Amouage Memoir Woman ~ fragrance review

Amouage Memoir fragrance

To spin an old maxim, there are two kinds of people in the world: minimalists and maximalists. (You also might say the two types of people in the world are those who think there are two types of people and those who don't.) Minimalists cleave to the simple and pure. Minimalists keep a tidy house, have matching coffee mugs, and tend closets with white, button-down shirts hanging in the same direction. This doesn't mean a minimalist is boring. Beautiful things stem from a few, synergistic ingredients. Think of a green apple on a white plate. Or Jean-Claude Ellena.

Maximalists, on the other hand, walk around with pet hair adhered to their hind ends. They sing with Maria Callas on the stereo while pushing away wine glasses on the counter from two nights ago to make room for the mango they are massacring for a recipe they jotted down from a seafood vendor they met on the bus. Maximalists hang taxidermied trout on the wall next to a tiny 19th-century oil painting they bought at auction, all looking down on a collection of swirling Murano glass ashtrays blown in Elvis's heyday.

Amouage traditionally appeals to the maximalist, and with good reason. Amouage fragrances are often baroque meanderings through One Thousand and One Nights, complete with drunken fields of flowers, urns of spices, and enough incense to choke the pope. Amouage Jubilation 25 is one of my favorite fragrances, a flurry of elegance and sex, and to me Amouage Lyric Woman is a all about frankincense, roses, and power.

Amouage Memoir Woman continues the maximalist trend, but adds leather, wormwood, and moss to the mix. Perfumers Daniel Maurel and Dorothée Piot created Memoir Woman. Amouage classifies it as a "leather animalic chypre" and lists its notes as mandarin, cardamom, absinthe, pink pepper, pepper, clove, white flowers, rose, jasmine, wood, frankincense, styrax, oakmoss, castoreum, leather, labdanum, fenugreek, and musk. It is a maximalist's dream — a panoply of ingredients to navigate, from sweet, tart citrus to spice to pepper to cloud-like leather.

But here's the thing about maximalism. You'd think minimalism requires a lot of discipline, but I believe maximalism requires even more. For a maximalist to create a successful aesthetic experience, she must hold within her the crazy bits she's gathered, from the ends of pungent cheeses in her produce drawer to the collection of 1940s home economics textbooks on her shelf to the Guerlain Shalimar-scented handkerchief she tucks in her purse — all to create the rich, complex world she loves. It's a tornado of pattern only she knows. And there are so many ways the tornado can go haywire.

On my skin, Memoir Woman goes haywire about half an hour into its wearing. Memoir starts with a syrupy mandarin orange and sweet, cloud-like leather. Its pepper is just as soft as the leather and starts me thinking of marketing a new liqueur made of leather and pepper and orange, and how genius that would be. Memoir's wormwood and cardamom are subtle. At this point, I'm sold. I'm calculating which books I could sell to buy a bottle, or who I could pester for a decant.

Then, the tornado swallows the trailer. A dense, fruity note develops. It's probably some olfactory illusion stemming from a collision of fragrance molecules that aren't dissipating on my skin in the order the perfumers envisioned. The sticky clash smells like an old leather glove smeared with jam, sharpened with jasmine, and moistened with the dank water scent of incense. Instead of radiating from my skin like it's a part of me, Memoir Woman begins to feel put on, like I'm wearing an unbecoming hat. I'm out of balance. The vague, fruity whine persists right up until Memoir dies on my skin. I don't get much moss or even too much of a chypre feel.

Maybe it's just me. I'd love to hear from those of you on whom Memoir Woman has been more successful. For now, I'll rely on last night's Comme des Garçon Avignon layered with a morning spritz of Lancôme Cuir de Lancôme to give me exotic, yet sweet, pillowy leather, at a fraction of the price.

Amouage Memoir Woman Eau de Parfum comes in a 50 or 100 ml bottle for $250 and $280 respectively. For information on where to buy Memoir, see Amouage under Perfume Houses.

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172 Comments

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  1. Jonette says:

    Another wonderfully penned review from you, Angela. I fit so well into your description of a maximalist , it’s eerie! I am dying to sample this, but the only shop in Holland that carried it has closed. I will have to order a sample online. I adore Epic Woman, but have not been enthralled by some of the other Amouages. I will report back at a future date, after I’ve tried this. I’m curious to read how others experienced it.

    • Angela says:

      Please do let me know what you think of it! I’m a big fan of Jub 25 and Lyric, and I reach for my decant of Epic often, but Memoir turned into a bit of a train wreck on my skin.

  2. Dolly2 says:

    Sorry to hear that. I am a big fan of Dia Man myself(Yes I ordered it for the husband last year and I liked it so much I wore it too.) and Gold as well. The sweet thing doesn’t really appear to me.

    • Angela says:

      I like Dia man, too! And Gold Man and Jub XXV. Maybe this one wouldn’t be as fruity on you as it turns on me, though.

  3. Dolly2 says:

    That was appeal to me.

    • Angela says:

      I knew just what you meant.

  4. miss kitty v. says:

    It’s actually my big plan to try this next week. I’m glad to read this first– I can breathe easier knowing there’s a chance that it might blow, and I won’t want to sell books to buy it. (Although you’ve given me an idea… I *could* sell books to buy other things. I’m contemplating selling all of my psychology books to commemorate leaving the counseling profession.) So far none of the Amouages have been must-haves for me, although Ubar is on the borderline.

    • miss kitty v. says:

      By the way, you’ve described me very well in describing the maximalist. ;)

      • Angela says:

        That must be why we get along so well!

        I’ve developed a new obsession with Murano glass ashtrays, and in two months of visits to Goodwill have picked up about seven of them…

        • Dolly2 says:

          I love going to thrift stores! The bigger and older, the better. It’s so cathartic for me to go and dig for buried treasure. I would love to go on the road with the History Channel’s American Pickers. To think they don’t even look for vintage perfume. Shame!

          • Angela says:

            I’m with you, D. It’s relaxing for me to sort through junk. The occasional score keeps me coming back!

    • Angela says:

      I wouldn’t mind a bottle of Ubar, either….Must look at bookshelves again.

      Be sure to let me know what you think of Memoir!

  5. Jill says:

    Oh wow … love this review and love your descriptions of minimalist/maximalist (the maximalist description is SO me — although I love Jean-Claude Ellena so I’m not sure what that means!). I have not had much success with Amouage (Lyric probably works best for me but I don’t love it), but your review has me so intrigued about this one I will try it!

