Contrary to popular belief, recent Amouage releases are not the first ones that veered from what is considered as the brand's signature style. Back in 2007 they did it with Reflection (especially Reflection Woman, but the masculine version was not exactly a bottled Arabian Nights tale, either), and I don't remember it causing a stir. Change is good, or at least better than just following a formula. So why is it that I seem to feel a rock in the pit of my stomach whenever I wear Sunshine, the latest Amouage release?
The Husband disagrees with me on Sunshine. He likes it on my skin quite a bit (he has yet to try it himself), and says that not only does he get the "sunshine" aspect, but he also thinks that this is not a particularly sweet perfume, at least in the dry-down. He didn't flinch the day I absentmindedly sprayed myself silly with Sunshine, causing the bedroom and the cats to retain a fruity tobacco aroma for the rest of the day. So maybe I'm completely wrong here. Now, I don't dislike Sunshine. I think it's pleasant (moderation helps) and can see the appeal. I also know that me requesting a lighter hand and some refinement sounds funny: you all know that I wear everything from Black Afgano to A*Men, so why do I wrinkle my nose (literally) at Sunshine?
I think it's half-baked. There's a huge gap between the intention of throwing a light floral bouquet to lift up a woody vanilla blend, and the heavy blackcurrant syrup that infuses an even heavier tobacco base and washes over anything lighter that happens to be in its path. In the fruity liqueur's defense I will admit that it's sumptuous, and the marriage between it and the blond tobacco is successful as a single accord, but that's not enough to hold a luxury perfume from one of the very best perfume houses out there. The official list of notes is quite impressive and I desperately tried to find any of them on my skin. Davana? osmanthus? papyrus? I get none beyond the impenetrable screen of pipe tobacco . Sunshine lives in the same neighborhood as Back to Black (By Kilian) and Tobacco Vanille (Tom Ford Private Blend) and drives the same car as La Petite Robe Noire (Guerlain). It's just a bit louder when they're all gathered for a block party, making the rest of them give it a certain look and reach for the booze (Sunshine has none, by the way).
Sunshine is warm and cozy to the extreme. I wore it several times over the cold winter that's just ending, and it worked better than on the first day I opened all the windows and tried to smell the first signs of spring and nearly drowned in my own sillage. It has the longevity and presence we all pray for, and half a spray gives me the full experience until the day after. Sunshine is worth a try because it's an Amouage and because on certain days it does work. I just expected better. A lot better.
Amouage Sunshine Woman ($450, 100 ml EDP) can be ordered by phone from Osswald NYC (212-625-3111), and online from Luckyscent. Amouage has provided a press sample for this review.
Photo: Sun Glare by Sara Downing via photos.nj.com..