I’m not a big fan of spicy fragrances. Other than a few notable exceptions, modern entries into the genre tend to descend into this beastly and unmistakably cheap woody amber base. Often worse, those that don’t deploy amber with a heavy hand tend to distinguish themselves (or not) with an equally generic tonka bean that overloads the senses in the late dry down. The scents I’m describing all smell the same: boring and tedious. No need to name names. You know what sorts of fragrances I’m referencing.
To be honest, when I looked at the notes, I thought Journey Man would be more of the same. Given that the fragrance is based around spice and has tonka in the base, I expected a phoned in, generic spicy scent. Fortunately my expectations were way off mark.
Journey Man is a spicy scent, but to me it is more about literal spices and a beautifully moist tobacco note. The illusion of moist tobacco (as opposed to dry tobacco) is from a technical perspective an impressive achievement given the amount of dry-smelling ingredients in this fragrance. Actually, I’m not quite sure how this is achieved, but I suspect it has something to do with the unorthodox dose of neroli that serves to freshen up the fragrance significantly.
The result is brilliant. An authentic, Sichuan pepper note dominates the opening, made somehow even more realistic and textured by the inclusion of cardamom. Leathery and gently smoky nuances can be found throughout the scent, and the dry down is packed with juniper and Cypriol oil. Fortunately, despite the aggressive use of dry spices and woods, this scent is balanced perfectly due to the neroli aspect, and while strong, likely won’t assault the senses unless it is sprayed excessively. Tonka is present, but adds nuance rather than defining the dry down, ensuring that Journey Man never settles in familiar territory.
Journey Man is exotic, distinguished, and very pleasant. I will admit that I often have trouble finding occasions to wear many Amouage scents, but Journey is one of the most wearable. Sprayed conservatively, this would be an excellent work fragrance, and would work year round, including the summer. Performance and longevity (as with almost all Amouage fragrances) are both excellent.
Would I buy it?: Yes, in my estimation this is certainly a bottle worthy fragrance. Fans of the Amouage style will find something to love, but I suspect that this fragrance might appeal even to the skeptics. Find a sample and test for yourself.