Your name is magical: Amouage Opus VI

When I first saw this painting, it shook me up a little to see my pet insecurity captured so effortlessly in the bold strokes of paint on canvas. It speaks to a fear anyone in a relationship has likely known, and is summarized simply: “Am I interchangeable?” Who is under that white suit, and does the lover know— or care?

The philosophy of love aside, it’s frequently assumed that it’s easy to produce an amber fragrance, and that they are, to some degree, interchangeable. I have complained that one reminds me too much of another, or that I would buy this, but it smells too much like that, already in my collection. If you know one Stormtroooer amber, you know them all. Don’t you?

Spraying Opus VI on skin for the first time is a little like seeing a Stormtrooper remove his helmet to reveal the long glossy hair and full lips… of a woman. There is a dissonance that can’t be reconciled, because, of course, Stormtroopers are men. Well, all but this one.

It’s beautiful immediately— there’s no question about that— but it takes something familiar, and shifts it on such a fundamental level, just slightly, so that I found myself unable to understand it. I approached it with all the assumptions of familiarity of having known many ambers… Okay, let’s try it this way:

you are a woman who has fallen in love with a Stormtrooper. You met, and were instantly drawn to him. He was interesting, smart, charming, funny, and a fantastic lover. Then one day he removes his helmet, and you’re shocked to discover that he is a she. Straight or gay is irrelevant, because it’s just not what you were expecting. You’re stunned: there is dissonance to absorb, to understand.

Perhaps an analogy of coming to terms with sexual identity is a little heavy-handed, I mean, this is a perfume, after all, but when I tell you I spent a week drenched in Opus VI and still couldn’t figure out how to talk about it… Well, this painting came to mind.

Which is appropriate, I think, given the inspiration behind the fragrance. Christopher Chong, Amouage’s talented creative director, follows inspiration where it takes him, and it sometimes takes him to an unusual place: this time it was the movie The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, which if you’ve seen, you know is beautiful and heart-wrenching. Memories, when they’re attached to love, can be enormously painful, troubling, even crippling.

Opus VI captures the idea by tearing the amber fragrance down it’s center, then suturing it back together with the most delicate silk thread. What remains is beautiful, but that jagged seam reminds us of our own past heartaches. It’s melancholic. But like the memories it’s inspired by, I don’t want to let it go.

The Library Collection has been grossly underrated: Opus VI might be the best in the collection, but will certainly divide perfumistas.

The sixth volume in Amouage’s Library Collection, Opus VI studies the nature of memory and romantic love. Born of the age-old mastery of haute perfumery, this enduring and emotionally resonant fragrance crafted by Amouage Creative Director Christopher Chong was inspired by the power of erasing, destroying and re-inventing unwanted and painful memories. Traditionally used as a healing agent in folk medicine, Amber narrates a story of a tragic love affair, where forgetfulness is one’s only comfort.”

This review was written based on a sample generously provided by Amouage; passionate feelings are my own.
Image used with permission of Nolan Fellows Art.

25 thoughts on “Your name is magical: Amouage Opus VI

  1. Well, THIS is certainly the most interesting review of Opus VI I’ve read. (Stormtroopers and naked gals and torn amber and silk threads and painful memories… woohoo, sounds like a party in a bottle! kidding – it actually sounds like an emotional roller coaster.)

    It is often so difficult to write reviews of scents that worm their way into your engine room and tinker with stuff, isn’t it? Well done.

    1. “…that worm their way into your engine room and tinker with stuff”

      So true! You have summarized the experience exactly— I’ve met other fragrances that “tinkered” with my emotions, but they are few and far between (interestingly, one of the last ‘fumes to do this also got a Spotless Mind image for illustration: Frapin 1697). I felt like I was going crazy, because it’s not that weird a scent, it’s really just the slightest dissonance, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Then reviews started coming out, and I felt even more helpless! This review wrote itself, when I connected it with the imagery. I love the way art works together like that.

      Thank you so much for the comment Mals! It’s made my day 🙂

  2. Dee, I’m continually amazed at the images you pick. They’re fantastic (it’s such a huge relief that you do that for my posts as well, I’d be completely intimidated).

