Under the direction of Christopher Chong, Amouage has positioned itself as a renegade perfumery that creates daring yet luxurious perfumes. Where many perfume houses at the top end of the scale are content putting any old juice in a fancy bottle, or just a juice that is likely to please many, Amouage seek to drive the face of perfumery forward, always developing fascinating, novel and unique fragrances. Of course, not everything they do is going to appeal to everybody, but that’s exactly the point and being divisive is always a key element in being truly great. So with Amouage it’s not guaranteed that one is going to fall in love with a fragrance however, what can be relied upon is that whatever they create will never, ever be boring.
The Library Collection is where Christopher Chong really stretches his legs. The collection now consists of ten fragrance, with this tenth edition, ‘Opus X‘, entering the fray as yet again, something entirely different. So far we’ve fallen asleep in a wistful dream of mimosa and violet in Opus III, reimagined our memory of amber in Opus VI, donned a cracked leather jacket of emerald green in Opus VII and inhaled huge waves of jasmine silk in Opus VIII. To say the journey of the Library Collection has been incredible is an understatement and with this tenth instalment in the series, one is treated to something incredibly special.
Opus X was created by Pierre Negrin, a familiar nose for Amouage’s most recent creations and Annick Menardo, the legend behind Dior’s Hypnotic Poison, Lolita Lempicka and YSL’s Body Kouros, to name just a few. I’m just going to say it: this is a dream team of perfumers and it shows in the results. Opus X is an intelligent take on rose that is not afraid to be evocative of unconventional things, specifically; blood, varnish and metal. It’s a rose like no other, one that is awe-inspiring in both its size and its uniqueness. As Persolaise says in his review, Opus X is ‘striking’.
Top: Rose Centifolia, Bloody Rose Accord, Rosebud and Rose Oxide
Heart: Geranium, Varnish Accord and Leather
Base: Ambrarome, Laotian Oud, Ylang Ylang and Metallic Accord
How Does it Smell?
Opus X opens up sharp and red, like a knife cutting into a bloody rose. There’s a quick left turn into traditionally powdery rose territory and it is there we stay for some time. Disclaimer: I’m a rose freak. I LOVE the stuff and I’m happy to have it served any which way possible, so full-bodied powdery rose with a touch of metallic blood is all good in my book. Speaking of that bloodiness, roses have a natural sharpness thanks to the nerol, which adds a hissy, citrus-like facet. In Opus X, this citrus aspect is pungent and vibrant almost as if one is crushing a rose bud in their palm, squeezing out pools of scarlet plasma.
Supporting the bloody red roses are two key elements, specifically a glossy varnish accord and a smoky, woody facet. The varnish accord really strikes me as an extension of the metallic rose, adding a layer of plastic coating to those deliciously smoking embers that rise up from the base. Remarkably, despite the weightier aspects of the base, that iconic rose remains vivid and luminous all the way through, turning leathery and darker in hue with each inhale.
Opus X is divisive and as far as roses go, it’s about as red and rosy as they come. What makes it special is how this pungent rose has been accented by the metallic and varnish accords. The whole thing feels glossy and sharp, but with enough of an underlying woodiness to add a smoky contrast. As with all things ‘Amouage’, it is executed with a level of finesse that is unrivalled within the industry, which paired with the fact that it is creatively exciting, makes for a truly thrilling experience. Honestly, if you are looking for luxury fragrances that will challenge your notions of what a perfume can be, Opus X and the Library Collection should be your first point of call.
Opus X is available in 50ml (£180) and 100ml (£235) Eau de Parfum
Sample via Amouage. Notes via basenotes.net. Image 2 via fragantica.com. Image 1 via feeldesain.com.