Amouage Epic (Woman): Turandot at The Forbidden City


Turandot opera. Source:

The legends of the ancient Silk Road that wove its way from the Middle East to China, Puccini’s Turandot princess, the grandeur of the Forbidden City and the Dragon Empress’ Summer Palace, a veil of frankincense, and a dry desert wind that swirls spices around the lushness of a velvet red rose — those are a few of the things at the heart of Epic for Women from Amouage. Oh, and pickles as well. Yes, I said pickles….

Original poster for Turandot. Source: Wikipedia.

Original poster for Turandot. Source: Wikipedia.

Epic Woman (hereinafter just “Epic”) is an eau de parfum that was released in 2009. It was created by Daniel Maurel (who also did Lyric Woman for Amouage) under the direction of Christopher Chong. The inspiration was Puccini’s Turandot opera which is set in China, but which was based on an ancient tale involving a Persian princess and a deadly riddle. China had once banned the opera, but welcomed it with open arms in 1998 when it permitted a massive $15 million film production of the opera to be set in the 500-year old Forbidden City under the direction of the showman, Zhang Yimou (who later did the Beijing Olympics), with the opera conducted by the famed Zubin Mehta. I own the DVD, and the production is one of the most spectacular, extravagant, unbelievably opulent things you can imagine, so I sat up a little when I heard about the Turandot connection to Amouage’s Epic.

Source: Luckyscent.

Source: Luckyscent.

First in Fragrance has the company’s official PR description: 

Legends of the Silk Road

A woman in the dusk. The desert wind tears at the delicate veil that covers her face. In the distance she sees a light that guides the way in her search for the fatal missing aria – from Arabia to China along the Silk Road…

The theme of this latest Amouage fragrance is the legendary aria from Puccini´s unfinished opera, Turandot. The legend says that one day the composer Puccini completed the opera and then buried the completed work somewhere in the sands along the Silk Road. The last act of the opera, it is said, was an incomparable aria, which could not possibly be sung by a human voice…

A damask rose.

A damask rose.

Epic’s notes, as listed on the Amouage‘s website and Luckyscentinclude:

cumin, pink pepper, cinnamon, damascene rose, geranium, jasmine, tea, amber, musk, frankincense, oud, sandalwood, guaiac wood, patchouli, vanilla and orris.

Epic opens on my skin with a sour, sweet rose that instantly turns velvety, rich, and spiced. Alas, there is definitely the smell of pickles wafting about which is wholly disconcerting. I suspect it stems from the guaiac wood which, in my opinion, often has a very sour undertone, but the pink peppercorns here probably don’t help either. The latter soon arrives to join the festivities, along with a whisper of jasmine and a much stronger note of lemony tea. Little flecks of frankincense, patchouli, and vanilla dart about.

Guaiac Wood - one of the hardest woods in the world. Source:

Guaiac Wood – one of the hardest woods in the world. Source:

The whole thing is very elaborate, opulent, and infused with a complexity that really is very beautiful. The pickle aroma fades from its massive opening wallop within minutes, but it never fully leaves for the next six hours. Instead, it weaves its way throughout all the top notes, along with a certain sourness. It is always accompanied by the particular type of dryness and smoked leaves accord that is characteristic of guaiac. The guaiac is a major player in Epic’s development on my skin, and I quite like it at first, right down to that light pickle aroma. The various facets of the note cut through the incredibly rich, heady rose, thereby ensuring that its sweetness never turns into cloying, patchouli-infused syrup. Instead, thanks to the pink peppers, spices, and guaiac, the rose is fiery and spicy, while the growing note of frankincense adds a lovely blackness to its edges.

I don’t usually fall for marketing copy and rarely do I think their descriptions are accurate, but Luckyscent has a description for Epic Woman that really seems to hit the nail on the head for me, at least in terms of the perfume’s opening stage. They write:

Inspired by Puccini’s Turandot, Amouage’s Epic Woman is a masterful fusion of the smoldering opulence and sensuality of Arabia and the lyrical intensity of China. The luxurious feel of the fragrance brings to mind the precious essences carried along the ancient trading routes. One breath of Epic’s rich top notes of fiery cinnamon and languid cumin, and the image of Aladdin’s cave filled with gold, pearls, tea, silks, jade, spices and frankincense unfolds in front of our spellbound eyes. The sensuous, honeyed and dark blend of rose, tea and geranium in the heart of Epic evokes Turandot herself, the femme fatale beauty who lured love-stuck princes to their death. We would willingly die for this amazingly lush mix of rose, oud and frankincense. It is the inclusion of the latter that, to us, lends the time-honored union of the flower and oud such uniqueness; and the presence of the delicately smoky tea, ethereal jasmine and velvety-soft orris make the composition all the more special— a harmonious, melodious synthesis of the two enchanting points of the Orient.

Turandot at the Forbidden City. Source: -

Turandot at night in the Forbidden City. Source:

I can see everything that they write. Their description really captures the feel of Epic in its opening hour, though I think things go downhill by the end. But for the opening hours, Epic is really…. well, epic. And it definitely conveys China to me, right down to the Turandot production in the Forbidden City.

