Fate Woman by Amouage makes me happy. It's a joyful composition with a larger-than-life glamazon character that builds momentum on skin and gives a good roar as it warms up and shows its full face. The opening is a bit more subdued: a precise and not too demanding spicy floral that doesn't scream "Amouage". As a matter of fact, it doesn't even whisper it. But before my attention wanders elsewhere things start to happen there. The floral notes are nearly abandoned (or maybe my skin kills them. It's been known to happen) while a very spicy core emerges and takes over.
Amouage Fate Woman, like its masculine counterpart, is big in the spice department. But there's no cumin here, just lots of cinnamon and pepper, the latter leads the way to labdanum and frankincense. These are usually major player in Amouage perfumes, but here there's far less smoldering embers and a lot more raw sensuality in the form of skin: the nape of the neck, the base of the skull, clean hair that was just released from a tight bun and is now cascading down your back. Labdanum and very powdery vanilla that smell together like some high quality grooming products in a lavish boudoir. This feeling intensifies as Fate becomes very animalic and offers more warm skin, though it's nowhere near as sweaty and cuminy as Fate Man. I think that it's the shampoo and body powder notes that turns away some people, but I see it as a balancing element that adds lightness.
The dry-down sees the return of the floral notes hand-in-hand with a soft and buttery leather. This is not Cuir de Russie, though, and there is something more exotic, more oriental in the way Fate Woman feels and wears. It also has a very modern sensibility: one might think that all the spices, incense, and animalics would be heavy and 1980s-like, but it isn't. While satisfyingly long-lasting (8-10 hours even with minimal and careful spraying), Fate has a lightness, an airiness to its sillage. It's more of a chiffon scarf than a cashmere shawl. I discovered that adding a tiny spritz of Fate Man gives this perfume a little more weight which I find desirable, but it's not really necessary as the fragrance has enough assets that tempt and seduce on its own.
Notes: bergamot, cinnamon, chili pepper, rose, narcissus, jasmine, frankincense, labdanum, vanilla bean, benzoin, castoreum, patchouli, oakmoss, leather.
Amouage- Fate For Woman ($310, 50ml) is available from Twisted Lily, MiN NY, Luckyscent, Osswald, and Berfgdorf Goodman.
Image: Erte- Fantasia, 1920.