Strange Fruit: Jubilation 25 by Amouage

A considerably attractive feature of Amouage is the strong presence of intersectionality, forming a statement on the culture of perfumery. Depending on how you look at it, perfumery can be a very French-European practice, or it can be a Middle Eastern mindset. Both have their respective merits, and whilst I do not believe fragrance ought to be held and subject to standards relative to their culture, it makes for interesting discussion towards the industry in general.

Present within many of Amouage’s works is a clearly defined thread of intersectionality in which Eastern ingredients meet classical French sensibilities. Consider how the Gold fragrances were constructed by the quintessential French perfumer Guy Robert. Oscillating within a very French territory, Gold Woman is a soft aldehydic floral licked with the purr of civet and rendered severe with an intense dosage of florals: the crisp (muguet, rose), the indolic (jasmine), and the vintage (orris root). Together with magnificent compresence, this deeply complex florality suggests a chypre of wholeness and absolute definition. Yet, incomes the intersection of cultural values, as a restrained sense of French baroque is turned into maximalist gluttony by fusing additional notes of frankincense, rich potent amber, and Middle Eastern resins. There is a clear sense of careful construction morphed with foreign exotica. The soft floral, kind-of-chypre scent diverges into the oriental without ever losing its clarity.

On a cultural level, this blur produces new outcomes and new cultural ideals for the future, and Amouage continued to perform this mesmerising balancing act where Jubilation 25 created a new dimension to be considered.


Photo Credit: Victor Wong

Intersectionality creates a unique sense of tension within a work, and Amouage’s Jubilation 25 demonstrates that in a highly legible manner. Perfumer Lucas Sieuzac puts on his Edmond Roudnitska hat by the way of fruitiness within a composition, done in a stylistic manner of sublime hyperrealism. It takes the peach of Mitsouko and adds ripeness through the sweet aspects of Diorama and Diorissimo (plum and melon, respectively). These associations alone propose chypre, but Jubilation 25 moves too quickly to be classified in this way, and it lacks proper chypric resolution at the base. The scent is more lenient towards Roudnitska than Jacques Guerlain, in the way that it not only constructs a fruit – but it gives us a fruit approaching decay and intense sweetness through its own fruitiness. Bitter with a measured application of myrrh, this adds balance through counterpoint, but also charades (almost successfully, but not quite) as oakmoss.

A thin salubrious trail of incense tinged with bitterness fills in this rich, albeit weightless fragrance – which in itself is redolent of classical French styling. The thinly oily ylang-ylang hue tied with a waxy lemony rose and an unusual addition of fresh anisic tarragon gives a particularly diffusive, aldehyde-like breath of French air – which seems to find itself lost in a romanticised picture of the Middle East.

Grand but not so much so in a floral sense, nor grand in its dosage of alloying amber, cumin, and labdanum, Jubilation 25’s intersection makes it hard to qualify it into one certain segment of categorisation. A complex work no doubt, playing on many different weights in perfume to create something of a loudspeaker effect: an intrusive sort of freshness at the top of the structure, moving into a richly lacquered floral in the middle: jammy overripe fruits, sweet wines (botrytis), laced with warm spice and golden impressions of honey, and an arid, somewhat barren resinous accord at the base with a leathery bounce. Throughout: a wash of incense – human, animalistic, saline, and slightly unwashed.

In Jubilation 25’s aim at celebration and ceremony of Eastern tradition, Amouage and perfumer Sieuzac succeeds in creating a clear fragrance with adequate distinction and a coherency of its parts done in a French style; at times playing a complex game of categorical charades. The brilliance of that alone, however, exists through a matter of perspective – the French chypre meets the Eastern oriental. Each accord is unique, yet each and every accord exists in fluid harmony.

A perfume playing charades.

Subjective rating : 4/5

Objective rating: 4/5

Further Reading:

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