Thursday, May 19, 2011
Sweet Redemption: Amouage Library Collection Opus III
Circumstances in the past had led me to basically ignore Amouage perfumes, but I have a decent reason for it. I had a run-in with a vial of vintage Ubar on Christmas last year that nearly scarred me for life, and my nose had not since forgiven me for it. Luckily (and happily, as it turns out), I have been given the opportunity to test several other Amouage perfumes, and I found out just how quickly the olfactory sins of the past can be forgiven.
Initially, I was going to review The Library Collection in chronological order, but I sort of cheated and took out the vials one by one and sniffed them without spraying. I found several to be of interest, but Opus III (created by Karine Vinchon in 2010) grabbed my attention first. Based on the results of my initial testing session, I am very excited to try the others in The Library Collection, and other Amouage perfumes as well.
I have spent the last 24 hours or so with Opus III, and it's hard for me to remember ever wearing a perfume that demanded so much of my attention. I don't mean that in an 'annoying little brother' kind of way, I mean that the fragrance is so seductive and enchanting from one minute to the next, and more importantly, it's surprising.
notes: mimosa, broom, carnation, nutmeg, thyme, violet, jasmine, ylang ylang, orange blossom, ambrette, musk, papyrus, cedar wood, sandalwood, guaiacwood, benzoin, vanilla, frankincense
The opening of Opus III is very damp, dripping with a tropical floral feel. There is the smell of earth, salty soil, and something akin to human skin and bodily fluids (this may sound unpleasant, but it's not). The wet bitterness in the blend settles down after about 20 minutes as the woods begin to emerge, and I can tell immediately that it's going to be a legendary dry-down. Now, the sun begins to beat down through the trees, evaporating the misty heat, drying out the woods and flowers. Soon, the incense starts to burn, and it's one of the most truly beautiful incense accords I've ever smelled. What I find very interesting about Opus III is how smooth the transitions are between stages of wear, and this can only be accounted for by expert blending and high quality ingredients. The sillage is moderate/good, and the longevity is spectacular. Hours later, I can still smell the slightly sweetened aroma of incense, woods, and a little delicious drop of violet wafting up from the crook of my neck.
Opus III has the richness of a true oriental which benefits greatly from the levity provided by mimosa and the coolness of a clean but almost vintage-smelling violet. There is no lasting powderiness or dustiness to be found, which is unexpected considering that it could be present from several different elements of the fragrance. These things combined makes Opus III an oddity in my mind, and I mean that in the most positive way. I already have many perfumes that I reach for regularly out of a need for comfort or to relax, yet I'm intoxicated by the scents which don't completely make sense to me right away. Perfumes like Opus III obviously take time and patience to fully unfold before the wearer. There are many nuances here which I find almost unsettling, it reminds me of the way I felt when I first wore Ormonde Jayne Woman. Slightly disturbed, but intellectually and emotionally hooked. It is a guarantee that I will wear Opus III many more times, for enjoyment and out of sheer curiosity.
Amouage Opus III is available online at Amouage.com, a 100ml bottle for 275 euros, or in the US at several locations, including Luckyscent.com for $325 USD.
[sample was provided by Amouage for review]