la dame aux camelias

Verdi’s opera La Traviata (the ‘fallen woman’) based on ‘La Dame Aux Camélias’, a novel by Alexandre Dumas, tells the story of a courtesan who dies in the usual, melodramatic style (of a broken heart and tuberculosis), and this new perfume by Amouage, part of the Library Collection, is laced with dark, peppered emotion.

Ostensibly based on the fresh red scent of the camellia – flowers that to my knowledge don’t actually have much scent (although the flower oil, perfumed, is used traditionally by sumo wrestlers, who preeningly douse their long, top-knotted hair in the stuff as they hulk by in kimono, reeking beautifully of flowers), this is also a floral with a kick and obsessive undertones.

A pulsating heart of grey amber, civet and beeswax – rich, decadent, though suffused with a peculiarly over dose of black pepper that contrasts uneasily with a thick, indolic Egyptian jasmine sewn unwiltingly into a tender and fresh camellia accord in the top accord, this is a strong and unwavering scent, superficially light and quavering, but in reality deep; morose.

There is something feral here. Noble, effusive, but disturbing, and I’m not quite sure what I make of it (it feels somehow under-detailed). We are in the realm of melancholically dense, pepper-downed camellias, a category of scent I have never come across before, and the scent smells quite wrong on me, like a puttyish, grey jasmine clay. My skin eats up the flowers, drowning in their strange, haunted saliva, but there is nevertheless something compelling about this perfume, in its contrast between pale pinks and grey, its clinging lack of optimism, that I can envisage  being quite beautifully perturbing and troubling on more pale, delicate skin.


Filed under Floral Peppered Amber

10 responses to “TROUBLED: : : OPUS IX BY AMOUAGE (20I5)

  1. ninakane1

    Ooh I like the sound of this! I love beeswax, and the thought of it being mixed with a civet note, hmm…’my skin eats up the flowers, drowning in their strange, haunted saliva…’ Neil, this writing is exquisite x

    • You might like this actually. The Arab element; the jasmine, the gentle camellia…..(how was the Tsubaki shampoo incidentally?).

      At the same time I find this a bit unfinished, strong, and plasticiney. And there is definitely too much black pepper, although with the jasmine (Indian I think, actually, though Egyptian sounded better in the sentence) there is definitely some kind of neat unguenty thing happening. A strange sort of Arab meets French alluring but repelling kind of deal.

      • ninakane1

        Ah Neil, the Tsubaki came to mind when I was reading your comments about the sumo wrestlers dousing their hair in camelia oil and I had a fleeting image of myself following the great tradition as I soaped my barnet with the stuff later that day! Haha! I love it. It’s so silky and mild and I love its smell. Must try this Troubled number. I’m in the mood for something jasminey.

  2. Neil, I am not pontificating, but you are the best. Your writing is so descriptive, I can not only feel and see it, but can also smell it!

  3. I use tsubaki oil in my hair and it smells lovely. I wonder if that was the type of camellia scent the were trying to convey in this fragrance. Or is it more close to the dirty jasmine scent I love. You make it sound so interesting, yet off-putting at the same time. I want to try it, yet at the same time do not know if I would enjoy it.
    I am just amazed at how you truly manage to convey the spirit of the scent, wherein I feel I am able to experience it just by your description. This is a great thing, seeing that it is a bit of a journey to go into town and have a sniff of most of these scents. Although, Amber, civet and beeswax make me long to try this; it makes me think of Serge Lutens’ Miel de Bois. Do you find this scent sharing any aura with Miel de Bois? If so, well, I would have to try this. I adored Miel de Bois in all its unique weirdness.
    Once again, you dazzle us with your writing. Thank you.

    • Thanks for always reading me.

      Miel De Bois: I loved that and miss it – such a thick, sweet and raucous scent, but this isn’t like that. It is more typically Arab grey amber with a raw jasmine edge (and black pepper) but then a tender floral aspect in top. I don’t think it is stupendous, but I do think it is intriguing.

  4. I tried Opus IX at an event I recently attended at Amouage. It does not disappoint. This is a next level jasmine. I dowsed myself with it before I left the boutique – so beautiful. Very high on my Amouage wishlist.

    • I am obsessed with jasmine myself and do like that thick fusion with the oudhy amber finish – I imagine you smelled quite gorgeous (and would loved to have smelled that sillage). I know that I personally can’t quite carry it off.

      • Thank you. I hope I did at least, or my fellow Tube passengers must have really suffered. Are there any others from the Opus collection you are fond of?? I bought the discovery box, but I’m feeling overwhelmed by it!

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