Joya Ames Sœurs : Fragrance Review

Âmes Sœurs (Scent of Soul Mates) is citrus-musk perfume oil created by Joya as a response to the novel The Book of Lost Fragrances by M. J. Rose. Author Rose wrote the book—a “novel of suspense” centered on reincarnation and a recipe for an ancient fictional perfume by the same name—while frequently burning Joya candles.

Joya is a Brooklyn-based “creative collective specializing in fragrance” designed by Frederick Bouchardy.  Joya Studios makes candles, perfumes, and decorative amulets. Âmes Sœurs created by perfumer Rayda Vega comes in a handy 10 ml roll-on, priced at $28.00.  It’s this latter that has been sitting in my bag for the last few weeks, making an appearance whenever I feel as if I might want a fragrant kick from this thoroughly enjoyable perfume oil.

The powerfully resinous “lost fragrance” of the novel has nothing to do with the zippy, citrus-gingery oil that I find myself reaching for with some frequency.  The oil came after the book and notationally has nothing to do with the book’s ancient elixir.  Joya describes Âmes Sœurs as being an “orange blossom wrapped in incense, smoke, and musk.” Author Rose describes it as “smoky incense fragrance with a bright, uncommon finish.”

I find it low on smoke and high on grapefruit and a lovely sour-bitter tamarind that gives way to the sweet spice of ginger and eventually to a white musk with minor frankincense accents. A bit of orange blossom adds floral sweetness, but this is not really a floral fragrance.  The ginger note is impressively realistic as it captures that moment when gingerroot is sliced into and the surprise of its hot green juice is released.

The base of Âmes Sœurs reads as mostly musk. The frankincense note so important in the book is a covert one and the smoke is invisible. I’m not sure how much it complements the novel or that it even needs the novel as a platform. I’ve enjoyed it and will continue to enjoy it as a standalone.  I doubt I will run into a long-lost soul mate when wearing it, but I have had compliments on it from men and women both. Apart from the book, Âmes Sœurs is easygoing and approachable. People respond to it with a smile. Sometimes this is quite enough.

Âmes Sœurs includes notes of tamarind, grapefruit, cypress, rose, ginger, orange blossom, cedarwood, incense, amber, sweet musk. Available from Joya Studio at There is also a fancy little pot of solid perfume that retails for $500.00 and which is extremely limited edition.  From the Joya Studio Web site, this pot is porcelain with 22k gold inside cast by Sarah Cihat (and) a 24k gold-plated brass lid cut and hammered by Michael Miller.



  • Cybele: sounds interesting. Rayda Vega did Ambra di Venezia which I find gorgeous. July 10, 2012 at 12:29pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Cybele, I love Ambra di Venezia also, and if you like ginger I imagine you’d like this one, too! July 10, 2012 at 1:37pm Reply

  • Ari: Wasn’t this quite impressive, particularly for the price?? I had the pleasure of smelling it on the wrist of Ms. Rose herself at Sniffapalooza. It was fairly smoky on her, but certainly more of an orange scent than an incense. July 10, 2012 at 1:04pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Ari, I was quite surprised by this, considering the price. I have really enjoyed its citrus/ginger twist. That’s why I wanted to blog about it.

      There have been a handful of perfume oils that have gained widespread popularity: Child, Monyette, Kai, Pilar and Lucy Exact Friction, Aroma M Geisha Noire, and Sage Onyx. I’d slot Ames Soeurs in with those, not in terms of notes or type but in terms of potential popularity, should frag fans happen upon it! July 10, 2012 at 1:36pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I keep thinking of Divine’s l’Ame Sœur when I read this name. From the description of this one, I guess that they are probably very dissimilar.
    It sounds very lovely! July 10, 2012 at 4:19pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Austenfan, I’ve not tried the Divine one. Perhaps someone else has.

      The Joya is really enjoyable to have around. I don’t have to think about wearing it or plan some activity around it. It’s good for spontaneity! July 10, 2012 at 7:20pm Reply

      • Victoria: You would like it, I think. Divine’s l’Ame Sœur is very different. It’s like a twist on Chanel No 5 with a delicious peach note. Very elegant, but with a coquettish demeanor. 🙂 July 10, 2012 at 7:26pm Reply

        • Suzanna: Oh, dear, that’s too bad. It sounds right up my alley. I have never not had some vintage No. 5 lying around somewhere and I love a realistic peach note. July 10, 2012 at 9:24pm Reply

  • Nancy A: That’s what I enjoy about BdJ — I’m always learning and discovering especially in this recent review about a scent line I am totally unfamiliar with. At first read, I thought too potent for the body however as I continued to get into this (review) and at your comments I said it takes looking into to.
    Thanks, Suzanna. July 10, 2012 at 4:57pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Nancy A., I had seen this line on the Barney’s Web site and made a mental note to investigate bec. of the low price point, which struck me as counter to Barney’s high-niche platform.

      I’d not heard of this line either. There are lots of lines with which I am unfamiliar or barely familiar and that’s why I love reading perfume blogs. There’s bound to be at least one person who has tried something! July 10, 2012 at 7:23pm Reply

  • Natalie: Thanks for this review, Victoria. I was curious about this based on the book, but haven’t smelled it yet. Sounds pretty. July 13, 2012 at 12:30am Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: I adored the book- I got to interview M.J. Rose for The Perfume, and she was fasdcinating and fun. The scent surprised me- I was expecting something heavier, smokier and more stereotypically “Egyptian” given the teme of the book, but it was softer and brighter than I expected because of the abundant citrus notes, but it did remind me a little of Hermes’ Jardin sur le Nil- warm, and filled with lush fruity notes. The book is a wonderful evocation of the mystery and magic of perfume and why it has such a hold on our imaginations. July 16, 2012 at 6:27pm Reply

    • Suzanna: How much fun to interview the author, Lynn! I’m glad you shared this with us. I’m sure perfume lovers would enjoy this novel, and I am continuing to enjoy the fragrance oil. July 16, 2012 at 6:52pm Reply

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