One of the lesser palaces or pavilions in the Forbidden City. Photo: Duncan Toms. (Website link embedded within.)

One of the lesser palaces or pavilions in the Forbidden City. Photo: Duncan Toms. (Website link embedded within.)

I may be unfairly susceptible because I’ve been to China, spending about a month going from North to South, but in all seriousness, Epic’s opening somehow takes me right back to Beijing. Something about the combination of the incense, the guaiac, and the pink peppercorns really and truly smells like the dusty, faintly sour, old, wooden rooms in lesser palaces of the Forbidden City.

Lama Temple, Beijing. Source: George Oze, Flickr. (Click on the photo for the Oze page showing the photo in full, amazing size.)

Lama Temple, Beijing. Source: George Oze, Flickr. (Website link for the Oze page embedded within photo.)

It also takes me back to the ancient monastery north of Beijing called the Lama or Yonghe Temple which I visited on Buddha’s birthday. There, the air was replete with smoking incense sticks carried by hundreds of worshippers, as bald, red-robed monks stood by smiling. The smell of the Lama Temple with its spicy, dry wood, its faintly sour dustiness, and the lingering traces of the heady floral offerings at the feet of the Buddha statues is really the smell of Epic. The same sort of spicy, peppered dustiness and smoke seemed to linger in the much more floral environs of the spectacular Summer Palace outside Beijing where the notorious (and, in my opinion, unfairly maligned) “Dragon Empress,” Tzu Hsi or Cixi, lived in splendour and lushness.

"A Western Portrait of China's Empress Dowager Cixi" by Katherine Carl, 1903. Source: Wikipedia

“A Western Portrait of China’s Empress Dowager Cixi” by Katherine Carl, 1903. Source: Wikipedia

For the first hour, Epic Woman is a complex mélange of sour-sweet roses, dominated by an incredibly luxurious, velvety richness and infused with spice, fire, dust, dry woods, and incense. The pickle note is subtle and remains at the edges, but the smoky Lapsang Souchong aroma grows. You can almost see the Empress dressed in silks and curling her long, vermillion talons around a cup of tea infused with lemons.

The overall bouquet is increasingly flecked by an orris note that is blackened and smoky the way Ormonde Jayne‘s Orris Noir sought to effect without the same success. At the end of the first hour, spices join the mix. There is cinnamon that is lightly dusted on the roses, then a much stronger note of cumin. It never smells of body odor or curry, but merely feels dusty and dry, like the powder you’d find in a spice market in the Orient. Everything about Epic reeks of an Orientalist fantasy, in the best way possible.



The sillage is moderate, and the fragrance blooms about 2 inches above the skin. Little tendrils follow you in the air when you move, but Epic doesn’t feel as powerful or heavy as some other Amouage perfumes. To my surprise, it is lighter in weight than its heavy notes or the richness of the rose would lead you to think. Epic is strong, but it is far from opaque or dense in feel. For the next two hours, the only massive change to Epic is in terms of its sillage. It keeps dropping, and Epic feels thinner, airier, after 90 minutes. By the end of the second hour, the perfume hovers an inch above the skin. It is primarily a bold, strongly spiced rose with frankincense, black tea, pickles, the guaiac’s sour woodiness, patchouli sweetness, and iris. There is the first lingering whisper of powderiness, no doubt from the iris, but the dominant undertone to the rose is dusty spice, then incense.  

At the end of the 3rd hour, Epic’s notes lose shape and clear distinction. The fragrance becomes a soft blur of rose dusted by amorphous spices, then infused with dry-sour guaiac and a light veil of frankincense, all atop a warm, vaguely ambered base with some patchouli sweetness and a hint of vanilla. It remains this way largely unchanged for the next few hours except for the prominence and strength of certain notes. The main one that varies is the guaiac wood. Sometimes, the pickle aroma returns and feels distinct, but at other times, there is only the wood’s other characteristic of burning leaves, extreme dryness, and general sourness. In the base, there is the faintest flicker of something soapy, but it’s quite muted.

Vanilla Custard. Source: Sacchef's Blog.

Vanilla Custard.
Source: Sacchef’s Blog.

Much more noticeable, however, is the patchouli. There is a phase where Epic turns much sweeter and more jammy, less dry, dusty and spiced as the fruited aspect of the patchouli impacts the top notes. It starts about 6.25 hours in and lasts roughly 90 minutes. During this time, the vanilla in the base becomes quite pronounced, and suddenly feels very custardy and rich. The overall effect of both things is quite disconcerting, especially next to the pickle. Epic feels like a jarring set of contradictions from powdered orris, dry-sour wood, jammy patchouli, black smoke, a touch of pickles, and rich vanilla custard. Even if those are the undertones and not the dominant bouquet, it’s really not my thing. Honestly, I blame a lot of it on the guaiac wood. A small touch of sourness is one thing, even if it borders on pickles. But pickles mixed with the arid, singed feel of burnt leaves and sourness, combined with the richness of the vanilla custard and the jamminess of purple fruit-chouli… it’s too much for my personal tastes.

