Dusky spice and incense-wood. Rich and yet not sweet, in fact rather dry. The rose oxide adds a faint yet lovely rose note. The spices are restrained, gentle hints rather than full-on notes. Everything is lovely and well balanced. I think this is excellent! Some have said "minimalistic" and I agree -- and here it works very well. Hints of a fresh quality as well, but this is not excessive. Bit of pencil-lead from the cumin.
Eau Mage has been interesting to wear. Though it doesn't smell like either, I'd put it in the same genre as TDH or Declaration, in the sense that it evokes a complex artificial landscape and then tries to ground it with commonplace smells that only serve to make it all the more surreal.
So what does it smell like? Well, it's got that creamy, upfront ambrox everyone mentions, mixing with iso e super smoke and pepper, while a weird cilantro suede fills in the cracks. Meanwhile, there's rose and fruit and cumin, which mixes with the smoke and cilantro to create a smell that I can best describe as "someone burning onion rings in the next room". Then, that cheap "wood amber" aquatic base that I hate comes in and ruins everything.
So, um... yeah. Burning onion rings and cilantro-laced suede perched on a beige pillow of chemical pleasantness. And then cheap aquatic garbage. And yes, somehow, I can't bear to give Eau Mage a thumbs down, just because it's trying so hard to be fine art that I can't just pan it as if it were just boring. So I'm voting neutral.
One thing is for certain, this fragrance deviates from the norm.....it doesn't share the same DNA of Diptyque fragrances. It is a synthetic, clean-musky, woody, and jammy/metallic rose. Two fragrances immediately come to mind smelling Eau Mage: Le Labo Another 13 and Heeley's Agarwoud. Francine Pellegrin perfected the concept of light vs. dark with this fragrance. A huge dose of ambroxan accompanied by rose, and tangerine produce a bright, fresh, and energetic vibe while the patchouli, musk, and woody notes provide a dark and mysterious effect. Some words that I would use to describe E.M. would be seductive, unconventional, euphoric, and versatile. I applied one spray to the back of my hand and caught wafts of it for hours. This is full bottle worthy in my opinion (IF) you can find this elusive gem. It's a shame that this was discontinued.
Not bad but not great. This reminded me of Cartier's Declaration, due to the prominent citrus and cumin notes. However, it is much quieter and in the relatively rapidly-reached drydown becomes a flat, dusty, woody skin scent.
Often described as "the least Diptyque of all the Diptyques", "The best Diptyque ever" or "the worst Diptyque ever"...one thing is for sure, L'Eau Mage is a polarizing composition or, as a friend use to say, an "iconic fragrance".
Eau Mage is built around a consitent dose of clean, woody and sort of animalic ambroxan juxtaposed to a fresh-spicy opening of mandarine-orange and cumin. The overall effect is of a clean and at the same time dark musk with a slightly metallic edge provided by the rose oxide/ambroxan combo. If you're into older Diptyques like L'Ombre Dans L'Eau or, let's say, L'Autre, you'll probably be disappointed, instead if you're up for an abstract take on synthetic musks entirely played on juxtapositions, this is a big winner. Minimalistic yet incredibly distinctive and satisfying. By all means modern stuff.