Fate Man is like an explorer who went far far away and is still coming back. You can smell something on the wind; you think it might be him but you cannot see him. He brings with him a newly discovered spice, drier than dry, which has been rough ground by a pestle with shavings of wormwood bark. The flecks of cumin dust in the air are what has alerted you to his return. When the wind turns warm with ginger root you know something good is coming your way and you anticipate the saffron you had sent him forth to find. Sarsaparilla roots, copahu resin and camphorous cedarwood weave through the winds which are blowing stronger now. Whoosh, you know that the explorer has arrived when the swirling frankincense parts to reveal your Fate.
Suddenly you are surrounded by teams of mules carrying saddlebags of lavandin and granules of musk. A split sack reveals startling yellow flower petals which are picked up by a zephyr and sail heavenwards. The unloading begins; straight through the sandalwood doors of your distillery where your quartermaster looks ready to swoon at the fortune of scent that Fate has brought to your doorstep. Your last drop of rose oil has been waitng patiently to to be tickled into action by the results of this trip. You reward the explorer with opals, keeping just enough to mark the bottles that will carry this scent forth to the four corners of the earth.
Fate Man – you can spritz but you may want to a splash. A lot.
To splash from a spritz nozzle, fill your bath with hot water, spritz to taste from the opalescent bottle, enter bath and luxuriate. Pure pleasure, and the heat takes you straight to the dry down.
Fate Man by perfumer Karine Vinchon Spehner is part of the closing duet of Christopher Chong’s first Amouage Opera which began with a nymph singing to the moon. This opening act had me jubilating then stuggling to understand the hours of heartfelt but incomprehensible lyric. This rather grand epic includes an interlude in a hay stacked meadow, an introspective memoir, an homage to attar, a tribute which was more like a tribulation, and a beloved act, all with accompanying arias exploring honour, love, alchemy and the true meaning of art.
Christopher is currently writing the libretto for the next Amouage production, a new opera which begins in the lotus fields of Viet Nam and moves to the Thai-Cambodian border to the jungle that is Trat. Trat has some of the last aromatic woods on earth and a river of red herrings.
Tomorrow we will listen to the contralto that is Fate Women.
Notes on some Notes
Cumin – while most well known for its appetite inducing properties, in perfumery cumin approximates the smell of human sweat, as in fresh sweat, for the purpose of bonding a perfume beautifully with your own body oil. A very precise measurement of this ingredient makes sure that it morphs with your skin rather than becoming a strident nuisance.
Copahu Resin – see previous post
Lavandin – not lavender but a cross between lavender and spike lavender in the same way that a mule is a cross between a horse and donkey. This hybrid is called Lavandula x intermedia; the botanical names of the parents are Lavender angustifolia and Lavender latifolia.
Lavandin produces more flowers and hence more oil than it’s parents. The scent profile is less sweet and less floral than lavender; about 8% camphor which makes this a great choice for butching up a fragrance.
Everlasting Flower – Kafka’s review of Fate Man explores the effects of Immortelle in this ‘fume.
Cistus / Kistos – is the rock rose which grows throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The leaves and twigs are boiled up and distilled to release the resin called labdanum.
Fate Man – Amouage
Perfumer: Karine Vinchon Spehner
Release Date: June 2013
Classification: spicy woods
Longevity: 10 hours +
Top: Absinthe, Cumin, Ginger, Mandarin, Saffron
Heart: Cistus, Copahu, Everlasting Flower, Frankincense, Lavandin (a lavender ‘mule’) Rose
Dry Down: Cedarwood, Labdanum, Liquorice, Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean
7.15pm – Double Spritz. Love the wormwood honeyed tone.
8.15pm – Heart opens. A well hidden rose, just a petal perhaps.
All warmth, wood and spice. The sarsaparilla is liquorice; a nice resonance throughout this journey.
5.30am – Woke up to a dream scent and spritzed some more.
Dear Scent Diary review by Lorraine
It opens with an inky, dense ‘blackness’ that is smokey, bitter and intense. It’s a brick of spice, cumin in particular, that’s been wrapped in black liquorice and set on fire. What you’re smelling is the thick black smoke the fire is producing. It is fascinating.
- Lorraine, Dear Scent Diary
Cafleurbon – review by Mark Behnke
For the base it is labdanum which appears sharper and more discordant than it usually does. If you’re concerned about all of this discord that I’m mentioning please don’t be. The absolute genius of this construction is the discord forces one to focus all the more intently on the core notes because that discord makes one think they are about to fly apart.
- Mark Behnke, Cafleurbon
Kafkaesque – review by Kafka
Fate is a phenomenally complex, extremely unusual, refined, sophisticated scent that initially takes a little adjustment, but which definitely grows on you.
- Kafka, Kafkaesque
Té de Violetas – review by Melina Graves
Fate es un perfume para los valientes y los arriesgados.
- Melina Graves, Té de Violetas
Fate is a perfume for the brave and the daring.
- Melina Graves, Té de Violetas
Fragrant Moments – review by Barney A. Bishop
Fate Man illustrates what I love about perfumery – just when you think a scent has flattened out, an interesting twist occurs and wakes you up.
- Barney A. Bishop, Fragrant Moments