Inspiration and the way it's interpreted into a fragrance are an interesting subject that's quite popular among the perfume sniffing crowd. When Christopher Chong, the creative director of Amouage, conceived Honour Man he looked into Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly.
Honor, betrayal, turn-of-the-century Japanese style and death. Some of it is more appetizing than the rest, and the haunting music of the opera are not necessarily the stuff dreamy perfumes are made of. But Amouage Honour Man is actually a lot less dramatic and tragic. Well, once the extra dose of black pepper calms down.
Pepper is, indeed, a big part of the story in Amouage Honour Man. The opening is like sticking your nose in one of those multi-color pepper mills and taking a big whiff. I love it. Soon after things turn into a peppery wood, peppery sheer incense and even more wood. It keeps me interested with all kinds of little turns and twist, like a piece of wood in a George Nakashima table. Honour Man is organic yet polished and smells very precise and thoughtfully blended. That's why I enjoy so many Amouage perfumes: no matter what they put in them, the result tends to smell like a million dollars.
The late dry-down is sweeter and lust-worthy. The blend becomes almost vanillic. Amouage Honour Man is smooth and suave. I can actually imagine Cary Grant wearing it, though probably not in 1932 when he starred in Madame Butterfly. He was still a fresh-faced studio boy at the time, 28 year old and not quite as Cary Grant as he'd become. Women who love incense and wood scent and don't mind a big helping of spice are very likely to enjoy it just as much.
Amouage Honour Man ($225, 50ml) is available from MiN NY, Aedes, Luckyscent, Bergdorf Goodman and Amouage boutiques around the world. The samples for this review were provided by MiN NY free of charge.
Photos of Cary Grant in Madame Butterfly from doctormacro.com and carygrant.net.
Notes: Pink pepper, black pepper, geranium, elemi, nutmeg, patchouli, frankincense, cedarwood, vetiver, tonka bean, musk.