logic wants me to compare notes—perfume notes—between the two. It is a set-up for failure, I realize, but I do it anyway:
Top: Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Green Notes
Heart: Tuberose, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Iris, Carnation
Base: Sandalwood, Vetiver, Cedar, Musk, Moss
Top: Tarragon, Rose, Lemon, Ylang-Ylang
Heart: Davana, Labadanum-ciste, Rose, Frankincense
Base: Amber, Musk, Vetiver, Myrrh, Patchouli
On paper, comparing notes, it does seem ludicrous to compare the two fragrances. Fracas contains a potent jumble of white florals, while Jubilation 25 has only one, ylang-ylang (actually a yellow flower, but its essence is often classified as white floral by perfumers). Fracas is a round, white floral perfume with some green notes and a woody base, while Jubilation is a floral oriental with a definite chypre vibe. Logic tells me I can’t compare the two at all… and yet, I smell the similarities when I put the two scents on opposite wrists and even on scent strips. Both of them are decadent, heady scents—the smell of exotic flowers grounded by something carnal. Of the two, Jubilation 25 has more of an animalic feel to it, while at the same time being a more taut scent, keeping its sexuality in check in a way that the more aggressive Fracas is loathe to do.
Well, what can I say? Sometimes it’s difficult to get a bead on a fragrance—and after a couple months of wearing Jubilation 25, that is still mostly the case. I wanted to write about it for a long time, and yet no words—just useless pictures—sprang to mind. Only when I began noticing, over time, these momentary confusions where I thought I caught a whiff of Fracas somewhere in the middle and end stages of Jubilation did I finally have any basis for comparison that I could put into words. It might not seem logical, but to my nose, these two fragrances share a common DNA, and even if they live in separate neighborhoods, the zip codes that separate them aren’t that far apart.
Amouage Jubilation 25 is available at LuckyScent.com and other e-tailers: $265 for 50 ml; $300 for 100 ml.
Images: photo of masked women is by Ellen von Unwerth and photo of Amouage Jubilation 25 is from Basenotes.net.
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Trying to Get a Bead on Amouage Jubilation 25
(Or, The Convoluted Conversations I Carry On in My Head)
May 10, 2008: