I always keep some Lyric Woman by Amouage on hand for special occasions. It's a brilliant incense rose perfume, polished and glowing like a diamond. I have no idea why it took me so long to fall in love with its counterpart, Amouage Lyric Man, a masculine rose perfume that is somewhat mellower than Lyric Woman, and smoother around the edges.
Amouage Lyric Man opens quite green and almost zesty. It adopts a tree bark quality as the fragrance folds and becomes sweeter, while the angelica note takes center stage. I can't get enough of it as I adore angelica in just about any form-- herbal, syrupy or rooty. It's my catnip. This is where Lyric Man wins over Woman for me: the note exists in both, but Lyric Man is... more angelic, I guess.
The dry-down of Lyric Man is another marvelous example of the way Amouage uses incense. It's not smoky, churchy or meditative. Instead, the frankincense is infused with spices, especially saffron, that somehow feels like the natural transition from the green angelica heart. It smells sumptuous, rich and very very luxurious.
But what about the rose?!
Amouage Lyric Man deserves its own place in my list of rose perfumes for anti-rose people. The rose is obviously there, and I can smell it in every stage of the development. But it's almost abstract, or at least doesn't try to imitate a live flower. Instead, perfumer Daniel Visentin who created Lyric used the beautiful rose note to support and even contrast the other things that are happening there. The velvet feel of the petals against the harder edges of bergamot and galbanum or the sharpness of the spices. The rose is almost low-key but not quite: just when you think that Lyric Man is a wood, spice, and frankincense perfume you breathe it in and realize just how refined and elegantly woven is the olfactory fabric that makes up this complex scent.
Some men prefer to wear Lyric Woman because it's bolder and darker. The frankincense in the base of Amouage Lyric Man is gentler than in Woman, where I find that it can be a bit too much at times. Perhaps that's why my very personal preference is for Man and why now I'm intensely coveting a bottle-- I know that I'll wear it a lot more than the diva Woman.
Notes: Bergamot, lime, rose, angelica, orange blossom, green galbanum, spicy ginger, nutmeg, saffron, pine, sandalwood, vanilla, musk, frankincense.
Amouage Lyric Man ($255, 50ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent, MiN NY, Aedes, Bergdorf Goodman and select Neiman Marcus locations.
Top image by Joseph Christian Leyendecker, circa 1915.