The fact that there’s an entire genre of perfume dedicated to food-like smells – gourmands – signals just how close perfumery is to the culinary arts. Vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger are used so often in perfume that we rarely recognize them in compositions. But other culinary ingredients have never been as welcome in perfumery. Cumin serves as one notorious example.
Cumin is an incredible kitchen spice, used to add depth to some recipes while granting others a kick. The smell of fresh cumin is intoxicating and often fills whichever space it’s cooking in. For some reason, cumin notes in perfume are rarely as inviting. The most common association with the olfactory cumin note is body odor. There’s something about the spice that grants the impression of uncleanliness, and that can make it feel dangerous to wear.
When Amouage’s Fate Man was announced as a cumin-forward fragrance, it fell in line with the house’s daring takes on modern perfumery. However, the perfume quickly fell into the background in the house’s lineup. This begs the question – was Fate Man a true failure? Or was the cumin note simply too weird for most wearers to get behind?
Fate Man Notes
Mandarin, saffron, absinthe, ginger, cumin, everlasting flower, rose, frankincense, lavandin, cistus, copahu, labdanum, cedarwood, liquorice, tonka bean, sandalwood, musk
There’s no doubt about it: Fate Man opens with cumin. A lot of cumin. If you were to pass by someone right after spraying it on, Fate Man would probably make them sneeze. This is an Amouage opening similar to powerhouses like Epic Woman and Interlude Man. If you’re ready for the spicy disorientation, this perfume will likely sweep you off your feet. If not, you’ll want to retreat into the woodwork.
Thankfully, Fate Man is the sort of perfume that shines with patience. The longer it sits on the skin, the more elements of the perfume rise to the surface. Gentle, rich florals cloud the palate with a sense of peace while incense notes grant them a foundation. A delicious licorice bite shoots through the composition from top to bottom. This is certainly perfume at its most chaotic, but somehow, all the stray threads weave together into something truly beautiful.
At the very base of the perfume is a gorgeous sandalwood and tonka base. The remnants of other notes wisp along the surface, but this is above all a comfort perfume. It’s so distant from the challenging cumin opening that it smells like another concoction altogether.
I most recently wore Fate Man out to an occasion where I was scared nothing I owned would be fancy enough to pass the dress code. Something told me a blast of experimental, brash perfume might allow me to brush aside my anxiety. From the aggressive opening to its graceful drydown, Fate Man really did act as a comfort as I witnessed its most out-of-place notes meld into an improbable framework. This is not an ideal perfume for fading into the background. But it is special, and sometimes, you can’t afford to feel any other way.
Samples and bottles of Fate Man are available here.
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The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.
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