Originally published on http://www.cafleurebon.com 28 June, 2017
Amouage Figment Man (Christopher Chong and Annick Menardo) 2017
In recent decades the small country of Bhutan has been recognized as the possible setting of the mythical land Shangri-La, best known to Westerners through James Hilton’s international bestseller Lost Horizon. In Amouage Figment Man, Creative Director Christopher Chong and perfumer extraordinaire Annick Menardo bring to life an abstract interpretation of Bhutan, a “figment of the imagination” if you will, of the country that has fascinated him from afar. It seemed quite natural to equate this fascination and the resulting breathtaking perfume, with the dreamlike and elusive Shangri-La.
In the 1933 book Lost Horizon and in Frank Capra’s 1937 movie, Shangri-La is set hidden high in the Kunlun mountains located northwest of both Tibet and Bhutan. A veritable garden of paradise, this verdant emerald green valley was depicted as surrounded my insurmountable peaks with only one mountain pass going in and out.
The valley was a dreamscape filled with placid limpid lakes, tropical vegetation, constant sunlight; a Garden of Eden where time stood still both literally and figuratively. Populated by residents who never aged, and gently and graciously overseen by a kind Buddhist priest at a Tibetan inspired lamasery, the book Lost Horizon and its promise of a Shangri-La was a curative tonic to a world devastated and exhausted by World War 1, “the war to end all wars”.
Like discovering the hidden entrance that separates the world from the imaginary paradise of Shangri-La, Amouage Figment Man opens with an icy and sub-zero blast, so cold, fresh, and stunningly beautiful, you could imagine standing at the top of a frigid mountain pass, breathing pure and rarified air. Sweetened by geranium that initial blast of citrus and pepper is akin to the heart-stopping shock you feel when diving headfirst into a refreshing cold lake or pool on a scorching summer’s day.
As in Lost Horizon, passing into and seeing the valley of Shangri-La stretching out before you, Figment Man takes you from that initial arctic-like cold to a warm and sun-filled vision, with grass and vegetation gently bending in a slight breeze which brings with it the deep burnished sandalwood smell of the lamasery walls rising above the valley. The sun shines, the newly tilled earth of the gardens throws off its rich loamy smell.
A feeling of peace and serenity washes over you as the mellifluous murmur of wind chimes and the sound of gentle prayers and meditations being sent up to heaven float in the green and blossom-scented air. You find yourself in a real life waking dream, a living breathing aria dedicated to beauty, wisdom and infinite joy.
Figment Man is quite simply that: a liquid Shangri-La in a cerulean blue bottle, a vetiver and sandalwood-centric fragrance created in that impeccable Amouage style, totally and utterly gorgeous and unforgettable.
Notes: Lemon, geranium, pink pepper, sandalwood, animalic accord, vetiver, labdanum, guiac wood, earthy accord
Disclosure: Thanks to Amouage for supplying the samples. The opinions are my own.
–Robert Herrmann, Contributing Editor
-Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief
Thanks to Amouage and Christopher Chong, we have one 30 ml Sprayer of Amouage Figment Man for one registered reader in the USA or EU ONLY, so be sure to register if you have not done so. To be eligible please let us know what appeals to you about Robert’s review and why you want to win, which Amouage fragrance is your favorite, and where you live. Draw closes July 3, 2017
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