When high school boys in Japan gather after school in ‘family restaurants’ such as Gusto and Jonathan’s,  inexpensive eateries with one main attraction – limitless soft-drinks and beverages of all kinds available at the ‘drink bar’ – one familiar pubescent rite is to egg each other on to create the most bizarre and unpalatable mixes possible by chucking, in one big plastic glass, some orange juice, some milk; a healthy dose of tabasco; some coke, some cocoa, some miso soup, some apple and mint tea, some salt and pepper and ketchup for good measure….then of course getting some poor designated sod to try and down it in one…


Interlude, a perfume for women by those seasoned purveyors of Franco-Arabic good taste Amouage, is a similarly baffling experiment in chaos, seemingly a case of bunging everything in the blender, pressing play, and seeing what happens.

This is, in fact, the stated theme of the scent, by the way, the ‘interlude’ in question being the moment when the fragmentary moments of madness surrounding you coalesce and you suddenly find yourself; rise up like a pillar of calm selfness from the swirling, anchovy mixed-pizza of worldy mobocracy : fragrant, smooth and serene.

My first initially astonished impressions of Interlude Woman were of peculiar, dusty old sweet figs and a rather prominent (and somewhat nauseating) kermit-green kiwi, whizzing about sherbetly on a melon-leather carousel…………….bizarre and with a very distinctive air of quease…..



*   *      *


One commentator on the Fragrantica website  nailed it more succinctly:


“Sometimes a scent comes along that can be summed up with three letters, and Interlude is one of them………











She then amusingly goes on to describe it as smelling of ‘moldy basement, over-ripe cheese and bad air freshener’, while another person smells ‘roach motels’, and yet another that she could ‘vomit from this smell of deep choking smoke…..

What were Amouage thinking?  Perhaps we should let creative director Christopher Chong elucidate:


 ” The Interlude moment is a reflection of all the trials and tribulations one overcomes to attain personal satisfaction and achievement….”

                           mmmmmm…. but must perfume be so masochistic?




*   *      *

Interlude is certainly not an easy ride. The perfume is in fact so complex that it emerges almost as a Rorschach test of individual interpretation: there are so many notes in this ‘air of disorder’ that everyone will smell different things. I myself got no cockroaches or cheese: for me it was all about this unhinged oudh-wood depth straddled disgracefully by Queen Kiwi, but if this review is leaving you confused perhaps the perfume would be more readily imagined olfactively if we ogle the notes…..




kiwi (by far the most prominent note in this scent)













immortelle (maple syrup, burnished copper,  burnt licorice………)



ginger                   &



  (in the top…….)


and then, in the heart and base, swarthier, more Amouagey bloops of



oudh                (this is, ultimately a ‘fruit oudh’)


                    leather (quite prominent)







jasmine (bleurrgh! jasmine and kiwi!)


orange blossom, rose


oakmoss….(a chypre?!)


……in other words, notes that do not form a naturally harmonious posse; more a team of unknowns who must club together to make this thing work like an episode of Survivor.



Thankfully though, the notes do actually begin to elide and collaborate with each other, and after the intial mess (and it is a mess) subsides, and you begin to transcend your ‘chaos’, a vision of a suave and contained, rich, stylish person gradually materializes: enigmatic and attractive – the kiwi-agar-chypre concept finally coalsceing into a well-dressed, mysterious and tasteful red-blooded woman.


This lingering end accord in Interlude is quite beautiful actually ( I stupidly put some on just before going to bed, regretting it immensely at first, but found myself gradually snuzzling up to my wrist as it settled into its curious, intelligent, oudhy night-flight groove, a veil of middle-eastern intrigue that was pulling me in to its story….)


It is undoubtedly very original, and if someone walked past you of an evening wafting Interlude you would certainly prick up your ears (having sat with a nose peg in her basement squinting and puffing for an hour before leaving the house..) and, having eventually understood where all the woody, fruited vom of the beginning was leading to, I started to rewind the scent gradually in my mind, comprehending more what the perfumer must have been intending all along. Ah. I see. It is leading to this…




In some ways, for this reason alone, Interlude can be seen as a very brave attempt at breaking new ground, as it is a well known fact that top accords are the key factor in most people’s purchases of a perfume: for the average attention-deficited consumer it all hangs on those first few minutes, and this perhaps accounts for the fact that the lovely people at Harrods’ Amouage counter looked so sheepish and oh- no- here- we- go- again when I first sprayed this perfume on in August – then mimed a polite, thin-slipped smile in response. They knew that first impressions, in this perfume’s case especially, can be disastrous….


