Journey Man by Amouage

To celebrate Chrisopher Chong’s (Amouage’s creative director) visit down under, it was only appropriate that I review an Amouage fragrance. I had received an invitation to an intimate affair with Chong and cancelled everything on the day to meet him. The venue was sublime (Harrolds Melbourne, naturally) and not only did I have the opportunity to take in information, but also engage one-on-one for a generous amount of time.

Firstly, I must inform you about what it was like meeting Mr. Chong. The ethos he presented was absolutely groundbreaking. His attitude to creativity is sublime and of all things, I was taught about introspection and what luxury really means; and Chong made that quite clear.

“Luxury is all about objects of desire and mysticism. Luxury creates an object previously unthinkable and should effortlessly exceed expectations”. Conversely (in my opinion) this makes the job of those who fabricate luxury immensely difficult, for they must continually put out new and more exciting works. In the context of Amouage, it is clearly the epitome of class and luxury as a brand, and it is also clear that Chong works very hard to always produce interesting and beguiling products. Chong kept on weaving this subject back predominantly to his latest fragrance: Journey Man, and his previous creations (from Jubilation XXV and onwards) talking about the consumer, markets and of course the composition of Journey Man.

Overall it was an amazing event. Thank you Christopher Chong, you are welcome back to Melbourne anytime!

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In a previous review of an oriental inspired fragrance, I elucidated my idea of a Golden Dragon from the orient. However that dragon was too juvenile, it was lacking in a few mature departments. This Journey Man dragon is fiery and it has a short temper, but is also regal with an angular sweetness. Journey Man is a bombastic blast of dry and spice blended marvellously, with an amazing story to go with it.

A personal discovery of metamorphosis, the inspiration for Journey Man looks at Christopher Chong’s heritage and in particular Chinese Film Noir and Shanghai Deco. The Imperial architectural styles of Shanghai and China records great intelligence and creation, infinitely grandiose with smooth and beautiful curves and an oriental flair. Journey Man looks at the levels of shading and tint in black and white film, with a ‘you guess the colour’ approach to discovery. Puffs of red smoke, reflective glass and gold… When you smell Journey Man by Amouage you envisage colour, geography and attitude.

Fiery Sichuan pepper is clearly in the opening drumming out the colour red – the colour of passion, fire and of life. This is wrapped up in dry tobacco leaves and the cold spice of cardamom, giving out a sense of sweetness like golden honey. These two spice notes work together dampening the fire and pepper whilst it continues to give bite. Notes like bergamot, bitter orange, neroli and juniper berries gives a fruity backbone with a golden brown liquor-like sweetness. Gold. Luxurious, yet still surrounded by the infinite shades of black.

Puffs of incense, raw leather, and highly prized cypriol oil give off a dry sawdust accord that is realistically pleasing. It’s tart and oud-esque, yet also bubbles and gushes with the warmth of the tonka beans and ambrox like a mound of black burnt earth and a current of orange and red lava. The dry woods note from the cypriol and the dark rose impression from pure geraniol is exotic and competitive, always resulting in a tie.

Journey Man at certain stages is very luminous, but always intriguing. Smooth and decadent base notes give a faultless and perfect metallic coating over the spice like true metamorphosis, as the creamy ambrox (the synthetic ambergris note) imparts addiction. In the excellent short film for Journey Man, we see Chong at the end in a study with a stern look of seriousness, reform and contemplation, hinting either possible resolution or perhaps even more conflict. The thing with Journey Man is that it always seems to change but always keeps its fundamental character of rawness and spice; it is forever moody. It’s a cigar box fragrance nestled in 1920’s Shanghai and spiked with spice. The shading starts relatively light and transcends into darker tones, it’s a dry fougere in reverse, intelligently dissected and put together again with introspection in mind.

Alternatives: China White by Nasomatto; Speakeasy by Frapin; Opus VI by Amouage; and Manic Love Men by Neotantric.

I love this. I’ll leave it at that.

Subjective rating : 5/5

Objective rating: 4/5


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