Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jubilation XXV by Amouage.

I've often held fantasies of being fantastically wealthy. These are guilty fantasies because I like to downplay the importance of money as much as possible - deep down I do believe that materialism obstructs more happiness than it creates. But still the less dogmatic, less mature side of me occasionally envisions a future of sizable, if not infinite, wealth.

Jubilation XXV could be said to represent such a fantasy. It is the fragrance equivalent of Uncle Scrooge's giant vat of gold coin's from Duck Tales. It is simply full of opulent ingredients: a very striking frankincense, gaiacwood, ambergris, oud, musk - and spices like cinnamon and clove, ad sweet smelling honey and orange and rose - it is basically a lot of perfume in one single perfume. It dries down to a very comfortable, dark, rich scent. But before this it fizzes. Fizzes very strangely, right in the back of your nose. Like when you take the first sip of freshly poured champagne. After that it sparkles. Like gold. I assume this is what they were trying to evoke - images of lavish, high-society parties with all the trimmings of a financially over-zealous existence.

Which is essentially the problem with the fragrance: it's trying to smell rich. It's trying to evoke wealth, and the moment you detect the attempt at something is the moment you doubt its sincerity. Which is odd. Because it is rich and it is opulent and it is stupidly expensive ($245 US for 50ml), but by giving away that hint of effort to appear this way it ends up undermining it all. Because a truly wealthy fragrance would never go out of its way to appear wealthy - much like an accomplished fighter doesn't start fights in front of kebab shops - knowing they have nothing to prove, they forgo their insecurity.

As beautiful and as well crafted as it is, I think it's a rather idiotic fragrance to actually wear, as it suggests immediately: this is who I want to be. Of course, all perfume does this to an extent, but usually its ideals are connected to character or personality or sexual archetype - we want to smell professional or sexually mysterious or playful or such. By smelling like Jubilation XXV you admit to a kind of superficiality in which your ideals don't even have personality traits, just wealth. They are merely wealthy mannequins, their arms positioned they best they can to sip, but the champagne just cascading over their plastic lips and staining the expensive fabric which covers their nipple-less chests.

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