Amouage Reflection, both the man and the woman's versions were composed to smell and feel modern and clean in a chrome-glass-water kind of way. Obviously, this is departure from the ornamental style of most Amouage perfumes, for better and for worse. I'm not the biggest fan of Reflection Woman but as is usually the case with Amouage, I enjoy Reflection Man much better.
Amouage Reflection Man is often compared to Le Male from Jean Paul Gaultier (and Francis Kurkdjian), a mainstream classic that I really really like. I see the point, at least as far as the opening and first twenty minutes of the fragrance go. Both perfumes have the familiar super masculine barbershop thing going for them; lavender in Le Male, rosemary in Reflection, a good helping of neroli and then it all turns into wood. That's where Reflection and Le Male separate and run in different directions. Le Male has its very familiar sweetness and warmth, while Reflection becomes crystal clear despite all the wood notes and a touch of orris.
The development of Reflection Man goes from a familiar masculine "cologne" thing to presenting a sleek hard-surfaced texture, if perfumes can have a texture. I mentioned "crystal" above, and that's really what I get from this Amouage fragrance, which is the magic and achievement of this composition: here we have all those sharp pepper and warm woody notes, yet the main effect is cool and almost futuristic. Oh, and somehow it's also quite sexy. I'm reminded of one of my first big crushes: Christopher Reeve as Superman. I saw all the movies in the theater back in the very late 70s and early 1980s. The image of Superman's Fortress Of Solitude, the clear crystals, his white bedroom and that round bed with silver sheets-- nine or ten year old me thought it was the height of sophistication.
Superman was the man of the future, his relationship with Lois Lane was the most romantic thing my pre-teen self has ever seen, and Christopher Reeve was unbelievably good looking. Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford never did it for me back then, though today I'd probably choose the lingering scents of Tauntauns and Wookie fur over Superman's tights and metallic bedding. But if he wore a perfume it'd be Amouage Reflection Man, because its strength is mostly apparent when you're very very close to the skin and smell the depth and secret identity.
Notes: rosemary, red pepper berries, bitter orange leaves, neroli, orris, jasmine, ylang ylang, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood.
Amouage- Reflection Man ($225, 50ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent, Osswald, MiN NY, Bergdorf Goodman, and select Neiman Marcus locations.
All photos from Superman II, 1980, via various internet forums.