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  1. #1

    Default Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions


    Amouage Opus II:
    Perfumer: Michele Saramito of Robertet
    Notes: Lavender, Absinthe, pepper, pink bay, Jasmine, rose, cinnamon, cardamom, Cedarwood, patchouli, amber, musk, incense

    I must say that I am overwhelmed after having tested Opus II. It is a magnificent, beautiful fougere. In short, it smells something like a cross between Rive Gauche PH and Fou d’Absinthe, the two not blended together but instead a new formula inspired by the two, created with an unlimited budget and blended by God himself.

    The notes of Opus II may sound generic but are woven together with such careful precision and subtlety that they literally dance on the skin in an olfactory equivalent of the glimmering iridescent display of light dancing across a most exquisite piece of abalone. This is a fragrance that is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

    You know that feeling of magic that sometimes washes over you during the winter season? There is an utter, almost eerie, stillness in the air, and all the earth is asleep, and the quiet and solitude do not leave you feeling alone so much as they magnify your own sense of self, your own awareness of life and existence? The way we rush from the car into the houses of friends and families to escape the bitter cold, and are met with the wonderful scent of chai tea, cinnamon sticks and apple cider, christmas trees, bay leaves and mistletoe. The warmth of friendship. All of that; all of the wonderful and beautiful elements of winter have seemingly been distilled. That is Opus II.

    Yes, truly a wonderful fougere that shimmers and floats above the skin, and will remind you, if you are so inclined to listen, that magic really does still exist.

    The hues and tones of the scent remind me of the colors (and to an extent, the mood and atmosphere) present in these two pictures:



    Last edited by SculptureOfSoul; 31st August 2010 at 05:05 AM.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    I received 3 big samples of Opus I, II, and III from Aedes today. I'm flirting with the Opus III right now, perhaps I'll put on II tomorrow and share my experience.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Now, for a less poetic breakdown:

    The scent opens with a big dose of bay laurel and pepper, although even these have an airiness about them as they are lifted by a translucent lavender note that is not immediately detectable. Soon the lavender weaves its way into the opening accord but it's unlike any lavender note I've ever experienced, it is so ethereal and again, translucent; perhaps the best word for it is crystalline. It is not herbal or overly aromatic like the lavender note in Oxford and Cambridge, it is not heavy and thick and stuffy like it is in the opening of so many 80s men's scents. It is just.. crystalline. Underneath this is a note that is not fully discernable but it adds a bit of darkness and greenness and ups the aromatic factor of the opening: I am quite sure this is the absinthe note at play, which I think may be a combination of actual wormwood oil (which is aromatic, slightly minty, and very green) and a star anise note. The opening is simultaneously spicy and smooth, filled with a number of heavy essences that are rendered in such an airy and translucent way that it really does, for me at least, evoke the sensation of cool winter wind against the skin.

    Cardamom soon becomes apparent and it is rendered smoothly and very natural, akin to the cardamom note in Invasion Barbare. Yes, Amouage has, at least in Opus II, really upped the quality and natural factor of their ingredients. While I've always loved Amouage, I have to admit that some of their scents are more synthetic than some/most of the offerings of other ultra high end houses like Xerjoff or MCDI. Amouage though, always had the ultra-lush and luxurious factor, and always put their synthetics to good use and hid them quite well amongst the naturals. Still, this scent feels like a step up in quality from the other Amouages, although it is not as lush or luxe as some of them, but that is due solely to the genre of scent. It definitely feels as high quality and natural as any of the Xerjoffs, not something I could say about many/any of the previous Amouages. If Rive Gauche were a Lexus, Opus II is an Aston Martin.

    The usage of cinnamon here is absolutely the best I've ever smelled - it is so real and even a bit woody (this is the whole cinnamon stick), but it feels as if the scent was merely dusted with this freshly ground cinnamon stick. Again, a very ethereal usage of a note that really helps keep the shimmering, magical effect of the fragrance alive. At the same time that the cinnamon becomes more prominent, the anisey note of the absinthe accord becomes stronger and joins with a very muted jasmine and rose and perhaps some labdanum and a hint of vanilla from the base to create a very natural smelling rendition of the 'shaving cream accord' in Rive Gauche. I always loved the idea of Rive Gauche but found it a bit synthetic, especially that cream accord. I didn't know you could make such a natural smelling cream accord. I should mention that here it is not quite so upfront and center as it is in RG - it is present and definitely is a large contributor to the texture during the middle phase, but it stands far enough back to still let the cardamom, lingering bay, dusty hints of cinnamon, and lingering lavender (now joined by a lavender absolute note) to lead the play.

    This continues down into the base where the woods pick up with intensity slightly. It's hard to pick out exactly what is going on as the whole of it is so carefully blended that no notes really stand out at this point. The opening and heart have such extreme clarity and separation of the notes (and yet, when taken together as a whole, they all work perfectly, too) and in the base they begin to meld together the way that it's hard to pick out the individual spices that go into a great chai tea. It is a soft base, the creamy aspect is still present, and there is a hint of spices still but they are completely smooth by now, no piquancy left. The lavender absolute note (a sweeter, softer, more coumarinic lavender note than the essential oil) is detectable, and the anise is too, slightly, and there is a hint of smoke from the incense. It is so peaceful - this is the warmth I alluded to in the poetic review, escaping the bitter cold of the outside (which was magical in its own way) and cherishing the newfound warmth and comfort of the sanctuary of home.

    I should add that the anise note is never so strong or out in the open that I think it would render the scent unenjoyable by those who don't like anise. It's truly a background player and, while noticeable if you are really looking for it, does not jump out and scream or misbehave in any way.

    Fans of Rive Gauche or Fou d'Absinthe absolutely need to check this out.

    edit: It's been a long time since I've been so moved by a fragrance. It's also been a long time since I knew, so quickly, that I absolutely would have to own a scent after testing it just once. I have no idea how I'm going to afford this! Santa, all I want for Christmas this year is a bottle of Opus II. I'll be really really good, I promise!! Please?!
    Last edited by SculptureOfSoul; 31st August 2010 at 05:32 AM.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Thanks for the lovely review. This sounds right up my alley. It's funny that I bought Winter Star for the exact sentiment as your beautiful description but I have grown a little tired of it after using less than 1/3 of the bottle. I will definitely need to try Opus ll at some stage.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    I can't wait to actually try this during winter. I have a feeling it would mesh so well with the environment on one of those purple hued evenings that it would be some kind of almost religious experience. Maybe I'm crazy but I've had that happen a few times where a specific scent so well matched the mood, atmosphere and surroundings of where I was that it was a truly sublime experience. The last time it happened was during a walk through the woods in winter while giant snowflakes lazily drifted to the ground. I was wearing Yatagan.

    Speaking of Winter Star, what was it that you grew tired of? Did it seem to evoke the sensation you were seeking before you grew tired of it?
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Winter Star started well for me, and it was able to evoke the sensations you described. I was fond of it when it first arrived and frequently wore it in winter and to the ski fields. However, the problem with it is that even though it’s timeless it is not exactly modern. It took me a fair while to figure out why sometimes I would feel like a grandpa, even though I am in my early thirties. The reason appeared to be not washing it off after a few hours. The effect was particularly evident if I went to bed with it on.
    Last edited by scensation; 31st August 2010 at 07:10 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    I don't think you'll feel that way with Opus II. It's definitely not "old man" although it's not something I could see a teenager wanting to wear (unless of course, they had really good taste! ). It's a modern take on a classic style, and the end result is something that really feels ageless. From what I've read about Winter Star, this is definitely lighter, more ethereal, and less stuffy. That's not to say that Opus II doesn't have body - it does, but it carefully avoids overdoing any element.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    You fall in love with Opus 2 so fastly Great review! You make me want to test Opus 2 again carefully.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by chocolateguy View Post
    You fall in love with Opus 2 so fastly Great review! You make me want to test Opus 2 again carefully.
    Well I must say this one just clicked for me. It called to mind so many memories and scenes and images that are pleasant and nostalgic and on top of that, to me, it smells fabulous. I didn't *want* to fall for another expensive scent, but the heart wants what it wants.

    The only bad thing about sampling this as one of the first out of my batch of 27 samples (I almost never buy samples, I really can't afford much in this fragrance hobby this year ) is that I fear nothing else will live up to it!
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    I'm wearing some more of this and there's a few more things I want to add that I forgot earlier:

    This is not ostentatiously Christmassy in a kitschy sense. It smells less obviously Christmas than Jubilation XXV smells say, like a craft store (an association I've heard that I both understand and can see, and yet find it so much more than that). The scents spicy/sweet profile and notes really make it extremely versatile - almost as versatile as Rive Gauche Pour Homme - but I just find that when viewed a certain way, or when in a certain mood, it does seem like it would mesh extremely well in that wintery environment. Now, it should be said that most of the samples I purchased were bought with the intent of finding great scents to wear in the dead of winter, and so I am certainly predisposed to analyzing them through that lens, and that surely contributed to the winter/christmas slant of the review.

    Secondly, this *could* be unisex, although the woman would need to be ok with a fair bit of spice in the opening. The opening really is a wonderful piquant blast of pepper and bay leaf, but soon enough the absinthe note joins the fray along with the hint of florals and the softer spices (cardamom and cinnamon), and I could see this working well on a woman's skin. I'd say it leans slightly masculine though, a tad bit moreso than most of the previous men's offerings by Amouage (Epic Man excepted).

    The longevity is medium and the sillage is.. well, it was hard for me to tell. I could clearly smell it for 6-8 hours and then it seemed to fade quite a bit as it went into the slightly smoky aspect of the dry down. I actually think the sillage may be rather strong and may have given me a bit of olfactory fatigue as I found brief periods in those first 6-8 hours where I couldn't smell it at all, but then 5 minutes later I'd pick it up clear as day.

    For those familiar with Xerjoff, this is like Amouage's take on Rive Gauche with the quality of ingredients and a blending style closer to Xerjoff's Dhofar. Obviously those familiar with Dhofar will realize that this is a huge compliment.

    In other words, this is quantitatively different in feel/style than the typical Amouage, and is a scent even the Amouage haters should check out.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Opus 1 and especially Opus 3 ( the one you hate, right? ) has great longervity and incredible sillage on my skin. Opus 2 seems a little weak to compare to these two... But it still lasts long ( more than 6 hours ). Not so strong, the sillage of Opus 2 is soft and enjoyable. Not as linear as Opus 3, both Opus 1 and 2 are like an interesting journey, full of surprises.

  12. #12
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    SOS!! I am glad you love it so much. I waws praying you would be smitten, with your love of bay laurel. I think it's pretty great, but don't wear it, personally becuase of the mega-bay and my irrepressable 'seasonal'-candle associations with that note.
    But my boyfriend loves it, and curiously on him it's simply a gorgeous modern-spicy-gourmand-fougere (Is that a category?), and I don't get the bay laurel standing apart on his skin at all.

    All in all, I like all three 'OPI' together for contemplation as a set of interpreatations of cinnamon, variations on a 'spice' theme if you will.

    And the sparkles-in-the-snow, beckoning-lights-in-a-cold-night association is on the money!


  13. #13

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    I think almost all of Amouage's newer fragrances are wonderful. Opus II is no exception, and I'm hoarding my 2ml sample like it was a lottery ticket. The two times I've worn it I have been so pleased and fascinated with the skill and beauty with which it was made. If I were a rich man this would be in my ten most wanted, for sure.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    I have starting researching this based on your glowing review in my Fou d'Absinthe question. It looks like samples are not the easiest to come by. I looked on The Perfumed Court and didn't see it. And Lucky Scent's samples are pathetically small. Any suggestions?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Well, the Luckyscent samples *are* small but even so, my $5 sample should give me about 6 or 7 wearings. This scent isn't extremely strong - it lasts long but the projection is toned down compared to most Amouage (of course, most Amouage have nuclear projection, so don't think that by saying this I'm saying Opus II is some shrinking violet!) - and I find a few sprays on the chest and just a drop on each wrist (the atomizer it came in is extremely easy to control and output just the tiniest little bit if you are careful). And with this particular atomizer, each spray is quite small, so 2 sprays is probably only equal to one spray from a normal bottle atomizer.

    I'd look into Parfums Raffy, too. They usually have official samples of Amouage, compared to the hand made samples of TPC or Luckyscent. I think I remember their samples were $5 a piece though for the Opus series, and only 1ml, too.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by chocolateguy View Post
    Opus 1 and especially Opus 3 ( the one you hate, right? ) has great longervity and incredible sillage on my skin. Opus 2 seems a little weak to compare to these two... But it still lasts long ( more than 6 hours ). Not so strong, the sillage of Opus 2 is soft and enjoyable. Not as linear as Opus 3, both Opus 1 and 2 are like an interesting journey, full of surprises.
    Well, I shouldn't have said I "hate" Opus III. I got too much on the card by accident though and took a big whiff and that was a mistake. It's POTENT. It's not my style of scent at all, and not something I'd ever wear, but it does smell of quality ingredients. As I said before, I think the Opus series almost smells higher quality than their regular series, although their regular series smell a bit more modern, in general, and perhaps more 'sleek.'

    I've yet to test Opus I on skin but will soon. The smell on the card was very very nice.

    Would everyone who has tried them all agree that Opus II is the least traditionally Amouage scent of the series? I'd almost say it's the least Amouage-y scent that's currently in their lineup (now that Arcus and Cirrus have been dropped).
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  17. #17
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post

    Would everyone who has tried them all agree that Opus II is the least traditionally Amouage scent of the series? I'd almost say it's the least Amouage-y scent that's currently in their lineup (now that Arcus and Cirrus have been dropped).
    Hmmm... I do get what you are saying, but I'd say it comes in second to or maybe ties with Silver Cologne -- another "crisp" fougere, incidentally -- that for me also stands apart from the typical "lushness"...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeD View Post
    I think almost all of Amouage's newer fragrances are wonderful. Opus II is no exception, and I'm hoarding my 2ml sample like it was a lottery ticket. The two times I've worn it I have been so pleased and fascinated with the skill and beauty with which it was made. If I were a rich man this would be in my ten most wanted, for sure.
    I'm just going to cut out some of my extraneous spending (energy drinks, going out to lunch more often than needed, etc) for awhile and put it all into a "way too expensive but I love it and want it anyway" frag fund.

    I'm seriously contemplating donating some plasma again for some extra money. 6 weeks of donating would net me enough to snag the bottle. Hmm.. tempting!
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Anyone else tried this yet? Please weigh in. I'd love to hear any opinions, even less favorable ones.
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  20. #20
    Daryl J.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Opus II, in my opinion, is perfect for fitting in with a crisp fall day filled with sunshine, or a frigid December day where ice crystals dance in the early morning's breezeless sky. It's a perfect cool weather/cold weather scent. I feel it's formulated for daytime much more than evening or night.

    Of the Opus series currently available, it's the only one I'd purchase. It is solidly on my buy list.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    I actually generally agree with the daytime vibe, although I think it would work as a more personal night scent - one where you might be out shopping alone or just spending the night by yourself, especially if you'd be spending part or most of the night outside (although it's rare that I feel like spending an evening in Wisconsin outside, alone! )

    In more intimate night settings I'd rather wear something warmer or woodier, so I definitely can see why you'd categorize it as more of a daytime scent.

    Oh, and welcome to Basenotes Daryl! Opus II is the only one of the series I want a full bottle of too, and oh how I want it! It's good to have another new member with such excellent taste!
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  22. #22
    Daryl J.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Thanks for the welcome.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    After a couple of wearings it feels like a great twist on a classic fougere opening to me, and the autumnal day idea fits, but it also sees to recede pretty quickly to a very subtle undercurrent - I suspect this is just me getting used to it. I really like it so far altho the overdose of what I assume is the 'pink bay' at the front was initially a surprise.

    A week later: as expected the more I wear it, the more I appreciate what happens after that initial flurry. Coincidentally I have also been trying Dhofar, another 'new fougere' of sorts, and I'm leaning more towards Opus II, even tho it is quieter. Look forward to wearing this into autumn.
    Last edited by mr. reasonable; 11th September 2010 at 06:41 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    I just responded to another Basenoter asking about these. Here's what I wrote:

    How odd that I should get your message on coming home with two small samples of Opus I & II in my pocket! I agree with you on Opus II; I find it very good. All three of the Opus line are quite well-made, with very interesting development from top to base. I also agree that Amouage is indeed doing wonderful things. Now, the truth is I only smelled these on paper at the shop, and I came away with I & II because I wanted to smell them on my skin. I didn't ask for a sample of III because I found the top a tad to fruity for my taste, and the base, too powdery. That's not to say it isn't a very fine scent; it is for those who love those things. It's just that my tastes lie elsewhere.

    Amouage calls Opus I a chypre, even though it lacks oakmoss or patchouli but does have a coumarin note in the base. They classify Opus II as a fougère, though it lacks coumarin, and does have patchouli in the base. Yet when all is said and done, it seems they are right as to the overall impression for each of these. Opus III they call a floral oriental, and there, I find not the slightest cause for doubt.

    I will be in a quandary about whether to get Opus I or II. Right now, I am leaning toward I, but we shall see...
    Last edited by JaimeB; 5th September 2010 at 09:17 AM.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    I sprayed my sample once on my forearm, and all I can say is this stuff is POTENT, but I LIKE IT. Once it finally gets cooler here I will be putting this ripper to the front of the queue....

    P.S. I showered shortly after the small application of Opus II, scrubbed with Porto Vetiver soap and it was STILL lingering on my skin. Opus II is a serious fougere that means business.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by calero View Post
    I sprayed my sample once on my forearm, and all I can say is this stuff is POTENT, but I LIKE IT. Once it finally gets cooler here I will be putting this ripper to the front of the queue....

    P.S. I showered shortly after the small application of Opus II, scrubbed with Porto Vetiver soap and it was STILL lingering on my skin. Opus II is a serious fougere that means business.
    It's strange in that it's so very potent up front, but within a few hours it has settled down and is rather quiet. I find it lasts fairly long, 8-10 hours or so, but after the first two it is much more of a skin scent. I, personally, like that style of projection, especially with a scent with this olfactory profile. I also like that it doesn't last 24+ hours like most of the Amouage scents.
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    [snip...]
    I will be in a quandary about whether to get Opus I or II. Right now, I am leaning toward I, but we shall see...
    I just went back to the store after testing both samples on my skin. I couldn't make up my mind after testing them, so I ordered both. Ouch!

    They should be in by a week from Monday.
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  28. #28

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Both seem very interesting,I might have to sample these

  29. #29

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Well, i don't agree. After two days of trying, to my nose Opus II is a muted-down Jubilation XXV.
    As for that, I've found Opus I to be mostly a tuberose scent, I can't imagine myself wearing it anytime anywhere.
    And Opus III is way too dark, kind of bitter, which again, isn't for my liking at all. Wating for Memoir, perhaps...

  30. #30

    Default Re: Amouage Opus II: Initial Impressions

    Weird. I don't really get any connection whatsoever between Opus II and Jubilation XXV.

    I agree about Opus I though. It's too fruity/floral for me, and I don't think it's anything special, despite smelling of quality.

    To me, Opus III is a comfort scent. As the nights here are now getting very cold, I find myself drawn to wear it when I plan to stay in and just lay down with a good book. It has some of the same feel and vibe as MPG's Or des Indes, although it is more floral and less metallic, and a bit less warm.

    I think all three compositions are in many ways simpler and more direct than their traditional scents. I think some disappointment is inevitable if people go in expecting these to smell as lush and outright opulent as the scents in their regular line. These smell just as high quality (I think these actually smell more natural), but they are a bit more old-fashioned and, as mentioned, more direct and simpler. I like them for what they are. In my opinion they almost share more with the best of Xerjoff (i.e Dhofar, Kobe, Esquel) than with the regular Amouage line.
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