Source: Stockfresh.

Source: Stockfresh.

The weird phase thankfully ends by the start of the 8th hour, but Epic simply turns into a desiccated rose. The fragrance somehow feels more dusty and smoky than before. Not even the lingering, now thin, layer of dried vanilla in the base can fix it. In fact, the rose takes on a faintly ashy facet, along with some powderiness as if from makeup powder. The guaiac loses its pickled touches, but now, the dry wood has taken on a staleness to join its sourness undertones. It’s hard to explain, but I’m not thrilled by any of it. I’m even less enthused when Epic devolves into a simple, rather nebulous blur of dry, dusty, woody roses with a soapy undertone and touches of smokiness. Soapiness is really the final straw for me, no matter how minor it might be.

There, it remains until its very end when Epic dies away as a smear of woody dryness. All in all, Epic lasted just short of 13.5 hours, with initially moderate sillage that soon turned to soft. As a whole, it lingered just an inch above the skin for the first 6 hours, but was always concentrated when smelled up close. It only turned into a skin scent at the start of the 7th hour. I really enjoyed the first few hours, but the rest of it was much more of a struggle. In all fairness, however, I’m not particularly passionate about rose scents in general.

I felt rather crazy for smelling pickes (of all things!) in an Amouage fragrance, but, apparently, there are a few of us loons out there. I was hugely relieved to see two comments on Luckyscent saying the same thing:

  • Its not terrible, it just smells a bit like pickles.
  • ….it smels a little bit like pickles to me…. yay!  [That was a sarcastic “yay,” as the person gave it 2 stars out of 5]
Caraway seeds.

Caraway seeds.

On Fragrantica, the reviews are all over the place, to the point that I’m not sure I could find quotes representing a consensus. For some people, Epic is a primarily vanilla-centered fragrance, while for others, it is nothing more than a spice cabinet focusing on dry caraway (cumin) with frankincense. One person mentioned pickles, yet again. (I’m so glad I’m not crazy!) Three or four people found Epic to have a medicinal start, while others compare Epic to its sister, Lyric. There doesn’t seem to be any agreement on that comparison either. Some find Epic to be spicier, perhaps the spiciest of all Amouage fragrances, while one person calls it icier with a powdery hauteur (that she loves). For a few Fragrantica commentators, Epic is floral soap, while others talk of a powdery element. Almost everyone thinks Epic has monumental longevity, while a few disagree and said it only lasted a few hours on their skin.

Despite these differences, however, the majority of people seems to really love Epic Woman. I think the issue is going to come down to how much spice and dryness you can handle. One or two people mentioned Andy Tauer‘s L’Air du Desert Marocain; I can see similarities in terms of the fragrance’s dryness and spiciness, but only vaguely. Very vaguely, as I think Epic is significantly more floral in nature, more lush, and rich. On my skin, the caraway or cumin that others mention was not as dispositive as the guaiac, and the spices were fully enfolded into the velvety rose, but it’s all going to depend on skin chemistry.

Lyric Woman. Source: Fragrantica

Lyric Woman. Source: Fragrantica

I think a greater point of comparison might be to Amouage’s Lyric Woman. Now, granted, on my skin, Lyric was primarily about the ylang-ylang and not quite so much about the roses, but it’s generally considered a spicy rose fragrance. And it is certainly what came to my mind when wearing Epic. So, how do the two compare? Angela at Now Smell This reviewed Epic Woman, and offered her thoughts on the two rose sisters:

Epic is warm, thick, and fuzzy with smooth edges. Rose and sweet sandalwood balance Epic’s sour oud and frankincense, and a dusting of peppery spices makes sure the fragrance never strays into olfactory tranquilizer territory. Epic starts not with perfume’s traditional tickle of citrus, but with pepper and geranium, before settling into a rose-inflected blend of frankincense and rose, tinged with oud. Over time, the sandalwood steps forward. I can’t pick out the cumin at all.

If this sounds like a description of Lyric Woman, the two fragrances do share common ground. To me, though, Lyric feels brighter, colder, and more distinct than Epic. Epic, on the other hand, is so silkily blended that when smelling it I visualize all its components woven together into a fragrant blanket. Lyric focuses more on rose and incense, while Epic favors spice and sandalwood. Lyric feels like a stained glass window, while Epic feels like a chunky but formfitting sweater knit from Italian merino wool the color of dark honey. Lyric broods, and Epic comforts.

Perfume-Smellin’ Things also found similarities, but thought Epic was more lush and grandiose. For those who are cumin-phobes, I would like to emphasize that she too did not find cumin to be a major part of the scent. Her review reads, in part, as follows:

Speaking of Lyric, to me, Epic picks up its ripe, honeyed rose theme and carries it on, embellishing the star note further, and sort of giving the idea its logical closure by making the composition darker and even more extravagantly lush. No, the two are not the same fragrances, but of all Amouage siblings these are probably the closest in spirit.

