There are fine perfumes, and then there are works of art. The house of Amouage and its creative director, Christopher Chong, are definitely to be considered in the latter category.

The line began in 1983, when the Sultan of Oman had the dream to restore the majesty of Middle Eastern perfumery. And with a Sultan’s wealth no expense was spared in locating the finest ouds, roses, and spices to bring his dream into reality. Rarely do you come across a line where every detail in perfumery is executed with such finesse, power and depth as perfumer Pierre Negrin and Creative Director Christopher Chong put into their work on this fragrance.

Interlude Man is an excellent example of these details. It is deeply aromatic, sensual and dry. A perfume perhaps made for a library filled with ancient leather books, pipe smoke, and dust motes jumping in the haze from sunlit windows.

The opening begins with an earthy pull of bergamot, oregano and allspice. The bergamot is not bright, but stays only slightly citric – anything too zesty and you would have an impossible contrast to start the show. The bitter bergamot sweetens up the dry, woody oregano and nose-crinkling allspice, but also provides a way for each of these ingredients to have a focus of their own. If the citrus weren’t there, the aromatics would feel too similar, overly dry or sharp.

The heart of Interlude Man is a stunning and sensuous blend of amber and opoponax, with a fine, smoky strand of incense running through it to elevate its inner mysteries. The amber and opoponax are very subtle and intimate, not sugary, thick or heavy in the least, but with enough sweetness to capture anyone’s attention. This is how a man should smell.

The drydown moves slowly back into drier, more aromatic territory with a combination of herbal patchouli, sandalwood and agarwood smoke. The sandalwood is a perfect bridge for moving from sweet to spicy, and in the drydown you are treated to all of this scents themes bound up in one last impression of sweet spice.

Amouage Interlude Man has what the best perfumes always have: deeply intimate, powerful notes that stay close to the skin but that last for hours. A little Amouage goes a long way, and this is definitely not the kind of scent to graffiti the body head to toe with. One quick spray on the wrist, and a short spritz that you should walk into rather than spray on your own skin will be plenty.