Thursday, June 11, 2009

Amouage Jubilation 25: fragrance review

My tumultuous love affair with chypres has always been like flipping through the pages of an old family album; grudgingly recognising familiar features reflected on my own visage and looking quizzically yet with admiration on fashions past. Jubilation 25 by Amouage comes as the crowning glory of an introspection in sepia, ascertaining its place as one of my core favourites ever since its launch. In my ever expanding collection it is competing for stage space with the beautiful bell jars of the Parisian exclusives of Serge Lutens, to which it feels like kin.

The comparison with the olfactory seraglio of Lutens comes naturally, Arabia the Felix being at the DNA-helix of both. But whereas Lutens’s elixirs speak beneath dark-kholed lids assuming nevertheless a Japonesque apocryphal coyness, Jubilation 25 flaunts its proud breast in the fabled manner of perpulchra Eleanor of Aquitane astride her horse on the Second Crusade while facing the gates of Damascus.

The Omani uber-luxe brand Amouage released Jubilation 25 in 2007 to celebrate its 25th anniversary with their customary brief: spare no expense! To that effect let’s remind ourselves of the free reign legendary perfumer Guy Robert (Hermès Equipage, the buttery soft Doblis and Calèche, Christian Dior Dioressence, Madame Rochas) received upon the commission of creating the introductory fragrance of the house of Amouage when it was established in 1983 by the Sultan of Oman. Now named Amouage Gold, along with Amouage Dia, for men and women, the scents help prove that opulence acts as a constant in the direction of the venerable and genuinely exotic house.

Composed by Lucas Sieuzac, (Fashion Group International's Rising Star award receiver in 2004), Jubilation 25’s resolutely noble lineage can be traced to the succulent and confidently sexy fruity chypres of yore, like Rochas Femme, hold the exuberance, and Guerlain Mitsouko, hold the wistfulness. Pointedly the antecedent accord in the heart of Jubilation 25 is that of Edmond Roudnitska’s enigmatic Diorella, minus the melon freshness and flanked by a generous side helping of amber and resins. Yet in many ways the Amouage fragrance is a seasoned grand dame whereas Diorella is a budding ingénue of aristocratic pedigree. The intense hedonic character of the fruity nectar is not far removed from the legendary Colony by Jean Patou.

Smelling Jubilation 25, soft billowing layers of rose reveal themselves one after the other as if testing a rich millefeuille, while the sumptuous sensation of liqueur-like essences such as davana compliment the fruitier facets of the floral accord. The beguiling austerity of liturgical essences (frankincense, myrrh) is contrapuntist to the nectarous tonalities and the unmistakably mossy-woody base foiling them ~which makes the chypre accord so complex and intensely memorable. In comparison to Rochas Femme (and especially the 80s reformulated version), Jubilation 25 comes off as more lemony and delicately ambery, less spicy but with a discreet leathery aftertaste. Surprisingly, it exhibits a more cultivated Gallic air than the French-born themselves! Its amazing lasting power is testament to its firm grip on your heartstrings, if you are even remotely attracted by the genre of fruity chypres, of which it is a stellar example.

Amouage Jubilation 25 notes:
Top: tarragon, rose, lemon, and ylang ylang
Heart: davana, labdanum, rose, and frankincense
Base: amber, musk, vetiver, myrrh, and patchouli.

Amouage Jubilation 25 Eau de Parfum comes in 50ml/1.7oz and 100ml/3.4oz bottles and sometimes it’s available in 25ml starter bottles which are excellent value for money considering the high quality of the juice.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Chypre scents, Chypre series.

Pic via
Clip of The Lion in Winter originally uploaded by Moviemonologues on Youtube.


  1. Oh, my sister !

    This is truly the stuff of HG, no doubt.
    I love it, splurged on it, and regret not ONE DROP.

    It sings " wie die Nachtigall ", for me.
    I lack sufficient vocabulary.
    ["She nailed it, she nailed it !"]
    I'm going to put some on, NOW.

  2. It's nothing sort of amazing, isn't it? I know you're a big fan dear I!

  3. Fiordiligi15:07

    Yes, dearest E, a gorgeous piece of writing about a gorgeous fragrance. You are smelling heavenly today, Chaya.