The embellishments in question are oud and frankincense. The funny thing is that, at the very first sniff from a vial or a on scent strip, the scent is undeniably an oud-rose blend. As soon as it is applied to the skin, however, incense takes center stage, and I like that. There are plenty rose-ouds and not that many rose-incenses. The nocturnal, resinous frankincense note delights me with its presence for a good long while, sort of covering the rose like a black curtain. Eventually the curtain is lifted and there is the flower, sweet, over-ripe, spicy with cinnamon and geranium, brewed with black tea and vanilla into a seductive potion. It is a delicious, edible, sensual and yet appropriately regal rose.

If you are looking for more oud, you will find more in the base, along with some dirt from patchouli and some more nectareousness from amber and sandalwood. Those afraid of the sweetness, note that it is well balanced by the drier, stark notes of frankincense, gaiac and oud. Cuminophobiacs, to you I can only say that there was no cumin on my skin (not that I would have minded some). All fans of the Big Perfumes in general and Amouage’s decadent oeuvre in particular, Epic is a must-sniff and, as far as I am concerned, a must-have.

I agree with her that Epic Woman is a must sniff for those who love extremely big, bold, spicy orientals. Same thing if you love roses, though I think there are enough spices, dry woodiness and incense to ensure that Epic is not merely about the flowers. Those elements also render Epic Woman quite unisex, in my opinion.

The perfume is not cheap by any means, but I have found a whole slew of discounted prices from retailers around the world. Epic Woman retails for $265, €215 or £175 for the smallest size (50 ml), but there is one reputable discount site that sells a large 100 ml bottle for as low as $170, if you’re willing to accept the lack of a box. (See, the Details section at the very end.) For those who love their boxes, the perfume is also available for a little bit more at $199, which is still $100 below the $310 retail cost for the 100 ml size. It’s a great deal, either way.

So, don’t be shy about testing Epic Woman if the notes intrigue you and if you love very spicy, bold, rich scents . Hopefully, on your skin, it won’t turn up with a heavy pickle aroma and the guaiac will be more pleasant in its other manifestations as well. For me personally, Epic Woman is too much of a struggle when taken as a whole and I’m simply not that much of a rose fiend to ignore it. That said, I have to repeat that I truly enjoyed its opening hours. Epic is lush, grandiose, and thoroughly suited to Princess Turandot.

Turandot by the San Francisco Opera. Photo: Robert Kusel. Source:

Turandot by the San Francisco Opera. Photo: Robert Kusel. Source:

Cost, Discounted Price & Travel Sets: Epic Woman in an eau de parfum that comes in two sizes: a 50 ml/1.7 oz bottle that retails for $265, €215 or £175; or a 3.4 oz/100 ml eau de parfum that costs $310, €250, or £205. You can buy Epic Woman directly from Amouage’s website which also offers a Travel Set of four 10ml bottles for €170. However, you can buy the fragrance for much cheaper than the $265 or $310 retail price. On FragranceNet, the large 100 ml bottle of Epic Woman costs $170.16 if you buy it without the box and if you use the coupon they list directly on the page. If you want the boxed version, it costs $199.06 instead of the $310 retail price. There is also an Extrait or Pure Parfum version available. There is free domestic shipping on all orders. FragranceNet has a variety of international sites, and you can find the one for your country by changing the flag shown on the grey border at the top of square box which encases the perfume price. Thus, the Canadian cost for the unboxed Epic would be around CAD$188, the UK price would be GBP£103.82, the Australian price would be AUD$194, and the Euro price would be €125.95. They have similar pricing options for a variety of countries, from Brazil to South Africa, a few Scandanavian ones and more, as FragranceNet seems to ship all over. The perfume is also on sale at Rakuten which offers the 50 ml bottle for $200 and the 100 ml bottle for $260. Epic Woman is priced higher (but still discounted) at LilyDirect which sells the large 3.4 oz bottle for $272.80. Netherlands’ Oz Cosmetics sells the 50 ml bottle of Epic Woman for €183.90. In the Middle East, Kuwait’s Universal Fragrances sells a sealed 100 ml bottle of Epic Woman for $239.99, or a 100 ml Tester bottle of Epic for $199.99.
In the U.S., the authorized Amouage dealer is Parfums Raffy which both sizes of Epic Woman, the Travel Size Set for $240, and offers free domestic shipping. Luckyscent carries both sizes of Epic Woman, but not the travel set. The 100 ml size of Epic can also be purchased at MinNY (along with the Extrait version and body products like lotion), or at the Four Seasons. Finally, Parfums Raffy sells a Ten Sample Set of Men and Women’s Amouage fragrances in 2 ml vials for $75.
Outside the US: In Canada, The Perfume Shoppe offers both sizes of Epic Woman, along with sampler sets, mini travel sets and body lotions. There is free worldwide shipping, I think. The perfumes are listed at the same price as in the U.S., since they are an American-based company which has a Vancouver branch, so you may want to drop them an email to inquire as to the Canadian pricing. In the UK, Epic Woman is available at Les Senteurs where it costs £175 for the 50 ml size. Samples are available for purchase. There is also an Amouage boutique in London. If you don’t want to go the discounted route with FragranceNet’s Euro price, then you can order Epic Woman from Germany’s First in Fragrance where it costs €205 or €295 (depending on size) with free shipping within the EU and shipping elsewhere for a fee. The entire Amouage line is also offered at Harrods, SelfridgesEssenza Nobile, Paris’ Jovoy, and France’s Premiere Avenue. For other countries, the Amouage website has a “Store Finder” which should, hopefully, help you find the perfume somewhere close to you.
Samples: Surrender to Chance sells Epic starting at $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. The site also sells samples of the Lyric body lotion, and a Sampler Set for 9 Amouage women’s fragrances which starts at $34.99 for 1/2 ml vials.