    • Angela says:

      It’s probably better if you don’t like it, since the Amouages are so darned expensive. And Jean-Claude has a few maximalist creations under his belt, too (thinking of VCA First.)

  6. My fiance’ is most definitely a minimalist — he seriously dries down the shower every morning to make it easier to clean, has organized my clothes by colour and style coordination in the closet; the only ‘clutter’ to speak of is his car key and wrist watch deftly placed on top of a shelf. His room before we moved in together was sparsely but tastefully decorated with modern furniture and Chinese antique pottery. I’ve added in my own little personal affects and insist on keeping fresh roses around.

    I on the other hand came from a space that literally looked like a bottle of Amouage had a party in it. All dark rich woods and embroidered silks, steamer trunks & pillows tossed around. It was a space that while tidy had a certain Bohemian carelessness to it. I kept dried roses hanging from my 4 poster bed, I burned incense and candles and kept a stack of leather bound volumes pertaining to various histories sitting on a bedside table.

    We’ve already discussed the compromises we’re going to have to make once we buy a place of our own and I bring in all my exotic flare. We balance each other though I won’t deny that his OCD tendencies don’t drive me up a wall some weekends.

    That said, I need to go sniff this or see if I can weasle a free sample out of this lovely SA at a local perfume boutique just to see how it develops. I recently bought a bottle of Epic Woman and have been wearing it almost consistently for days. It might be the most perfect perfume ever to me and am surprised I didn’t pay it any mind before. It captures everything I’ve wanted to convey through a perfume. Jubliation 25 unfortunately initially was a cumin party on my skin and I detested it until after about an hour or so it faded to a nice floral chypre, but I’m not certain if I can get past the opening enough to warrant a FB.

    I’m scared to try more of these lest I end up falling helplessly in love with them. Anything that’s vaguely Middle Eastern tends to steal my heart.

    • Angela says:

      I love your description of your boho home! Good luck melding styles with your sweetie. You might come up with something fabulous between the two of you, though.

      I know what you mean about the cumin in Jub 25. It makes it difficult to wear sometimes, but when it’s right, it’s perfection.

      • I think our problem is our backgrounds more than anything. He spent most of his life in Beijing & Hong Kong so his aesthetic is entirely different from mine. I spent my teens and college years studying Old World, Ancient & Middle Eastern history. To put this into prospective, when he smells CdG Avignon he thinks of Buddhist temples, I think of medieval cathedrals. Completely different associations. I dream about an eventual second home in Instabul, he wants one in Hong Kong. I’m working on him though. The Battle of Hastings came up in one of his property law books and he had to come to me for answers. Lol. We’re a nice pair all things considered.

        And I noticed the cumin when the SA initially sprayed it on a tester card and honestly I have bad associations w/ cumin & BO b/c it is such a pungent spice that tends to permeate everything. Where tea and sour Oud are what I smell initially with Epic Woman, with Jubilation 25, it’s all cumin. I was honestly a little self concious — all right VERY self concious — while wearing it because I was concerned someone was going to misinterpret it.

        • boojum says:

          Sorry to hijack but… the feature article in the travel section of of this Sunday’s paper was on Istanbul. I set it aside in case you’d like it. If so, you can find me under the same name on MUA; if not, I’ll recycle.

          • That’s so thoughtful of you. I’ll definitely send you over a message on MUA. Thanks!

          • Angela says:

            That’s nice of you!

        • Angela says:

          You sound like a fascinating couple–you’d be great dinner companions, I bet, lots of great conversation.

  7. mals86 says:

    “Enough incense to choke the Pope.” Sputter. That one made me really, really sorry I read it – if only because I’m recovering from a terrible cough, and laughing makes my chest hurt.

    I tend to lean in the “more is more” direction myself, which must be why I tend to love big kitchen-sink florals. Memoir didn’t captivate me from the description, and I think it will probably land on the “don’t care if I ever test it, though I would if in the unlikely event I run across it” list.

    Wore Cuir de Lancome last night, in an attempt to distract myself from the aching chest. It helped… somewhat.

    • Angela says:

      I’m so sorry about your aching chest! Ouch. I hope you’re drinking lots of liquids and taking it easy so you get better ASAP.

      Memoir may not be your thing, is my guess, but you never know.

      Isn’t Cuir de Lancome nice? And such a bargain, too.

  8. Gilty says:

    Fun review, Angela. Laughing at the tornado swallowing the trailer!

    Memoir Woman is one of my favorite launches of the year. It’s incredibly well blended but the notes that stand out for me are the absinthe, moss, and frankincense. Thankfully I get no fruit and little fenugreek…but alas, no leather either, although I’m hoping, upon repeated tries, I’ll find the leather…

    • Angela says:

      I’m so glad to hear from someone it works on! I got lots of leather–the soft, sweet, pliable glove leather that is almost edible. I didn’t get much in the way of fenugreek either.

    • Daisy says:

      funny because I get loads of fenugreek….cardamom….leather….for a few minutes I get some immortelle, but now that you’ve mentioned the fruit note, I’m wondering if I’m picking up a few moments of fenugreek and fruit…but the fruit goes away pretty quickly. After a while it’s mostly cardamom and leather. Cool. :-)

      • Angela says:

        It sounds like it is MUCH better on you! I’m jealous.

  9. I think I lean more to the maximalist. I loved this, MUCH more than I did the Memoire Man. Thanks for the review Angela. :)

    • Gilty says:

      Agree, the Memoir Man didn’t quite work for me either. After a nice start, I got too much of that harsh amber/woody note…

      • Angela says:

        That doesn’t sound too good.

    • Angela says:

      I still need to get out my sample of Memoir Man and try it!

  10. Alma_matters says:

    Unfortunately, Memoir Woman works more than fine on my skin. So does Memoir Man, which I love even more. And these are the first two Amouages that I actually like! What a double blow.

    • Angela says:

      Oh boy, that is a tough one! At least they’ll probably be around for a while so you can make some peace with your pocketbook.

    • Daisy says:

      I’m sure there’ll be more splits of these—they’re new, they’re spendy, they’ll be split.

      • Angela says:

        Splits are such a good way to have some expensive fragrance of your own.

  11. AnnS says:

    Angela: Nice review! “enough incense to choke the pope” – ha, ha, that is about as funny as it gets. I often wonder if I’d like incense more if I hadn’t gone to Catholic school.

