I’m too young to attest it and I don’t live in the US but apparently New York City life of 1970’s was as vivid as a kaleidoscope and as bright as blinding neon lights. They say that the city smelled of plastic, vinyl and leather. To me it sounds like a mix of something exciting and appalling. Creative direction given by Amouage‘s Christopher Chong is his personal narrative that takes us to Studio 54 and to downtown NYC. ‘Life imitates art’ is the slogan that fronts this new duet. Even though I don’t consider Amouage as ‘my’ brand I was curious to smell Imitation and discover what it has to offer.
As soon as I spray Imitation Woman on my wrist I am bedazzled by brightness and intensity of this composition. Right from the start I can clearly smell a delicious blackcurrant. The juiciness and gentle tartness combined in it make my mouth water in an instant. Unfortunately just a few whiffs later it becomes incredibly sweet, with that sugar syrupy effect that makes my teeth tremble in their gums. It just becomes a fruity, lolipop-like dollop. Appearance of ylang-ylang makes the perfume more creamy, lactonic and introduces a floral vibe of tropical places. Licorice is a provider of even more sweetness in Imitation Woman but it’s of more rooty, darker and chewier kind. It takes up to one hour before the sickly sweetness dissipates enough to make the perfume more enjoyable.
Further into its development, Imitation Woman gains an aldehydic facet – it’s somewhat oily and fatty, adding more space to the scent and making it less dense than it was at the beginning. At some point an orchestra of flowers takes over. A sultry and vibrant rose seems to be dominating on my skin. In its surroundings there is also a bit of a heady jasmine and rich orange blossom. Both of these flower notes present their valor in elegant way. Amouage fragrance probably couldn’t do without frankincense so of course you’ll find it in the new duet as well. It’s pretty well veiled – it’s ylang that hides it especially well, so don’t expect a lot of smokiness. Base of sandalwood and patchouli is substantive and balsamic, giving a solid foundation to this neon fruity & floral concoction.
Imitation Man provides a completely different dimension of experience compared to its feminine counterpart. It’s actually pretty hard to believe that they are a duet. Masculine version of Amouage Imitation begins with a dry nutmeg accord that reminds me of the scent of parchment. It’s been paired with black pepper that enriches the composition with a metallic edge and toned down yet vibrant spiciness and warmth. After a few minutes iris enters and steals all the spotlight. It’s a brilliant smell of orris root – its earthy, buttery and creamy facets entwine with each other in some sort of abstract performance that is out of this world. When the perfume dissipates some pleasant & powdery tonalties also start to reach my nose. Iris is a true piece of art. in this fragrance.
After some time there’s a gradual transition from iris to leather. This change happens seamlessly and I find this leather to be soft and plushy. At least for a while, until castoreum appears. With its arrival Imitation Man becomes slightly animalic but it’s still polite and well-behaved. Just slightly more grungy and dirty than without it. Later on the aroma of violet appears; somewhat watery-floral, somewhat candied. It’s this small feminine element of the fragrance that makes a difference. Rose adds more bright color to the new Amouage. My feeling is that this perfume belongs more to the darker side. Combination of myrrh and vetiver make drydown smell resinous, balsamic and woody. None of them is dominating. The whole creation is mysterious and has a dusky character.
I may not like the word ‘imitation’ as a perfume name as it just doesn’t sound good in my ears (makes me think of fake) but I have to admit the new Amouage proposal, especially Imitation Man is the first fragrance in years that I really like from this Oman based perfume house. And the feminine one is also good if you can survive its almost ‘nuclear’ sweetness in the opening. Both fragrances have great longevity, Woman version is quite loud while Man one is more quiet. Imitation Man and Imitation Woman were created by perfumers Leslie Girard and Pierre Negrin respectively.