Myths Man by Amouage is the 2016 installment in the company's main line of fragrances. Under the direction of Christopher Chong, Amouage has released numerous fragrances that have gathered all-around accolades for their high quality and creativity. Myths Man is no different.
Niche perfumery is all about telling a story. This is an observation Clayton, the man behind What Men Should Smell Like, makes in his excellent review of Myths Man by Amouage. If perfumery is telling a story through smell, then Christopher Chong is its Haruki Murakami.
The stories Chong tells are about personal transformation, discovery, dreams, reality, and the space between us as humans. Myths Man by Amouage is the second part of Chong's collection Portraits of Life. The series explores the personal growth and transformation of Chong.
Myths Man tells the story of life as a dream. Chong says the Myths duo was inspired by surrealism, "in which elements are assembled in a dream-like and distorted state in order to create a new interpretation".
Chong continues to explain that surrealism allowed to him to interpret his life experiences and his past in a creative way without being limited by conventions and logical reasoning.
If all this talk seems too abstract, it is because the fragrance is just that. It took me three wears to begin understanding what Myths Man is about. The combination of ash and iris work in a weird way to create a sense of post-apocalyptic weirdness. Scenes of destroyed cities from the movie Divergent come to mind.
Myths Man is not a happy fragrance but it is not a sad one either. It has certain contemplative qualities (thanks to the ash and elemi notes) but they are not as strong as in other incense-based fragrances.
In a way, maybe the best word to describe Myths Man is mysterious. It shows you its face through a vail but you never see its full features.
What Myths Man by Amouage Smells Like
Myths Man is built around the trio of leather, orris, and ash. The fragrance opens with a vailed chrysanthemum note, which juxtaposes an accord of bitter leather. The leather note is the kind you find on a freshly tanned leather glove. It is strong, bitter and very masculine.
The combo of sour leather, soft chrysanthemum, and velvety orris make for a striking opening. There is something very appealing in a raw masculine accord, like the harsh leather, and soft florals. The florals act as a soft interior peeking through a hard exterior. In many ways, this is a metaphor for the stereotypical manly man.
Just as you have figured out the opening of Myths Man, a note of ashes emerges to make things interesting again. From an olfactory perspective, the ash note adds an ephemeral, airy feel to the composition. It behaves in a similar way as incense but it moves you in the opposite direction. If incense elevates you, ashes bring you down.
The olfactory interpretation of the ash note is heavily influenced by our cultural heritage. Ashes are usually associated with destruction and mortality. If incense connects to a higher power, as many eastern cultures believe, ashes remind us of our mortality.
Ashes, however, can be a symbol of rebirth. Rebuilding and resurrecting cannot begin before destroying first. This is where Myths Man takes us.
The orris becomes more prominent in the heart of fragrance. It plays well with the eeriness of the ash. The buttery softness of the orris balances the dry airiness of the ash. The result is a fragrant combo, which is not too cloying and not too airy.
For all the excitement and eeriness in the opening and heart, the dry-down of Myths Man is surprisingly boring.
Myths Man dries down to a skin scent with a prominent labdanum note. None of the orris and the ash is there. A soft resinous accord is all that is left.
Where to Rock It
Just like most Amouage fragrances wearing Myths Man is tricky. When it comes to weather and seasons, Myths Man would perform best in the fall/winter. I wore it in the summer (25+ degrees) and it did well, however, I could see it performing even better in a colder weather.
Myths Man recreates a certain "funereal sense of decay" - Kafkaesqueblog.com #fragrance @scentbound
The ashy orris would compliment well the melancholic mood, which besets some of us in the fall. The fun of the summer season is over and the mundanity of life returns. Myths Man doesn't invoke such feelings on its own but it can compliment them well if they are present.
When it comes age, Myths Man would work best on someone in his thirties or older. The tanned leather note give some maturity to the fragrance that would be hard to pull off by someone in their 20s.
As for occasions, Myths Man could work well for casual or semi-formal events. You could wear it to the office (limit sprays to 2) but it's not the best choice. Myths Man stays close to the skin after the first 30 minutes, so you are not likely to turn heads.
What The Frag Heads Say about Myths Man by Amouage?
The biggest beef Kafka has with Myths Man is the smell of decay and death. In her review, she expands on the symbolism of the chrysanthemums I wasn't aware of.
Kafka writes that in France chrysanthemums are considered to be flowers of the dead. She explains that on La Toussaint (All Saints Day) people bring chrysanthemums to the graves of their loved ones.
I am not sure if Chong intentionally used chrysanthemums for their symbolism and close association with death. Kafka writes Myths Man recreates a certain "funereal sense of decay".
Kafka concluded that she "wear[s] perfume to be uplifted, not depressed". For her paying $265 for the smell of death is a pass.
Clayton from What Men Should Smell Like writes that the stand out note for him is the ash. He associates it with Ash Wednesday during his days in Catholic school when the priest would smear ashes on each member of his church congregation.
Interestingly, unlike Kafka and myself, Clayton doesn't mention strong associations with death, destruction and decay. Yet, he doesn't find Myths Man to be a fragrance he would wear on a daily basis. He says he is a much bigger fan of Myths Woman, which reminds him of a classic Lanvin fragrance from the 1930s.
Persolaise doesn't mince words when it comes to Myths Man. He says the notes of "petrol, coffee, woods and acid florals clash like the antagonistic in-laws at a grandchild's birthday party". He finds the dry-down to be reminiscent of fragrances from the 80's but overall, he finds the composition "mythical". If nothing else, at least the name fits the bill.
The Bottom Line
If death and destruction were a seductive man, they would smell like Myths Man by Amouage. It's a quality fragrance built around leather, orris and ash. If you are looking for an eerie but wearable scent that reminds you of the Divergent movies, look no further.
Would You Buy Myths Man by Amouage?
Not likely. Myths Man by Amouage is not a fragrance that would justify a full bottle purchase. It sells for $265 for 50ml and there are not enough morbid events in a lifetime to go through even half of that bottle.
Would I get compliments wearing Myths Man by Amouage?
You may do just great at a goth party. In any other circumstance, Myths Man would come off as too weird to get you any unsolicited thumbs up.
What rating would you give Myths Man by Amouage?
I must admit I have been ambivalent in my feelings for Myths Man. I love the ash note and I like how the composition works. I don't like the topic of the story it is telling and I feel compelled to take away some stars for it. I give Myths Man four stars.
Rum, Rose, Vetiver, Elemi
Labdanum, Ash, Leather
Where to Buy It
Myths Man comes in two sizes: 50ml and 100ml. You can get it at etiket.ca.