    I don’t think that Memoir will work for me, but who knows? I love wormwoood, but leather is tricky for me. My fav Amouage are Lyric Woman and Gold for Men. Ubar is the only oriental fragrance I ever felt was too big to wear. It is always a relief for my fragrance budget when I don’t like an Amouage.

    I’m thinking for the next lazy poll, a question like: “are you a maximalist or a minimalist and what is your fav corresponding fragrance” would be a lot of fun. I am a minimalist trapped in a maximalist’s body!

    • Angela says:

      Gold for Men is really lovely, I agree. I also agree on how nice it is not to fall for an Amouage. Those that I love are really wonderful, I think, but I can’t afford to fall in love too often!

      A minimalist trapped in a maximalist’s body! That’s a great image and will keep me thinking for a while.

      • AnnS says:

        It’s the best way to summarize my continuous battle between order and chaos, simplicity and drama, enough and more, etc.

      • Daisy says:

        hmmm, my maximalist side has my minimalist side securely detained with a judicial application of duct tape ……

        • AnnS says:

          Now I know what happened to my roll of hot pink duct tape!!

          • Daisy says:

            I wouldn’t want to be caught in plain old silver duct tape. :-)

    • Haunani says:

      That would be a great poll topic, Ann!

    • Ann, I’m always really tentative when wearing Avignon around my father-in-law because his mother was very devoutly Catholic and he was kind of traumatized as a small child by it. Something about the censors and imagery that frightened him & then having to dress up for Church and what not. With something that smells that close to High Mass I don’t want to bring back any unpleasant memories.

      Also, that would be a fabulous poll. I’d love to see the replies to that.

      • AnnS says:

        Yes, incense and the church are tricky for sure. It’s more pedestrian dislike for me – nothing fun about the smell of having to go to church. I’m programmed for it to be a “boring” smell. I can take it in very small doses in well blended fragrances though. Both the Jubilations are a big NO for me though.

      • Dolly2 says:

        For me being Catholic, the whole thing was the kneeling, standing, sitting. I remembered smelling incense once and thought that I should have brought my own because whatever it was didn’t smell right.

        • AnnS says:

          That makes sense. — I recall when I was in Greece noticing that the incense they burned over there in the Orthodox church wasn’t the same as what I was accustomed to in Catholic church.

      • Angela says:

        Maybe smelling incense on you will divest your father in law of his nasty associations.

      • nozknoz says:

        K, your comment makes me wonder about incense perfumes and how the perfumers who composed them feel about them. For example, whether the Catholic perfumers tend to shy away from composing incense perfumes or not, or if composing an incense perfume might not even be a form of rebellion (like that Madonna video with the crucifix and priest)…or the opposite, like Dolly feeling like the incense should be better and trying to create the most heavenly incense. Wishing I could ask the perfumers…

        • Angela says:

          What an interesting question!

    • Jill says:

      I love that poll idea too!

  12. Andrea D says:

    There are three kinds of people in this world: those who can count, and those who can’t.

    I’m a Amouage Epic Woman, although this winter, the Opuses are speaking to me. Currently working through Opus I, which starts out beautiful, goes a little insane, and then calms down into something lovely. Waiting on my two other Opus samples.

    • Angela says:

      That’s funny!

      I have little vials of the two opuses, and in my tiny bit of sampling them neither one blew me away. But I haven’t really given them a fair try yet, either.

    • lemonprint says:

      OMG I fell in love with Opus I. I fear trying new Amouages now – I’m always afraid they will be fantastic, and all too often they are. Fortunately Memoir Woman isn’t doing anything for me. I’m trying to figure out how to get a bottle of Opus I despite already blowing my treat budget for the fall on a bottle of Like This and two bottles of vintage Ubar.

      • Angela says:

        You’re already doing pretty well to have two bottles of vintage Ubar at hand!

  13. Haunani says:

    What a great review, Angela! My favorite line: “Then, the tornado swallows the trailer.” You have scared me away from this one for good.

    Mostly minimalist here, but I occasionally enjoy symphonic fragrances like Boucheron, Lyric Woman, and Sabi. And I have a closet from hell. ;-)

    • Angela says:

      Sometimes I wonder if basements and closets mirror the subconscious. If that’s true, though, I’ll be dragged to a psych ward in no time.

      • Haunani says:

        You would have plenty of company. :-)

        • Daisy says:

          I’m certain I’d be on the welcoming committee…

      • ggperfume says:

        Roz Chast did a good cartoon on that– “every home has the Kitchen Drawer of the Subconscious”, to paraphrase badly.

        • Angela says:

          As usual, Chaz hits the nail on the head!

  14. I am most definitely a minimalist – Amouage and Mona Di Orio are two really scary houses for me and I just know without going near it that Memoir would be my nemesis. I see a little bit of crossover between this polarity and a scale of “bland to weird” I came up with the other day, where 1 is a liking for simple, even bland scents, and 10 is an appreciation for the innovative/rampantly peculiar. Not quite the same thing but still. On that scale I sat squarely at 4, veering to 3 on my more timorous days. I’d be a 3-4 on an equivalent min/max one too I reckon!

    Give me Vanilla & Anise, Bois Naufrage or Perfect Veil any day…

    : – )

    • Angela says:

      I sure can’t fault your taste! Those are such nice fragrances. But didn’t you also fall for Amaranthine? I’d consider that one borderline maximalist.

      • You are absolutely right to point out the inconsistency here! Flittersniffer for a reason… : – )

        Amaranthine is a fabulous scent, and I haven’t changed my view on it, however, I realise it is too “big” a fragrance for me to feel quite “myself” wearing it. And have in fact only worn it twice in the past year.

        • Angela says:

          I have a few fragrances like that, too. I love them, but they’re for particular times only.

  15. Joe says:

    Hi Angela. So nice to see you on a Friday (and I’m still heartbroken to have missed the sniffa with you last Saturday!).

    It’s sad that this falls apart on you. I just got a large spray sample last weekend and — like everything Amouage — I think it’s very elegant, well-done, and baroque (of course). I’m glad I didn’t jump on the decant bandwagon right away, but I might want one some day.

    It’s funny, but there’s something to my nose that immediately says jasmine and/or tuberose when I put this on. I often confuse those notes when they’re in their indolic form, and I’m still perplexed by the vague listing of “white flowers” in the notes alongside jasmine. Daisy mentioned that there’s an immortelle feeling to her, and I could see that in the syrupy opening. Still… I wonder why the white flowers are the high notes that rise above the baroque swirl of a base to me.

