Tag Archives: Rose

Opus X by Amouage

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.

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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

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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.

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Still from The Red Violin

What do you think of The Library Collection? Have you seen The Red Violin?

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Rose of No Man’s Land by Byredo

Red rose of hope…

Notes:  Pink pepper, Raspberry blossom, Turkish rose, Papyrus and Amber.

Byredo is a relatively well known Swedish niche brand but I only just found out that the name comes from the Old English word for “redolence”.

Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately considering their price point – I’ve yet to connect with any of the Byredo fragrances. Although what niche brand is these days?  Maybe their 2015 rose release will win me over.

Rose of No Man’s Land was composed by perfumer Jerome Epinette as an homage to the nurses who worked at the front lines of the First World War. So I was pleased to read that a proportion of the profits from the sale of this fragramce go to Doctors Without Borders.

“Their story is one of selflessness and compassion.

The perfume is like a soothing balm; sophisticated elegance envelops the skin and strengthens the backbone.” – Byredo

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Rose of No Man‘s Land is unlikely to sway anyone who is not fond of rose perfumes because it’s essentially a rose soliflore and a rather linear one at that.  However, it’s definitely worth exploring if rose scents are your thing.

It opens up with a pleasant zap of pepper and a touch of red fruit which for once, isn’t too sweet. It features a very fine, subtly spiced, fruity Turkish rose which I find to be one of the most swoon-inducing aromas in the world. In that way, it’s hard to fault.

I like the fact that it’s relatively sheer and lacking in patchouli. I seem to be moving away from earthy roses of late, although I still enjoy Papillon’s Tobacco Rose  in the autumn.  Rose of No Man’s Land showcases the soft, spicy facet of Turkish rose in a subtle way and uses the flowers own dry leaves as accents

If you’re looking for a rose soliflore with a modern feel but unadorned by patchouli or oud, Rose of No Man’s Land could be the one for you. It doesn’t feel at all old-fashioned and has just a light smattering of soft powder.  I find the sillage to be lightweight but with a moderate amount of throw, while the lasting power is excellent.

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There is an argument for letting a material as beautiful as Turkish rose oil shine and not over-complicate matters. However, I have a demanding nose these days and I need a bit more. Therefore it won’t displace my two current favourites, both by Serge Lutens: the violet-powdered rose of La Fille de Berlin and the fur trimmed rose of Rose de Nuit.

The quality is certainly first rate and I find it enjoyable but it doesn’t capture my imagination or spark my emotions. All the same, as rose soliflores go, Rose of No Man’s Land is an extremely good one.

 

Do you own any fragrances by Byredo?

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