35 thoughts on “Amouage Epic (Woman): Turandot at The Forbidden City

  1. This reminded me of the Luca Turin ‘Code in the Nose’ documentary. Carraway seed, dill pickle smells and so on. HIghly amusing

      • I got a strong bleach note from the Strenesse perfume. I looked it up and found the culprit, (name escapes me) and yes it was made by the perfumer who often used it. I ask you, who would risk the sodium hypoclhlorite note? Who would risk the pickle vibe? Sorry can’t comment on Lyric, not acquainted. Such fun! (as MIranda’s Mother would say)

          • Strenesse, a Designer perfume, after the clothing range, which I believe is German. The perfume has a milky appearance and features almond and peach. Marurice Roucel was the perfumer. I think I was the first reviewer to find a bleach note in the perfume, I have just looked and I am no longer the only one, another MUA reviewer mentions it. It took some resolve to write the review when I did, after all who would create a perfume that smelt of bleach? (Sodium Hypochlorite) I researched what caused it and found that the aroma chemical responsible was used by Maurice Roucel in other creations. I am sorry if my earlier reply sounded flighty or schizophrenic. I am very interested (without having a definite stance) in Luca Turin’s theories. I guess a few bells went off in my head. And so on to Pickle….I had already read the Fragrantica review where it was mentioned and thought it hilarious that you detected it also. Best regards Kafka.

          • Ah, okay, thank you for clarifying and providing details. I had never heard of Strenesse, either as a perfume or clothing range, and I was lost at the sudden issue of bleach. Thanks for explaining.

  2. I have not tried this perfume. But I do like Lyric. This sounds like it has a Lot going on! The sour aspect you describe seems a bit off putting. I do love the idea of rose, frankincense, and tea. But not pickles!!! Rose is a scent I love to smell, it is a mood enhancer, for me. But I, for some reason, have a hard time wearing roses. It just seems to be ‘not me’. Thank you for taking me on a journey down the Silk Road. Great review. I feel like I have just tried this with you!!

    • I think the pickle issue is really going to depend on how your skin handles guaiac wood in general, and how it works here with the other elements. I’ve noticed that, for me, the wood has a very sour undertone in a few fragrances. Others perfumes with it merely give off a very autumnal burning note, like burnt leaves. Sometimes, it’s both super dry *and* sour. I haven’t figured out why it can turn sour, as it did with Imaginary Author’s Memoirs of a Trespasser, but the note seems to be a tricky thing that is dependent on handling. I’m guessing that the pink peppercorns and sourness together recreate some sort of resemblance to pickles, but only on some people.

      For you, even if you’re not be a true, hardcore rose fan, I think you’d like the incense, tea and spice notes quite a bit. So if you have the chance to try it, I think you should. I think Epic is a “rose” scent in the way that Alahine is a “rose” scent. They both have that lush, velvety, opulent rose (and it actually does smell in Epic the way it smells in Alahine), but there is so much else going on that Epic is not JUST a rose scent. It’s like Rose+Plus, if that makes sense. Definitely an Oriental at its core, more than even just a Floriental.

  3. Hi Kafka…when one incorporates the words pickles, frakenscence and rose within the initial description of a fragrance….I just cannot resist the urge to read on.

    Well…after further review….I cannot think of three more complimentary notes…with the pickles obviously uniting the frakenscence and rose….madness or masterpiece? Am I being baited?
    Lov Ya

    • ROFL at the “Am I being baited?” question. Hahaha. Well, given your issues with roses, I wouldn’t rush to recommend this one to you. I don’t know what you’d think of that aspect. As for the pickles, most people were not quite so…. er…. blessed (??) in that regard. The real thing is the spices and smokiness that weaves its way around the rose, but since you’re not particularly fond of roses, then….. hm. I don’t know, my dear.

  4. Well it sounds like it is singing Nessun Dorma just for me! Wonderful review! And yes that production in the Forbidden City of Turandot was just about the best thing going ever! I loved it.

  5. Kafkaesque, I love this perfume sooo much and really enjoyed your review, especially your emphasis on the lushness of the rose, your description of the tea and the dustiness of the frankincense and spices. Also, even though you don’t care for the way the vanilla expands in the drydown to become quite custard-like, I have to say I love that part of the fragrance too.

