eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Redefining the animal: Amouage Library Collection Opus V


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]

20 comments:

  1. Yeah! You did it!

    This is one I sprayed in person and really, really loved. I think your description is dead on. I remember thinking "porcini" was in it. Delicious and earthy, but this is coming from me, a person that imagines that patchouli tastes divine.

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  2. $325! Holy cow. My mouth was watering by the end of this post, but now I'm dabbing at the corners of my lips with a napkin ever so sadly. But that sample is going on the list for my next order!

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  3. Wow!
    Thats's a great review. :) I now have to try it as soon as possible. I think this might be the ONE Opus for me.

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  4. I tried Opus V only once so far and it wasn't playing nice on my skin. I will definitely try it at least once again because some Amouages grew on me after several wears, but on the first take it wasn't my scent.

    I must admit: I like your review more than I like the perfume itself. Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale is a good image for the perfume.

    Undina

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  5. Carrie, I had no interest in this scent until your review. *shakes fist at you* :)

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  6. Wow, this one sounds so cool! And mushrooms in a scent sound intriguing. Maybe thatś what I should pair my rowan blossom extract with ;)

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  7. What a beautiful review... It sends me flying for a sample. You should work for them as a spokesperson!

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  8. Carrie, you have me in a mad, mad swoon! I haven't tried this one yet (only the first three in the Library Collection), but after reading this, I've already decided that I'm going to figure out a way to steal your fur coat when you're not lookin'!! ;)

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  9. You've ALMOST made me want to re-smell it ;-)

    Thanks for this review, Carrie. I'm glad Opus V has found lots of fans.

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  10. Victoria: It took me two days of writing and re-writing, but I did it! I figured this would be a perfume you'd like.

    Liz: I know, it's on the expensive side for sure. Don't let that scare you off from getting a sample of it, though, it's worth trying! Also think about trying Opus I and Opus III.

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  11. Ines: Thank you! I do hope you give Opus V a try, I don't think there's anything out there quite like it.

    Undina: Some perfumes are really visually stimulating to me, and this is one. Ormonde Jayne Woman is another. One spray, and a whole world unfolds in my mind. Those are the perfumes I pay the most attention to, they're obviously trying to speak to me. :)

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  12. *jen: I'm sorry! I know what it's like to get sucked in by the reviews of others. The truth is, I want people to try this perfume, so I have no regrets. :)

    Sigrun: Rowan blossoms and wild mushrooms, you may be on to something there. Something very... odiferous. :)

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  13. memoryofscent: Thank you! I wouldn't turn down a job offer from Amouage, that's for sure! But then, any cred I have as a fragrance blogger would diminish quickly. Boo to that!

    Suzanne: YOU WOULDN'T. You... couldn't! Obviously I need to consider Lo-Jack for my imaginary fur coat. ;)

    Persolaise: Honestly, I'm a little surprised you don't like Opus V. But you were spot on when you predicted that I'd love it!

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  14. Holy smokes, Carrie. This review is poetry! I'm pretty sure you aroused every one of my senses!

    I must admit I'm a little disappointed in the clean jasmine but with those bold animalic notes, there is no need for added skank. At the point, it's just clutter.

    JoanElaine

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  15. Joanne: Thank you! You are absolutely right, indolic jasmine would just be too much. As it is, it may be too much for many folks.

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  16. Some day, if it should ever happen I make it through my K2 of samples, I hope to be able to try the Opus line of Amouage. I've never met an Amouage I didn't like, and I've met several that I loved! This is such a beautiful and beautifully written review, I don't have too much more to add, except..thank you for adding another lemming to the list! ;-)

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  17. Thank you Sheila! I would be very curious to hear your thoughts on Opus V, especially since you like to play on the darker side of fragrance. :)

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  18. Opus V is not for me, but your beautifully written review almost made me doubt my own taste. ;)

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  19. Your description sounds incredible; normally I absolutely need to smell & wear a new scent before purchasing, but after reading your darkly poetic description, I am so ready to buy this sight unseen! I will definitely see about getting a sample at least....but I'm wincing at the price tag! Ouch! Still, if it smells even half as good as your words, it will be well worth it!

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  20. Birgit: I do see Opus V as being one of those polarizing scents, it's got so much strength of character, it would have to be!

    ommorphia: Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment! I hope you will sample Opus V, it's truly one of a kind.

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