Pepper is one of my favorite notes in cooking (and eating). Applied with a judicious hand, pepper lends it fieriness to subtly enhance everything from savory to sweet..and even bitter (lemon pepper is a hit for very good reason). And I’m a big ol’ Pepper Lover when it comes to perfume. The Pink Peppercorn Overload of a few years ago nearly did me in, though. When I first read ‘pink peppercorn’ in the list of notes for Amouage Opus VII, my first thought was ‘oh, nooooooo! Not the Dreaded Pink Peppercorn!”
I needn’t have worried. In Christopher Chong’s deft hand, this peppercorn zings!! The peppercorn blasts out of the gate with, well, a blast! LOL! It’s an unabashedly zingy opening, which I love. But it quickly settles down when the galbanum comes sliding in like a prom queen. I get a hint of lemon but it’s not listed in the notes. What I don’t get is the distinctive maple syrup smell that is often associated with fenugreek but maybe it’s that sweetness that keeps the galbanum/peppercorn mix from becoming bitter. After that first blasty moment I get a very well-rounded composition, where the pepper is not fighting for center stage. The leather never comes out full force, which is nice – yes, I know, I know. For a leather lover like me, that’s akin to blasphemy, but hear me out: the leather is there but it’s more of an underpinning than a full, in your face note. This is one of those scents that conjures a vision of a wonderfully elegant, masculine man in a jacket and crisp white shirt, sitting in the leather driver’s seat of a Bentley Flying Spur.
Like a lot of assertively pepper-centric scents, this will read ‘masculine’ to a lot of noses but I think women can easily wear this – and not in some Kate Hepburn way, either. In fact, I think this would do beautifully juxtaposed against a flowery summer dress! I was just in N-M and it looked as if Covent Garden exploded in there – all these gorgeous pastel summer frocks. They’re lovely, to be sure, but they could use the edge of a slightly bracing perfume, especially in the heat of Spring, whenever that happens….this could be just the ticket.
On men? It’s gonna be sexy as hell. I might give Grima Wormtongue a quick looksee, were he to wear this.
Opus VII – Green, Woody, Leather
Top: Galbanum, Pink Pepper, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Fenugreek
Heart: Agarwood Smoke, Patchouli, Ambrox, Leather, Ambergris
Base: Costus Root, Muscone, Sandalwood, Olibanum, Cypriol
But don’t take my word for it. Why not try it yourself!? “Well, Musette. That’s fine . Thanks. But it’s not out yet“. Well, no, it’s not. But I have a little scrab. And I’d be happy to peel a scrablet off for a giveaway! Drop me a line, letting me know your favorite Amouage or the Amouage you most want to try. I’ll have Carmine put on his leather Bentley driving gloves and hit random dot org for a winner. I have the two most recent winners to announce (the Musette’s Musings and the Going Down, Coming UP giveaways – I’m all better, btw. Thank you all so much for all your kind wishes). I’ll announce those winners along with the Amouage Opus VII winner next week!