    Thankfully, I do not get any pickles, but I get a thread of green minty-ness that entwines around the rose, which I also like. This is one of those perfumes that makes me realize that skin chemistry plays a solid role in how perfume develops, because on a recent visit, my mother wore some Epic and it was almost suffocating, even though she didn’t apply much. Whereas my scent-eating skin loves it … it’s perfect pitch on my skin. (Not a brag; it’s just a perfume that works for me well.)

    • Hi Suzanne, nice to see you.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with Epic. I’m glad you didn’t experience any pickles, and that the fragrance works so well for you. Interesting about how it is on your mother. I think skin chemistry definitely plays a role, as well as personal tastes. I’m glad you’ve found a fragrance that you love so much. Epic is definitely quite special.

  6. This sounds quite fascinating but…pickles? Pickles?! It sounds so strange, and yet I can’t help but think I might enjoy it. Amouage’s women’s line is definitely on the next sample binge, but I’ve imposed a moratorium until I work my way through at least half the samples I have now. Once I organized them it was a weirdly alarming moment once I realized just how many I had! O__O. The caraway seeds also concern me – I don’t mind cumin (in moderation both in food and fragrance) but caraway seeds seem to ruin everything they touch. I don’t know why they gross me out so much, but it’s one of the few things I truly dislike from a food perspective. Even so, I can’t help but be intrigued by the Turandot inspiration. Beautiful, evocative review – thank you for sharing it. I loved reading it!

    • I think the pickles is only MY skin doing odd things with the guaiac wood. Well, my skin and that of a few other weirdos. The majority don’t experience it at all. How interesting that you find a strong difference between cumin and caraway. Is caraway much drier and woodier on your skin?

      I do hope you will try more of the Amouage women’s line, as I think you’d really like a number of them, but I do understand about your sample situation. It’s a happy problem to have. 🙂

      • I think that’s probably a close approximation of the difference, as I’d be hard-pressed to put it into words. Cumin, to me, definitely has more of a body odor type characteristic (which sounds very negative, but that’s not to say it’s always unpleasant). I’ve truly loathed caraway since I was a child for whatever bizarre reason, and I was a pretty adventurous eater as a child, especially in comparison to the finicky palates of other young kids. One of the few foods I’ve never warmed up to – that and *shudder* blue cheese.

        I found this which is better at explaining the difference than I could ever even attempt!
        Definitely will try the Amouage stuff.It took a few attempts for me to warm up to some of the men’s offerings, but now I’ve seen the light and am a devotee. I’m sure I’ll be equally impressed by a number of the women’s offerings!

        Indeed, the sample problem is a happy one. I’ve been doing well working through them, though. 🙂 I usually go to the gym before work, so I keep a few in there, rotate them throughout the week, the replenish as I move through them. Great way to try new things more than once, and a great way to move closer to another giant StC order. 😀

  7. I did not mind Epic the first times. I tried it on the go.
    To sum it up, it does not smell good to me.
    Very well woven, good ingredients, intellectually very interesting, but not satisfying to sniff.

    I already had my favorite in the Amouage line. Gold extrait, lyric edp, homage, jubilation 25 and XXV. I’m much an incense guy so I like most offerings. I stick close to Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez point of view.

    Talking about edp/extrait difference, I know how it can change everything for Gold. The EDP is too raspy without the extra rose fluidity and extra jasmin greasiness and overload of incence in the extrait. These metallic (gold?) aspect are too dry without the mindblowing extra quality of the gold extrait (on fabric, I wear them on fabric, this oily thing blooms better on fabric).

    Lyric extrait does not add much.
    Sure the rose is truer and candier on the beginning, a more light hearted personality, even a fruity mango-like synthetic thing in the top note is more preeminent. The extrait is as good as the edp, that is, very good. What the extrait gain in warmhearted-ness en rose oil, it loses in balance and wide range of mood of the edp.

    Jubilation 25, i was puzzled about if I do love or doesn’t the edp. Maybe the remaining tangyness of davana, or some ambroxan is the base was scratching my liking of it.
    The extrait is extra creamy by its dollop of silvery butter, and jasmine too, it’s a diorella chypriness emphasized. I like it as it is, huge quality materials that takes you by the heart. It’s like autumn and spring combined.

    So last time I tried Epic extrait on the go. Both edp and extrait are now available in the new courter at “le Printemps”‘s scent room. I detected that the extrait was fixing all that was to dry and daring in the edp. It feels like living in a medieval tapestry, all about shades of green, see “the lady and the unicorn” kind of tapestry. The extra rose and jasmin at center stage make for more action to focus on. The spice don’t take center stage. The dryness (spice, woods) is in tension with real smooth wood and warm ambiance. It’s not weird anymore, it’s beautiful and mysterious. Overall it’s sooo velvety and cozy.

    I’ve bought a bottle and it’s on its way to me. I hope it’s still the “one of the beautifulest thing money can buy” thing I encountered last time, and on the blotter I was warming back to life.

