Black ink, Amouage Library Collection Opus VII

The Amouage bookshelf has just gotten bigger! Opus VII, the 7th tome in Library Collection is a new chapter composed by the niche perfume house from Oman. With this perfume Christopher Chong wanted to capture the long journey of mankind – in the quest of knowledge. It is then followed by gratification once the quest is complete and our minds are wiser. Two perfumers: Pierre Negrin and Alberto Morillas worked on filling the pages of this perfumed book.

With the first day of sampling Amouage Opus VII I noticed that it is a perfume of two different natures. The “outer” stratum of the scent is a hard shell. The smell is dense and oily with cypriol oil. When I smell it I get a feeling like I could drown in this scent. It’s mysterious and dark suspension, a black ink that covers everything permanently, making it impossible to return to the previous state. In this kettle particles of warm and spicy cardamom float, blended with a resinous smell of galbanum.

In no time the dark tincture smell gets enriched by the aroma of sandalwood. It’s raw, dirty, not smooth but full of splinters that can hurt your hands when you want to touch it and feel the structure of the wood. Neither musk is soft here. In Opus VII musky tones are animalic, wild and untamed which is additionally pronounced by the earthy, almost rotten patchouli. Maybe it’s just my nose (not used to smelling scents like this one) but so far this Amouage is a beasty creature on me.

Once you survive through the “outer” stratum of Amouage Opus VII the different story begins. After the hard shell is broken, the softer core of the scent is revealed. To me it is still dark, but now it’s more gentle and chic like a black silk scarf. Amber creates warm and sensual aura around the wearer and olibanum adds the restrained mineral quality with a slightly salty touch. Of course oud had to find its place in the composition. Luckily it’s not very powerful. Accompannied by the leathery chords it creates this a little bit mischievous smell of tanner workshop. The smell of raw leather, pigments… it’s all in here.

At some point of evolution Opus VII blend smells like an iris. Black-tinged iris of warm, suedy and kind of sad, unhappy nature. If that was a true iris – it would be the most unusual one I know. Beautiful but also giving me shivers and awakening the feeling of insecurity inside me. The drydown of the perfume is dry and spicy thanks to nutmeg and pink pepper which adds some more life to the scent. Other notes include ambergris, fenugreek and costus. I have never experienced the smell of the last two notes mentioned so I don’t want to pretend like I notice them.

As expected from Amouage, Library Collection Opus VII has an outstanding longevity and considerably big sillage. To me this perfume really is a two-faced thing made of tough shell on the outside and softer core inside it. Bear in mind – this is not an easy to wear perfume. In my opinion one has to be really self-confident and needs to have a strong personality to rock it. Shy or insecure people might get overwhelmed by this composition, drown in it.

I’m a representative of the second group. Dark, dense and powerhouse scents are not for me but you should give it a try to see how it goes for you. Opus VII was introduced in 2013. It’s available in 100 ml bottles of the same design as others from Library Collection but the bottle is matte black with golden details instead of matte white glass. It looks very nice!

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70 thoughts on “Black ink, Amouage Library Collection Opus VII

  1. Kafkaesque says:

    What a lovely review. The imagery of the shell and the inner layer, the darkness of ink with an oily subtext, and the wood like splinters. Beautiful, Lucas. Truly! A huge Bravo from me.

    As for the fragrance, parts of it definitely sounds like my cup of tea. But I’m not a huge fan of galbanum, especially when its greenness verges on black. The drydown, however, sounds quite nice, despite the iris or perhaps because the iris (which I don’t love the way so many others do) is more warm, dark and spiced. Hmm…. I’m so, so intrigued now. I don’t think I’ve ever read a review from you where I have wanted to try the scent more, while also having some misgivings. You are a tempter, Lucas. But it’s mainly because you did such an eloquent, descriptive job. Really, well done, chΓ©ri!

  2. Tarleisio says:

    OMG!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you Lucas, for detecting that iris! πŸ˜‰ After the revewis began to come in, I thought I was crazy for getting ‘iris’, but such an iris… I agree – this is not an ‘easy’ or laidback perfume, but I, for one, love it all the same. Thank you for your beautiful review!

  3. jilliecat says:

    As Kafkaesque writes, this is a splendid, wonderfully descriptive and evocative review, Lucas. I felt I could smell this strange creation.

    Like you, I don’t think I am ready or willing to wear a perfume that will actually wear me, but there is a place for olfactory experiences and this is definitely one of them. I don’t think I could be happy wearing anything that contains fenugreek, as this is an ingredient I use when cooking and it smells like a curried celery to me – not something I find attractive in a fragrance, even if it is nice to eat!

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you Jillie, you’re a sweetie!

      Opus VII is a kind of perfume that really can wear you istead of you wearing the perfume. It’s definitely worth trying and finding some beauty inside it, that’s for sure.
      Oh, so fenugreen can be used for cooking? I didn’t know! That’s a lovely little lesson. Thanks

    • Kafkaesque says:

      I use fenugreek in cooking, too, Jilliecat! And it really does smell like herbaceous curry. I like using it in stews because of how it’s a strange cousin to tarragon (to me at least), but the worst part is the next day when it starts oozing out of your pores in a very potent way that is far from attractive. I must have missed the inclusion of fenugreek in the notes that Lucas listed. Oh dear, a perfume with fenugreek may be a little much….

      • lucasai says:

        You too? Herbaceus you say? There was something herbal in the drydown – could be the fenugreek.
        I’m sure that people smell very unattractive when it oozes from your pores.

        • Kafkaesque says:

          It is quite unpleasant (to my nose) the next day if eaten in any serious quantity. Fenugreek emits a very sour, rancid smell when it gets released through the skin in a way that cumin-based curry dishes or Middle Eastern food never quite does (to me). But, when it’s just dried, uncooked fenugreek, the smell is very herbaceous green, like a stronger, more potent tarragon mixed with cilantro and perhaps the woodiness of cumin — but not quite. It’s hard to explain, but once you’ve smelled it, you definitely know it. I truly think you’d be horrified by the whole thing, Lucas. LOL.

  4. brie says:

    agreed with kafka and jilliecat…Lucas this was briliant! Despite the fact that this one is not for you your review has made it so tempting for me to try…the raw, dirty sandalwood ( I adore sandalwood…dirty or not!)

  5. I’m looking forward to smelling this. The bottle alone was enough to get my attention. I’ve liked the recent Amouages and I assume I will like this. I am typing this with the remnants of a broken bottle of Beloved Man on my finger tips so I am flying my Amouage flag at half-mast tonight!

    • lucasai says:

      I’m hoping you will try it soon. I’ll be looking forward to read your own impressions.
      Oh no, a broken bottle of Beloved Man? The big, entire one? Or was it a decant or something? I’m so sorry for you!

      • Yes a big one, but it’s OK. Life is like this sometimes : ) I’m looking forward to this new Opus. While I have your attention. I know how much you like iris and I can;t remember if I have mentioned this before- but Xerjoff Irisss might be something you would like. Like Amouage, it costs an arm and a leg but you could try to get a decant to feed your iris obsession.

  6. Madeleine says:

    Beautiful review lukasz!

    I have never been tempted by the Opus series, but your words have definitely changed that! Gorgeous!

    Madeleine

  7. Lovely review, Lukasz!

    I haven’t had the opportunity to try this one, so the next time I’m anywhere near a department store I’ll be sure to check it out. I love how you described it as having an outershell and an inner core – it makes me anticipate how multi-faceted the perfume will be. Galbanum? Check. Sandalwood? Check. Animalic? Check. Iris? Mega check.Leather? Give it to me already! πŸ˜€

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      It was released just a few weeks ago so I’m sure that channels of distribution are still working to deliver it to all retail praces. I’m sure it’ll be there soon!
      I must say that I loved my idea of a shell and a core too.
      You are fond of all those notes, right? I think you’re gonna love it.

  8. I have been too intimidated to try any Amouage until now; I know that sounds silly but they just seem forbidding for some reason. Your beautifully written review indicates it is worth getting over that. I’m intrigued by the hard shell and what is inside it.

    • lucasai says:

      Yaay, I’m happy to hear that! And don’t be afraid of the Amouage Opus line. I know some of them are beasty with monster sillage, but why don’t you try with Opus II and Opus V. These are my two favourites and they’re actually pretty well behaved scents.

  9. You have inspired me to go out and systematically work my way through the Library scents. I just get so distracted by the main line with its lovely and evocative names. When I get to Opus I-whatever, I never remember which number I liked . . .

  10. hajusuuri says:

    Bravo, dear Lucas! What a lovely review! I am oddly fascinated and repelled at the same time by the description. If the raw, dirty sandalwood is anything like FM Dries Van Noten, I will run fast and far away from this one as it will absolutely SUFFOCATE me! [shudder]

    On the other hand, the gentle black silk scarf feel of the inside sounds very appealing, specially with the suggestion of the presence of Iris (LOVE!).

    In the interest of full disclosure, I was actually able to read this at lunch time on my android but I just hate using it to leave comments because the keyboard is so tiny. Anyway, my first thought was I MUST walk the 3/4 mile immediately to Bergdorfs to sample this, but the rational hajusuuri kicked in. I should just be thankful that it wasn’t Opus VII that the Bergdorfs saleperson accidentally spilt on my coat sleeve the last time I was there.

    • lucasai says:

      Fascinated and repelled is exactly how I felt during my test. Sandalwood from Opus VII doesn’t remind me the one from Dries Van Noten. In Amouage it’s not creamy and definitely not like a pudding.

      This “black silk scarf” phase is really charming and much easier to wear that the opening “shell”.

      Wow, so you felt temted to immediately go and try? This is a huge compliment πŸ™‚ I wonder what you think about it. Do let me know later, right?

      Yup, thank god it wasn’t Opus VII that landed on your coat.

  11. Undina says:

    Lucas, I want to join others in saying how wonderful this review is especially taking into the account that you didn’t love it.
    I’m very interested to try it: galbanum, iris (even if a phantom one) and sandalwood – “what not to like?” πŸ™‚

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you, you’re all so kind! I think that the review turned great as I have a lot of appreciation for this perfume ,even if it’s not my fairytale.
      Hope to hear your thoughts once you try it.

  12. Natalie says:

    This sounds very, very interesting, and I agree a great review. I especially like the bottle.

  13. hajusuuri says:

    Lucas! Is the color of the perfume itself black? Your description of dark, dense seems like it is a FEELING rather than its physical manifestation…but now I am not so sure. Do tell, please!

  14. LifeFashionPhotography says:

    I was in the Amouage boutique the other day and sampled this (the bottle is very dark, metallic green btw although it does look black in pictures).

    Anyways…it’s so woody and strong…it’s too much for me. It’s like you’re in a forest that was ablaze the day before.

    Who could wear this? To me, the rulers of the Arab nations could wear it, or elders of old tribes.

    • lucasai says:

      Oh, the bottle really is dark metallic green? Last time I looked at it up close it looked just black to me. Are my eyes deceiving me?

      Yes, it’s dark and strong. Interesting that you think that rulers of Arab nations could wear it, or tribe elders.

  15. […] and thoughtfully sent me a small sample of the perfume as a surprise gift. In his review, entitled Black Ink, he […]

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