    Thank you!

  4. Alexandra15:25

    God! I wish I didn`t read this. Fruity chypre, my most favourite genre by far... Femme Rochas, my personal favourite...leather, great...mossy-woody base...
    This will be so bad for my budget. Maybe that tiny viny starter bottle...

  5. I've never seen this movie, though I've heard of it. Dear god, how beautiful, how talented, and how well she knows her way around the camera!

  6. Sampled some Femme yesterday, lovely stuff, and now you do a post on this, be kind to my poor bank account Helg :-). The Lion In Winter is really good.

  7. Anonymous15:46

    Hi E!

    Jubilation 25 is the only chypre - fruity or not in my whole collection. That's sayin' something. ;0

    This scent is magic. I find it to be beautiful with the tiniest hint of skank peeping through. I love how it lingers for hours and hours on the skin and how I can still smell it the next morning.

    Powerful stuff nonetheless.

    Thanks for reviewing it. :)

    Hugs from the otherside,

  8. Anonymous16:03

    Dear E,

    What felicity! I recently ordered a sample of AT's Incense Rosee based on your reccomendation and since the store sells 5 samples for $15, I had 4 more to pick and choose. I recalled that Amouage Jubilation 25 was a favourite so I ordered a sample. It is in the mail and I am impatient for its arrival. "The beguiling austerity of liturgical essences" and "the unmistakably mossy-woody base"! Oh E, what will I do if I love it?!


  9. chris g18:27

    Oh yeah!!! One of my VERY favorites, along with Rochas Femme and Diorella. I apply it on the back of my hands and arms so I can smell it for hours and hours. There's nothing like waking up in the morning and smelling what it has become - now for a lottery win...or an inheritance...or selling off jewelry from my ex-husband (HA HA!) so I can revel in it!
    Chris G

  10. D,

    thanks honey! It's so luscious, so warm, so full...Ida is surely smelling heavenly today! (and every day come to think of it) :-)

  11. A,

    bummer for the credit card, I know...but I couldn't restraint my fingers, they had a mind of their own in this case, words flew.
    The smaller bottles are an excellent starter and quite elegant to have anyway.

  12. D,

    it's one of my most favourite films; seriously a wonderful piece of art on all levels: simply brilliant script full of double meanings and clever wordplay, excellently acted by all, directed with much gusto to the point you forget that it's cinematographied drama, the works! Catherine is amazing and actually the director insisted on this take being shot with her hair's quite symbolic, I find, of both her feeling "free" to talk honestly and to reveal a sexier side which was alluded to all the while through dialogue (everything is done in this movie through dialogue, btw, it's the "if words could kill" in practice). It's a puzzle how Peter O'Toole didn't also win an Oscar for his work here, he was superb.
    And you can catch the acting debut of not one, but two famous -now- actors: Antony Hopkins and the most handsome Timothy Dalton.

    It is overall SUPERB and highly, highly recommended (even the music is not so bad either). Rent it now!

  13. J,

    I know...I promise I will do some negative reviews too shortly, so you don't all hate me for making you splurge, although it so deserves it.

    Yeah on The Lion in Winter, see my comment to Dain above. So glad you like it too!

  14. Leave it to you to do justice to this amazing scent, E. Eleanor of Aquitaine is the perfect "face" for J25--and I adore that film! You've inspired me to enjoy a bit of my precious decant. ;-) (I'm going to rent the movie, too.)

  15. Dawn, darling,

    hi there!

    I know, with your exquisite taste, how could you not fall for this gem? It's indeed so worth it of one's hard-earned cash.
    You describe it perfectly and indeed its lasting power is half its charm, it lingers oh so seductively.


  16. Natalia,

    thanks honey for stopping by and my, the club of Jub25 admirers is going strong I see!
    It does make for a little pause before the word "restraint", doesn't it? Go on, you're worth it!

  17. Chris,

    I see another happy face under the spell of this amazing frag. How could it be different? Its only fault is the high price, that;s true.(not to make you part with your jewels or anything....)

