Prada L’Eau Ambrée

prada l'eau ambreePrada Infusion d’Iris was an interesting fragrance turnaround for me.  I spent weeks (months?) after it was released grumbling that I couldn’t smell it.  It was a faint, tepid thing that barely qualified as fragrance.  Every now and again, however, I’d get a tantalizing whiff of it, and the raves of others were enough to get me to keep trying.  At one point I discovered I could smell the (very nice) body lotion, and shortly thereafter all the pieces fell into place.  It’s a popular scent in my conservative city, judging by the regular whiffs I catch of it on people nearby – in elevators, on the subway.  It strikes me as the sort of scent you could get away with wearing in almost any but the most strict no-frag zones.  I still think I can smell it better on other folks than on myself, but I wear it pretty regularly in the summer, and/or at times when I need something clean and stealthy.  It’s a fragrance that I keep winding up with sample vials of, somehow, so I still haven’t bought any.  But if the sample supply dries up indefinitely, I’d probably end up with at least a decant, or maybe I’d go ahead and fork over for the pretty bottle.  I like Infusion d’Iris a lot.

Having lived the dream once with Prada Infusion d’Iris, I was prepared for the shenanigans of Prada’s new release, L´Eau Ambrée.  Sure enough, the first time I smelled it – at the end of an intense sniffage session with a group of gals – I couldn’t smell a thing, and they mostly couldn’t either.   I wound up with a sample so I could keep playing when my nose wasn’t already assailed with other things.

I keep renaming this scent Infusion d’Ambre in my head – it’s just about as light as Iris, maybe a bit stronger (notes: citron, May rose, gardenia, patchouli, opoponax, vanilla).  It’s a different smell, although it takes a pretty good soaking to pick the differences out — it’s both a tad sweeter and more powdery than Iris.  Like the Iris, it has the same interesting stealth effect, at least to me.  It dries down and fades away but has a habit of popping up again and again, all day long.  Also like Iris, for something that wears lightly it has excellent lasting power.  It’s not wildly “amber” in that it’s missing the cloying liquid sweetness of many modern ambers, and it’s not particularly feminine.  Do I like it as much as Iris?  Personally, no.  Infusion d’Iris has a subtle, bitter, rooty/arid strangeness that I find compelling.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if most people smelling them side by side preferred the drydown of L´Eau Ambrée.

L´Eau Ambrée is in the regular Prada oblong rectangle bottle, which is fine but nowhere near as pretty as the tall Infusion bottle, in my opinion.  I vastly prefer L´Eau Ambrée to Infusion de Fleur d´Oranger, which looked gorgeous but which I found unbearably soapy and bitter (no offense to its fans) and which – after a big rollout – seems to have disappeared from my local Nordstrom, making me think that I’m not the only one who didn’t love it (and I mostly love orange scents.)

If you’ve tried this I’d love to know what you think, especially if you have much in the way of feelings about the other Prada scents.

  • zeezee says:

    It whelmed me under, too. That is, I can’t really recall what it smelled like – but that generally is not a good thing at all. I do remember being more preoccupied about that excellent! minimalistic! gorgeous! all time favourite! Prada Prada bottle having been maimed with that awful degradé effect. Yeurgh.

  • hongkongmom says:

    well i did pop in today and NOTHING….nothing smelled or popped up except for the very beginning for a few minutes. i sprayed with great abandon even on my clothes (whilst the prada SL looked at me horrified)…one more try next week and then..probably NOTHING!!!Hubbi will be glad

  • hongkongmom says:

    first time i tried this, it totally disappeared, but after smelling it alongside prada cuir ambre no3, so i think i will pop into the prada store today and give it a try without smelling anything else. i love infusion iris but it sits in the closet….that too i couldn’t smell at all first time, but the body lotion has much better power!!!
    i am a BIG ambre fan and love the heavy ones as does disteza…but there are days that i want something lighter…normally at this time…bois de isle is the perfume of choice…i think the ambree might be too clean for me

  • violetnoir says:

    Great minds think alike, March, because I am wearing this today…and I am on the fence, too.

    I can’t tell if I love it, or if I think it’s too boring for me, know what I mean? This is very frustrating. But I will say that when I do smell it, it smells refined, elegant, a touch powdery, and I feel clean and crisp in a lovely, well-dressed way.

    The price point is good, so I may give my MIL a bottle for Christmas. I think she would enjoy it and smell great wearing it.

    I’m still thinking about those boots, too! 😉


  • Disteza says:

    Being one of *those* ladies who likes some Ambre Sultan, Ambra Aurea, Ambre Russe, and of course the dreaded Ambre Narguile, this did not, shall we say, register. [-x
    I wasn’t a big fan of Infusion d’Iris though, so there’s no big surprise that I don’t dig this one.

