Inspired by Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, Amouage Honour Woman is a delicate and even emotional rendition of white florals. (How could it not be emotional when it's based on the story of a heroine who kills herself when the American soldier she's pined for returns to her homeland to take their child?) “Death with honour, ” proclaims the heroine before dying, “when one can no longer live in honour.”
Honour Woman opens with a tart rhubarb note and ends on a smooth base of subtly spicy resins, amber and almost imperceptible leather. But the showstopper of Honour Woman is its floral heart. Gardenia, which is often deployed to bring out its hot-house flower sultriness, is here transparent and light, flanked like a princess in white with her attendants lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, carnation and a very subdued tuberose. It's as if the passionate gardenia that Madame Butterfly's Cio Cio San once was gives way, after Pinkerton's betrayal, to a more stoic and elegant — if tragic — version of the flower. Eros transformed into Thanatos.