    I’ll have to hunt for the leather when I give this another, more proper wear sometime soon. I think it’s a lovely scent; I’d just rather save my pennies for a full bottle of Epic Woman. Do you own any FBs of Amouage? I only have one of those terrific 1oz bottles of XXV.

    • Angela says:

      On me the leather comes out loud and clear, but it’s a soft leather, not an oily saddle leather. I loved those 1 oz bottles! I wish they’d bring them back. I have a 1-ouncer of Jub 25 and a big bottle of Lyric.

      Too bad you missed SF. I was around for less than an hour of sniffing, but the dinner company was terrific, and I did buy the Carnal Flower travel set.

    • ggperfume says:

      Joe, I do hope you can join us on one of the SF outings– perhaps next spring? Tama is a wonderful tour guide. I think all who participated look forward to a return visit.

      • Angela says:

        Or, you can all come up to Portland!

        • ggperfume says:

          I’ve been thinking of it!

  16. KL says:

    Love the review, and was eagerly awaiting a review on Memoir woman! Unfortunately I didn’t love the fragrance. Now “enough incense to choke the pope” I do love, the line, not the choking of the pope himself…
    I was severely dissapointed with Memoir. I don’t get the fact that it’s described as a “leathery animalic chypre”. I was expecting total bliss from Amouage but I was left in the dumps hoping for so much more. On me it smells cloying and more like an 80′s mens high-powered fruity floral. I don’t get any leather and no moss at all. It reminds me of JOOP for men (the original). Everyone please go search your sample drawers for comparison!! Amouage for men was dissapointing as well, boring!

    • Angela says:

      It sounds like our skin must have responded similarly to Memoir. I agree, the description as an animalic leather chypre was killer, and I love the black bottles, too. Still, I suppose it’s for the best that it didn’t work out divinely on me.

      • KL says:

        Yes, my checkbook is glad it didn’t work out for me. I do, too, love those black bottles! Can’t wait for one in the most deepest amethyst color with hopefully some gorgeous smellin’ juice.

        • Angela says:

          That sounds good to me, too!

  17. Tama says:

    The tornado line made me snicker, too! I have been pretty seriously afraid of trying the Amouages. I have a few to try, but keep avoiding them for fear I will fall into the hole. My Guerlain habit is already expensive enough!

    I guess I will have to come out of hiding eventually. Maybe I will be one of those lucky few for whom they are “meh”.

    • Angela says:

      Only if you’re lucky….

  18. meg says:

    I was eagerly awaiting this review and am so sorry that it doesn’t work for you. (Fantastically thoughtful and entertaining review though – thank you!) On me, it’s gorgeous, celestial, and I almost sprung for a full bottle – but, wouldn’t you know it? I’m finally starting to accept that I’m a minimalist at heart…

    • Angela says:

      I’m so glad it’s great on you! Honestly, I should bring my sample into work and try it on a few more people to see how it smells on someone else. On me it goes south way too quickly.

      • meg says:

        It sounds like what Lyric did on me. I really loved it several times I tried it, but if I apply even the tiniest bit too much, then huge clouds of rotting fruit follow me around all day, inciting both headaches and nausea.

        • Angela says:

          Yikes! That sounds horrible! Lyric is way less fruity on me than Memoir. It just goes to show how different bodies combust perfume, I guess.

  19. Lanuitdemiel says:

    A keen review, as always, Angela.
    Memoir Woman, as well as other Amouages, make sense to me when I remember LT’s description of Jubilation 25 as “Catherine Deneuve … speaking fluent Arabic.” Yes, the Amouges are all classic perfumes in the manner of most opulent, baroque vein in French perfumery – and yet, they are not native speakers. One can tell an odd (to a Westerner) note or accent while absolutely getting the message.
    My impression of Memoir is that of a beatiful woman who perhaps just got off a long trip through the desert where dry winds blew sand in her face, and the smoke from the night fire soaked her clothes while she wrapped in animal skins to keep warm. But the trip is over now, and a blooming oasis full of fragrant blossoms and soothing waters is ready to embrace her after her journey.
    A nice, fairytale-like picture – but try to apply it to a modern (say, downtown Houston) setting, and it may or may not make sense to one’s nose.

    • Angela says:

      I adore your description! Many of the Amouages definitely speak to me, and on paper this one did, too. On skin, not so much. If it smelled on me as beautiful as your description I’d have a bottle in my hands right now.

  20. neeks says:

    Hi! Thanks for the review, I’m sorry this didn’t work for you, and happy for your credit card.

    I received my itsy bitsy decant of this and tried it out just today, so the timing of the review couldn’t be better for me. I didn’t get much fruit, but there was some BIG green thing, which I guess is the absinth/wormwood note. Not green like plants, more sweet and mildly jarring. Certainly interesting, not sure if I like it or just like the novelty of a note that’s not familiar for me. All on a background of many expensive smelling well blended things.
    This line really is the orchestra of the fragrance world.

    Also I think I am the maximalist trying to be the minimalist, and it’s not working.

    • Angela says:

      See, and I barely get that green note! I feel cheated.

      Give up those minimalist leanings if they don’t work. I’ve tried it, too, and it doesn’t work for me. I sure admire people who value aesthetic serenity, though.

    • boojum says:

      Oh, me too! I keep sorting through things in my house, trying desperately to declutter… but feel like I’m making no headway at all.

      • Angela says:

        I have two bags now by the front door that are ready to go to Goodwill. It feels good to get rid of things. But still I manage to sneak in the odd coffee cup or Murano glass bowl….

  21. Ines says:

    I feel lucky now that it worked right on me, but then again most orientals do. I like it very much, it feels like a more proper version of Caravelle Epicee which I adore so anything that reminds me of it but displays some differences is something I’d like to have. But I still cannot for the life of me understand how is this supposed to be a chypre?

    • Angela says:

      I don’t get much of the chypre-ness either–it’s more like a fruity-leathery oriental on me. But there very well could be all kinds of oakmoss, etc., under there that I don’t smell.

