L’Ambre de Carthage by Isabey

By Tom

Winter is the time that I really start reaching for the ambers. I love ones like Ambre Sultan, which seem to pulse with their own heat. A good amber for me is so comforting and sensual it’s almost post-coital. It’s liquid afterglow. But I don’t think of them as hot weather scents. In a baking LA summer day I’m likely to be thinking “get off me”, which would be pretty much my reaction to a boyfriend when it’s truly hot. (I know, you’re thinking “how does he remain single?”..)

But this is the winter that wasn’t. We’ve had two days that were in the 60’s and one day of rain and the rest in the high 70’s, with no end in sight. I know the east is doing the same thing. While it is a pleasant thing to be wandering around in only a polo shirt and jeans in January, the lack of rain and snowpack will affect out ability to actually flush our toilets come summer..

But worse, what amber can I wear? Without thinking “stay on your side of the bed, bub.  and you’d better not snore..”?

Enter Isabey and L’Ambre de Carthage.

It starts off blissfully cool with bergamot and a sharp, rather brittle labdanum.  It’s bracing and quite lovely.  It slowly starts warming as it adds jasmine and incense and finally, like a clever seducer slips in the warmth of the amber and musk.  It even makes me want to stick around and cuddle.

It’s listed as a man’s scent and I would be thrilled to smell it on one (that isn’t, you know, ME) but like all really great men’s scents I think women could totally rock this.  I’d love to hear how my Scent Twin finds this one..

$160 for 100ML ay Luckyscent, where I asked for my sample

Image: LuckyScent

  • DJP says:

    I’m going through an amber phase right now as well. (That time of year I guess.)Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute has been my fav up to now but L’Ambre de Carthage may push that to second place.On my skin the opening of L’Ambre reminds me a bit of Tocade, but then that all changes when the warm amber, incense and musk show up. Thank you Tom for your excellent review.

  • Kismet says:

    Chilly the last couple of weeks here in Atlanta, perfect for the citrus and amber sunshine of Estee Lauder’s Intuition, one of my favorites that you never hear much about. Unlike most citrus, Intuition lasts and lasts–at least in EDP form.

    Trying hard to like my just-arrived sample of Ambre Sultan, but boy howdy……

  • Tara C says:

    It has been so ridiculously hot this winter(and I use that term lightly) that I have not reached for hardly any of my favorite heavy-hitters… A couple of days of incense and the rest of the time it’s florals and colognes… I am still hoping we get at least a few cold days though before it gets even hotter,

  • Lisa D says:

    Your review made me run to the perfume cabinet and spritz some SL Ambre Sultan, which is one of my favorite ambers – thanks for the reminder that it’s chilly enough to move ’em to the front row!

  • Marie says:

    I have a sample of the this and adore it. But I don’t adore the FB price! Luckily it’s similar to Alahine on me, and I have a partial bottle of that. So for now I will try to resist this one.

  • annie says:

    Tom;always love your posts…O.K…..when I was in my 30’s,40’s 50’s…I wore amber EVERYTHING,and being ‘vintage’,you know they were wonderful,But,I never could pull off wearing them for work….Amber(done well),always says “come hither,you sweet thang” to me/and my hubby….ahhhh,I do miss those wonderful perfume days….AND YOU COULD GET THEM IN ANY DEPT. STORE….sigh…8-|

  • maggiecat says:

    Ooo, this sounds lovely. Ambers weigh on me, it seems, and I find them hard to wear for long but this might be The One. Thanks for the review!

  • marko says:

    Hey Tom –

    I will definitely have to try this next time I am at Lucky Scent….I have been going through a bit of an “Amber Phase” the past few months – trying lots of new things, rediscovering old favorites, going through discarded samples, etc – but it is so hard to pull off amber (without it becoming AAAMMMBBBEEERRR!!!!!!) when the SoCal weather is this friggin hot! Have you tried Rochas Absolu? It’s a really great orange blossom/amber fragrance that works well in the heat. I bought a bottle (really a “steal” more then a purchase) from an online discounter about a month ago and I’m considering getting a few more bottles before it is gone for good….right now, it’s my answer to amber in the heat.

  • Vasily says:

    My favorite amber to date is the boozy and rich Ambre Russe by L’eau d’Empire. This one’s definitely going near the top of my To Try list.

    • Tom says:

      I love that one so much, but it’s SO boozy I’m almost afraid I’d be given a breathalyser test every time I wore it.. :d

  • mals86 says:

    With wind chill, current temperatures here in the mountains of Virginia are around 14F. Brrr. Am wearing Anne Pliska.

  • Francesca says:

    ps bottle and graphics are lovely.

  • Francesca says:

    This sounds lovely, Tom; thanks for the info. I like ambers in the winter, too.

    What did you wind up wearing to your formal occasion?

  • Joanna says:

    Winter finally arrived here in southern MN this week and I was feeling Amber today too Tom. I’m wearing Baghdad from BPAL, (Which come to think of it doesn’t sound very wintery…oh well.)I love how you describe the storyline of L’Ambre de Carthage. To me it sounds a bit like an old film noir set to scent as it moves from brittle to seductive. I will have to put it on the sample list and hope that at $160 it doesn’t make it to the fb list. My form of playing with fire.

  • rosarita says:

    We just had our first major winter storm, complete with snow, ice, bitter windchills and drifts, last night, so I’m totally up for heavy hitting ambers today. However, I discovered Prada’s L’Eau Ambree last spring, which is truly an amber scent for warm weather. It has a marvelous citrus opening and a radiant amber finish. Well worth trying, imho.

  • Ann says:

    Hi, Tom! Glad you found an amber that works so well for you. It does sound lovely and a sample of it is going into my shopping cart posthaste. We’ve just been hit with one of our coldest days yet here in the South, so I’m pulling out the cold-weather comforter scents.