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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]

18 comments:

  1. Gosh that sounds really lovely, thanks for the review! I do like a couple Amouages--Gold is a beauty. I like Ubar, too. My true Amouage love, though, is Tribute Attar. I may have to look into this one, too!

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  2. "Slightly disturbed, but intellectually and emotionally hooked." - That is how I felt when wearing this too and that's why I like it.

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  3. The four Amouages I've tried so far have blown me away. Whatever else you can say about them, they are truly unique in that their perfumes are opulent in a way few other lines are, and in terms of longevity, they last - and last - and last. So long, it scares people.

    Now, I'll have to track down the Opus line...to see if there are stories in there waiting to be told! I sense a lemming coming on!

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  4. I've tried a couple other Amouages since yesterday, and I just have a feeling that The Library Collection in general will easily be new obsessions of mine. I love the concept behind the fragrances, and seem to be more modern than the rest of the line. It's still too soon to really judge, though, I'll need many more blissful hours of testing. :)

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  5. Great, great, great review! You gave me an "intellectual hook" to grab onto, I was mostly confused by the library collection, but now I have a handle on III. Thank you! :)

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  6. What a sensuous review of a very sensuous and sumptuous perfume! I'm so glad to hear that your previous run-in with Ubar didn't scar you for life and prevent you from trying these! (I adore Ubar, but I can see how it might hit someone with too much force.)

    What did you think of Opus I, Carrie? It has been so much on my mind of late, and I've fully drained my spray sample...I thought TPC carried it and was going to order a decant last time I purchased there, but they didn't have it then. Must check back. Will look forward to reading your take on it should you decide to review it!

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  7. Hello Birgit dahling, perhaps you can revisit Opus II with renewed thoughts and feelings and give it the ol' college try again. I'd like to know if you have any better luck. :)

    Hi Suzanne! I haven't tried Opus I yet, but I'm going to pick another Opus to review next- maybe it will be that one!

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  8. It's a beautiful review and I'm glad that you did it for my favorite perfume in the Library collection.
    Ubar (the new formulation, not the one that had almost scarred you for life) is still my favorite Amouage so I hope that maybe after you try the complete Library Collection you'll feel courageous enough to revisit it (if so, my offer of a sample still stands).

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  9. Undina- you are a doll, truly. I think it's awesome that after a cursory sniff of each Opus, I picked III right away, and that's your favorite too. You and I definitely have similar tastes, so perhaps I will take you up on your offer someday. If I regain my bravery, you'll be the first to know. In the meantime, I'm sending the vintage Ubar vial off to Tarleisio, because it needs to leave my house and find a place where it will be surely loved.

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  10. Suzanne, I just looked at The Perfumed Court's website out of curiosity, and it doesn't look like they have any in the the Library Collection. Hm. There's always Luckyscent, but no decants to be had there. These would be ideal bottles for splits.

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  11. The Tropical designation frightens me a little bit, but the thing to keep in mind is that it's *Amouage*. Dia and Jubilation 25 were not at all my style, but they are beautiful, and I do wear them (from my samples) occasionally. I have begun to really look forward to testing this series! I guess all it really takes is reading well-written praise... I think I might be too easy. LOL!

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  12. Dee- well, we are perfume HOs, so by definition, that makes us easy. Yes, in the biblical sense, I guess. Parfum Prostitutes. 'Fumegasms and all.

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  13. Carrie, that's odd, isn't it, that TPC has everything Amouage but not the Library Collection? I just checked The Posh Peasant and it looks like she has Opus I, so I can order from there. I'd be willing to host a bottle split if there were enough people interested. Perhaps eventually there will be. :)

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  14. Susan, I saw Amouage samples here: http://www.parfumsraffy.com/amouagesampleset.html

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  15. Wow! This sounds like a really sexy stunner; not manufactured, conventional sexy but down to earth sexy!

    Thanks for bringing Opus III to my attention!

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  16. Hey, thanks Undina! :) I don't know why I didn't think of Parfums Raffy, as I've order from them a number of times in the past.

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  17. Thanks for your great review.

    Opus III is still my favourite of the range, but I have to say, I was pretty taken with IV too.

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  18. I tried IV, and the cumin is too much for me. My predictions came true regarding the numbers-- I, II, V all are perfection to me, II and IV not so much. Next I have to review V, it will create a whole new generation of lemmings.

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