    I’ve been thinking about perfume, and a comment someone made about my post at FFF about there being better ambers out there than Ambre Fétiche. It reminded me of a frustration I had getting my B.A. in English Literature. We spent all this time looking at structure and style and symbolism, but somehow our emotional reaction was never discussed, as if the fact an author connected to us personally was beside the point. To my mind that reaction IS the point.

    I think it’s the same with perfumes. We can discuss materials and history and styles of perfumery, but I also want to hear about how it makes someone feel. And after all is said and done, it’s not about the *best* perfume, it’s about the one that moves you.

    1. Dionne, I love the way that words and images can come together to create something altogether more poignant— thank you for the lovely compliment 🙂

      It’s so true, about the emotional reaction! Whether there are “better” fragrances in any genre is irrelevant; whichever one speaks to us personally (in this case Ambre Fetiche) is the one to choose. Superior ingredients, or perfumer, or brand, or bottle— all of these things are irrelevant if the perfume doesn’t move us on a personal level. I am very happy for your recent AF purchase! It’s one of my favorite fragrances regardless of whether or not it’s the best amber.

  3. What a funny and wonderful way to think about a perfume! I am desperate to try Opus VI now. Counting down the days until it appears on Luckyscent.

    1. LOL, so true– this might be the strangest review I’ve ever written, and I’ve got some weird stuff under my belt 😉 I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

  4. There has been one beautiful and astounding review after another of Opus VI, and yours certainly falls into that category too, Dee. Your description is very moving and uniquely expressed. I feel a bit weepy reading it, but that’s because you hit on an emotional truth, which is what really good writing does.

    There is a decant of Opus VI winging its way to me and I am ever so keen for it to arrive thanks to all of these incredible reviews. (And because it’s an Amouage: as you once stated, the house to rule them all. I quite agree.) 🙂

    1. Thank you Suzanne! It’s true, there have been some spectacular reviews coming out for Opus VI; I was a little embarrassed about writing this the way I did, but you’ve got to just go where the perfume takes you… So here we are 😉 I’m so glad that there is some on the way to you now— as an Opus lover, I’m particularly looking forward to hearing your take (I really enjoyed reading Carrie Meredith’s, being an Opus lover as well).

      The house to rule them all: YES! 😉

    1. “A beautiful perfume indelibly marks everyone who submits to it, and whether the scent becomes legendary or not does not matter.”

      Back ‘atcha 😉

  5. Dee, I loved your review and want to join everybody else in praising your choice of images – both actual and mental.

    What I find interesting, I “read” that picture completely opposite from the way you did: she’s naked, volnurable and open when he’s shilded by the armor and unavailable – both phisically and emotionally. (and if I keep thinking, I’ll come up with more, something like “a man and his job”, so I should probably stop looking 😉 ).

    I will try Opus VI once it becomes available (I’m glad I provided an exception from my “no-buy” policy for new Amouage’s creations’ samples).

    1. What amazes me is how I can think about a thing for days on end, in this case Opus VI, and not be able to articulate those thoughts until I find the right image to pair with it. When I thought of these two pieces of art next to each other, it all clicked!

      Wow! I can totally see the painting in new light, now that you tell me the story from your perspective. It’s like one of those crazy images where you can see at the same time a young maiden or an old crone… It’s pretty cool, I think.

      Thank goodness for exceptions to the “no-buy” policy!!! 😉

    2. This is how I saw the painting as well, Undina. It’s a bit like a Rorschadt (sp?) test isn’t it? Now we just need a psychologist to tell us what it means to see one way or the other. 🙂 (Kidding, obviously)

  6. dee, your review is magical! Proof positive that you should always follow your instincts and put it out there if you possibly can, no matter how weird you might think it is, because this is what marks you out and let’s others connect to you (and the perfume) in a new and deeper way. Does that ridiculously long sentence make sense?

    Oh and Opus VI is pretty great as well.

    1. Tara, it is a wonderful and not at all ridiculously long sentence; thank you so much! It is pretty great, isn’t it? I can’t stop wearing it… 🙂

  7. I agree with all the other comments, Dee. Your review is caps-lock level wonderful, but I’m going to refrain from the caps lock. I am now even more intrigued to try Opus VI. I do, however, hope they stop the roman numerals after X. I always get confused after that!

    1. Thank you so much Natalie! When I think of you reading my posts, I get a bit nervous (an editor!!!), but you (thankfully) catch the spirit of the thing, and let the grammar slide 😉

      I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Opus VI!


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