Unlikely favorites Monday: Montale Blue Amber

blue amberBefore we tilt into spring, I’m trying to get a few cool-weather beauties finished up. First off, a confession here: I have not found a whole lot in the Montale line that agrees with me, save for their Vanille Absolu and perhaps one other. And that’s no surprise, as so much of their line is skewed toward oud, a known hater of my skin (apologies to those of you who love it). So when a sample of Montale Blue Amber came my way in a generous sample package, I hesitated. But only for a second. Because with “amber” in its name, I really couldn’t resist now, could I?

Here are the notes, per Fragrantica: bergamot, geranium, patchouli, vetiver, coriander, amber and vanilla.

This is what Patty said about it, back in her Guide to Amber: “Montale Blue Amber is the amber that shouldn’t be. Amber is warm. Blue Amber is icy cold amber. How can that be a good thing? My love/hate relationship with amber revolves around its warmth, its roughness, its musty quality, smelling of warm old closets. Blue Amber just freaks me out, it’s not natural. It’s weird, but I can’t quite stop trying to figure it out.”

Well, she was spot-on, in my book.

To my mind, it doesn’t have the smooth, round elegance of SL’s Ambre Sultan, the chewiness of Dior’s Mitzah, or the power of the big-amber guns like Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe. No, Blue Amber has something a little different to offer, at least on my skin. Maybe it’s the geranium, vetiver or coriander that give the scent an unexpected but very pleasing cool sheen that’s almost medicinal, and leaves behind a creamy yet slightly mysterious drydown after that chill is somewhat spent. Anyhoo, like Patty, I can’t quite figure it out either, so I just go with the flow and enjoy it. And even though I’m not a fan of the Montale canister-like bottles, this Blue Amber one is rather attractive, no?

Do you have a scent that’s so not you, or sounded bad to you, that you wound up loving anyway? Or a line that doesn’t float your boat generally but has one or two scents that shine unexpectedly on your skin?

  • Heya Ann,
    I quite like Montale, there’s something in their bases that agrees with my skin. Never tried Blue Amber but now you have me interested.
    Of their lineup I have big decants of: Aoud Cuir d’Arabie, Nepal Aoud, Sweet Oriental Dream and Aoud Lime. Full bottles of Sandflowers and Dew Musk
    I really like their ultra synthetic constructions and that they mostly last so long on my skin.
    Portia xx

    • Ann says:

      That’s great, Portia — it’s so nice when a line’s base agrees with you so well. I have heard good things about Sandflowers and Sweet Oriental Dream, so I’m off to sample them. Thanks!

  • Tara C says:

    Not wearing a lot of Montale lately, but I still love White Aoud, Blue Amber and Chypre Vanille best.

    • Ann says:

      Whoo-hoo, Tara, another Blue Amber fan! I know I can’t do the White Aoud but I do need to revisit the CV again — it’s been a while. Thanks!

  • Eloquaint says:

    Calone, the ingredient that makes L’Eau d’Issey and Davidoff Cool Water smell “like water” (*coughs and discretely mutters “bullshit”*) is my bugaboo. Lordy, I hate that stuff.

    • Ann says:

      You are in lots of company regarding calone, Eloquaint. I can see many perfumistas nodding their heads right along with you. I’m not crazy about it either but can take it in very small amounts as long as it’s well-blended. But most of the time it seems to hit you over head, alas.

  • AnnieA says:

    Last summer I buzzed through dozens of samples, falling in love with nothing — then I sniffed Kenzo Flower Oriental. Kenzo overall has been a sniff&forget experience for me, but KFO was a beautiful, gauzy cashmere scarf. Fortunately, it was still around on Fragrancenet, as it was no doubt an LE flanker.

    • Ann says:

      Annie, that sounds lovely (as does your description of it). I’ve had mixed luck with Kenzo but this one definitely worth trying — thanks!

  • Diana says:

    I don’t recall which 4 or 5 of the Montales I’ve tried, but for me they’ve all been complete scrubbers. Couldn’t get them off quick enough! As a fan of amber, I’ll give this one a try one of these days, just to see how a cool amber is done. I’ll be sure to use a blotter first tho. 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Good idea, Diana. Luckily this one seems to be a very well-done amber with none of some of the other stuff that Montale often uses. Let us know what you think.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    Fracas and all the heavy tuberose perfumes are a huge no on me. Tuberose is just too overwelming on me. I’ve only tried Gray Amber and Jasmin Full. Didn’t care for Gray Amber and Jasmin Full was just too much of a candy vibe to it. I didn’t think that I would like no 19 in EDP form but at the time that I got a bottle without smelling the EDT, I was in love.

    • Ann says:

      Yay on the No. 19! As the weather gets a tad warmer, I can’t wait to pull it out and wear it in all its glorious beauty. BTW, Fracas is too, too much on me as well.

  • LaDona says:

    When I starting falling down this rabbit hole, I was looking for one great perfume to wear. I tripped and fell head-first into Iris silver mist, which I adore, and am dying to get my hands on. Then I rolled sideways into Ambre Sultan and took off running after L’Air du Desert Marocain. I love the sharp amber that dries down into a smooth sexy warmth. I’m not sure about a blue Amber, but I will sure as heck grab a sample ASAP, just to satisfy my curiosity. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the variety of fragrances I like. Big florals are about the only big no. And big oud. A little oud is fine…but I start getting skanky when it’s on overload. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, LaDona! What fun hearing about your adventures down the perfume rabbit hole! You’ve hit on some great ones in your travels; I love several of them as well. I am right there with you on oud, except that even a little just takes over and shoots me down, so pretty much a no-go for me. But don’t give up altogether on the big florals — just like with red lipstick, I believe there’s at least one out there that you can wear.

      • LaDona says:

        Hi Ann! I’ll keep trying on the florals. Jasmine seems to be the big problem…and I write this on a porch covered in it. I love it! On me it’s a pee-filled nightmare. And lily, another scent I adore…is skunky on my skin. Any suggestions? I am all ears!

        • Ann says:

          LaDona, I can’t think of anything right now regarding jasmine but I know several lily haters who rather liked Tom Ford’s Shanghai Lily. Will put my thinking cap on and will come back when I find some jasmines that might work for you. And perhaps some other Posse readers or writers might weigh in.