Amber perfume is difficult for me. There is so much I love about this note – its warmth, the husky voice it speaks with. It’s like Jane Russell in the years after Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and before she did Playtex 18-hour bra commercials. Amber perfume also conjures up amber ghosts. Let me explain.
In 2006 I wrote a post on amber perfume called “Show Me the Rat Money!” about my dad, the river of sin and its current that will always try to pull you under.
Rat Money smell is what sin and whiskey and forbidden sex smells like. It´s the shady side of life, the smoky biker bar full of bad men that look irresistible, the part that nobody really wants to talk about too much because it is fun, and we all go there from time to time and hope we don´t get caught up in the Rat Money current and forget to find our way home.
I don´t remember what the Rat Money really smelled like, but it´s my phrase for every smell that I identify with that something that makes you wriggle up your nose and look the other way while casting furtive backward glances trying to figure out what it is and if it´s as much fun as it looks like and hoping nobody will catch you sniffing ’round it…
It is mixed in with the sweetness, the passion, the sorrow, the loss and regret. It meanders through all of our lives like cigarette smoke, clinging sometimes to what we wear, but never to who we are. My daddy understood that. He would play in the Rat Money World, but he never became part of it. He brought his Rat Money home to his wife and children.”
Oh, go read the post, you’ll find out what Rat Roulette is, which I kept thinking was relegated to some bullshit ’70s carny game, but apparently it still gets played for a quarter a spin in the Midwest. A Quarter?! My dad would laugh if he heard that – not even worth putting his hand in his pocket.
Amber opens time’s door, letting it find and haunt me, dragging my memories and loss with it.
I love amber.
I hate amber.
You should also know – the fiercest amber perfumes last approximately 24-48 hours in a high wind with blinding rain. It’s been a rough week all around between the amber and the technical
crap challenges of moving the blog.
Insert all the normal rules here – Amber perfumes I chose were my definition of amber-centric. I don’t have all the amber-centric perfumes covered here, just the ones I can get my acquisitive little mitts on.
Amber Perfume for people who want Casper Milquetoast amber
Or basically a no-amber option. For an amber perfume Ambre di Venezia is a pretty little floral. A little sweet baby amber that refuses to see the world as it is, wrapped in a cocoon of coconut and vanilla. Hey, that’s not a bad thing, just don’t let it try and convince you it’s an amber perfume by the name.
Amber with Training Wheels
Now, this category has this proviso – just because these ambers have training wheels does NOT mean they aren’t great ambers or are dumbed-down ambers. They are approachable amber perfumes that won’t be overwhelming.
Atelier Cologne Ambre Nue is amber perfection and winds up in my favorite ambers for people that don’t think they like amber category. It’s got such a delicate way of dealing with the amber without making it Casper Milquetoast amber. This should also be one of the first stops when you are looking at exploring amber perfume (MPG Ambre Precieux is also in the top three, but it’s down in the Pretty and Beloved category).
i Profumi di Firenze Ambre del Nepal is the last of the amber perfume with training wheels troika. Plush while remaining infused with air, it’s amber that trills instead of plods. No easy feat with the spice and incense notes in this. You assume it will be a heavy oriental. The beauty of this one as well is if you’re ever in Florence? Stop in at the drugstore where they make it, off the Piazza della Signoria, right next to that cute little overpriced restaurant I can never remember the name of, and you can pick up a bottle for like 20 euros, or a small size for about 9 euros. Whoever does their distribution marks it up a bazillion percent to around $100 for the same thing. So I call it a bargain – probably the best amber perfume bargain in existence – but you have to get someone to buy it in Firenze.
Running into mainstream amber, Jo Malone Amber and Lavender is a take on amber that’s probably a little more about the lavender than the amber, and this could be a great thing if you aren’t entirely sure you want to commit to that much amber. Not a favorite of mine, but I think it could find some fans that aren’t me.
Pretty and Beloved Amber Perfume
By Kilian Amber Oud – the husky earthy amber set over smooth as silk oud, amber’s siren song waving you into the port of sin, and you pull your silk curtain shut after a quick peek, left to your thoughts of your pampered and pedestrian life up to now and what it could be… and decide.
Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan – elegant amber full of honey and life’s sweet promise. This has become the amber bellwether. You always expect it to be in the category below – fierce, war-like, strutting out in its amber britches and doing a couple of Magic Mike Moves. But no, it’s just honeyed amber warmth hugs and snugglies.
Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux is probably one of the most referenced ambers when you ask for a list of favorite amber perfumes. Woody smoked amber with a smooth vanilla patina, it deserves its position on the list of favorites. It is beautifully balanced and is probably the first amber perfume I would tell someone new to amber or amber-averse to try. It’s a great reference fragrance, and your amber perfume search could start and end with just this one scent. Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles is just so damn pretty! Even the Merveilles-averse peeps find L’Ambre to be the one version that they don’t hate (Hi, Musette!) Retaining that wonderful salty ambergris feel of the Merveilles line, it rolls in the amber and vanilla to make it richer, deeper. This is a so-not-rough amber. Amber dressed up in a Dior ballgown.
Il Profumo Ambre d’Or is a very pretty amber with amber, amber, more amber and then a little more. It’s pretty close to an amber soliflore – wait, you can’t be a soliflore if you’re amber. Well, it’s just mostly all amber. If you don’t want to spoil your amber with those messy other notes, just get this one. If someone had handed me Jo Malone Amber & Patchouli and Jo Malone Amber & Lavender and told me the same company had made them, I would have laughed and told them to pull the other one. I know the Amber & Patchouli is from the intense series, but it’s all oily darkness and smells a lot like a Donna Karan Labdanum. Oh, hey, that’s what I think it is! Maybe not. It fairly leaps out at you, and I think it’s much more oud’like than amber, but it goes in the Monster Amber category because it is a big, intense perfume that will eat the air space around you.
Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Ambre is just beautiful. This is elevated above what amber normally is for me. This is amber’s redemption. It starts rough, spiky, spitting like a cat in a gunny sack, then settles into a warm amber content to live peacefully with the other notes. Those who like their amber rough and strong, this most likely is not going to hit the top of your list. If you like your amber to purr until you fall asleep all mentally wrapped ’round it, just go buy this and stop thinking about it. Ormonde Jayne Tolu is a little more about the tolu, but enough about the amber that it gets a spot here. The amber rolls through everything in this amber perfume, and it’s just this sensuous, undulating honeyed richness. I always wish this were me and I could wear it because I love everything about it, but it’s just one step over the amber line.
Word of warning – I wouldn’t wear Ormonde Jayne Tolu once the temperatures get above 65. Well, there are a lot of ambers in this post that I wouldn’t wear, um, at all… outside of the privacy of my home where the only ones complaining are my family and the pets. Well, and wouldn’t wear once it got above 32. Amber perfume radiates. If you love amber and wear it often at the office or for a hot date, just be aware that you may be unaware (i.e. TFClueless) that you are gassing out your cubemates and the corner office or that guy/girl you’d like to
bang later — get to know. Amber Temperance, people!
Pretty and Beloved Amber Perfume on a wee’ish budget!
Okay, the Christmas bonus didn’t come in this year or the raise or the, um, job! What’s a great amber that I can actually afford, you ask? Dior Ambre Nuit – this never seemed to get much traction in the Dior exclusives. It’s a gorgeous amber, elegantly refined, not too sweet, moving either to the feminine or masculine, day or evening. It’s amber’s version of the Little Brown Blouse, it goes with everything. Now you may be laughing here and say, yeah, it’s about a buck a ml, but I don’t have $230 or $250 or whatever to get that great big bottle. Bottle splits and decants!
BTW, my second attempt at doing a message board is what I think sent my last host over the edge. So here’s what I’d suggest for those of you that kind of know each other on the posse and would like to do splits or swaps, just do it on the Posse Facebook page. It’s there, it’s still small, it’s just you guys, so abuse/use it as you like.