    • March says:

      Ack!!!! I’m sitting here laughing — ::runs screaming away:: I love my skank, but that amber list … :-ss :))

    • Melissa says:

      Ooo! Love your list. Except for the dreaded “amber whose name must not be spoken”. Even I can’t handle that one! But douse me in Ambre Aurea and I’m in heaven.

      • Disteza says:

        Am currently wearing TDC’s Oriental Lounge, and it’s probably what I’d reach for if I was looking for a light and inoffensive, non-treacly amber (again, if I wanted such a thing 😉 ). There’s no vanilla in it, and there’s some interesting other notes flitting around, so while it reads as amber, there’s enough going on to distract you. The drydown is verrry cuddly, yet restrained at the same time.

    • Aparatchick says:

      I’ll join you in the “those ladies” category. Ambra, Ambre, Amber: love them all! But I tried the Prada and it was vaguely amberish on me – and it took sticking my nose smack up against my wrist to get even that.

      • Tara C says:

        I’m with Disteza and Aparatchick – give me Ambre Russe, Ambre Soie, Ambra Aurea, Ambre Narguile. The Prada was just a knitting needle of citrus up my nose and then nothing. I totally agree on the Oriental Lounge comment too – that one was nice but not potent or syrupy enough for me! /:)

  • CynthiaW says:

    It took me awhile to warm up the Infusion d’Iris – at first it gave me a screaming headache, then I decided that it smelled musty and put it away. Several months into my perfume addiction, I pulled it out and decided that I needed to have it and swapped for some. I have to be in the right mood to wear it though.

    The first time that I tried the L’Eau Ambree, it disappeared on me – of course, I also smelled it on a day that I bought Jasmine White Moss, tried several Bonds and Chanels, and tried Alien Liqueur – all much stronger scents. I did snag a sample though and tried it later. I’ve decided that I love and covet L’Eau Ambree.. but I’m afraid that I’ll pay full price only to watch it head immediately to the discounters, so I’ve been waiting and watching. But I will own it someday.

    • March says:

      My general experience is that the second I pay retail for something, I find a cheaper bottle elsewhere. But maybe you’re luckier. 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    I’ve only tried this once, on the top of one wrist, which doesn’t really qualify as a fair trial I suppose. First impression? Delicate, pretty, nicely done and if I bought a bottle, it would probably sit on my shelf, neglected. Any fragrance that I need to bathe in to smell frustrates me, no matter how lovely.

    I like my fragrances bigger, bolder and sometimes quirkier. Latest loves/wanna-buys include Penhaligon Amaranthine and Amouage Epic Woman. The former could be called the anti-Prada, given its level of office unsuitability. It should be in my greedy hands by Friday.

    • March says:

      Honestly, I can’t imagine Ambree doing anything for you. And … are you going to bring the Amaranthine when I see you? (whistles)

      • Melissa says:

        As long as FedEx doesn’t fail me, the Amaranthine will be there in all of its overripe glory. I love it, although I need to keep re-spraying my sample to get that slightly piercing green, indolic, pungent top note. I love the entire development, but every time I experience the opening, it almost shocks me. 😮 In a good way.

  • Robin says:

    When Prada launched the Oranger, they said they would only have it on counter for 4 months…something I think other brands should consider with their LE flankers. It’s silly to call something limited edition and then let it languish for 2 or 3 years, as so many of them do.

    I loved the Ambree!

    • March says:

      And insert a big headslap here. :”> Duh. I forgot it was an LE. Although I am not entirely to blame — as you point out, I never take that LE stuff seriously because of the way the companies behave.

      • Robin says:

        It’s esp. comical when they tell you the number of bottles, and 3 years later they still haven’t sold their original production run.

        Indult springs to mind (so much for “The Indult Club”!) and L’Artisan does it too. There are L’Artisan collector bottles still floating around from years ago.

        But also guessing you’re right & the Oranger did not sell…

  • I loooooved it. Really awesomely minimalist amber. I don’t disagree that it could have been called Infusion d’Ambree though!

    I’m going to be terribly self serving here and link to my review of it, in case you wanted to really read ALL of my thoughts:

  • Louise says:

    I know that I’ll shock you, but I can’t smell the Iris 😮 I did have a brief window of smelling what you got…and did better with the men’s, which is nearly identical, but a bit tougher. However, after a brief period of light flirting, that one turned on me…to cat pee. Yup.

    I tried the Amber only once, and believe I was suffering nasal overload…I couldn’t smell it 🙁 I will give it a retry, though. I am a (slight) fan of the original, though I rarely reach for it.

