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.
On a more serious note, I think it’s a very interesting image you’ve painted. I will definitely try this perfume (it was even stipulated in my NY “not to buy samples” resolution as an exception).
It is a very interesting perfume…
I shall look forward to your take and agree it is definitely worth an exception from frugality. Very wise of you to having made arrangements in advance. 😉
It smelled seemingly simple and nicely creamy on your wrist, however, with only a bit of amber (I probably smelled the periploca and Z11… 😉 ). A quiet niceness.
And BTW, I’m a big fan of Star Trek
I never thought I would use Amouage and Star Trek in the same sentence. But there is a first for everything… 🙂
I’m glad for you your House has approved it. Good for husband too ;-).
Indeed, that is good for him. 😉
Wow! This one received a ‘perfect’ from Mr. O, that is no mean feat!
I love your take on Opus VI and find the description of it as an ‘anti-gravity amber’ incredibly poignant.
Thank you! Anti-gravity amber just fits it perfectly in my opinion.
An amber from Amouage? An amber that’s perfect for summer?? Uh-oh…
Uh-oh was my thought exactly. 🙂
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I think The Husband’s pronoucement of “Perfect” is what’s going to make everyone sit-up and take notice of Opus VI !
I love your holograme description as I often have issues with the dense opacity of a lot of ambers. Ambre Fetiche on the other hand is my favourite amber (along with Ambre Narguile) so hearing it shares some of its smokieness but in a lighter formulation is very good to hear. I’m seriously wondering if this could be my first full bottle amber. Just hope it’s not too dry for me. Need to try!
It certainly defies any expectations and that is an astounding thing and earns my respect.
Well, you hooked me with the title! I’m going to have to try a Star Trek amber. I just found a bottle of the (discontinued) TM’s Alien Ambre d’Or, and it’s also a very sheer, diaphanous sort of amber, but much more to the floral side than the Opus, I think. Alien’s all about the jasmine, after all. Phenomenal Star Trek gold-dusted bottle, the best of the Aliens. Amouage uses wonderful frankincense, and C. Chong’s direction has been a lot of fun to follow. Thanks for the review!
This sounds too amazing for words…you know I’m an Amber gal so this will definitely knock my socks off!
Just don’t expect a traditional amber! 🙂
It’s almost embarrassing, but I too was thinking of this as an Out of This World amber— your anti-gravity, holographic description describes my experience of Opus VI PERFECTLY! Like you, I found it dry and herbal— yet those glimpses of creamy sweetness we associate with amber peek through occasionally; it’s like season 4 of Battlestar Galactica: who’s a Cylon, who’s a human, and more importantly: are they both really people? Lol.
I’m so glad to near you shared my experience with Opus VI!
This is the perfume I would wear for a relaxing afternoon on the Holo-deck. 😉
Amber like a hologram??!!! Oh good Lord, woman — I just came from Tarleisio’s review of this and felt my heart skip a beat. But now I’m dying, dying, dying to try this.
Budget be damned. I’m off to order a sample! Everyone else on the planet can live long and prosper. I’m doomed to a life of perfume oblivion. 😉
Lol, Suzanne, I’m sorry!
But at least I’m right there with you – doomed forever…
Amber, Amouage, and Star Trek – A few of my favorite things! Now I must order more samples and I haven’t even finished smelling my way through By Killian’s Arabian Nights collection and all of the Mona di Orio’s that your amazing reviews compelled me to try…
I know! It is a never ending vicious circle of perfume!
But it is sooo nice being compelled… 😉
Hmmm. I don’t want my expectations defied! I want them *fulfilled beyond my wildest dreams*! I want an Amouage amber, with frankincense and that magical rose and spice combo haunting the background and an orchestra of elves playing in the background (that might just be in my head).
BUT, you make this sound so interesting. REALLY REALLY WANT TO TRY! Can’t wait for my decant…
I know what you mean!!! But I’m afraid it is not the amber you describe… In any case, I look forward to hearing your thoughts about it.
Well, at this point it could go either way. I can’t remember ever anticipating a fragrance this much. And as was just pointed out over on the Alembicated Genie, once you have expectations – once you know a house’s “perfume vocabulary” and build up expectations around it – you are setting yourself up for sadness, because if the house surprises you, you might be more disappointed than surprised. I’m trying to keep an open mind. Nothing could have surprised me – or delighted me – more than Opus I when I first smelled it; and at the time no one on the perfume boards seemed to care about it at all, when it absolutely rocked my world. So while I’m expecting and hoping to love Opus VI, I’m trying to enjoy the anticipation and not put too much weight on the actual result. 🙂
I completely understand what you mean. Be sure to let us know how it works out for you!
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I love the Star Trek and hologram analogy and I wonder if this amber could be airy enough – and enough of a shape shifter – to include a shape that would work for me. I need that sweeter facet to make this a goer, really. But Mr O’s vote of approval is most encouraging and I am happy that it is a family favourite! : – )
Vanessa, if this smells on you like it does on me, there is no vanilla in sight, let alone a whole gourmand aspect… sorry.
I’m very curious to hear your impressions eventually, since it seems to read quite differently on different people.
I went to the MiN New York sample sale yesterday, hoping to score a bottle of Opus VI during their 20% off storewide sale. Sadly, I was informed that there is only ONE bottle floating around officially in the US, the rest coming soon. Alas, a girl can dream. I do love Amouage, but I’m not sure I can part with that much money at the moment.
One bottle! 🙂
Did you get to test it at least?
Not yet… There will be some decants coming soon according to MiN. Will keep you posted!
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Dear Birgit, I had the chance of sampling this yesterday and I felt the urge to review it on the same day.
I find it dual and so not cliché it might be bottle worthy.
I see you are very taken with the newest Amouage. 🙂 Christopher Chong is quite the genius, isn’t he?
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I love your reviews, especially those of the ambers as I am too weak at the knees for amber perfumes. I received a sample of Opus VI when I purchased Puredistance M and I frankly think I should send you the bill. My finances may not be able to stand up to your reviews because if you write it I usually buy. Keep up the good work and know you are not alone in your unabashed romance with this particular note.
how nice of you to comment!
I’m glad you enjoy your ambers as much as I do. Congratulations on your M purchase, it is so elegant. You smell great! 🙂
Thanks a bunch. I wholeheartedly look forward to your next amber (or any perfume) review! Hopefully, I’ll be able to inherit a sizable fortune to keep pace with these lust inspiring reviews because the moment I finish reading them the journey to purchase begins.
That is so kind of you to say, Shawn!
But to be on the safe side (and to avoid you being mad at me at some point in the future), please don’t buy unsniffed! 🙂
I accept full responsibility and have bought I sniffed a bunch yet to be disappointed. Weirdly, my mind translates words into scents, which is how I found Dior’s Leather Oud and Amouage’s Jubilation XXV. I’m just thrilled to read the insight of what seems to be a sister nose to my own. Keep up the brilliant work. And thanks for doing it.
You are very welcome, Shawn! 🙂
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