    • Thank you for your wonderful comment and sharing your experiences with various Amouage Extraits. I’ve got a sample of Gold Extrait, and it’s lovely indeed. I think your Epic Extrait sounds magnificent. I’m sure the perfume will be as beautiful as what you encountered on paper, and I’m sure you will enjoy your bottle. 🙂

  8. Epic extrait has arrived. (I’m relieved, I always fear the post loosing my precious.)

    It’s a tough cookie.
    The paper strip made it flat, in a good way, it lent unity to it.
    Applying it on skin, the perfume go through different phase

    Black pepper
    Like black gun powder, and buttery pop-corn.
    Close to “poivre piquant”, or if no5’s pepper had been amped up 5 times.
    It’s nose clearing, never oppressive. The spray head of the bottle only smell of that.

    Rose rolling in cinnamon
    A realistic true red rose, that last 5 minutes (rare!), rolling in spices, mainly cinnamon.
    A sort of fiery cinnamon.
    Not the Aphrodite-like sensuous cinnamon, a fiery one.
    (Not a raspy bad cinnamon at all).
    A kind of angry Aphrodite cinnamon?

    Basalm accord akin to Dyptique’s “Eau lente” and “Chamade”.
    Benjoin + hidden amber with “lentisque” pistachio green freshness + blurred flowers
    Epic verges on old-lady-ish, and fussy. I was scared Epic would end there, cause this accord signed the end of Chamade and “L’eau lente”. And I was scared it had lost it’s mistery once for all. And I hadn’t found again the “green taspestry” fantasy I got from the blotter.
    Chamade is radiant in its drydown, with some hesperidic note, and azur musk, and weightless narcissus. Not Epic, Epic is inward.
    L’eau lente is nice as is. As a statement of few alluring stable basalm in an accord. Epic is full of other ingredient, it verges on stuffy here.

    Epic extrait doesn’t project from the skin.
    It’s never oppressive : no overuse of synthetic ingredient give structure to it. It can be strong but is always easy on your nerves. (no woody-amber, no screechy floral, no laundry musk, no tons of iso-E-super)
    There is a lot of ingredient, I’m mean a looot, but they’re never “at war” with each other.
    At this stage (40mn after spraying), the composition lose sense.
    On skin the composition lacks of a landmark.

    New blotter and revelation
    I quite love it.
    The perfume remain “dewy” on the top.
    This “wet overwatching accord”, it is the landmark, it lends life to the composition.
    It cast enough life to help you read the mysterious basenotes, but never enough to elucidate the mystery. Epic is a perfume that develops inward.
    This accord is blurred dewy flowers (mainly jasmine), and salubrious indoor.
    With a hint of anise in the flowers, a hint of sapy green, and a hint of oud leather-ness in the salubrious indoor. So wet, velvety, and smooth.

    Enough life, enough charms, to surrender to the fragrance and get into it.

    This accord crash on skin.
    Without this accord, I get over-analytical because I’m not moved by the fragrance.
    The perfume is very oily, it does not project enough on sky. Its balance is soon lost.
    My blotter is still not dry, still greasy, that’s explaining why I could warmed up my former blotter from the Amouage counter!

    On T-shirt, I’ll be trying again. When I threw my T-shirt into the washing machine, the red rose had spread to the whole T-shirt, polarizing with the spice. Interesting…

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences. As a whole, I was confused by how much of your descriptions pertained to the scent on a “blotter,” as you call it. Generally, I don’t think a fragrance’s profile or development on the mouilettes is very reflective of its true self, so I think it is more useful to stick to talking about how a scent is on actual skin.

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  12. hello kfka im epic lover as my signiture since 2011 till now epic always be my baby… but im deeply disapointed. just bought my new epic at amouage boutique here in kuala lumpur malaysia. my epic sooo watery down from last batch that i purchased before. it lingger araound for about 2 or 3hours then disapear. this is 2015 production based on date at the box. i think i would go for extract de parfume. now amouage got 100ml for extraict de parfm limited edition.. what would you sugest…. should i go for extraict for longlast effect. as u know malaysia is hot humidity climax country.

    • Hi Myra, I’m sorry to hear that Epic has been so badly reformulated, and I sympathize fully with your disappointment. I don’t think it would hurt to test the Extrait version to see how the longevity is, but don’t expect a huge amount of projection or sillage from it. In general, pure parfums (or extraits) are softer and closer to the skin due to the increased amount of essential oils in them. I wouldn’t recommend buying the fragrance blindly, though. For all we know, the Extrait version may have been reformulated as well. If it is at all possible to find it in a store and test it, that is what you should do.

      • thankyou very much kafka for replying my coment… i realy apreciate it… for you information i always mix and match amouage perume.. ussualy epic w i mix with honour men it realy suite me well with warm weather.. this is old formula batch 2010.. you are so true now many amouage range have been reformula… so sad for amouage lover like us.. i also found difrend in interlude men and women it also happen to epic men longevity too bad for luxarious perfume such waisted for every penny we spend. interlude men if mix with attar tribute it will be nice.. im tried already. have you try opus 9? seems it new baby it will be nice in both weather hot n cold.. it will be more wild in evening wear.. hihihi.. .. so far i do loved opus 9..

