I thoroughly enjoy the idea behind the Opus series, as following the footsteps of an adventure is always fun. The Opus series, or ‘The Library Collection’ represents a tome of memories; and all importantly a headstrong intellectual exercise.
I particularly love houses that do this. Frederic Malle’s ‘Editions de Parfums’ collection reeks of creative freedom on the perfumer’s part – giving them all the time and money in the world to create something without the constraints of popular trend or whatever may be in vogue scent-wise. I love offshoot series that disregards majority taste in favour of using notes and accords in a very poetic way – sort of highlighting new notes or practises in the fragrance world, in a manner akin to ‘testing the water’. In this fragrance, Opus VI, the victim of ethical experimentation this time is amber – the medicine for broken hearts.
Photo by Amouage, taken from Fragrantica.
Amouage fuses top quality (if not the best) ingredients and raw materials with equally important synthetic aromamolecules with a decidedly modern olfactic profile. The two main synthetic molecules in this blend, Z11 and ambranum are somewhat obvious in the composition – imparting profound depth, complexity and creating unsurpassed nasal interest.
Ambranum gives a classic oriental feel to Opus VI, and the overall opening is similar to Lubin’s Idole – bandaids. A semiplastic, sweet and powdery scent that I assure you is no way offensive; I am unsure what notes give that effect at this time. A spicy dark rum note is shared between both fragrances bringing a sticky molasses experience with a wet wood facet and a raw sugar cane juxtaposition – it’s slightly fresh and novel, and that’s what makes it interesting. Z11 is a synthetic musk note calling to mind very dry woods – it is produced by the chemical firms Firmenich & Givaudan and is described as: ambery, woody, very dry and has a non-aggressive media. These two predominant synthetic molecules (with of course the other notes) really bolster up the oriental nature of Opus VI, hinting at sparks of really dark chocolate, mellow spices, and ironically old library books.
Opus VI opens with my descriptive rum ‘n’ bandaid accord, along with a generous helping of amber, incense and spice. The Sichuan pepper is oilier in this blend than in the lovely Journey Man also by Amouage, with an overloaded spicy quality that elevates the amber and woods. Opus VI projects out the colour orange like a crackling fire radiating a constantly smooth yet occasionally flickering heat of spice, with a nostalgic feel of burning woods and char with an impeccable gourmand sense of sweetness (vanilla baby!). Cypriol oil, used also in the later Journey Man, gives a green and wet grassy atmosphere to the fragrance. The atmosphere is diffusive, and pungent in a manner that rawness and warmth usually is – cypriol oil used subtly is excellent, suggestive of a hyper-realistic liturgical sensation. Again, The Library Collection hosts a wealth of strange and overlooked bizzaro ingredients – and that in itself is memorable.
Once more, Opus VI is clearly a dark shade of orange. As it evolves a sweet and tempting animalic side is revealed that is equally licentious as it is bold; oh how orientals excite me (the obvious aphrodisiac category)! There’s a trail of the frankincense which is paradoxically thick, sticky and rich (liturgical once again) whilst also being airy, a shimmery glistening of rose is hidden and its intoxicating floral nuances proclaim a delicate ‘chiffon’ edge.
Labdanum and Patchouli, two of my favourite notes in perfumery, give a wonderful and wispy effect with interesting sour qualities, purged quickly by the vanilla. These qualities, for some weird reason sprouts the idea of thin white cotton balls being pulled apart like nothing – akin to fair floss. Finally, sandalwood is like a perfumer’s cheat code that delivers a round and creamy smoothness universally adored.
Back to the idea of books and libraries, this addition – book No. 6, is the thrilling complication in the middle. It is hedonistic and attractive, with a story so good that each page turn gets better and better. The semi-medicinal and the deviant animalic resonances are tamed by luscious vanilla. Dry yet creamy.
Alternatives: Journey Man by Amouage; and Idole by Lubin.
Brilliantly executed. Tried and true amber spiked with the almighty Amouage flair.
Subjective rating : 4/5
Objective rating: 4/5