For more than a month now, a 1950s nude-pink organza coat has hung at a vintage clothing store downtown. It has a smocked top, gathered sleeves with French cuffs, and an open front designed to waft over full skirts. I imagine the coat resting lightly on the bare shoulders of a woman going to the opera on a summer night. Her rhinestone earrings glitter above the organza’s satiny finish, and the click of her heels on the theater’s marble floors punctuates the coat’s swish against her evening gown.
The coat is priced to move at less than $20. So why hasn’t anyone bought it? I think it’s simply too special for most people to imagine integrating into their lives. They remember their fat couch at home in front of the TV and the afternoon they just spent pushing a shopping cart through Costco or enduring eight hours in a bland cubicle, and they forego the coat for yoga pants. I wonder if Amouage Gold Woman faces the same obstacle? Even hardcore Amouage lovers tend to gloss over Gold in favor of some of Amouage’s warmer, spicier, more incensey fragrances.
This review is a cry for glamour and an entreaty to give Gold Woman a square sampling. Perhaps you’ve dared a spritz at a perfume boutique and were daunted by its Birgit Nilsson of a voice. Maybe you thought, sure I’ll wear Gold Woman — as soon as I get gold taps for my bathtub and a Persian cat. I get it. I can’t pull off Gold Woman most days, either, and the next Amouage full bottle I spring for will be Jubilation 25. But, by gum, at least once a quarter I plan to wet myself down with Gold and live up to it, too.
The legendary perfumer Guy Robert developed Gold Woman. It launched in 1983. Gold was Amouage’s first release, and word is that Amouage told Robert to use whatever materials he wanted, no matter the cost. Robert apparently called Gold Woman his greatest work. Amouage’s website lists Gold Woman’s top notes as rose, lily of the valley and frankincense; its heart as myrrh, orris and jasmine; and its base as ambergris, civet, musk, cedarwood and sandalwood.
Gold Woman is the ne plus ultra aldehydic floral. Basically, it makes Chanel No. 5 look like a street urchin who chews with her mouth open. Gold Woman is huge, symphonic, and loaded with hothouse flowers and diamonds. At first sniff, my nose fills with the champagne-fizz of soft, fruity aldehydes back-loaded with a seamless blend of floral notes leaning especially heavily on the crisp, elegant edge of the spectrum. Clean green notes push the fragrance away from guest soap territory.
For a full half hour, Gold stays sharp, clean, and brittle. Then the fragrance softens into a pillowy aura of quiet wood, sweet incense, and still those wondrous flowers. Gold sheds its diamonds, but keeps the marabou stole. It becomes a perfume that inhabits personal space without calling much attention to itself. It rests sheer, flattering, and whisper-light on skin kind of like — well, like a 1950s, nude organza coat.
Gold Woman Eau de Parfum has powerful sillage for an hour or so, then moderate yet curiously diffuse sillage after that. It has excellent lasting power — for all its delicacy (delicacy after the first half hour, that is), I can spray some on in the morning and still smell it at dinner.
Is Gold Woman really me? Ha ha ha. It’s so much more Elizabeth Taylor, or Jean Harlow without the plucked eyebrows. But if perfume can’t induce glamour and a little what-if, then what good is it?
Amouge Gold Eau de Parfum comes in 50 ml ($285) and 100 ml ($325). If you order from Amouage directly, you can also buy a 50 ml bottle of extrait, perfume concentrate in a compact, or items from their bath collection. See Amouage under Perfume Houses for information on where to buy it.