  22. hollyc says:

    Memoir Woman did not work for me. Reminded me greatly of Montale’s Aoud Queen Roses which is one of my “bury me with a bottle” faves. I suspect I’m a maximalist, cuz in my mind, “Less” is just less!!! Memoir seemed to lose it’s way shortly after I applied it and become a hot mess of spices and I don’t know what but I know I didn’t like it one bit. I’m one of the ‘Turin reviled’ who happens to love Ciel (100 ml. check) and Reflection (100 ml. check). And someday, Jubilation and Gold will be mine! But not Memoir, much, much, much prefer AQR any day. Always a delight to see your reviews Angela.

    • Angela says:

      It’s sounding more and more like Memoir is a “mood ring” perfume that plays differently on everyone!

  23. alotofscents says:

    I’m definately a maxi, says my hair laden ass…that did not come out right.
    When it comes to fragrance I like them more fresh than not-must be because I’m a left handed Gemini. Does Amouage make something overladen with flowers? I’m a floral-woody musk girl, or gaga for anything that smells like flowers. I want to try Amouage, but I’m not sure if I want to spend a ton of money to smell creative, that is not an insult because I like Bulgari Black and Black orchid and Profumum’s Amber Aurea.

    • Angela says:

      I wonder if you’d like Ubar? To me it’s a big, sparkling floral lemonade.

      Funny about the hair-laden you-know-what…

      • alotofscents says:

        Thank you Angela. I will visit Luckyscent and get a sample. Brilliant writing by the way. I hope you get paid for your talent. You really should. ;)

        • Angela says:

          I do get paid, thank you. But really, the biggest payment comes from being part of this perfume community. I really enjoy it.

    • hollyc says:

      Try Ciel, it’s a beautifully crafted white flowers scent. I usually loathe those, but Amouage has a way of doing everything that just takes it to another level. They can just hoover the money right out of my wallet . . . . I’m sooo weak!!

      • Angela says:

        I think I have a sample of Ciel around somewhere. I’ll have to try it, too.

  24. annemarie says:

    I’m a minimalist, not that these are hard and fast categories, are they? I have a tidy house, and insist on a tidy kitchen, but my desk at work is a disaster. One of the problems of being a minimalist is that people tend to assume that you are a control freak, which I am not. Similarly, maximalists may have to endure accusations of being lazy and untidy – equally unfair.

    Perfume-wise, I suppose I am more at the austere green end of things, although with many exceptions. Considering Ellena, he was not always a minimalist. I often wonder what happened. Did he decide after creating First he just could not do that sort of thing any more? I’m not a fan of First – too much going on.

    • Angela says:

      These are definitely not hard and fast categories–consider them very loose definitions that I pulled out of my ear. While I like lots of visual stimulation and have what I like to call “bohemian” housekeeping skills, I am really picky about some things. I have to restrain myself from jumping behind the bar in some restaurants when I see them sloppy with their martinis and, except on roadtrips, I refuse to drink bad coffee. I won’t wear an ill-fitting bra and steam comes out my ears when I see books mistreated.

      • 50_Roses says:

        I don’t drink bad coffee either. I make my own coffee in the morning and take it to work with me because I don’t like the nasty brown water everyone else drinks there. One of my coworkers claims to like “strong coffee”. I told him his coffee would have to be twice as strong as it is in order to be weak coffee. I also love books, and maintain you can NEVER throw away a book. You can give it away–to a friend, charity, or whatever—or you can sell it, but I believe there should be hefty fines (and possibly jail time) for anyone who throws books away.

        • Angela says:

          It sounds like we see eye to eye on these things!

        • boojum says:

          I actually threw one out just today…but it was a badly damaged child’s board book. I don’t think that counts.

          • Angela says:

            I’ll trust you on that one.

        • annemarie says:

          I put a Caleb Carr novel in the bin once. Overwritten, dripping with extraneous words and pointless incidents that built to pointless, non-climaxes. I know i should not have binned it but I was on holiday and could not face carrying it around any more when I hated it so much. Forgive me.

          • 50_Roses says:

            I understand, and I wasn’t really serious about the fines and jail time. I just really love books and never can bear to throw them out–it just seems wrong. Really, my issue is with people who do it routinely. I mentioned something once about having a lot of “paperbacks” and was told “Oh, with those you just read it once and then throw it away!” That really got me. I guess I just don’t like to throw out anything that I think someone else could use. Not everyone can readily afford to pay full price, and I just think it makes sense to reuse whatever is still useful, rather than putting it in a landfill.

          • Angela says:

            I think that, actually, shows a deep love for novels. It sounds like you couldn’t bear to put anyone else through that experience.

  25. crowflower says:

    I have a sample of Ubar, but at least the last time I tried it I was unmoved. Who knows, I might love this Memoir.
    I am currently being intrigued by Dune–I keep spraying it and trying to decide why I like it.
    I thought about selling off some of my bottles, but it’s not because I want to be a minimalist, it’s because I would use the proceeds to buy other bottles.

    • Angela says:

      I firmly consider myself a maximalist, but I’ve pared down my collection, too. It feels so much nicer to know you love rather than just kind of like each bottle of perfume you have, you know?

      I can set you up with a decant of Dune, by the way.

      • crowflower says:

        I must confess I bought a bottle unsniffed off the Bay for 10.00.

    • 50_Roses says:

      I am with you there. I actually hate the thought of keeping perfume I don’t like, as I know someone must like it and would appreciate it. As a certified maximalist (married to another maximalist) I have decided that it is OK to have a lot of stuff, as long as it is stuff you use. Getting rid of things you truly need, use, or love makes no sense unless you (1) desperately need to money you can get from selling them; (2) are moving to a smaller space and have to reduce your possessions; or (3) are giving away to help someone who needs them more. On the other hand, getting rid of stuff you do not need, use, or love makes a lot of sense.

      • Angela says:

        Yes, I completely agree. Being a maximalist is not the same as being a hoarder! It just means we have a complex aesthetic that thrives on stimulation. I don’t like having things unless I use them or find them beautiful.

        • hollyc says:

          Oh Angela, good one!! Next time my husband rolls his eyes at our mail box birthing yet another box of perfume, I’ll tell him I have a complex aesthetic that thrives on stimulation!! I’ll let you know how it goes !

          • Angela says:

            Good luck with that!

        • ggperfume says:

          To quote William Morris, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”, to which I add “or find amusing or sentimentally evocative”.

          • Angela says:

            …which is a kind of beauty in itself.

      • ggperfume says:

        I second you on all your points, ‘Roses.

