Voice of Freedom, Amouage Portrayal Duet

Probably in every era of a modern world there was a person or a group of people longing for a change. Their act of not following the crowd and going against society conventions was often considered rebellious. From the perspective of today they were right in their actions – today we know that everyone should live in their own frame instead of frying to fit into a standarized one. When such rebellious attitude is being transformed into perfume it’s like a reflection of one’s soul, when you know who you are and what you want from the world. That’s what new Amouage story is about.

Portrayal Woman starts with a luscious bouquet of big white flowers among which jasmine is an ultimate centerpiece. Its heady and intoxicating aura is overflowing with narcotic molecules of indole that introduce this somewhat oily and animalic quality. It’s a bold floral accord that makes a statement from the very beginning. For a considerable amount of time Portrayal Woman is like a soliflore, not letting anything else to take off properly. But later on there’s something tobacco-ish that starts to mingle in the background but it’s not strong enough to break through the floral wall. After some time the smell of vanilla pods becomes more pronounced that adds an oriental impression of dusted sweetness to the composition. Drydown is still very jasmine-y and balsamic thanks to elemi. This perfume is not my cup of tea but should you search for jasmine-centric scent, here it is.


Portrayal Man is completely different. At first whiff I could easily pick violet leaf which opens this composition. This fresh note feels rather ozonic, almost aquatic and at the same time it’s aromatic and crispy green like an actual leaf of violet rubbed between your palms. After a couple of minutes the perfume develops a dry woodiness with traits of something citrusy but parched at the same time. Such impression is provided by vetiver. With time Portrayal Man gradually darkens, revealing a leathery facet that comes to the front smoothly. It’s polished, lacquered and slightly acrid – reminiscent of the smell of a raw leather that is about to become a new pair of leather shoes. It’s fuzzy in a tiny bit and when juniper appears it lends some of its own metallic smokiness to the leather. From this point the perfume was quite linear on my skin and it didn’t change much.

Both fragrances in Amouage Portrayal duet were inspired by 1920s. Masculine version by the bohemian culture of those times, feminine edition embodies liberation of that era. I didn’t hate any of the 2 but neither did I love them. To me they are ok. After testing both I can surely say that none of Portrayal fragrances bring something new, exciting or innovative to the perfume scene. Both perfumes come in Amouage style opalescent bottles. Perfumers who worked with Christopher Chong are Pierre Negrin and Annick Menardo for Portrayal Man and Woman respectively.

[note] Picture borrowed from Obsentum on Instagram

Tagged , , , , ,

9 thoughts on “Voice of Freedom, Amouage Portrayal Duet

  1. gunmetal24 says:

    I did smell the Woman’s version briefly and wore the Men’s version once on skin. Admittedly, I didn’t connect the men’s version with the brief (which is also highly subjective). Might try this again. I’m not sure what to make of the house now to be honest.

  2. Jillie says:

    Hmmmmm. I suspect Amouage isn’t producing quite the outstanding fragrances that it used to. Perhaps a sign of the general tiredness that’s afflicting the industry … I’ve also read that, in common with most companies, their perfumes seem more dilute now, which is quite a surprise as they were famous for their powerhouse scents.

    I can’t help giggling at the “blurb” that goes with the publicity for perfumes and the fact that actual notes are usually not mentioned – I guess people buy their next bottle based on the dream of whom they will become or what country they are transported to when they wear the magic juice! It doesn’t matter what it smells like.

    • lucasai says:

      I haven’t been a great Amouage fan to begin with but they really seem to be going down the hill over the last couple of years. Even Luca Turin commented after smelling this Portrayal duet that Christopher Chong is running out of ideas and that he should move on to a new role.
      Many brands release simplified pyramids, like Hermes for example. There is much more in the juice than 3-5 notes they provide in press release

  3. rickyrebarco says:

    The only 2 Amouages I really love are Honour and Memoir. They are both high quality beautiful fragrances. None of the others have particularly impressed me and some of the more recent floral offerings smell pretty awful to my nose. The women’s Portrayal sounds very yawn-worthy.

    • lucasai says:

      Glad your least have these 2. I don’t love any to crave for the bottle. I thought I loved Lyric Man but no… Now Beloved Man would be the closest to love.

  4. Undina says:

    As you know, I am an Amouage fan but with each next release I feel more and more that I should rephrase it using the past tense since I don’t remember not only the last release that I actually liked but even what I’ve already tried because with my success rate with them in the last 5 years I stopped buying samples of new releases as I used to, but since none of my local “watering holes” carries them, I’m just waiting for a “rogue sample” to find its way to me, which doesn’t happen too often since nobody buys their perfumes. I think it’s sad. But at least I still have those 6-7 that I enjoy wearing, and after reading your review don’t have many hopes for increasing that number.

    • lucasai says:

      So apart the ones that you loved for years now you really don’t find any more Amouage that you found lemmable?
      I suppose this only says that Amouage dropped their standards or simply ran out of ideas

      • Undina says:

        I think that maybe they’ve just decided that I wasn’t their target audience any longer. Personally, I’m not even looking for the originality: I’d be fine with just another rich and pleasant perfume. At Amouage’s prices I do not want to know from the first whiff that they’ve saved A LOT of money using modern aroma chemicals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: