Friday, 15 September 2017

Persolaise Review: Beach Hut Man from Amouage (Elise Benat; 2017)

I think it's safe to assume that Christopher Chong has a sense of fun. In order to preserve the seriousness of Amouage’s signature range, the brand’s Creative Director has avoided populating it with any fragrances that could be seen as lightweight. Nevertheless, he possesses an understandable desire to explore ‘easier’ olfactory codes, so in recent years, he's given plenty of attention to his Midnight Flower collection, which has seen him recruiting the likes of such un-Amouage characters as lilacs and freesias. The latest entry in this range is Beach Hut Man (I'd like to have been at the marketing meeting when that name was first mooted) and sure enough, it is as carefree and exuberant as some of the main Amouage fragrances are dignified.

Mind you, on paper, this isn't a scent that yells ‘relaxation’. Ostensibly a woody aromatic, it contains enough bitter herbs and carpentry shavings to make it a successor to the brand’s more middle-aged masculines, like Honour Man (still gorgeous, by the way) and Lyric Man. But there's something about the colour prism through which perfumer Elise Benat has projected these materials that makes you think of Mediterranean pine trees and Nutella beignets enjoyed beneath a midday sun. The herbs are pushed to extremes of greenness (the press notes mention galbanum) and then they're softened with a bouncing, curvy, soapy lemon that renders them chatty and approachable as they ease their way into the drydown.

It is at this point that the jovial mood becomes somewhat more forced: the facets that produce the cheerfulness at the start reveal a few overly-synthetic edges and mar the illusion. Perhaps this is the price we have to pay for the composition’s commendable tenacity. If it is, I'm not complaining, because for one thing, it isn't especially exorbitant, and for another, it doesn't detract from the colour and vibrancy of what has come before. If Chong’s beach parties start as well as this one does, I hope to get an invite some day. I can always leave early if things become a bit boring.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Amouage in 2017.]


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