It's been almost eight years since I first tried Aomassai by Parfumerie Generale. During that time I usually kept a small amount of Aomassai on hand to wear when in the mood for some delicious weirdness, usually when the husband wasn't around to complain about it. But a funny thing happened: he stopped hating it. By the time we came across a clearance sale where Parfumerie Generale bottles were going at 70% off (it was in Sorrento, Italy) he was practically a fan. Aomassai came home with us.
Aomassai is still a wonderfully weird perfume. It's not a comfort scent, as it doesn't lull you into a safe warmth. It's too dark and complex and lacks the cozy familiarity of most fuzzy blanket scents. Aomassai is full of gourmand notes yet decidedly inedible, a brushfire that turns the grassy savanna into a field of caramel, a cup of chicory coffee spilled on charred wood, and a wonderfully resinous ambery dry-down, sweet and just slightly sticky in the most delicious way possible. The perfume has a potion-y feel, a witch's brew mixed for a spell. Is it good magic or a nefarious little thing? Perhaps a little of both.
Pierre Guillaume is a master of gourmand notes. His treatment of chocolate, vanilla, almond milk, and other delicious notes is always delicious without crossing the boundaries of good taste (pun kind of intentional). Aomassai is a stunning example of this talent, showing how a perfume can be both delectable and dangerous, mouth-watering and eerie.
I wish Parfumerie Generale would release Aomassai in an extrait version. The eau de toilette has a decent longevity (about six hours), but dabbing a thicker and denser version that lasts all day long could be wonderful.
Notes: caramel, toasted hazelnuts, licorice, bitter orange, spices, wenge wood, vetiver, balsam wood, incense, dried grasses, resins.
Parfumerie Generale- Aomassai ($85, 1 oz, larger bottles also available) is sold at Osswald (osswaldnyc.com) and Luckyscent.
Photo of Rossy de Palma by Bruce Weber for US Vogue April 1992. It's the image I originally wanted for my 2007 review but couldn't find back then.