Filed under Kiwi, Leather, Oud, Perfume Reviews


  1. alabasterwrists

    Good Lord! and I just entered a draw to win a full size bottle of this! ha! ha!
    Although the honey, immortelle ( an essential oil that I love straight up for it smells like bacon to me (are you reading this baconandbiscuit?) and when combined with a heavy dose of bourbon vanilla-glorious!), orange blossom sounds inviting, the rest appears to be a cacophony of distaste! (did everyone understand this sentence for I am not sure that I do !)From what you described the Japanese youth audaciously drinking (which would probably make me literally gag as I suffer from sensory integration dysfunction) it sounds like a perfect match. Who would pay the exorbitant price to purchase this bottle?
    PS love the graphics!

    • ginzaintherain

      Ok ok I go overboard, I know, and ONLY Jackon Pollock would do for this post, but no really, the initial kiwi-melon over leather and oudh thing for me is GAGWORTHY i tell ya : like Kermit mating with Ms Piggy in Purdah… just simply doesn’t work! (never mind ‘orange blossom’ etc, although I am dying for you to win the full bottle and to know what you will do with it!)


      I maintain that the basic theme, the heart, is almost divine, and here is the problem ( and why I mentioned that poor woman and her facial gestures down in the basement….) – it is worth getting to. And anyway, less hysterical reviewers don’t see it as I do, although even Victoria at Bois de Jasmin who is the epitome of well-judged sentences obviously felt it was a haul…..

      I mean, ‘kiwi’ for God’s sake: did you ever try Guerlain’s worst ever perfume Kiwi Tutti? These synthetic kiwi notes (my worst fruit, by the way, along with melon, so maybe that’s why I am reacting this way…I love all fruit, but those two are way at the bottom, especially when synthetically recreated in perfumes!) just don’t work in a high quality perfume, especially with oudh and the rest, which is why gave it points for audacity. This is one weird little number!

      • alabasterwrists

        Although I love to eat Kiwi (skin and all) I would not go near a kiwi themed perfume with a ten foot pole- so no I haven’t tried the Guerlain..the name alone, Kiwi Tutti?, appauls me!

      • serafinarose

        Kiwi Tutti – sounds like a ballroom dance move!

  2. Renee Stout

    Oh boy…now you have me wanting to smell this.

    Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2012 10:05:44 +0000 To:

  3. alabasterwrists

    By the way there were other more worthy bottles to be won in this draw but with my luck I will surely win this one!

    • serafinarose

      But it may well be the luckiest thing you win! It may take you on a completely new adventure of smells! You might find you like it after you’ve made the journey! It sounds like an intriguing perfume – but also, Alabaster Wrists – you are one brave woman eating the skin of the Kiwi!!! Makes my throat tickle even thinking about it! (what does it taste like?) This comment alone makes me think you might like this perfume and its different sides after all. If you win and don’t want it, you’re very welcome to send it to me!

      • I kinda like the sound of it too! Then again I am someone who tends to chuck everything together just to see what happens – sometimes with brilliant results, other times to vom-inducing proportions. I once cooked a meal for my family (experimental meal) that I called ‘chicken cottage pie a l’orange’ which was so ludicrously disgusting the family took a silent concensus amongst themselves that the household meals were best left to my husband. It was chicken cooked in melted dark chocolate, five spice powder and chopped oranges added to a tomato sauce of mushrooms, onions, garlic, copious ginger, red wine, courgettes, kidney beans (the nemesis of the dish I felt), broad beans (more nemesis), tons of Italian spices and rosemary, finished with a layer of mashed potato (made with grated cheese and marmite) cooked as cottage pie and then served with chopped orange and basil on top. They were barfing at first bite, but got through at least half of it but there was ‘never again’ terror in their eyes….seriously! If I say I’m making the family meal now my son jumps really quickly and goes ‘oh no, what are you making?’ ….I feel an affinity to this perfume.

      • ginzaintherain


      • ninakane1

        And cooking horror stories aside, I think I’d like the other side of this perfume. It sounds like a perfume you have to take risks and go into a certain chaos and extremes of olafactory responses with to find its beautiful inner nature. I bet when you come out the other side you feel a sense of achievement wearing it, and really enjoy it then.

      • ginzaintherain

        I think you need my sample.

      • Wrong! Ultimate sanity in so many ways! But I’d love a sample, thanks.

