Ah, dear old lavender. When it's misused - as it so often is - it's a whopping clanger of a cliche, plunging a composition into the depths of the generic, be that 'generic fresh', 'generic man' or, dare I say it, 'generic old lady'. But when it's handled by experts, it is the scent equivalent of light, pushing aside all dejection like a hand parting a curtain on a vivid Sunday morning, filling a room with dawn optimism. It's safe to assume that Amouage's Creative Director, Christopher Chong, agrees with my view on the material, as he has chosen to give it prominence in a scent called, appropriately enough, Sunshine. Assembled by Pierre Negrin and Fabrice Pellegrin, the perfume takes Provence's most tourist-friendly export, attaches it to the burnt, maple syrup stickiness of immortelle (shades of Dior's Eau Noire), places it over solid woods and sprinkles the lot with more pepper than I've seen used in a fragrance for many a year. The result is an irrepressibly joyful, modern fougère, and - with its spicy-sweet core - one of the most interesting olfactory statements on 21st century masculinity since Dominique Ropion's Geranium Pour Monsieur for Frederic Malle. A luminous, life-affirming delight!
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Amouage in 2015]