  18. M,

    thank you for the wonderful compliment. Eleanor came naturally to mind. And Catherine is so good in this, isn't? Oh, I will be watching the film again this weekend (we should create a cinema forum with the occasional perfume suggestion/peppering along the way, us here!)

  19. The Amouage boutique in Sabco (shopping mall) has been completely redesigned . It displays the products superbly and the entrance doors add a real touch of drama

  20. Vanessa22:13

    And the website now lists Jubilation in extrait - how gorgeous will that be! Has anyone tried this yet?

    Amouage is a really fantastic house. I hope they bring out the matching body products soon!

  21. Hi, E. Oh yes, this Jubilation 25 is gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. Another fruity chypre that this recalls for me is vintage Diorama. My nose detects a delectably raunchy cumin note in both.

  22. Anonymous13:36

    Jubilation 25 Bath Collection will be launched at the end of this year. There will also be a Jubilation 25 candle with a beautiful holder.

    Creative Director of Amouage

  23. Anonymous13:44

    Taking time out from a heavy work load to applaud your review of this masterpiece. I have loved Jub 25 since the nanosecond I first smelled it. It is so womanly. I haven't yet splurged, making do with samples and probably a scent split but my ears have pricked up at the news of an extrait version? Hope you're well, E! donanicola

  24. Thank you OA for the info!

  25. V,

    please!! I don't need the enabling on THAT!!! My God, how lovely should that be indeed.

  26. J,

    vintage Diorama is assuredly grand. It's more plummy though than Jub, although I can see where you're coming from. We do love our cumin!

  27. To the Creative Director of Amouage,

    thank you once again for contacting me and for providing the info on the subsequent releases. They have seriously whetted our appetite here on Perfume Shrine! (they sound delicious)

  28. Dear N,

    thank you honey! I'm well, although terribly rushed with everything, jungling a million things in this unbearable heat we're having.

    Indeed extrait sounds like the bee's knees! Who could splurge though? We should create a trust fund: "in beauty we pledge".

  29. My admiration...lust...for Jub 25 is is my relationship with this film. Katharine Hepburn is fabulous is the line "what family doesn't have its ups & downs?" which has stuck with me over time.

    Don't forget that the "piggy" brother would end up playing Arthur in Excalibur...those sons were not only something here, they became even more so! Timothy Dalton, btw, is my favorite Bond.

    Somehow, my brain still feels it is thinking of perfume...oh, yes...see the revision of my adjective for my feelings for Jubilation 25... ;) Add to that my deep admiration for the actress, and bingo.

  30. S,

    thanks for commenting and in such an interesting way!

    Indeed the film proves to be very memorable, even beyond recent adaptations. BTW, I do recall Nigel Terry in Excalibur (another most favourite film, that one introduced both Gabriel Burn and Liam Neeson to the silver screen (and it features one of the most wonderful actors to time: Nicol Williamson).
    The whole script is full of memorable lines, but your favourite is one that sticks with its sheer truth!

    And then, I couldn't find a better adjective for Job25 than lustful. It's Great choice!

  31. I expected of course something in the line of "Gold" of which i nourish a sample and would love to wear if i had more MONEY (and occassions)! Now... Upon very first sniff (i got a sample only a few weeks ago from a dear POL friend, roseattar) i had one nearly blasphemous thought on my mind and you easily can see what that means for me, knowning my tastes: "this smells like the stuff Miss Dior wanted/was supposed to be". I completely adore it and it's on my wishlist since then. I am completely smitten. I might take this one to the faraway island, if i had to choose. Unfortunately expensive for nowaday's financial struggles.

  32. *Le Sigh!*
    Unfortunately everything is extra-proportionately expensive nowadays... Remember when this whole niche thing first began? Things were within reason. Not any more, although for Jubilation25 I'd gladly make the leap (I already have!)

    I'd peg Miss Dior as much greener and animalistic, especially in the vintage extrait, although I can see where you're coming from.
    Enjoy your sample, it's a gem! :-)


Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu, below text box (Anonymous is fine too!) and hit Publish.
And you're set!

This Month's Popular Posts on Perfume Shrine