  4. alabasterwrists

    I am sorry but I cannot let this go…the post/draw I refer to was on frankincense and myhrr and Interlude was specifically chosen by Christopher Chong (artistic/creative director for Amouge) for this draw because (and I quote) it “symbolizes the disconnection and our need for reunification in our modern life” I thought you’d get a kick out of that one!

    • ginzaintherain

      I do! I think it is ludicrous and yet somehow admirable. The thing is, Amouage’s perfumes are seriously high quality I think, so when this perfume settles into its theme it is quite gorgeous…so I suppose from that point of view it kind of works. But ultimately I don’t think any kiwi is going to win the Nobel Peace Prize!

  5. I was very entertained reading this post! Anchovy-mixed pizza? Queen Kiwi disgracefully straddling oud-wood? Amouagey bloops?

    Genius 🙂

    The first time that I smelled Interlude Woman on the blotter, I got paint stripper. Or pine cleaner. Or just something wacky and sharp. Ew, no. And then I smelled Interlude Man. Oooh yes.

    Then I saw that Olfactoria was selling a 30ml bottle of Interlude Woman in her last personal sale. Okay, I thought. I will give it another chance. And I am glad that I did. It’s true that it pings around chaotically for a long time. Yes, I am always greeted with something weird and bizarre when I wear it. But as noted, once it settles down on my skin, it melts into a beautiful leather. And I like leather. A lot 🙂

    On a side note: very funny about the Japanese schoolboys and their crazy concoctions. That reminds me of a friend in high school who worked at a movie theater. After work, the employees used to dare each other to see who could toss back the most alternating shots of butter-flavored popcorn oil and Mountain Dew syrup before being sick. I guess high school boys are the same everywhere 🙂

    • ginzaintherain


      And I am glad you got the bottle of Interlude and survived the onslaught at the beginning (and nice to see some extra notes in the blender: pine cleaner and paint stripper. I wonder how many other erratic notes we could collect on this post!

  6. I feel like it’s one of those you really have to commit to wearing. Once you push through, the other side is rewarding.

    It really is the oddest list of notes ever! And everyone really does smell something different. I am happy with my little bottle of Interlude. You could never call it boring to wear 🙂

  7. alabasterwrists

    Actually I was talking to baconbiscuit for she and I live in the same state…however, if you are ever in NY the three of us should surely get together!

  8. I have a small decant of Interlude Woman and on the first wearing I thought that I loved the scent. But the second wear left me puzzled: what did I like the first time? Since then I just didn’t have a proper set of mind to re-try it.

    Enjoyed the post. Thank you 🙂

  9. What an amazing review Neil! I like the sound of this very much! What a clown this perfume appears to be. It’s bringing everyone out in their true colours.

  10. I smelled this today on paper and the WTF factor is there definitely! Totally uncategorisable! Your Rorschach test reference was a little disturbing to me because I did get the coke note in it… I just am not sure I am referring to the same coke you are…

  11. brie

    So finally I have gotten to sample this one on my skin…my first impression said that this is something Britt or Court would have worn when they were six years old -the drugstore fruit bomb….then all of a sudden it was a massive dose of celery to my nose (where did that come from?). This lasted for a while on me until the leather dry down. It wasn’t completely disastrous and like Daisy I will admit it is different but not worthy of the exhorbitant price of a full bottle. Yet I am glad to have tried it after all the hoop-la!

    • ginzaintherain

      I DID go a bit overboard with that one, I must say…..!

      • brie

        and even in your thrice reply! Actually I adore when you “go overboard”. Makes reading your posts just that much more enjoyable! That celery note was ubiquitious and I am not sure that I want to go around smelling like a stalk of celery…then again I was sampling a lot yesterday and I must have been hungry for food associations kept creeping upon me (Fils de Dieu=buttered popcorn….Sous le toit de Paris=Chowards violet candies..Tardes=almonds….)!!

    • ginzaintherain

      I DID go a bit overboard with that one, I must say…..!

    • ginzaintherain

      I DID go a bit overboard with that one, I must say…..!

  12. Si

    This perfume is quite interesting. I own a bottle and through wearing it, I find that up close it’s not pleasant but the wafts as you say are quite gorgeous.

  13. The fragrance sounds like a mess of a guy you meet at a pub who becomes more attractive as the night wears on…and the liquor flow more readily 😉
    Would love to smell it for the middle and base notes, the beginning sounds a wee bit frightful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s