  26. March says:

    Great review, Angie. You, of course, are a maximalist. I am not interested in trying this perfume as much as I am by the idea of Lancome Cuir layered with Avignon, on my to-try list when I find my Avignon… thought of you today when (this hardly ever happens to me) I scored a cool bottle in a thrift store — BNIB Fidji with a fancy atomizer attachment (separate in the box.) Now I just have to figure out how to get the top off the bottle.

    • Angela says:

      What a score! When you get that lid off, be sure to tell me how it smells. Fidji is a perfume I’ve only smelled fleetingly.

  27. mough says:

    Late to the party, as typical of a Maximalist, and SO loved the review, and, it happens, Homage Attar, thanks to you all and your suggestions, is the One I bought in fb. I guard it with my French Beauceron dog, along with my cocaine-addicted Icelandic horse. I can go from Homage to Chocolate Greedy in one day and be totally happy with myself. Someone stole my boyfriend’s magazines off his plane seat, and I went down the aisle, wearing Francis K’s Absolue Pour Le Soir, and when I found the guilty face, and he lied to me–and no woman wearing a cumin-based scent will sit still for a lie– I said to hand over the magazines or I’d beat it out of him. I actually said that. And he handed it over. But not the Playboy, only the Esquire. So I said I’d count to three, and whoever had my boyfriend’s Playboy (the fiction issue, natch) he’d better put his hand up or, again, it’d be beaten out of them. An older lady had it, had taken it from HER husband, who got it from the first thief, and said she was “sitting on it” to keep her husband from seeing “filth.” Give. Me. That. Magazine. NOW. I shook my finger at the lot of them and sillaged myself back to 2A, which I thought was an upgrade, and turned out to be the same size as the rest of the lousy plane. I can get away with this behavior because I am 50, have Emmylou Harris white hair and no one expects it. And tomorrow I go play congas with a man with no teeth and plays the guitar. I’ll be wearing Absolue again. Kick some butt if there are any hecklers.

    • Angela says:

      Well now! Spoken like a woman no one should mess with. Have a good time with that sillage and those congas!

    • miss kitty v. says:

      The cocaine-addicted Icelandic horse– lol! ;)

    • nozknoz says:

      LOL – MFK AplS should come with the warning label: Wield It Wisely!

      • Daisy says:

        uh-huh…and the addendum: “Hands off those magazines!”

      • mough says:

        I KNOW. Imagine someone wearing Love’s Baby Soft, as I did as a teen, and pulling that off. No way, Jose. Sillage Creates Courage. I wish it came in a big Cowboy Magic or Mane and Tail-size bottle, and I could squirt it on my horses so they’d be brave about the lions and snakes around here. I’m onto something, I just know it…

        • Angela says:

          Perfume as snake and magazine-stealer repellent! It might need to be carefully marketed, but it could work.

        • Daisy says:

          Just be careful—-we’ve seen from previous posts that Big Cats actually find fragrances intriguing …..what was it the zoo tigers liked best? Opium? or Obsession? …..

          • nozknoz says:

            I think it was Obsession.

            It’s funny in the context of this post to realize that minimalist designer Calvin Klein lends his name to fragrances that are anything but! :-)

  28. Dixie says:

    I thought something was wrong with me! But I’m merely a maximalist! You particularly pegged me on the animal hair…..

    • Angela says:

      I realize some maximalists may not have pet hair sticking to them, but I’m such an animal lover I just had to add it!

      • Dixie says:

        It’s the next morning and I’m much more energetic than when I read this last night!

        Angela, I think this ranks as one of the best reviews I’ve ever read (Kevin held that spot before)!
        1. The minimalist and maximalist contrast.
        2. The maximalist paragraph is genius (the taxidermist trout next to a 19th century oil painting….)
        3.”enough incense to choke the pope”-I join mals on this one, it sent me laughing off my chair
        4.Jubilation 25 a flurry of elegance and sex–hmmmm, I’ll have to sniff again to see if I get that (for I surely wouldn’t want to miss out on that!)
        5.Tornado swallows the trailer

        Your review was a great ending to my day, Angela!

        • Angela says:

          I’m glad you enjoyed the review! It was very nice of you to list what you liked, too. I’m proud to be in the running with Kevin’s terrific reviews.

      • dee says:

        …I’m currently covered in Akita hair, Balinese hair, and live in a peignoir set (when not at work, obviously). My husband can’t tolerate a dirty coffee cup left near the sink.
        Can’t wait to try Memoir. ;)

        • Angela says:

          I sense a short story in there somewhere….

          • dee says:

            I’ll call it “the crazy train.” :)

  29. Kitty says:

    Angela, thanks so much for the review & everyone for their comments. Happily (or sadly), Memoir smells wonderful on me and I’m getting lots of compliments. Not much leather, but no craziness either and an exquisite incense. So far all of the Amouages smell splendid on me except Gold. I’m hoping future ones don’t work in me. I’m definitely a maximalist re fragrance and reforming as to the rest of my life! More room for perfume….. Have a great weekend everyone.

    • Angela says:

      It sounds like you are the perfect Amouage model! Lucky you. Start saving up, it sounds like you’ll be needing a bottle of Memoir.

  30. ol rait says:

    When I dabbed for the first time, I definitely smelled the liqueur-like combination of pink pepper, leather, and fruit. And I liked it but it was definitely a viscous sort of smell. I wish I hadn’t misplaced my sample, though. I hadn’t formed a definite opinion on it.

    Also, “enough incense to choke the pope” made me laugh. Well done. :3

    • Angela says:

      It sounds like we had the same take on it. I’m surprised at how different Memoir seems to be smelling on people, though. If it wasn’t for that fruit note (or fruit-like note) choking off half the fragrance for me, it would be a whole different experience.

  31. nozknoz says:

    Angela, great post and discussion – huge thanks! Totally agree that maximalism takes much more control to curate into an attractive environment rather than the aftermath of the tornado. I guess that’s why I’ve gravitated toward minimalist dress, even though I’d enjoy a more boho style, just due to lack of time.

    One of my favorite decor books is Tokyo: a Certain Style by Kyoichi Tsuzuki (Chronicle Books). I was a huge Japanophile in college, but the perfect, spare interiors always haunted me with nagging guilt until I found this tiny book of photos of real Japanese homes stuffed with possessions. Also love the author’s wry observations – e.g., he refers to one organizing principle for those tiny spaces as “the cockpit approach.”

