A few years ago I was wandering the busy fragrance halls of Harrods and my eyes immediately turned to a myriad of slick coloured bottles with bejewelled metallic tops glistening in the spotlight. Like the inquisitive fragrance magpie that I am, I quickly scarpered over and right there, cast upon the elegant glass vessels was the name, Amouage. As I took the time to explore each of the scents I was quickly infatuated, each of them like nothing I had experienced before. Founded in the Sultanate of Oman in 1983, Amouage is a luxury fragrance house acclaimed for conjuring up the most beautifully crafted perfumes. With over fifty exquisite masterpieces to choose from, each one has been crafted by renowned perfumers from around the world. Although each fragrance has a different identity, they never stray too far from their Arabian roots providing an interesting blend of East meets West. You only have to look at the hashtag #amouge on social media and you are greeted with thousands of rave reviews and deep admiration for the brand. The house constantly pushes the boundaries of fragrance by creating remarkable stand-out compositions, some of which have become stars in their own right. Iconic scents such as Interlude (also known as the Blue Beast by frag fans) had the fragrance world in a spin when it was released in 2012 with its bold smokey nuances.
Launched in 2020, Amouage surprised its followers with an Interlude flanker, a new rendition called Interlude Black Iris. After the original, I was intrigued to see how the scent differed and after much anticipation, I was able to try this alluring release. From the moment this decadent elixir lays itself on the skin you know it is a fragrance that is here to impress. The opening exudes the daring attributes of the original but it is immediately evident that it has been ever so slightly tweaked to provide the wearer with an exciting new experience. Although Bergamot is present there are no apparent citrus tones, like a spark before the ignition it has almost been used as an injection of energy before it delves into more intricate depths. A quick flurry of herb-like freshness bursts on the scene before dissipating rapidly, revealing an instantaneous profusion of sharp resinous spices that wrestle with the senses. Strange though it may seem, an extinguished campfire immediately comes to mind, its faint glowing embers oscillating in the darkness. Charred logs dampened with rain release nuances of burnt liquorice, scorched wood and pine-like aromas as it drifts through towering dense forest. This may be a tad dismaying to the interlude novices out there, but once you allow yourself to let go and enjoy its masterfulness, it definitely is an olfactory journey worth hanging on for.
As those creatively chaotic notes wain, it isn’t long before a comforting ambience surrounds me encompassing both my mind and body. The smooth transition is almost meditative as if the tumultuous rush of life has dissipated and I’m shrouded in a still silent almost religious space. It is here where I most notice the difference to the original, its seared boldness softened and tamed as if a sheer veil has been placed over it. I envisage the burning of frankincense, myrrh and incense, a candle’s muted flickering flame illuminating a trail of smoke that undulates slowly in the air. The entrails ebb out in every direction giving me sweet, resisnous nuances tainted with a delicate smokiness. Vanilla not only plays a prolific role in this fragrance but the introduction of Orris is a significant difference here. It brings an alluring seductive and powdery smoothness to the scent which is utterly beautiful. Smooth is the word that continuously pops up in my mind with Interlude Black Iris, like a silk sheet it caresses and brushes against the skin in the most bewitching way. There is a skilful interplay of intensity and delicacy at work, where the notes appear subtle but are certainly in no way demure.
As the fragrance delves even deeper that trail of smoke continues to weave its way over the skin merging with a beautiful leather note. This ignites a memory of mine from when I was younger. Whilst staying at my grandparents I would often open the doors of their large closet and be greeted with the smell of leather shoes, bags and jackets they had purchased when travelling. The combination of new and old items released a tantalising array of sweet and earthy aromas that were instantly soothing to me. The leather note in Black Iris combines beautifully with the billowing smoothness of Agarwood Smoke exuding subtle hints of an aromatic cigar burning in the distance. The fragrance culminates in a stunning blend of Patchouli, Sandalwood and Cedarwood taking that sensual and creamy quality to the next level. It wraps around your skin like a warm scarf on a cold winter’s day, gently floating between a comforting redolence of woody, earthy and delicately spicy notes.
For a lover of fresh fragrances, I am very taken aback but just how much I adore this perfume. Like its predecessor, there is certainly no question it has undeniable longevity, which is a testament to the quality ingredients and impressive concentration of 25% fragrance oil. This may be a polarising fragrance for some but like me, it may just surprise you with its alluring qualities. Personally, this is one I would bring out for those days when I want to feel bold and audacious. It’s a scented cloak of confidence for individuals who like to spray outside of the box.
Fragrance Concentration: Eau de Parfum
Available from Amouage
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