Passion and pain…
Notes: Rose Centifolia, Bloody Rose Accord, Rosebud, Rose Oxide, Geranium, Varnish Accord, Leather, Ambrarome, Ylang-Ylang, Laotian Oud, Metallic Accord
I recently went with my pal Kirk to the elegant Amouage stand-alone store in Knightsbridge, London. He purchased the excellent amber, Opus VI which I think is particularly great on the fellas. It’s fun to see “a civilian” sucked into our fragrant little world.
While there I tried the brand new Opus X from The Library Collection. The mainstream line is full of well constructed, full-bodied perfumes with a capital P. The Library Collection is more exclusive with scents which are often more challenging.
Opus X is a rose-centred fragrance so I was initially disappointed when I inhaled it on a paper strip and it came across as rather jarring. The Sales Assistant suggested trying it on skin because the high percentage of natural oils means there can be quite a difference.
Sure enough, a spray on the back of my hand and it was a different story. The sour aspect was dialled right down and even the friendly SA was surprised at the dramatic change it took on me.
I’m always complaining about perfumes being too sweet but the beginning of Opus X has sharp, slightly metallic greens surrounding the central, multi-layered rose. I picture a dark fairy-tale scene of long, malevolent creepers twisting around and almost strangling a partly-opened rose of the deepest crimson.
Creative Director, Christopher Chong found his inspiration for Opus X in the 1998 film, The Red Violin. In it, a violin is crafted in 1681 by a grief-stricken Master Violin Maker who infuses the varnish with a little of the blood from his recently deceased wife. The movie then follows it over the next four centuries to Austria, the UK, China and Canada; telling the stories of the people who own it.
I really want to see this film
Fittingly the mood of the fragrance is a mix of harsh bitterness, mysterious darkness and deep passion. The varnish on the violin is present, providing a sheer overlay to the many-petalled rose. The lacquer creates a disturbance, but knowing why helps me appreciate Opus X, even if I can’t love it. The widow’s loss means everything can’t be rosy.
This artistic response to another’s creative work has been composed by perfumers Pierre Negrin and Annick Menardo.
The base is distinctly Amouage, as all traces of greenery, metal and varnish disappear. The texture becomes reassuringly velvety thanks to a low whisper of the smoothest oud snaking through a gorgeous amber accord. Here at last, the sensual side of love and life is exposed and quietly celebrated.
As we’ve come to expect from this luxury house, the longevity is outstanding. Opus X isn’t as voluminous on me as their other perfumes, but that seems to fit: it’s not a showy, outward-looking scent, but a very personal tale.
What do you think of The Library Collection? Have you seen The Red Violin?