    • Angela says:

      And isn’t Japan the birthplace of wabisabi? An excellent philosophy if I ever heard one.

      • ggperfume says:

        Wabisabi is good. I also like to think of my house and yard as displaying my taste for desuetude. (Sorry, two acute accents are needed there, but I haven’t figured how to get them in place).

    • ggperfume says:

      The “cockpit approach”– sadly, my spaces more resemble the cockpit after the crash.

  32. Cheryl says:

    Another wonderful review, Angela! I just ordered a sample of Memoir earlier today.

    Jubilation 25 and Lyric Woman are my favorites from Amouage, too. Sweet goes even seeter on me so I’m not sure about about this one…

    • Cheryl says:

      That’s “sweeter” not “seeter.” Sorry!

    • Daisy says:

      Memoir does have a “sweetness” to it that the others lack….so let us know how the sampling goes.

    • Angela says:

      Please let me know what you think of it! To me, Memoir is less sweet than a sort of accidental sweetness caused by a mash-up as the fragrance unrolls, if that makes any sense.

  33. ggperfume says:

    Well, you’ve pegged me as a maximalist, from the pet hair onward. I haven’t yet tried any Amouages, however; my budget has told me to back off.
    I was so glad to meet you on our SF sniffa. Did you suggest the restaurant?– loved it, and have been recommending it to local friends. Enjoy your Bas de Soie! I’d be enjoying mine right now, but I’m sniveling with a cold. Good thing I hadn’t caught it a week earlier and been forced to miss the sniffathon– I would have been so disappointed!

    • Angela says:

      The restaurant was Tama’s choice. She rightly suspected I’d love a place that Sam Spade ate in, and she was right!

      I haven’t cracked the sample of Bas de Soie yet, but as soon as this Joy wear off, I’m going to put it on.

      It was great to meet you, too. I hope we meet again soon.

  34. helenviolette says:

    Thanks for the review Angela…I am afraid you have us maximalisters pegged :) I was happily relieved that this did not work for me either! It is so freeing to me when a way-expensive perfume I think I am doomed to love is something I can pass on! It did not feel like a chypre to me at all- and it reminded me a lot of Andy Warhol Silver Factory- sweet dr. pepper incense…phew. But I will thank you for my lusty new bottle of Mythique…I had been so good lately, decided to be really BAD and splurge. I put on the rest of my sample about a week ago- which I had sampled a few times and thought “lovely”- and then it SPOKE to me…so there ya go.

    • helenviolette says:

      upon review- I think I have implied that AWSF is not a fabulous scent (and it is)…My “phew” was a “thank goodness I don’t need this” sort of sigh of relief.

      • Angela says:

        I’ve felt that “phew” and welcomed it many times!

    • Angela says:

      I am still loving Mythique, too. I think of we Mythique fans as a secret society. We’ll have to come up some sort of handshake.

  35. Warum says:

    Angela,
    I love the way you weave the stories and thoughts about people into your perfume reviews and how-tos! Now I am wondering more about whether I am a minimalist or a maximalist (my husband definitely has no minimalist bone in his body!) then why I didn’t get offered Amouage Memoir while I was testing niche perfume in the Perfume Shoppe on my recent trip to Vancouver BC!
    Never tried any Amouages except Lyric Woman which I like but do not love.

    • Angela says:

      Do try the Amouages if you get the chance! Maybe Memoir works better on you than it did on me.

    • 50_Roses says:

      If you are not sure what you are, you are probably somewhere in the middle. You can generally classify a person as either male or female and either living or dead; most other attempts to divide people into two types are somewhat arbitrary and often it is more of a continuum rather than a strict either/or. For example, some people are tall and some are short, but many people are neither–they are about average in height. To consider two common personality designations, many people are neither morning people nor evening people, but more like midday or afternoon people. A lot of people are neither strongly introverted nor strongly extroverted, but somewhere in between. ( I have heard the term “ambivert” used for such individuals). Certainly there are people at the extreme ends of each of these scales (I am an introverted, maximalist, evening person to the core, as is my husband), but probably the majority of people are somewhere nearer the middle of the range in each case. Nevertheless, it is fun to think about these things and try to decide where we (and our family members, friends, and acquaintances) fit in. I personally like the word “maximalist” much better than “slob” or “pack rat”.

  36. Nlb says:

    This is slightly off topic, but I was contemplating your “Minimalist vs. Maximalist” quandary and had to share the kick I’ve been on for the past year. Like most sensualists (yes, we are all that–better to acknowledge it now, before the reptilian brain consumes you and launches a hedonistic, essence-sniffing zombie hellcat into that sensually muted, well-behaved world called “proper society”), I suspect we all battle “The Maximalist’s Dilemma” everyday; how to live a functional life, but with sensual passion and feeling? I’ve taken to re-organizing my living space by an aesthetic school I’ll call “coralled chaos”. Odds and ends I’ve been saving for years share a home with old plates, figurines and stamps, all glued to painted wall tins. I varnish the whole silly thing until it gleams like a Russian laquered brooch, then hang the tin on the wall (dried, of course). Clippings are made into collages in the same way, non-descript baskets, boxes and wall hooks are all painted the same color. My handwoven blankets, made by my aunt, my 1920s-30′s advertisements and illustrations, 1920s football fan gear, my barn star, English pillows, Mexican tiles, Japanese painted fans, watercolors, oil paintings and kitchen kitsch, my art deco accessories and travel prints, all share the space with a strange calm and ease, a kind of head-scratching uniformity and organization that seems totally unlikely, yet wholly harmonious. Everything feels neat, streamlined and polished, even though something akin to a Mad Hatter’s mess is up on my walls. The floors are clear, but for some black, green, red, mustard and blue English cottage rugs. But it works. Maybe this is what’s meant by a marriage of “Minimalist” and “Maximalist”? Are all fragrance freaks/perfumistas like this–a display of crack-pot whimsy? Should I get into my city block’s worth of books and silent film collection, just to put the final nail in the coffin of “perfumista stereotype”?

    • Angela says:

      It sounds like you’ve found a great way to enjoy the things you find beautiful–to put them where you can see them rather than gathering dust in boxes. I wish I could see a photo! It all sounds so colorful and full of story.

    • ggperfume says:

      We all want to come to tea at your house.

  37. ceelouise says:

    Wonderful review. I think I know which one you are! I don’t own any Ellena scents. Does this mean I’m not a minimalist? :)

    • Angela says:

      Only you can say….

