They say that nothing in this world is gonna last forever, and this of course is true. It’s only natural that so many things in our lives are not constant but don’t you think that without any changes we’d all be stagnant and bored with our existence? Changing schools, jobs, cities we live in… these chapters form our personality & therefore they change us as humans. Perfumery is a good example of change. With new regulations being published every few years you have to adapt to move forward. Change can be like a new beginning. One of such changes recently applied to a popular perfume house from Oman – Amouage. Only time can tell if it’s for the better & where it’ll take us.
Amouage Enclave begins with a refreshingly crisp note of spearmint that reveals an incredible depth as soon as the perfume comes in contact with one’s skin. It has a green, herbaceous nature that feels very aromatic and that draws you into its world. You’ll feel as if you just plucked some leaves from the plant and rubbed them between your fingers. It’s a spacious scent that surrounds the wearer – imagine walking through the courtyard where all the walls are covered with fragrant green foliage. It’s mesmerizing. Minty notes are usually associated with the feeling of cool freshness because that’s how menthol affects our skin receptors – by inducing an impression of cold.
However that is not the case for this perfume. Spearmint in Enclave feels warm and inviting and very soon it starts smelling as if someone poured hot water over the mint leaves. The fragrance becomes steamy, releasing aromatic vapors that go deep inside your nose when inhaled. Brewing herbs develop some spiciness just a moment later. Cardamom perfectly fits in this hot brew. Pink pepper extract adds a peppery tinge that creates an illusion of peppermint note being added. Then there’s cinnamon – it adds a sparkling tinge on the tip of your tongue, with a sweet aftertaste to it.
I know that Amouage Enclave was inspired by the sunset at the fjords of Musandam but considering the way it smells and what ingredients are put together at the start there’s an obvious connection to maghrebi, a traditional Moroccan beverage made with green tea & mint. I very much enjoy being treated to a spiced mint cocktail of this perfume and I’m glad it takes some time until the fragrance starts to progress further. At the heart Enclave unveils a rose absolute facet. It’s floral, pure and while it has its level of richness its not as opulent as earlier Amouages, Lyric for instance. Not as strong by all means doesn’t mean it’s worse – it’s simply well proportioned against other ingredients & I like it that way to be honest.
Rose here appears in entourage of other ingredients that make the scenery look darker yet without adding much heaviness to it. There’s an earthy patchouli tone that lingers right behind the rose’s back. It has a slight camphorous feel on the skin that smoothly changes into wisps of smoke coming from frankincense. These semi-transparent clouds in Enclave add some peaceful & calm aura to this perfume. I like this calm of smokiness, it’s more spiritual. This feeling plus woody aromatic facets of vetiver create a very relaxing mood. It’s like a fragrant Hammam ritual on an exotic trip.
Hours later, by the time Amouage Enclave has dried down and became ready to unfold its base notes, I could still smell the peppery-minty steam on my skin. What comes next is Saffiano, an IFF captive ingredient (wonder if named after Prada emblematic leather embossment motif) posessing a natural leather aroma. It brings the feeling of a brand new purse to the composition – richness of a glossy leather exterior with a soft lining inside of it, plus a sweet finish a la rose powder. Followed by Amber Xtreme to bring even more dimension, sensual warmth and facets differentiation to the perfume. Balsamic labdanum has the final word.
Even for someone like me, who doesn’t consider himself as part of an Amouage fanbase, smelling Enclave – one out of four fragrances that launched recently as Renaissance Collection, feels like a new beginning for this Omani brand. It seems that Renaud Salmon – new Creative Director of Amouage has a new vision for the house that he will go forward with it from this point. The new fragrances seem to confirm this – what I can tell from my tests is that this quartet is lighter & less tenacious compared to earlier launches. Nose behind Enclave is Julien Rasquinet. The composition is eau de parfum at 25% fragrance oils and is housed in 100 ml tall blue Amouage bottle.