Dior Dune is that freakish little early ’90s wonder that defies classification. Luca Turin in Perfumes: The Guide described it –
“Bleakest Beauty in all of perfumery,” and “unsmiling from top to bottom… drained of life, flesh-toned in the creepy way of artificial limbs, not real ones. Marvelous.”
And to that I say – exactly! There’s not an ounce of cheer in Dune or liveliness, and it isn’t pretending to be anything but the solemn-faced Emily the Strange. Dry, realistic, strange, unapologetic.
I’m throwing in a perfume that I don’t seem to have on hand because I remember it and really don’t need to smell it again, Boucheron Trouble. Vanilla amber that is warm and soft and super-cheap at every discounter around and eBay. Another great, inexpensive comforting amber is Barbara Bui. You can snag an ounce of this on eBay for about $27. Lots of love for it from March, Marina, Robin and many more.
Prada’s other amber perfume that falls on the affordable side of the line if you shop discounters or ebay, Prada L’eau Ambree. Lighter, not difficult to wear. Amber on training wheels. Not my favorite amber, but it’s a good mainstream introduction. Also in this category are some that fit in others – Atelier Ambre Nue, i Profumi di Firenze Ambra del Nepal.
Jean Patou Sublime seems to still be out there at a great price, so grab the perfume Luca Turin describes the drydown as “the sweetest, creamiest vanillic amber imaginable.” And it is all of that, but I suspect you may have to hunt around for an older version to make sure you get the right juice, but I can’t help you on which bottle is what or if it’s been reformulated.
This one almost went in the training wheels category, but it’s got a unique angle and a great price point. Tesori d’Oriente Ambra Indiana is an amber gently infused with TFA® (Tampax Fresh Accord). You know, it’s not horrible, not to my taste at all, but if you just don’t like amber being a little rough much of the time, this is an inexpensive amber that fits the “not really amber” amber bill.
Anne Pliska is orange-aid and amber, and it’s cheap and cheerful, and people will stop you on the street to find out what you’re wearing. There’s nothing but love for Anne Pliska here.
The Mongol Hordes are Coming! Amber Perfume
Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe. This amber rolls in fueled by vodka and lust after a handful of Exstasy and Coke hit the pleasure palace center of the brain, and you settle in for the long night partying in Kiev. As the morning light reveals the detritus of the night’s Pan-like revelry, you find yourself deep in conversation with a beautiful/handsome poet who talks about life and love as an art form, and the amber turns to beautiful glowing warmth, glad for human comfort and conversation. If only you could find your clothes, car and dignity, this would have been a great night.
I used to call Hermessence Ambre Narguile “The Nazgul” because once you put it on, you couldn’t shake it for days. It used the Eye of Sauron to track you. Just when you thought you had showered it off, you’d hear that spine-fusing screech from a distance. It’s beautiful, honeyed perfection, with the lasting power of my old 1967 Chevy that finally had to be traded in because it was never, ever, ever going to stop running so I could have a new car. Dior Mitzah is pretty much an amber perfume. I’m just including it briefly here because other people get a lot more amber out of it. It’s primarily patchouli on me. Your experience will be whatever it is on that spectrum. I just can’t comment on the amber in it because I just don’t get it. I assume I’m weird, though.
Tom Ford Amber Absolute – this is one where I’m phoning it in and using my youngest son’s review just so I don’t have to smell it again – “It feels like amber punched me in the nose, then shoved an amber beehive on my head!” Or something like that. All the fierceness of amber wrapped up in a slightly sick sweetness that pretty much horrifies me every time I smell it. Not a fan, YMMV.
Montale Aoud Ambre bangs you over the head with the aoud and slips you an amber roofie. Listen, I found this review on Basenotes that I had to copy a snippet of because, you know what? I think he’s got it!
“this smells like hot sex…on the floor of a truck stop bathroom. When I smell this, I have visions of tangled legs and shiny sweat and crumpled paper towels strewn about the white tile floor.”