      It’s kind of a silly division anyway, but sometimes it’s fun to put something like this out there and see what happens.

  38. Tamara says:

    Hey girl hey! I love Dia and Epic and was scared to try Memoir, the notes seemed intimidating to me.
    I tried Memoir (W) wasn’t too impressed..at first it reminded me of a way gentler Poison on me, it was smooth and polished though, not loud at all. The drydown was almost like a men’s cologne.

    Then! I kept trying it. I sprayed more and more.
    I have no idea what’s coming or going on me, it doesn’t smell like any one thing, it’s so well blended but smells good. I got compliments from the fam-even dare I say it- some nuzzles on the neck and now unfortunately I’m hooked!
    I told Daisy and Mals “That sneaky ass Amouage!”
    Damn.
    I will not go FB for it, I’m patiently awaiting a split. ;)

    Your reviews are always wonderful-were all waiting for that novel girl. Miss Dior or Die is the best title to anything EVER. :D

    • Angela says:

      Splits are such a great way to have a little Amouage around. I love my split of Epic Woman. I’m glad Memoir has been a sneak hit with you!

      You’re so nice to encourage me with the novel. I can’t even start to tell you how fun it is to write it!

  39. Qwendy says:

    Wow, I really missed a great party here, thanks for the hour of entertainmnet, here at home laid up with a broken ankle. I was debating about getting in on a split of Memoir unsniffed and found your wonderfully witty and incisive review — I honestly read every comment, and there sure are a lot of them, nary a one wasn’t worth perusing, what a gang of, well mostly maximalists or maximalist-lovers it seems.

    More is More has been my motto for 20 years or so, but I’ve abandoned it since so many have taken up the mantle. I’m still a maximalis, and a designer, which is quite rare, as minimalism has taken over so much of the design world! I had a fabulous neat freak roommate for a year in NY who I’ve always quoted “Never mistake external order for internal order,” and I’ve rarely felt guilty about my excessive thingyness since.

    I’ll have to tune back in to see if I can actually come to the next party on time! Meanwhile, I too am a Lyric Woman lover, and don’t think I’ll go for Memoir unsniffed. Many thanks for such delighful writing and a great afternoon treat!

    • Angela says:

      I’m sorry about your ankle! I hope you’re up on it soon, although I know these things can take some time.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the review and the comments. I love your ex-roommate’s quote, and I plan on using it often. Sometimes minimalism really does feel like careful choice, and sometimes it feels like laziness–it’s easier to subscribe to a preconceived menu of choices than create your own environment. (Of course, maximalism can certainly be laziness, too.)

      Get well soon!

      • Qwendy says:

        Thanks Angela, it sure does (take some time) — I’m using perfume as medecine.

        I’m afraid I do believe that the most often practiced minimalism is too easy (along with the arts it fosters), while maximalism really does demand a committment, lazy or not. I just find it far more amusing to be a lazy maximalist than anything else, and my minimalist friends seem to be amused by it too. Why aren’t there more maximalists trapped in minimalist’s bodies?

        Have a great week!

  40. I love this review, it’s so insightful and beautifully written. I just sniffed this fragrance today and trying to work it out – your comments are so helpful. I love the comment about how there are always two types of people in the world – yes, it’s true, there are. A lot of us struggle between the minimalist ideal and the (more) maximalist reality. For the record, I think it’s a really interesting, complex fragrance but LOUD as all get out. I felt like I was clearing the room walking through with just a spritz on my wrist. Not for the faint hearted.

    • Angela says:

      It is a big fragrance, to be sure, but I think it could be manageable if it were carefully applied. It’s a lot of fragrance to figure out! I’m glad you enjoyed the review.

  41. Julia says:

    How do you know I collect home economics texts from the 40′s? I was busy with other things when this was released. I received a sample from lucky that I tried and was kind of “meh” about. I pulled it out this weekend and have fallen in love. I don’t like Amouage’s big florals like Ubar, Gold, and the less said about Reflection Woman the better. However, Epic and Lyric move me in a way very few perfumes do and I have FB of each. One me, Memoir Woman sustains a perfect balance between fresh, spicy, and warm. I don’t find it oppressive in the heat and it never loses it’s balance, walking that fine line for a solid 10 hours and leaving me with a gentle impression of warmth and comfort. I’ve been meaning to further explore Ormonde Jayne and expected my next FB to be one of those, but Memoir skipped to the front of the line. :)
    Thanks for another great review.

    • Angela says:

      Now I’d better get out my sample of Memoir and try it again! (While paging though an old Home Ec book, of course.)

  42. glorious1 says:

    I wore Jubilation 25 today for the first time! This scent is ME! So far my favorite Amouage but I’m a beginner in this line. This scent has a great name! It completely describes how I feel when I put it on! I was totally HAPPY! It’s a extrovert’s scent. No quiet wall flower for me! People scent. Made me want to get my make up on and go out with people! I’m sure someone would stop me and ask what I had on. If I was down this is the scent I would reach for. Sexy and out of the box! I am not comparing notes, just saying Opium Fleur de Shanghai makes me feel almost the same. Now please, don’t turn up your nose. It also makes me wonder if perfume we wear matches our personalities! ADORE this! Would love to try Amouage Memoir Woman…….

    • Angela says:

      I love Jubilation 25, too, and also like Fleur de Shanghai–no turning up my nose at that one, no worries! Memoir Woman is different than either of those fragrances, but it’s always worth trying an Amouage if you get the chance. Also, if you like Jub 25, you might want to try Rochas Femme. It’s similar in some respects and much less expensive. Of course, the best is to have them both.

  43. lady_luck says:

    Another maximalist here. Wow, I just loved your review on memoir and reading all the descriptive elements. My bf is a minimalist and the way I live in my home and my general ways drive him bonkers. I find Memoir interesting and memorable, there is something about it that is hard to pin down – a complexity, a mystery. I also find it interesting how the bottle is black, because I totally see black colours when I spray this. I see black leather gloves, a fur shawl, aubern curls underneath a fishnet hat, a moonlit night, reflecting on dark water, and a mystery or an epiphany about to unfurl. I find a highly unusual note in it, could it be the clove? Some rare spice? or something else. I feel untouchable in this fragrance.

    • Angela says:

      It sounds like you need a bottle soon! It would look very nice on a maximalist’s dressing table, too.

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