Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Amouage Opus V eau de parfum can be purchased from; $325 for 100-ml. My review is based on a sample I acquired from the Sens Unique boutique in Paris.

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Amouage Opus V: A Truly Magnum Opus

Once again it is mid-August, dear reader: that time of the year when the only thing I want to do is dream about all the pretty men. I’m going to blame the fragrance I’m wearing for aiding and abetting me in this endeavor. According to the Amouage website, “Opus V, the latest creation in the Library Collection, explores the transformative journey of conventional media through the coalescing power of the Internet; navigating a world that is changed radically and forever.”

Although my first (second and third) thought was that this statement doesn’t lend itself to olfactory translation, having now worn this fragrance for a solid week, I’m starting to see a connection and can honestly say that Opus V does remind me of something Internet-related. It reminds me vaguely of porn. Actually, “erotica” might be a better descriptor, but we all know that casual dalliance with erotica is what leads to hardcore porn usage—and if what my husband tells me is true (and Wikipedia asserts that it could be), the Internet owes its public existence, its World Wide Web existence, to porn. So yeah, I think I may be onto something and twigged to the whole Amouage concept on this scent … umm, mostly.

What I can say for certain is that Amouage Opus V starts off smelling like ink and ends up smelling animalic and woody, quite handsomely so. This is not an indolic scent, but as it develops there is a sexy acridness to it, with just enough of an oily, body-odor-meets-cat-fur smell as to suggest the tang of a man’s armpit or other unshaved parts. It’s a gentle tang, mind you, subdued by the cool orris (iris root) note which precedes it and which is largely responsible for the fragrance’s initial inkiness. Altogether, Opus V has a swarthy sleekness to it that, for me, is the olfactory equivalent of a beautiful male body. A body that is naked and in repose, not smelling of the heated exertion one expects of something truly pornographic, only hinting at such pleasures. But hinting is at least half of what makes sex sexy, don’t you think?

The notes for Opus V include orris absolute, rum, orris concrete, rose, jasmine, agarwood, civet and dry wood accord. Orris is one of the defining elements of Opus V, and while orris often starts off in a very cool way and then turns distinctly powdery, in Opus V it simply stays cool and flinty smelling. It’s joined by a distinct rum note when the fragrance is first spritzed on the skin, and though rum usually reads as “warm” to my nose, no warmth emanates here. Drama or impact is what this rum note imparts to orris; the two notes together have a rather raw and bitter intensity to them, and the combination is reminiscent of the smell of ink one encounters in a print shop. The top-notes stage of Opus V does indeed remind one of “the conventional media” that Amouage notes as being the starting point for this scent’s journey.

About ten minutes into wear, the floral notes break through that jet-black opening, and while they don’t register as overtly floral, they lightly sweeten Opus V. It might be more accurate to say that they gentle the fragrance (I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they tame it), at least for a little while, because as it dries down, Opus V is one of those rare perfumes that intensifies in its final stages. The trajectory from this point forward is gradual, such that it truly surprises you when, an hour or two after you first applied it, you suddenly find yourself steeped in a scent that smells so intensely woody and sensual. The base of civet, agarwood (oud), and “dry-wood accord” is a smoldering combination with an almost electric energy. Typing out this sentence, I can see how this final stage can be interpreted to represent the Internet, because there’s very much a sense of “aliveness” to it. Even so, it’s got such a masculine vibe that, wearing it in that subconscious state where I lose myself to a fragrance and let it have its way with me, I can’t picture anything but a devastatingly good-looking man. Here in its far drydown there is the aforementioned acridness that is sexy in the way a bit of male underarm odor is sexy. And though it might sound like I’m trying to write cute here, I’m actually serious when I say that “woody” translates as “male” to me: yes, it reminds me of male anatomy, not just the obvious association, but the entire physique of a man when he is in his most fit and virile state.

That’s the way my mind works, and this is how I would parse the composition of this fragrance at any time of year, not just August. Judge me how you wish, but leave me in peace, so that I can finish enjoying this Opus.

August 9, 2012: