The tart/bitter/sour/tangy/green/herby opening brings to mind Yatagan, but much more laid back and smooth-also makes me think of and associate to the spicy/sweet opening and general feel of Ungaro I-also brings to mind Quorum/Tsar/Invasion Barbare-right off the bat this smells like something I would love to wear often-to the workplace for sure-has that Amouage quality , but very Westernized and friendly-not really feeling Oriental, but I like that there is variety in this house-has the classic lavender touch-in Amouage terms this reminds me of Reflection Man slightly flavored with Dia Man-not a skin scent, but does sit closer than a lot of others from this house-just the right touches of sweet and spicy-also just the right touch of flowers without becoming too flowery-dries to a nice resiny wood with just a little bit of incense smokiness-still retains that Westernized fougere quality without becoming overly Oriental-like this a lot-
IMHO FBW Spicy Aromatic Oriental Nugere
Genre: Woody Oriental
Pink peppercorn and tart citrus notes dominate Opus II’s opening, soon underpinned by jasmine, cinnamon, lavender, and a very well-balanced amber. The signature Amouage frankincense note is also on conspicuous display – far more so than in companion scent Opus I. The result is a well-crafted but conventional spiced woody oriental motif, safely within the bounds of Amouage’s established souk-meets-salon style. While by no means identical, Opus II follows a path that’s closely parallel to this house’s earlier Reflection Man, from the brazen pink peppercorn top notes, through the frankincense and spiced amber heart, to the cedar, musk, and patchouli drydown.
I’ve enjoyed several of Amouage’s scents over the years, not least Dia Man, Homage, Tribute, and Jubilation XXV, but with something on the order of ten releases in twelve months, I fear the house risks overstuffing its line and diluting its creative capital. The first two in the Library Series certainly don’t seem too distinguished in style from earlier introductions, and mark no particular advance in quality. And, by the way, what’s up with those butt-ugly Library Series bottles?
Amouage Opus II didn’t exactly get a rousing reception when it was launched. That first burst of three new ‘Library Editions’ caught people off guard with many Amouage fans asking ‘where is the Middle Eastern stuff, where is the opulence, where is the grandeur’ etc. etc.
Now that we have hit Opus VII I think we can safely say that, while no-one really knows quite what is going on with The Library Series apart from the fact that it will continue to baffle and surprise, it’s perhaps a little easier to take each of the individual works and appraise them for what they are, rather looking for some deeper thematic meaning – or what they are not!
I bought Opus II the day it was released – there was something uplifting and bright about it that just grabbed me. I have always enjoyed stuff that leans in a clove / spiced direction – there is a sense of tonic goodness, not medicinal but getting close, that this style has for me, and living in a place where there is serious humidity for more than half the year this can be useful.
What I have only recently come to realize is that Opus II when viewed as a ‘spiced fougere’, rather than a ‘baseless oriental’ makes perfect sense. This is where, I think, the confusion and disappointment came for many when it was launched – the opening, variations of which can be experienced in Eau Lente and other spicy orientals, leads one to expect a resolve into some sort of rich balsamic base – especially with this being an Amouage!
But the anticipated base doesn’t make an appearance. Opus II just gently persists with a mélange of uplifting ‘crave e canella’, lavender, pepper, cardamom, absinthe and pink bay rounded out with a touch of rose and jasmine – pretty much the same structure and approach (albeit with a little more spice) than a host of aromatic fougeres from the ‘good old days’.
The base has some cedar, patchouli, amber etc. but these are not features per se – more of a backdrop and definitely not at ‘power house’ volume. This can be disconcerting at first but seen as a pick me up fougere that is there for your personal sense of wellbeing rather than for ‘making an entrance’, Opus II delivers beautifully, and at Eau de Parfum strength it manages to retain a sense of lightness for a considerable time – quite a feat.
I have come to increasingly rely on Opus II when summer hits, it seems to sit in quite a rarefied space, along with Olivia Giacobetti’s brilliant Idole perhaps, as a cool spiced tonic that has dispensed with the more traditional aspects of a masculine fougere while retaining the bracing goodness.
Playing it safe
On skin OPUS II is mostly a subdued mildly citrusy incense over a spice-warmed base. I can't believe this is from the house that gave Jubilation XXV! As much as I enjoy its serenity and fougere-ish similarity to Invasion Barbare, its somewhat one-dimensionality leaves me less than satisfied. Opus II plays it safe and sticks closely to 'good' when it could have stretched out just a little further towards 'great'.
Pros: Wearable quiet incense
Cons: Does not evolve much"
Lavender, bay and jasmine dominate the top note, with a green and refreshing initial impression, underlined by a rich cardamom. Cinnamon and especially jasmine and rose come to the fore in the drydown, and apart from a touch of would it turns delightfully floral without, however, being very unique or exciting. A little bit of frankincense is notable, but his oriental is a bit on the fresher and floral side. Limited silage and projection, with a longevity of between two and three hours. High quality ingredients, but not really a particularly remarkable creation.