Since its creation in 2010, Amouage’s Library Collection has been the territory where the revered, Omani High Perfumery house has presented some of its most daring compositions. Running through all the scents has been the concept of knowledge, whether it be the forms it takes in an increasingly virtual world (as in the case of Opus V – Woods Symphony), its potential for seduction (Opus VII – Reckless Leather), or its ability to bring power to those who have lacked it (Opus XIV – Royal Tobacco).
For his latest addition to the Collection, Renaud Salmon, Amouage’s Chief Creative Officer, was inspired by his research into the Salon De Mayo, a gathering of influential artists which took place in Havana in 1967. Showcasing works by Magritte and Picasso, amongst others, the event broke barriers and succeeded in sharing the knowledge and practice of high art with an extensive audience. Salmon was especially struck by the surrealist art featured at the event – and specifically by the surrealist movement’s insistence on thwarting and subverting expectations.
“I went to the perfumers, Alexis Grugeon and Hamid Merati-Kashani, with the idea of creating a fragrance that would work like a piece of surrealist art. I asked them to compose a scent with an opening that would not reveal anything about its conclusion –a scent that would develop as a complete surprise – but would also feel totally right and correct coming from a perfume house that is so proud of its Omani heritage.”
The perfumers presented him with an oud: one of the most authentically Middle Eastern styles of fragrance. But this is an oud unlike any that Amouage has released before. It is almost ferociously animalic, and when linked to the patchouli, frankincense and sandalwood in the composition, it growls on the wearer’s skin with untamed passion. At the same time, it exudes tailored sophistication, its edges contoured with breathtaking finesse. More importantly, it is an oud that doesn’t begin like an oud at all, because what comes before it is a seemingly innocuous citrus fruit.
Playing with the idea of ‘blue’ scents – perfumes with decidedly conventional personalities – Opus XV opens with a bright mandarin. Pink pepper adds an attention-grabbing sparkle, while blackcurrant accentuates its sharpness. But soon, a different tune begins to play. Sensual tones of amber link to the mandarin. Oakwood introduces woodiness. And before long, the oud has pounced, holding the wearer in its spell.
Bringing together the perception-bending uniqueness of surrealism and the open-spirited ethos of the Salon De Mayo, Opus XV – King Blue is a perfume of endless surprises. Is it of the earth, rooted firmly to the ground? Or does it float on a higher plane, with carefree innocence? The answers will be different for everyone. But they will all be unpredictable. And they will arrive… out of the blue.
A note on the oud used in the scent
To capture the concepts and emotions Salmon wished to convey in Opus XV, the perfumers decided to make use of an exceptional quality of oud oil. Produced by Ajmal, one of the most respected suppliers of perfume materials in the world, this particular grade of the oil is known by the name Oud Silver. Grugeon and Merati-Kashani decided that this ingredient’s contrasts between animalic authority and suave elegance would play a crucial role in forming the distinctive personality of King Blue.
Opus XV – King Blue is presented in Amouage’s iconic khanjar flacon, in the elegantly seductive truffle shade. The packaging features suitably subversive, blue-tinged artwork by Louise Mertens. The visual campaign – under the direction of Alexandra Reghioua – makes use of sculptures by Juliette Zakowetz to create an organic landscape in which the Opus bottles assert their own striking identity. Mertens’ artwork is seamlessly woven into the photographs by Valentin Abad.