There was a reference to urinal cakes as well, which I couldn’t quite place that note before, and you know what? Yeah, urinal cakes! We haven’t had a reference to “urinal cake accord” on the Posse in years. To manage to do a mash-up of urinal cake smell and sex on a truckstop bathroom floor, I am humbled by the audaciously perverted vision in that review, and I think he should write for us.
Do I like Montale Aoud Ambre? I have no idea. Yeah, I think so! Once you get past the urinal cake accord, it’s really pretty great and probably one of my favorite Montale oud scents.
Pierre Montale really doesn’t exist? I feel so, um, duped! Whenever I’ve gone in their shop, they refer to him as if he is in the back whipping up another four fragrances for next week.
A perfume I have ignored for years, Aroma M Geisha Noire is dark, dark, dark amber. Dry, sensual, this is everything I thought Tom Ford Amber Absolute should have been and wasn’t. If Montale Aoud Ambre is sex on a truckstop bathroom floor, Geisha Noire is clandestine, long overdue sex in the back of a Bentley on a cold winter evening, wrapped in fur. Tauer L’Air du Desert Marocain is sex in a tent in the Sahara. No, no, that didn’t happen! I mean, I’m sure it has, but not on my watch. It would have been fun if it had. Marocain is the smell of the fire, the desert, the Moroccan spiced food, wine – a spicy incensed amber with a very warm afterglow. What? It’s the Basenotes guy’s review that got this started, blame him/her.
Profumum has two fairly fierce ambers – Fiore d’Ambre and Ambra Aurea. You would have to go a long ways to find two ambers from one line that are quite good, and Profumum has done that. Fiore is warmer. Aurea is a little sweeter on the open, more honeyed. If it weren’t for my annoyance with Profumum’s huge price tag with perfumes in such plain bottles, I’d be a huge fan. I am a huge fan of these two and several of their perfumes, but I get stuck on thinking their price point is just not right. 150-200 is the right spot for them, so they tend to keep sticking out like a bent nail that I have to keep hammering on. Sorry, Profumum, your business, your choices. I’m just saying, spiff up the bottles to look a little more luxe or think about a different price point. Your price and your bottle are arguing with each other.
Sonoma Scent Studio Ambre Noir is another wicked strong amber, huffing out with incense and smoke. It will make those who want their amber growling happy on the open and for a decent amount of time before it does eventually smooth out. Really pretty, and probably the best price point in this category. Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche is a stealth amber monster. I don’t know why I should ever be surprised when Goutal puts out these kinds of scents, and they have a few – Sables, Eau de Fier, Songes (yes, just because it’s a creamy white floral doesn’t mean it isn’t BIG PERFUME), they do wicked powerful perfumes as well as anyone – better even. Fetiche is leather, incense and amber, and it will stick with you through thick and thin, showers and salt scrubs, for days and weeks. Lord, it is a bad houseguest on me that just won’t go home. Most amber seems to cleave to me like a stalker.
Seriously Cray-Cray Amber Perfume
By “seriously crazy” I mean whacky combinations of amber with other stuff that just works or misses, but keeps me entertained. Parfumerie Generale L’Ombre Fauve is a wild, feral amber/patchouli bomb. There are those of you reading this whose hearts will beat faster when you read that and others who will mark that off your list forever. Best to choose before you sample it – this thing can’t tell time. You know, like time to wear off.
While Parfumerie Generale L’Oiseau de Nuit may not technically be amber, it just has this unique blend of leather, resin and davana sweetness that makes it feel amber to me, and it is gorgeous and a little fierce, and it may be a good way to go for the Parfumerie Generale fan that isn’t in the mood for a feral amber/patchouli bomb.
Cartier Must de Cartier is probably one of the crazier amber perfumes. Luca Turin said: “Must is the perfume that brought into the world, in expensive liquid form, the full ugliness of the chocolates nobody wants. The basic accord of vanilla, flowers and galbanum is so indigestible that you could use it as an appetite suppressant.” I wouldn’t go that far! But it is weird and I’m never sure if I think that’s in a good way or the chocolate I don’t want spit back out on my plate that I’m staring at. Without a doubt, Must de Cartier is the craziest Rat Money smell in this whole amber pack for me. I’m not entirely certain the rat wouldn’t scurry back in the hole if it ran across Must de Cartier.
