Lyric for Woman by Amouage
Perfumer: Daniel Maurel
Artistic Director: Christopher Chong
Gender label: feminine
Notes: top: bergamot, spicy cardamom, cinnamon, ginger; heart: rose, angelica, jasmine, ylang ylang, geranium, orris; base: oakmoss, musk, wood, patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean, frankincense
Characteristics: a deep dark fruity and resinous rose encased in a classic oriental structure offering a nod to Shalimar and the guerlinade
Personality: opulent, rich, luxurious, classic, politely transgressive
Wearability: easy in the evening; you will get more noticed during the day
Price point: $$$; could have had more originality for that price, not just richness; sorry to haggle
Bottle: very nice; the cap is in a heavy good-quality plastic topped with a Swarovski crystal. The flacon is made of hefty dark, almost black-red (darker than on pictures). The
Perfumes discussed: Joy, Shalimar, Habit Rouge, Parure, Musc Nomade
This review is a composite picture of several impressions of the scent.
Lyric Woman by Omani niche perfume house Amouage is rich enough to support a variety of interpretations and can surprise you overtime with its different accents, although I think it is safe to try to encapsulate it as a dark wine-y rose oriental.
Although the rose is conspicuous at first, it tends to lose its centrality in the perception of the perfume as it develops further, for it is a very dressed-up rose in full regalia, bedecked with gold and carbuncles, including no doubt Burmese Pigeon Blood rubies. The rose here is less of a diva on its own than part of a general operatic atmosphere of ostentation with a decorative, ornate style although it blooms at times, especially peeking through a second layer of application.
As I said earlier (Perfumes that Sing Vs. Perfumes You Want To Eat), I am also more struck by the deep colors and tonalities of Lyric than by lyrical qualities, such as flight. The one criticism I have that stays with me with some persistence is regarding the use of a slightly juvenile, "easy" and regressive vanilla accord in the midst of rather convincing opulence and nocturnal ambiance...
On the skin, the rose is a wine-y rose with an overtone of chocolate liqueur. There is a powdery counterpoint and undertone evoking cacao (patchouli) and dusty musk with a fresh doughy, flour-y facet (orris). Further the leather, fresh herbal, citrus nuances melt into a rich resinous ambery sensation with vanillic undertones and citrusy overtones in the spirit of a classic oriental. One thinks of Shalimar by Guerlain with its cheery bergamot opening and its dark vanillic leathery base as well as of its masculine version Habit Rouge. Subtle waves of animality make the perfume feel more vibrant and sexual. Green notes weave into the dark berry/plum syrup and musk and ambergris. A dash of raspberry appears later on. The perfume is an ensemble of classic opulent oriental notes with the added twist of a dark nocturnal and fruity rose signature.
The frankincense adds an undeniable touch of luxury and oriental opulence in a very directly quotable way like the vision of precious raw materials spilling over from an overflowing burlap bag of goods carried on the roads of incense. It adds this Middle-Eastern touch that is somewhat less abstract than the Oriental touch (see our discussion in Annick Goutal Musc Nomade). The incense has the warmth of a midnight sun and the dome of the opera house turns a bit into a Christmas-y starry night.
The perfume transforms itself into a glass of dark ruby wine in which a bar of bitter cacao and a lump of frankincence would have macerated together until the brew had turned creamy; one then realizes that the color of the perfume flacon is that of the jus it contains, before it gets creamed.
The vanilla used in Lyric peeks through quite noticeably, being interpreted a bit prosaically as a swirl of Italian ice-cream, seemingly next to a tall glass of Sicilian lemonade. This passage is a bit gourmand and breaks a bit for me the velvety, more intense and non-foody atmosphere conveyed by the perfume in the early stages. It is a treatment that feels a bit commercial rather than artistically demanding or wholly meaningful. The vanilla feels like this obligatory life-insurance taken by some compositions to appeal to our sense of nurture and comfort. What does it do in a perfume meant to evoke the art of opera-singing is not clear unless suddenly we are supposed to feel invited to nibble on some delicious ice-cream at intermission. Had the vanilla been dramatic, somber, burnt, raspy, broken and brittle, it might have contributed added dramatic intensity to the composition. But here the vanilla morphs even more into a foodier impression with now a nuance of beaten white eggs, of meringue topped with sweet vanilla.
However, the vanilla thread is counterbalanced by a more sour, fruity impression of prune reminding me of Parure, on a bed of fairly dry woods. The amber very much continues to play a central anchoringrole, bringing its legato effect, the suppleness of its own medium, its all-inclusive, wrapping ability.
The base is more complex at first with a drier, paper-like sensation that shows on the surface. The patchouli is nice as well as the oakmoss. The dry-down has more "character", meaning introduces slightly more dissonant impressions such as rubber and smoke, however subdued. The longer drydown could have been deeper and more complex in a more sustained fashion.
The composition is visibly built on a plurality of rich ingredients. It is more interested in appearing blended and smooth rather than multi-faceted. Despite its name and inspiration, that of the lyric-spinto voice, the perfume evokes more to me the muted and deep colors of heavy red velvet curtains at the opera house or the vibrato of a deep contralto voice than the more aerial quality that was aimed at.
Lyric can be at times a slowly intoxicating perfume revealing a musky finesse overtime making you think of an evening gown made gradually more alive by the warmth and scent of perspiration of a woman as the hours wax and wane into the night, one spent under the sparkly crystal chandeliers of the opera. Lyric offers a rose that is a bit putrid, but only by indirect, elegant suggestion. Perfect composure gives way to a suggestion of carnality and decay, the dialectic of eros and thanatos and the desperately human "... quest for immortal beauty".
See also reviews of Amouage Reflection Woman and Man