Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Sunshine Woman: Irresistibly Beautiful Or Floral Failure?

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Sometimes it’s good to ignore reviews.

This might seem a counterproductive way to open up a review of Sunshine Woman by Amouage – allow me to explain. When we walk into a store that sells items in a category we’re passionate about, chances are we’ve read reviews of many of the items on the shelf. We know which brands to look out for, which items have a bad reputation, and which are so adored by the community that it’s almost suspicious. These impressions are mostly helpful. Yet being free of them can also be a joyous experience.

When I walked into my local niche perfume a month ago, I was on a mission. It’s one that’s probably familiar to most fragrance nerds: I wanted a perfume for the summer. Sure, I had a few things in my wardrobe that fit the beach, the mall or a hot day in the city, but I wanted something new – something far away from the marine and sport fragrances in my collection, yet light and playful all the same. That’s when I stumbled upon Sunshine Woman.

Sunshine Woman Notes:

Blackcurrant Liqueur, Almond, Davana, Osmanthus, Jasmine, Vanilla, Magnolia, Cade, Patchouli, Blond Tobacco, Papyrus

The first time I smelled Sunshine Woman, I literally laughed out loud right there in the store. A laugh is one of those involuntary, yet somehow super emotional, reactions that escapes us whether we want it to or not, and Sunshine had managed to tap into that part of my soul that couldn’t defend itself. Bright, happy, sweet yet subtle, Sunshine made my heart lift up and want to go outside.

Perhaps some of that trickery was in the beautiful packaging – a glimmering yellow bottle paired with a pool-resort speckled blue box. But as I reviewed the notes, it became apparent that Sunshine Woman was engineered in a way that taps right into everything I love about perfume.

Sunshine’s greatest balancing act is sweet notes and dry spices. Think of the gorgeous winter spicy concoctions shifted up an octave – in place of the cinnamon, clove or smoky notes that accompany the vanilla in those fragrances, Sunshine presents elegant florals, tempered fruits and an artfully crafted base of patchouli and tobacco. Both of those basenotes are completely lacking the heavier aspects that usually accompany them, allowing the dry, semi-herbal aspects of papyrus and artemisia to counterbalance the fruity-floral top so that it never screeches or cloys.

To my nose, Sunshine plays like a pop song whose composition is carefully balanced. The sweet melodies and sentiments are played to their fullest, but for every high note is an elegant sweep or countermelody to make the flow as smooth as silk. To this day, Sunshine is the only perfume I’ve walked into a perfume store, smelled for the first time, and purchased. When I got back to the car, I opened up my phone and that’s when I discovered the bad reviews.

Suffice it to say that some of the most famous critics in the world have dragged Sunshine through the mud. Smelling it on my wrist driving home, I began to fear that maybe they were right. Chemical floral this, strike against the brand that…had I made some massive mistake by giving Sunshine a single wear before I committed? Since then, I’ve worn it dozens of times, and each time I’ve ended up prancing around in my scent euphoria, regaining my confidence in my own taste.

Sometimes we need to try things for ourselves and only ourselves. So maybe, next time you’re at the store, try a perfume that other critics have written off in your mind. You might fall in love with it. And, if I may tap you on the shoulder next time you spy Amouage on the shelf – maybe give that bright yellow bottle a chance too.

You can sample Sunshine with a sample, a decant or a bottle.

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. 

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!

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  • Jade

    Jade is the Lifestyle Editor at the Fandomentals, where they obsess over perfume and underground music. Their wacky poetry is floating around the internet - beware! Follow them for fragrance and poetry content @johndarrextreme on Instagram.

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