AbdesSalaam Attar Chocolate Amber is the standout weird combination that completely works, despite the monumental odds that it shouldn’t. Cocoa and vanilla amber, not a hint of sweetness to be found, despite the name. That’s why it works. It’s that delicious gourmet dessert you pop in your mouth that almost doesn’t feel sinful because it is full of flavor, not sugar, though the sugar is only hiding. This was the biggest surprise in my amber samples – fell in love completely.
Just to keep riffing on Parfumerie Generale, and because this one should have appeared in the vanilla post, but I think it’s as much an amber perfume as a vanilla, Parfumerie Generale Felanilla (stupid name). Hay, amber, vanilla, iris. It is one seriously crazy combination that makes sense once you smell it. Like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – you know he’s as crazy as some of the craziest in there, despite the appearance of sanity. A little metallic with the iris, blasts of warmed saffron, and bubbly vanilla/amber. Works Crazy good. 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.
Laura Tonatto Amir is the amber that took me down into the Rat Money memory maze. It’s an amazing amber, holding in tension the dark pull into excess of amber and the comfort of sitting safely on the shore and watching. Kind of like a Peeping Tom Amber – never committing to lust, it just likes to watch. But it’s not just that, it weaves a magic spell as it dries down, some bitter and elegant old world charm. The elegant yet crazy cat lady in the big, scary house on the corner that used to do burlesque before she married The Heir. I don’t know. I haven’t smelled Amir in years, and just one whiff, and I’m swirling in the mists of filtered time.
What happened to Laura Tonatto anyway? She has had some great fragrances – E. Duse, Amir. She just doesn’t seem to have done a good distribution model to get her more out there. It’s a shame, there’s so much to love in that line.
Probably shouldn’t call it crazy, but something that will balance orange blossom and amber in the way it has done must have a little bit of nutso involved. Arquiste Infanta en Flor is still drifting in my head as I look at one angle and another. It is remotely possible that this perfume may make a dignified crazy entry in every post from now on until I can sort out where she should go.
Dignified Amber Perfume
Farmacia SS. Annunciata Ambra Nera is the opposite of crazy. It’s one of those blended faces of amber that brings in all the best. Eucalyptus, vetiver, amber. This is the amber of old books, secret places, daydreaming, lusty dreams and a tiger in heat or two. Oops, did I mislabel this category? Sorry! Don’t you think tigers should smell like amber? I know they don’t, but I just keep thinking that’s the smell that goes with them. Durga, tigers and amber.
Throwing in a great spicy vibe, Histoires de Parfum Ambre 114 is a light amber with some spices and herbs. This line never gets enough attention, and it has some great scents, and this is one of the best. Beautifully done, this really is a dignified amber, carrying its beauty so lightly. A fashion model with depth. I did not get my hands on Ambrarem for this, but it appears to be an amber/saffron/oud blend that is well worth throwing in your amber pot.
L’Artisan is always dignified, even when they head off to the circus with the smell of elephant butts, peanuts and cotton candy. L’Eau d’Ambre is no exception. It feels niche, with some great twists of patchouli, geranium and vanilla, but restraining the weirdness with a well-disguised straitjacket, letting amber run the show. No one in the crowd will ever guess the kink that runs just below the surface. L’Artisan is such a beautiful line of perfumes. When it’s been a while in between smelling them, they just make me smile and sigh as I love them more the longer we have been friends.
Teo Cabanel Alahine is a rich, warm amber that could pretty much be the beginning and end of your amber search. This is the amber perfume you pull out of your perfume closet like that favorite old sweater you’ve had for years because it is always right, never too much, never too little. It’s the Goldilocks Pick. If that favorite sweater doesn’t quite do it, grab your Kerosene Copper Skies. It starts off pretty harsh, but just wait. Erin put this on at MiN NY when we were at Sniffa, and I could tell she wasn’t that enamored, and I told her to just be patient. About 15 minutes later she came back by going, “Oh, hey, I think I really like this, eh?” The mix of clove and amber gives this a really addictive, familiar feel that’s like slipping back into the skin you didn’t realize you had slipped out of.
