Amouage Gold- both Man and Woman- was created in 1983 by Guy Robert as the first perfume for this Oman-based house (founded by the Sultan of Oman, no less). It was obviously meant to make a statement of opulence and royalty. Also, it smells very French: an aldehydic floral with a generous and rich base. If that makes you think of Chanel No. 5 you're not wrong. At least the way Chanel No. 5 used to be.
Amouage Gold Woman has that carefully blended abstract floral core. The husband says it's rosy, but to me Gold is just as much about delicate jasmine and muguet as it is about rose.The fragrance feels ornamental and gilded, yet very balanced. The aldehydes send the first round of fireworks into the stratosphere, and they form elaborate designs in the air and on skin. Gold feel celebratory- there's something about most Amouage perfumes that make them perfect for black tie events- and fit for a queen. As long as the queen is a fan of ambery sandalwood bases that are laced with civet, that is (but who isn't?).
Amouage Gold Woman feels out of time, which also probably means not of this time. I don't know how well Hermes Caleche is doing these days, but a perfume that feels and smells like its haughty and more expensive sibling might be somewhat challenging for a modern perfume shopper. Then again, if you're perfume shopping at Amouage most chances are that you've smelled a thing or two in your life and you're not expecting a L'Eau d'Issey experience. As long as you're ready for an olfactory rococo and have the willingness to go with it, you're golden.
Notes: Frankincense, Rock Rose, Lily of the Valley, Orris, Jasmine, Myrrh, Musk, Cedarwood, and Sandalwood.
Amouage Gold Woman ($285, 50ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent, MiN NY, Osswald, Bergdorf Goodman and select Neiman Marcus locations.
Top photo: Marie Antoinette's bedroom in Versailles.