The Beauty of Scent, Scrutinized for Pleasure

Monday, March 26, 2012

Play it again: Amouage Library Collection Opus VI

My love, lust and adoration of Amouage's Library Collection continues with the recent release of Opus VI, a fragrance without gender but filled to overflowing with emotion. After Opus V came out, I was certain that it was my special scent, and I'd never love another Amouage that much. I should know by now not to think in terms of absolutes when pondering fragrance. Perfume is a truly mercurial element that is entirely dependent on its creator that sets it free into the world, as well as the people who buy and interpret that scent for themselves. These two universes do not often intersect with ease and has the potential to foster feelings of alienation, but the thread that binds us all together is strong. It is made of shades of gray, it is irrational, it is passion and it is love. A beautiful perfume indelibly marks everyone who submits to it, and whether the scent becomes legendary or not does not matter. Opus VI secretly stokes my subconscious desires as only one other fragrance has done in the past-- Opus V. Are you wondering if I love them equally? I've been wondering the same thing myself.

Notes: Sichuan pepper, incense, bay rum, periploca (silk vine), cypriol, patchouli, ambranum (synthetic amber), Z11 (synthetic dry wood), sandalwood and cistus labdanum

Perfumers: Dora Arnaud & Pierre Negrin

I find that the notes list for almost every Amouage fragrance is only a part of the story, and I'm sure that's done deliberately. Creative Director Christopher Chong knows how to hold the public's interest by not revealing too much. And yet, he has been very much in support of transparency. An example of this is how some of the synthetic notes are officially listed along with some natural ones. As a consumer, I feel that the firm is giving consumers more credit than many other firms do. We're not being dragged towards being force-fed some abstract, phony story built on a shaky concept. There are strong aesthetics behind every Library Collection fragrance, and while each can be said to have a theme, in many ways, it is the wearer who is challenged to create their own story from the perfume. And if there's one thing perfume-obsessed people can do, it's spin a yarn.

Opus VI begins in a feminine vein with (unlisted) notes of jammy damask rose, orris, violet, jasmine grandiflorum and a light dusting of powdered honey. Amouage's famous frankincense-based incense accord is present from beginning to end, as are the very broad but lightweight woods. The amber accord is seamlessly blended into the base and I do not find that it's in the least overwhelming. In fact, I wouldn't mind if the amber were amped up a little more. No matter which floral elements are used in any Amouage blend created in the past few years, it is the uncommon, modern and unmistakable base that lasts for so long and is so recognizable. Notes will change from blend to blend, but they all exist on the same vibrational plane. The persistent and pleasurable thrum of woods, amber and incense with a tiny hint of sweetness by way of tonka or vanilla signals the arrival of the newest entry in The Library Collection. Opus VI is about as good as it gets for my tastes. 

[sample sent to me by the company. I unfortunately have no information on when Opus VI will be available for sale in the US, but keep your eyes peeled at]


  1. Hi Carrie
    This is my favourite release of the year so far (alongside francis kurkdjian's oud lol). I tried this on the first day that in came in to Amouage's
    lowndes street store in london and i just had to have it. It realy is an amazing amber. Amouage is one of my favourite houses, they do not have many duff scents in their entire line up. Have you ever tried Amouage's Memoir Man(it's perfectly unisex) ?. It,s a realy dark and brooding woody incense. Amazing, i think you would love it.

    1. Hiya Chris! I know several women who regularly wear Memoir Man, but it actually didn't work too well for me. In fact, the only perfumes from the regular line-up of fragrances that I do wear are Honour Man and Jubilation 25. That's not to say that I don't appreciate the other scents, I just can't wear them.

      I'm fascinated by Amouage. A couple times a year, they quietly produce and release new perfumes and they are all fully realized and complete in every way. Creatively, there's hardly another firm that can rival them. In terms of quality of materials used, they are top-tier. A new launch from them makes me terribly excited, I must admit.

  2. Carrie, I think of V as your Opus, and IV as mine--- and find it more than a little amusing that we have both, it seems, fallen hard for VI! I keep asking myself if I love it as much as IV, and I'm not sure that one tops the other for my tastes, but I do think that VI might be the overall best Opus so far (fighting words, I know!)

    Lovely review! :)

    1. Hi Dee! Gosh I've missed you! I need to become more interactive again.

      You will always be Opus IV to me, Dee the Brave, who fearlessly brandishes the perfume my nose and skin will not tolerate. But yes, Opus VI snuck up on us, I guess! The melancholy theme of the fragrance (love lost, etc.) really does come through in the top and heart notes, but when you get to the base, it's that old OMGGONNAHAVEAHEARTATTACK.

  3. Carrie, I loved your entire review, but your opening paragraph says everything about our perfume universe.

    "A beautiful perfume indelibly marks everyone who submits to it, and whether the scent becomes legendary or not does not matter."

    So true! I feel like Opus I is mine and I can't wait to own a full bottle, not just a decant. In the meantime, I'm waiting on the postman to bring me some Opus VI that one of our dear blogging friends is sending me a smackeral of. Been humming, "Wait a minute Mr. Postman" for days ... and your exquisite review isn't helping me cool my heels any! But I'm not complaining. <3

    1. Hi Suzanne! Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Opus I is truly beautiful, and my other fave is Opus III (I like that one for summer). It's always been the odd numbered Opus fragrances that I loved, now that theory just went out the window. :)

      I really hope you enjoy your Opus VI decant! Can't wait to hear your take on it.

  4. Carrie, I was excited to read your Opus VI review and it didn't disappoint!

    The Candy Perfume Boy generously gave me some Opus VI to try and though I've only worn it once (wish I had it with me today!) I already know it is my favourite amber and the only Amouage for me - so far anyway!

    1. Hiya Tara! Thank you so much for sweet comment. Thomas is a generous and lovely soul, isn't he? He would totally be in my posse if we lived in the same country.

      Opus VI exceeded my expectations and it's proving to be one of the most versatile fragrances I have. It's what I grab n' spritz before I head out the door now.