I have withstood the siren song of Amouage’s Opus line fairly well until now. Although I like especially Opus I and Opus III just fine, I have not yet been tempted to acquire a full 100ml bottle so far. Now there is a new Opus on the market, the sixth volume in the Library Collection meticulously edited by Amouage’s creative director Christopher Chong.
It is an amber perfume.
Now, that is not fair. You know how hard a time I have withstanding that note (read about the last weakness that proves my point here). On the other hand, I know and love so many ambers, a new kid on the block has to provide something special, be memorable in its own right for me to become weak at the knees.
How does the first amber from the esteemed house of Amouage fare?
“The sixth volume in Amouage’s Library Collection, Opus VI studies the nature of memory and romantic love. Born of the age-old mastery of haute perfumery, this enduring and emotionally resonant fragrance crafted by Amouage Creative Director Christopher Chong was inspired by the power of erasing, destroying and re-inventing unwanted and painful memories. Traditionally used as a healing agent in folk medicine, Amber narrates a story of a tragic love affair, where forgetfulness is one’s only comfort.”
-from the press release
Opus VI was created by Dora Arnaud and Pierre Negrin, notes include Sichuan pepper, frankincense, St Thomas Bay leaf, periploca, cypriol, patchouli, Ambranum, Z11, sandalwood, and cistus.
The hallmark of an interesting perfume is its ability to surprise. And for a perfume based on a note as ubiquituous as amber, to be able to surprise, is especially pleasing.
Opus VI surprised me, because it is not at all as I, and many others probably, would imagine an amber to be, particularly coming from this house. Opus VI is perfectly placed in the Library Collection because it allows for more unusual approaches, more creative freedom than the main line, I presume.
Opus VI smells very, very dry in the first few hours. It is very transparent and initially gives the impression of being quite linear. At first it strikes me as very masculine, dry to the bone, not sweet or warm at all, the Amouage-signature frankincense weaving in and out of a sheer, spicy, herbal and intensely woody patchouli-amber structure that gives the impression of possessing depth but not density, of being three-dimensional but not rich or heavy. Now and again some sweetness emerges, especially in the later stages of the day-long weartime (this is an Amouage after all) and I cherish those magical moments.
Opus VI is deceivingly simple, as only very intricately multifaceted and nuanced perfumes can be.
In my minds eye, Opus VI seems like a hologram in comparison to much more “fleshy” ambers like Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, Armani Privé Ambre Orient or Dior Mitzah. It is a lot more inventive and unusual unlike classic representatives of the genre like Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute. It shares a little of the harsher smokiness with Goutal Ambre Fetiche, but, the difference is in its heft.
Again, I think of a hologram, slowly turning before me in perfect Star-Trek inspired clarity. Every detail in its place and clearly visible, the entire structure perfectly made, beautiful and proportioned, yet there is no weight, heft, heaviness.
This anti-gravity amber is fascinating and beautiful. It is easily wearable throughout the year. A spring-launch for Opus VI is perfectly timed, because this is ideal as a summer scent for the amber-y inclined, light yet light-years from a summery cologne.
My husband, he of “This stinks, what is it?” fame, just had one word when confronted with Opus VI and that was (Trumpets please!) “Perfect!”
Opus VI therefore comes with the seal of approval by the entire House of Olfactoria. (Aren’t you glad? )
For a different take on this perfume, hop on over to The Candy Perfume Boy today.