Amouage describes Opus V Eau de Parfum as a "woody and floral neoclassical masterpiece." Sure, Opus V stars a beautiful iris and has wood, but how you feel about Amouage Opus V will likely depend on how much you like oud.
Perfumer Jacques Cavallier created Opus V. It has notes of orris, agarwood, rum, rose, jasmine, civet, and dry wood accord. According to Amouage's PR machine, "the vision and inspiration for this fragrance is the internet and how knowledge and the art of living are shared amongst the glabal community digitally. This fragrance takes inspirations from the exploration of the tradition and classical art of sharing knowledge to how knowledge becomes fragmented in the world of artificial intelligence, and which has become an acceptable way of living nowadays." (Whew! I bet Jean Claude Ellena is thanking his lucky stars his thematic fragrances for Hermès have to do with gardens.)
When I ponder classical art, the internet, and fragmented knowledge, I come up with the smell of fried transistors (this might be because my ancient workhorse of an iBook is on the fritz) and turpentine. I don't know if Opus V succeeds as an olfactory commentary on the digital age. All I can tell you is Opus V smells like oud. And iris.
Opus V opens with a lush iris, the kind that smells like juicy, floral earth tinged with mint. Oud kicks in almost immediately, and, after ten minutes or so, when the iris has melted into the background, oud takes center stage.
Opus V's oud isn't the polite, carefully blended oud of fragrances such as By Kilian Incense Oud or even the more obvious oud joining the three-way punch of Comme des Garçons + Daphne Guiness Daphne's tuberose, incense, and orange. It's more of a Montale oud — metallic and sharp, like a luxurious blend of oysters, penicillin, and platinum shavings. If you don't enjoy oud as a dominant note, you might want to pass on Opus V.
As Opus V settles in, delicious, dirty leather softens the oud, complete with the old wood of the barn and the scent of horse manure and animals that that lingers even in a clean stable. When the leather fades, the oud continues on, until a trace of dry wood finally emerges from under it several hours later, just before the fragrance disappears altogether.
I like Opus V, and, to use one of Robin's measurements, if someone gave me a bottle I'd wear it happily. But pay Amouage prices for it? Not now. I'm indulging my exploration of the art of living, fragmented knowledge, and the internet — as well as my savings — in a newly refurbished MacBook Pro. Come to think of it, wearing the last spray from my sample of Opus V will be a fitting goodbye as I pack away my iBook for the last time.
Amouage Opus V is part of the Library Collection. Opus V Eau de Parfum costs $325 for 100 ml in an elegant glass flask. For information on where to buy it, see Amouage under Perfume Houses