Let's say you had the option to commission perfumer Maurice Roucel (Iris Silver Mist, Musc Ravagur, Dans tes Bras, New Haarlem, 24 Faubourg, Jasmin 17, Labdanum 18, Fleur de Corail, Missoni, Tocade) to create a perfume specially for you. What type of fragrance would it be? Of course, Mr. Roucel is a master perfumer with an enormous range who probably composed more mainstream light and fresh commercial scents than complex masterpieces; yet, I'll go out on a limb and say that it won't be his work for Celine Dion or Adidas that will earn Mr. Roucel his much-deserved spot on the list of greatest perfumers. But back to the original question. Your bespoke Roucel perfume-- most chances are that it's not going to be an aquatic floral, right?
And yet, this is exactly what Amouage, of all brands, hired Maurice Roucel to do for them. Reflection For Women is no more a typical Amouage perfume than it is a typical Roucel one. Reflection starts with a wave of watery violets and degenerates from there into a washed out freesia and a drowned magnolia (not dissimilar to the one in Eau d'Italie Magnolia Romana, which is probably my least favorite Bertrand Duchaufour perfume). If that was not bad enough, there's an undertone of rotting flowers in stale water and something that reminds me the scent of dying lilacs-- both elements I recognize from my two least favorite Olivia Giacobetti perfumes: En Passant (sorry!) and Bonte's Bloom (do I sense a theme here?).
Someone with a more cooperative skin chemistry and a different scent sensibility should be able to appreciate the delicate effect of a flower's reflection in the water (Birgit of Olfactoria's Travels has done an excellent job in her review). I'm simply relieved that the most of Reflection vanishes within a couple of hours from my body; however, it doesn't go away completely: whatever molecule was used to create the aquatic impression for this Amouage perfume holds onto my skin for dear life and refuses to let go for at least16 hours, albeit close to the skin.
Equally not impressed: Patty of the Posse and Michael on From Top To Bottom.
Notes: Water violet, freesia, tropical green leaves, magnolia, ylang ylang, jasmine, amber, musk, cedarwood, sandalwood.
Amouage Reflection Woman - travel spray (4 x 10ml) $210 can be purchased from Luckyscent, Osswald, MiN NY, and Bergdorf Goodman.
Art: Walter Crane (1845-1915) Dryads & Naiads.