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