    Still thinking about those boots….:d/

    • March says:

      No cat pee. Shudder. And yes, I am shocked about the iris! 😉 I think we were together when we first smelled Ambree at NM Tysons? I couldn’t smell a thing either.

      • Louise says:

        Oh, hey-I think that bottle was off /:) I just retried the Amber-heavily sprayed-and it’s most def there, and pleasant-ish.

        I am not wowed, and as March says “I’d wear it if someone gave it to me” 8-|

  • Rappleyea says:

    This one has gotten rave reviews from other bloggers, but as a Guerlie girl, the stealth effect in perfume annoys me! I tried Cartier XII last weekend, and it did the same thing. I’d think it had disappeared entirely, but then move my arm two hours later and catch a lovely whiff.

    • March says:

      Hm, the Cartier did that as well? I haven’t given them all the attention they deserve yet, I’m taking it slowly. And as I said up above, I like a stealth scent once in awhile, when I need something very subtle.

      • Rappleyea says:

        Yep! And with the list of notes, I couldn’t imagine it. After the opening (which was very reminiscent of L’Heure Bleue, not surprising given the perfumer) I kept thinking it smelled similar to something else I’ve smelled recently. I finally figured it out – the reformulated Vol de Nuit extrait, which I hated and sent back to BG! Funny how I really liked the scent in a different context, but obviously XII doesn’t smell anything like VdN *used* to smell.

        • I was smelling XII today with a perfumer who used to be Mathilde Laurent’s teacher, and we both agreed that XII was the most Guerlain of the Heures du Parfum collection. It’s got a very similar base to Guet-Apens/Attrape-Coeur. I have the non-reformulated Vol de Nuit so I can’t compare…
          I’m surprised it doesn’t last on you though: it’s very long-lasting on me, and I’ve worn it several times now. But then I give myself at least three or four good spritzes, not something you can necessarily do at a perfume counter.

          • Rappleyea says:

            I tried the new formulation of L’Heure Bleue today (also in extrait) and it has a similar ambery base. It’s very pretty, much less medicinal than the older versions so I think it will probably do pretty well on today’s market.

            I’ll be more heavy handed the next time I wear XII – I have a sample so I only dabbed.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    I have a friend who wears Infusion d’Iris absolutely beautifully but I have never worn it myself. This new one sounds worth a sniff but I am not getting too excited about it (unlike Chanel’s new green mascara which I really must have). I find the Prada mainstream scents rather too pedestrian for my tastes.

    Thank you for the review!

    • March says:

      You’re welcome. It’s definitely a stealth scent. Probably “excited” isn’t a word I would use, but I like a few choices of very subtle scents in my wardrobe.

  • So you got that stealth-scent effect from the Eau Ambrée too, huh? I much prefer this to the cloying (to my non-patch, non-amber loving tastes) eponymous Prada scent. Once you get past the rather strong citrus opening, it behaves very sneakily and I’m sure the effect is intended.

    • March says:

      I like the regular Prada all right, although I’ve never bought it. I still say they have that and Prada Homme in the wrong bottles and should switch them. 😉 I appreciate a sneaky scent more than I used to.

  • Eric says:

    Thank You! I made a special trip to smell it…got almost nothing…later in the day…kept smelling something nice…

  • Masha says:

    I didn’t care for the Iris at all, it was just too bland, and on my “subtle” days, I generally wear Barbara Bui, so I’ve got that niche filled already. I like the Ambree better, but it fades within 15 minutes and never comes back. There’s also a “functional fresh” accord in there which annoys me if I overdab, something similar to Bvlgari Blv’s fresh accord. I’ve just changed too many baby diapers over the years not to recognize those “super fresh” scent molecules! I don’t like them in my perfumes, but that’s just personal.

    • March says:

      Gah, I can’t stand a big fresh molecule. Glad it’s not too prominent on me (although now that you’ve pointed it out…) :-ss

  • HemlockSillage says:

    Neat review, March! It *does* remind me of Infusion d’Iris, but the softer amber powder vibe wears better on me. Lots of iris scents turn to an odd dirty hair smell for me. I love Infusion on others, so this one may be my way into the Prada line. Even though it is an amber scent, it seems very dry and crisp. Rich without being heavy.

    I tried it the same day I spritzed Bois des Iles, and actually convinced myself I liked it better on the opening. . .but I’m still lemming the Bois des Iles drydown. (Just narrowly missed perfumista blasphemy, there :^> )

    • March says:

      Hey, I’m at the eye doctor! He’s gone online … I’ll be having my eyes dilated shortly after which I will be blinder than sh!t for a few hours, will get back on here when I can see. This scent is dry and crisp, isn’t it? And yes, you just missed blasphemy. 😉