In the end of the last cold season I complained that all my favorite amber perfumes were not getting enough love from me because it was too warm and that I took my ambers mostly in the solid (as in a necklace) or vaporized (as in ambient scenting) forms.
This Fall was not better than the last winter was in terms of temperatures but my cravings for amber perfumes came back with a vengeance: we were still getting high 70s but I wanted to wear some heavy ambers. So I decided to dedicate a whole month of November to wearing all the ambers in my collection. Usually I wear only perfumes that I own (bottles and decants) but for this experiment I allowed myself to do actual wearing (vs. testing) of some of the previously tested samples. I skipped just a couple of days when I either participated in Now Smell This’ community projects or had a special occasion to which I wanted to wear something different.
November 1: with all the Halloween excitement and work-related problems I completely forgot I planned to start this project.
November 2: I remembered about the project and decided to do two perfumes the same day. Eau de Mandarine Ambrée by Hermès I chose because I didn’t expect it to last for too long. Right… It took me some efforts to scrub away that cheerful citrus with just a dash of amber. I did it not because I disliked Mandarine Ambrée but because I wanted to wear something “dressier” for the birthday party I was going to. I loved how Ubar by Amouage smelled on me that evening: it was smooth but deep and rich.
November 3: Calamity J by Juliette Has A Gun was good but I wished the projection stayed stronger for a little longer. I re-applied perfume twice during the day in the office but it would subside some time before my next touch-up.
November 4: I still can’t believe there was time when I disliked Bvlgari Black! As I sprayed it on, I thought how soft and pleasant the perfume smelled. Most of my current readers have previously read (and commented on) my story From Zero to Forty (ml) in less than 15… years: Bvlgari Black so this link is for those few who are new to the blog or missed it: I enjoyed writing it and would love to share it with more people.
November 5: Citruses and vetiver make Ambra Nobile by Nobile 1942 interesting but I’m not sure I want to wear it on its own, not as a part of an experiment. For Steve (The Scented Hound), who shared the sample with me, it was a lucky blind buy so if you’re curious about this perfume read his much more enthusiastic review.
November 6: I remembered Ormonde Jayne Tolu to be more of an amber perfume then it proved to be this time. Maybe it felt less amber-y because in the previous days I wore more pronounced amber scents. It took me some time to fall for Tolu, there are at least four or five perfumes in the line that I liked more from the first try. But over time Tolu grew on me and I enjoy wearing it now.
November 8: Ambre Nuit by Dior is a beautiful blend of rose and amber. They make each other smoother so that none of the two plays a main role in the composition but instead they graciously allow each other to step forward for a while before switching places. I think Ambre Nuit will become a full bottle in my collection one day. Even if you’ve tried this perfume or read Birgit’s (Olfactoria’s Travels) review before, click on the link and smile (I love how B. chooses pictures for her posts!)
November 9: Eau de Tommi Sooni II is one of those perfumes that keeps evoking “Wow, it’s so beautiful!” response from me multiple time during the day as I wear it. It’s not a strongly-pronounced amber scent but rather a seamless oriental blend with amber undertones. I’m still in love with this perfume. Daphne Odora plant, on the other hand, didn’t survive (if you do not know what I refer to, read my Chasing Daphne post). Recently I got another plant. And a gardener.
November 10: Blue Amber by Montale is dry amber, very unisex. I like it but it’s not love. It’s an unmistakably amber perfume but on a lighter, less resinous side.
November 11: Tom Ford Amber Absolute is deep, viscous amber. It has presence throughout all the stages of its development on my skin. I should have bought a bottle while it was still available.
November 12: By Kilian Amber Oud is one of a few perfumes from the brand that work for me. Agarwood (real or synthetic – whatever is used in the perfume) and amber interweave nicely creating strong but not overbearing fusion. It develops very pleasantly on my skin and I enjoyed catching wafts of it throughout the day. I can see a bottle of Amber Oud in my collection one day.
November 13: Recently featured in Niche Perfumery System: Minor Brands post Royal Apothic Dogwood Blossom was pleasantly spicy and warm. It’s not too complex but it doesn’t bore me as I wear it.
November 14: Yves Rocher Voile d’Ambre starts with prominent citrus, then settles into pleasant slightly sweet amber. Voile d’Ambre managed to surprise me for the second time: even though I published about this perfume pleasantly surprising me before, I had no recollection of it. It’s very polite amber. I should wear it more.
As the weather was cooling off I moved to some heavier ambers in my collection.
November 15: Dior Mitzah. This is proper amber! It’s deep but not harsh. It’s strong but not overwhelming. I love wearing it and I’m glad that with this perfume I didn’t wait too long and bought a bottle because – guess what – it got discontinued! There were some going back and forth – discontinuation was confirmed, then denied, then re-confirmed… It’s still listed on Dior’s website as “momentarily unavailable” – whatever it means. If you haven’t had a chance to test Mitzah yet, read a passionate and detailed Kafka’s review to see what you missed.
November 16: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan. Do I even dare to start describing this iconic perfume? I know that it’s not universally loved (but which perfume is?) but as hardcore amber perfumes go it’s perfect.
November 17: L’Artisan Parfumeur L’eau d’Ambre Extreme is one of a few perfumes from the line that I like but it is less interesting than many other ambers I wore and less tenacious at the same time.
November 18: Annick Goutal Ambre Fétiche starts on my skin very rubbery. I don’t think I would have liked it had I tried it when it was released first: it’s an acquired taste. But now I really like Ambre Fétiche perfume and especially in the drydown phase when it becomes warm and smooth skin scent.
November 19: I cannot say I dislike Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux but it leaves almost no impression on me. I don’t know if spraying this perfume would make a difference but with all the other ambers I have I will not probably seek to confirm that assumption. But if you haven’t tried this perfume yet you should read what Steve (The Scented Hound), from whom I got a sample, says about it.
November 20: When I tried Tom Ford Sahara Noir for the first time my immediate reaction was: why did they have to “kill” Amber Absolute if they release Sahara Noir?!! Now, after wearing it for the day, I know why: $150/50 ml Sahara Noir with half of the staying power of $215/50 ml Amber Absolute is a much more lucrative business. I like the perfume but I protest the switcheroo so I probably won’t buy it.
November 21: Suleko Djelem was a little too spicy/sharp in the beginning but then it developed very nicely and unexpectedly I liked it. Still there is something too disturbing in the opening so I don’t think we’ll get along.
November 22: After reading Kafka’s raving review I decided to give Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux another try. I still do not feel as ardent about it as she does but I agree that it’s an interesting amber perfume. I’ll try to get a decant of it eventually and see if it grows on me as I wear it.
November 23: Every time I apply Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily for the first 5 minutes I think that the perfume is off (I know it’s not the case, I just tried it from a fresh tester at the store) but then enjoy the drydown. It’s not a pronounced amber perfume (despite the name) but it has a special significance for me so I plan to go through the decant (and maybe write a longer post about it).
November 24: I wanted to love Amouage Library Collection Opus VI. Not only because it is my favorite brand but because I read one of the most amazing reviews for Opus VI (it doesn’t matter if you’ve tried this perfume or not: if you haven’t read this review you should). The remains of this perfume smell great on my hair and I love this part. I like it through the other stages on my skin but I’m not sure if I’ll go for a decant once my sample is gone. I might: it smells great on my hair…
November 25: If Armani Privé Ambre Soie would have smelled from the beginning the way it smells 4 hours into the development, I would be happy to wear it. But it doesn’t. I find the opening almost unpleasant so I’m not sure I should live through it to enjoy the perfume.
November 26: I got a small decant of Balmain Ambre Gris three years ago (thank you, Tara). I tried it then, wasn’t too impressed and put it aside. Today I suddenly decided I wanted to wear it – even though I still had more candidates for this month’s challenge than days left. It opens a little too sharp and edgy. I was ready to dismiss it finally, but it started developing – and I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist.
November 27: Ubar got another wear this month since it’s one of my “special occasion” perfumes and Thanksgiving dinner is just one of those special occasions. I love-love-love this perfume!
November 29: I remember loving Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe as I was testing it a couple of years ago. I almost bought a bottle and was sad I hadn’t while they still had those 50 ml old bottles. But in the last year something has changed and I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to. It’s really annoying when you’re trying to recapture the feeling you once experienced but it keeps slipping away. Before completely giving up on Ambre Russe though I think I should get another decant: just in case my most recent sample wasn’t good.
November 30: Armani Privé Ambre Orient is a great perfume to conclude a month-long exploration into amber perfumes. It’s rich but not cloying, opulent but not overbearing. I’d love to have a bottle of it in my collection but I’ll go through my decant first and only after that will think if I really can tell a difference between Ambre Orient and, let’s say, Dior’s Mitzah. I think I can when tested in parallel but I’m not that sure I could do it in isolation.
So, after a month and 26 (twenty-six) different perfumes, am I “ambered out”? Nope. I enjoyed wearing many of my favorites, found a couple new ones and I’m looking forward to at least a couple more amber-appropriate months.
What are your top three amber perfumes as of today?
Images: my own