        • Mixing and matching Amouages sounds like fun, Myra, and I have a few friends who do that as well, especially with the attars as a base for the EDPs. In terms of the reformulations, I think Epic Man suffered not only in terms of longevity but in terms of the actual smell as well. What I tried was…. Yikes. What on earth was it, because it really wasn’t like what I had heard, what I had expected, or like an Amouage at all. It’s like the fragrance got totally butchered in the reformulation, in addition to being watered down and diluted. What upsets me the most and will always be the greatest issue for me, however, is the discontinuation of the attars. That just kills me. 🙁 Tribute is my absolute FAVORITE Amouage creation, period.

          I haven’t tried Opus 9 yet, but will be getting a sample at some point soon.

  13. im so sorry for you my dear kafka about tribute… if anyone here going to oman you can odered from them. i did the same way my cousn went on last may to oman i just restock my tribute 12ml ask my cousin buy direct in oman thanks to him.. back to epic is that similar to majda bekalli mon nom est rouge? i realy wanted to trying since shipping sample from states to malaysia very expencive for only 0.5ml smple.. i decide to odered full 50ml from lucky scent.. before i do that i need your oppinion should i go for blindbuy mon nom est rouge? is that worth for epic w lover like me ?

    • I haven’t tried Mon Nom Est Rouges, so I can’t tell you much about the scent. I generally hate to recommend blind bottle purchases, but you’re in an unusual situation. I can tell you that a Dubai friend of mine who is a hardcore Amouage (and rose) lover really liked Mon Nom Est Rouge. A LOT. She’s someone who has an actual cupboard filled with unopened boxes of Amouages, has the extraits and body lotions, and, like you, also layers the fragrances. She adores Lyric and Epic, and she also adores Mon Nom Est Rouge, too. I think, given her tastes for roses and Amouage-style scents, you may like it too.

      If you do order from perhaps Luckyscent or First in Fragrance, you may want to consider asking for a sample of Rose de Petra from SHL 777 (Stephane Humbert Lucas 777). I really like that one, and I’m not really a rose lover. It reminded me of a mix of Epic & Lyric, with a touch of Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady. My Dubai friend, the rose lover, really likes it, too. As much as Mon Nom Est Rouge, in fact, and maybe a little more! I hope that helps, Myra. 🙂

  14. I just finished my 2ml sample and after 5 proper tests I can say that
    1)The rose is reaaly opulent and never feels “too much rose-centric” if that makes sense: it is the geranium for sure on my skin(quite pronounced) to give a touch of green and a well balanced amount of dust-dry-ness from the spices, cinnamon and pepper to envelop the velvety rose; it is like the opulent silk dress of the empress just came out of the warbrobe after a long time… that you can really see the dustyness…
    2) i did detected pickles in the lasts tests ( i used the equivalent of 3 big sprays) , very evident at the opening, and little by little fading away and i enjoyed the overall effect
    3)there is also an other flower lurking around and to me is jasmine, it is trying to smooth everything, i.e. Keeping in balance the smokiness, spiceness,dustiness ( yes i do not think epic woman is rose-centric nor flower-centric and it is very suitable for bith men and women)
    4) the tea not is not that evident ( just some in my first test), I was expecting something a la Guerlain tea collection, but no, not on my skin which is a plus for me.
    What i do detect is a quite strong lemony note but I believe ( correct me if I am wrong) is coming from the frankincense more than the tea.
    5) the custardy vanilla is not sweet at all on me and helps balancing and soothing everything.

    Epic woman is not a diva scent, it is an empress scent. I succumbed to a full bottle because every time i wear it, i feel happy; its opulence and lusciousness is not a screaming out but subdued, subtle and that s what i like

    • How wonderful that you found an Amouage that works so well for you! I’m so happy for you, Alex, because you sound really head over heels for Epic Woman. For what it’s worth, I think it’s suitable for men and women as well, and I know a lot of men who actually prefer the women’s line of Amouage’s pairings than the men because they find the compositions warmer, less dry, and more sumptuous.

      As a side note, I’m amused that you experienced the pickles as well. LOL. 😛

      Anyway, congratulations on your first, real, hardcore Amouage love and on your new bottle!

  15. Thanks K! As usual you got the point: I dismissed too quickly the woman line, so I am working my way through it… Those scents are really more opulent. My bottle arrived on Monday, it is without magnetic cup: i do not know if it is before reformulation but I did one test and with respect to my sample( supposed to be current version) it is definitely spicier smokier but without being dry, and it is more rose-centric: all this works very well.
    As for the pickles they are still there especially at the opening then slowly I can’t detect them anymore: i do not mind them, i enjoy the mix and this is weird because I do not like pickles as food: the rare times I eat burger at a fast food( once, twice a year) I always ask for no pickles….

    • No magnetic cap is bound to be pre-reformulation, and the scent differences you mention seem to validate that conclusion, so congratulations!! I know you smell great, even with an occasional, passing whiff of pickles at the start. Lol 😛 😉

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