Reflection Man (Amouage)

I happen to like Reflection Man a bit more now than I did when I first tried it a couple months ago. Something about its greenness has grown on me (pardon the implicit pun). At first I thought it smelled like a marshmallow drizzled in lemon juice, but not anymore. Its bright neroli, pink pepper, and jasmine accord shines with total clarity, and I'm getting a huge dose of sandalwood and rosemary as well. There are a couple of comparatives for this.

My first thought is that it smells roughly the same as Perry Ellis Portfolio Green. That's a good thing because I like Portfolio Green's structure (although I dislike its execution - too chemical). Reflection is obviously made of better materials and is therefore a lot easier to wear than PG. But a part of me wants to say that this Amouage is a greener variant of the original Joop! Homme. That's tricky, because the two fragrances only have two notes in common - jasmine and sandalwood - but they treat the notes identically. Reflection's jasmine is really sweet and a little indolic, almost like an old-fashioned granny soap from around the time scented soaps were becoming popular, the 1940s and '50s.

Joop! Homme's jasmine is bundled into a very strange orange blossom, rose, and tuberose accord, the black-hole equivalent of a white wedding floral. All of its blossomy-green characteristics have been condensed down to a tight sweetness, tinged with indole. This is why Joop! Homme has always smelled a bit chemical to people - it's a highly blended composition with relatively poor note separation, and many of the notes share the exact same qualities, resulting in a sort of fuzzy effect. What saves Joop! is that it goes whole-hog in that direction and never compromises, with an equally fuzzy violet on top and sandalwood below. It never cops out and tries to apologize for what it's doing. It's the perfect postmodern floral, bright and alarming, like one of those neon-sign installation pieces you see at the MOMA.

Reflection is the same. Its jasmine is airier and fresher, but only the sweetness and slight funkiness of its blossoms peek through. Its sandalwood is also very smooth and grainy, with an abstract woodiness that is never like a natural precious wood. These strange chemical affectations work in the fragrance's favor, because they work together to create a fluffy, fresh effect. I'm pleased with what I smell. This is one Amouage scent that works pretty well in warmer temperatures, and I recommend wearing it during spring and late summer. Can I say it's a great value for the money? Perhaps. I'd never drop the big dollars on a full bottle, but I can see why someone else might. I'll stick to the two cheapies that work with similar elements at a tiny fraction of the cost, but I'm probably just a cheapskate.

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