For a couple of weeks, I've been somewhat at a loss as how to explain the experience of wearing the most recent launch from Amouage: Opus V. Created by perfumer Jacques Cavallier, it is definitely not a traditional perfume in the way that I know traditional, but it's not exactly modern, either. But with that said, I somehow feel like I understand it. It is strictly Earth-bound. It is animal, vegetal and mineral, magnetically grounded and sensual- not simply for pleasure but for procreation. It exists in a wild, feral space bursting with the potential for life.
When first sprayed onto the skin, it explodes with a boozy tickle to the nose attributed to a fabulous but rather short-lived rum note, then the florals create sparks that shower down over you like olfactory fireworks.The particular element of rose used here smells very expensive and is charming, luring you at first into an expanse of an English topiary garden full of roses, sunlight and shadows. The rose is refined, without a hint of sweetness, and the jasmine is soft and (thankfully) non-indolic. Just when you become comfortable with the way things are developing, the familiar starts to disappear. You slowly come to the realization that you're actually alone in the woods as the canopy of trees overhead grows thicker by the second and blocks out all light, and glowing eyes peer at you from every dark corner. It's like a Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale. At once beautiful and picturesque, then veering into the shockingly visceral. Opus V is to me a complete and unflinching representation of the cycle of life. It's nature acting naturally.
Notes: Orris Absolute, Rum, Orris Concrete, Rose, Jasmine, Agarwood, Civet, Dry Wood Accord
The woods are creamy and develop fairly soon, and they feel even creamier because of the civet which smells natural and thick (but it's synthetic, I checked). The agarwood is rich and pervasive; just gorgeous (and natural, I checked on that too). This is where the fragrance starts to feel very satiny and cashmere-like, it grows a thick coat of fur, and it's maddeningly plush. The orris is very earthy, dark and opulent- just the way I like it. The "dry wood" accord is not overly dry, in fact, the moist presence of the civet helps the woods to not disperse too quickly. Instead, it damps them down so that they play nicely with the other notes for a longer period of time. There is a subtle smokiness in the drydown which I think could be labdanum. Whatever it is, I'd consider eating it with a spoon.
Over time, the civet and agarwood are all that's left (with a tiny touch of rose), and it really starts to meld into the skin in the most seductive way. It reminds me a bit of certain savory gastronomic delights, like forest mushrooms sauteed in butter, or goat cheese with brined olives.
The sillage of Opus V is not too strong- it wears fairly close to the skin, but the longevity is unbelievably good (12-24 hours depending on how much you spray). This is what I would consider to be a 'personal perfume'. It's not something I would wear for the benefit of anyone other than myself. It's MY fur coat, and nobody else can wear it.
Amouage Opus V is available from Amouage.com, a 100ml bottle for 275 Euros, also available from Luckyscent.com for $325 USD.
[my sample of Opus V was provided by the company for review]