I’m not entirely convinced that the concept of sunshine suits Amouage.
“This is a new chapter for Amouage” said Creative Director Christopher Chong during his time in Australia late 2014. Bookended with Fate Man and Woman, Amouage has taken a new approach – an entirely new direction for their perfumes. From an Omani house that once was concerned in presenting a fusion of Eastern perfumery meeting Western conventions, we are left wondering if the departure from the East is permanent and no longer glorified. Through Sunshine, Amouage has said goodbye to layers of balsamic and resinous creations in favour of optimistic hues. When I learnt of Sunshine, especially with its pastel yellow bottle and creamy details, I, as with many Amouage fans, felt a sense of tension in the metaphorical air. Is this the end of symphonic oriental wonders like Fate Woman? The evil qualities similar to the Memoir creations? What about the decadent layers of Jubilation XXV, will we still get that? What about the shock, wonder and awe delivered from the quirky yet refreshing Ciel Man? Will Amouage still produce these greats, alloyed by a common element of national pride and legacy?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look too good for Amouage in that respect. Now replacing the common idea of haunting, mysteriousness, and a chiaroscuro-style of blending, for sparkly bubbles, white flowers, happiness, and… glaring Sunshine.
Photo by Amouage
I am wary not to judge something because I don’t like its aesthetic. This is mainstream at its best, something I felt Amouage once detested. However, all in all, I don’t think I get total Sunshine from this perfume. I get the happiness, the joy, and the pleasure in the form of a bellyache. The note list is promising, but also uncharted for Amouage – The blackcurrant liquor, almond, and davana top notes present a radiant quality against juicy florals in the backdrop – particularly osmanthus flower. Here, the blackcurrant is incredibly edible, moreish and gleaming as if its exterior was saturated in water and hit by the smiling sun. From this impression, we are presented with fruity gourmand notes to begin with. For example, the osmanthus contains soft milky peach facets, and davana, a relatively unused perfume ingredient is a sweet aromatic herb, used in India as an offering in religious practises. These reinforce the fruity tones of the other notes as its sweet quality radiates onto the earthy and fleshy almond and the rich and viscous blackcurrant ‘cassis’ notes.
As it progresses, clean and powdery white florals intersect the gourmand inflection as magnolia and jasmine become prominent. Here, a freshness is achieved from the citric magnolia cutting the gourmand inflections, as the jasmine gives a green quality working alongside it. As the creaminess and the florals flourish at the heart, constantly a base of narcotic smoke with a leathery cade underscore some of the midnight vibes experienced in older Amouage creations. The white tobacco used here becomes this fragrance’s constant driving force, adding a cleansing vibe similar to incense. This is where the change is affirmed. The only link I can find between Sunshine and other Amouage fragrances is the cleansing property of the smoke. Despite its poolside nature, Sunshine is a resilient fragrance, somewhat rounded by the smoke notes and its implicit oriental proclivities. For example, look out for the artmesia, bending the florals into an oriental direction ever so slightly.
Overall, the difficulty of Sunshine for me lies in its underwhelming nature. The sweetness of the fruits on first spritz is the bringer of jollity, as textural elements underneath create a bombastic freshness. As you wait for Sunshine’s grim to relax, all refinement is lost in a haze of synthetic florals and a powder note reminiscent of latex gloves; the addition of patchouli, vanilla, and papyrus add more to the cacophony, at best keeping the florals tame through prominent difference.
I weep at the loss of Amouage’s pride, perhaps because the very reason why the firm is in existence is due to a member of the Omani royal family wanting to restore the perfuming glory of Oman. Pride for Amouage was once rooted in its heritage – but now I question that very mantra. I can then state that perhaps I am one to look for tradition and independency, and I don’t get that anymore. Amouage was never meant to please everyone – just the very best and the most concerning. Amouage has become personalised and very sweet natured, and whilst I appreciate the sentiment I am unsure if that belongs here. The personal narrative of Christopher Chong as Creative Director has fused onto the current narrative of Amouage, effectively disrupting it. A beautiful story, and I thank him for it, but not here.
Alternative: Chamade by Guerlain
Smoky and Loud Fruity Floral.
Subjective rating : 2/5
Objective rating: 2/5