A Full Review Amouage Purpose: The Smoldering Fumes of Contemplation
A plume of smoke thinly rises from a smoldering piece of frankincense. My suede sandals are stained with the scent by now, but it is my thing. This is my place of peace, the one refuge that accepts me despite my sins. The dry wood of the building has stood the test of time, with an almost dusty feeling, but they hold beauty within the soul of its construction. Incense burners, still containing ash in them linger about, seemingly forgotten by the modern age.
The door has long since been eroded, in which the rain brings the scent of freshly watered soil. It’s not the most beautiful place on earth, and it certainly will never be called a tourist destination, but this old building means the world to me. It will outlive me, and my only hope is that it remembers me after I am gone, as I have honored it during my days.
It’s no secret that Quentin Bisch is the most talked about perfumer right now. Catapulting into the spotlight after his scent, Ganymede, reached the noses of fragheads around the world. Some have criticized his work by calling it redundant, but I disagree. I will speak more on that later, but I do believe that some people are just adverse to hype. Some of us have a natural inclination to go against the grain. I know this because I was in that mindset of one time, until i freed myself to just do things my own way. Mr. Bisch has risen to fame for a reason, and Amouage Purpose is a prime example of why he did.
Purpose starts out with a bit of brightness with bergamot and pepper, that is soon taken over by akigalawood. People have remarked that it is similar to Ganymede and Bois Imperial, and that is because of this, I believe. The woody spicy note is dry and feels a bit antique on my skin. It’s not under the guise of classic perfumery, but instead feels like an old wooden building or the aroma of aged furniture to me (sans the varnish).
When I did the news article detailing the release of the Odyssey Collection, I jokingly referred mystikal to the 2000s by the same name. I did some research to figure out what I was smelling, and it smells like burning incense, which is very apparent in this scent. It almost feels ashy at time, but never fully goes there. You can smell the dry resinous feelings of real frankincense in the background as well, which is a trademark of Amouage.
The sueded feeling from Ganymede is here, but this is done in a very different way. It doesn’t feel like a leather jacket to me. It feels more worn to me, akin to some well-loved sandals. A very slight sweetness from rose linger behind the scent, with something that feels dry and ambery, but I don’t think it is an amber accord. It is likely another resin used to give depth.
The final building block is the vetiver. With its earthy and rooty aroma that lends itself to the composition to prevent it from being overly dry. Just a nuance of slightly wet earth, like when you leave the door pen when it rains, and a breeze carries the damp earthy aroma in for just a moment.
There are some accords that were used in Ganymede and Bois Imperial, but this is an entirely different fragrance. The suede and akigalawood are just accords, and an accord doesn’t make an entire perfume, just like ethyl maltol and safranal doesn’t make fragrance Baccarat Rouge 540. They are just trendy building blocks, nothing more. We need to learn to not make assumptions, and to listen to what the perfume is saying to us. When our opinion is louder than the scent, then we miss the point. As my mother always said, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason”.
Purpose is a beautifully rendered creation, that is nuanced and somehow light. It has a sort of airiness to it somehow. It doesn’t feel rich, but it also feels a bit gothic at the same time and even has a slight inkiness to it. It’s an interesting concoction that is a love letter to incense lovers, as the whole collection is, but Purpose is the most incense forward on me.
As a lover of incense, I adore this fragrance for not being overly leathery and smelling like a new leather jacket or a boot store. The leather is done in a way that is pleasing, even for selective leather fans as myself. As a benchmark, Thameen Regent Leather is my favorite leather scent. It just works seamlessly with the burning resins and dry woods to create something that feels complete.
Purpose is a return to powerhouse scents from the Omani brand. I am clocking about 11 hours on my skin, and the projection is sneakily massive. This is certainly a colder weather-oriented fragrance, and it has a warming cozy feeling to me that delights the soul on those chilly days. I would say this scent leans more masculine in design, but I don’t see why a woman couldn’t pull this off if she enjoys smoky scents and incense.
I feel like Purpose will get overlooked by some naysayers who may not have smelled Amouage’s earlier creations, and their reliance on pure high-grade frankincense. This is a homecoming for the brand, and I am on board for it. Welcome home, Amouage. It’s good to have you back where you belong, as the king of incense fragrances.