If the number of comments a perfume receives is a direct measure of the distinctiveness of its personality, then Amouage's Opus X (composed by Pierre Negrin and none other than Annick Menardo) is an early contender for Most Striking Fragrance of 2016. When I took it out for its test drive, the observations that were thrown my way ranged from "Have you hidden an old lady in your office?" to "It's like a bouquet of carnations!" and "You mean you actually chose to smell of wood polish?" and, most telling of all, a low, skin-tingling, "Mmmmmmmm." In other words, with his latest release, Creative Director Christopher Chong has shown no sign of diluting the bold, polarising aesthetic which he's made the key feature of his Library Collection. In Opus X, the material he passes through his weirdness-loving sensibility is rose, a substance he tackled years ago in the well-regarded Lyric. The latter doesn't lack drama, but Opus X is like her mad sister, leonine, fiery and lethally unpredictable. Yes, the furniture polish aspect of its construction is troublesome - there are times it pushes the whole too close to the realms of the overly synthetic - but it's also the very thing which gives it an edge. In combination with pepper, an animalic amber and a disturbing paint/plastic accord (reportedly designed to evoke the varnish on a violin) it creates a memorable experience that is forever hovering somewhere between a howl and a caress.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Amouage in 2016.]