Chanel Coco (parfum) is a huge love for me, just an amazing ambery oriental that never gets old, I don’t care how many people ask me “Hey, what’s that old ’80s perfume you have on?” Hey, Chanel Coco Noir. I’ve smelled Chanel Coco, Coco is a friend of mine, and you’re no Chanel Coco. My favorite iteration of Chanel Coco is the pure parfum, it ropes in and binds some of the more flamboyant oriental BIG ’80’ness, holds all of that rich honeyed warmth close to you, gently wrapped in Chanel’s velvety softness.
Armani Ambre Soie – this release never got as much love as I thought it deserved. Dry, peppery tobacco amber. This part of the Prive line seems to have disappeared into Europe, not to visit our shores again, but this is one of two of that line that should be revived and sent back across the pond. It’s just one of the prettiest ambers that preserve all that amber is, but makes it incredibly wearable.
Prada Cuir Ambre was released in 2012. Difficult to find and buy keeps this from being a hugely successful amber. Leather laid over amber, there isn’t much here that would make either amber or leather lovers less than orgasmic.
Some perfumes that didn’t make the post that probably should have and some we are mentioning twice –
M. Micallef Note Ambree, which I understand is a pretty skanky amber. I can’t find it actively being sold anywhere, so I couldn’t smell it again. I know I smelled it when we were in France a couple of years ago, but don’t have a good enough memory to comment beyond that, and I don’t want to send you on a wild goose chase for something you can’t get anymore. Yeah, I know, I’ve done it before, I’m trying to reform!
Ann’s favorites – Armani Prive Ambre Orient & Christian Dior Mitzah — Both of these gorgeous, loud and proud ambers bring patchouli to the table, and although the Armani seems a bit more complex and has a tad more going on in the drydown, they’re very similar and I adore them both. Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Ambre — This luscious scent is more low-key than the two above: slightly floral, slightly smoky and just plain lovely. Bonus points because it reminds me somewhat of a Diptyque candle
Portia’s favorites – L’Eau d’Ambre. L’Artisan, Piment Brulant. L’Artisan, Ambre Russe. Parfum d’Empire, Jeke. Slumberhouse, Ambra del Nepal. I Profumi di Frienze, Ambre Narguile. Hermes, Twilight. SJP, Coco. Chanel, Halle. Halle Berry, Trouble. Boucheron, Tobacco & Tulle. SOIVOHLE, Let It Rock. Vivienne Westwood, Samsara. Guerlain, Mohur. Neela Vermeire Creations (I know it’s a rose but the dry down is pure amber.
Anita – Mona’s Amber. Yum. Thought I hated amber. Got hoist on my own petard with this one. Got the Cuir and the Ambre from Surrender to Chance, thinking I would love the Cuir and –actually I think I got the amber by mistake – I think I meant to order something else because I Hate Amber! Anyhoo….. the cuir was surprisingly strident on me……the amber……whoa! Sooo beautiful. None of that ‘cat in a burlap bag’ for this gal! It went on beautifully and stayed, completely obliterating the Amber Hate I’d built up, courtesy of the Nazgul. The other amber – actually the Gateway Amber – is courtesy of Missy March. She sent me Memoire Liquide Ambre Ancien and I was all ‘ewww. she sent me amber? ewww’ Because, you know, I was an Amber Hater~ yah. Well, I can’t count the number of times I reached for that lovely little bottle. I foolishly swapped it away…wish I hadn’t. Oh, well. Tant pis and all that. But it’s just lovely and reminded me of how beautiful amber can be.
Okay, your turn! Favorite amber? Hate amber? Love amber and can’t believe I’d slightly disrespect your beloved amber? Have a personal experience with sex punctuated with urinal cake accord you want to share? Drop a comment here or on Facebook Perfume Posse page to be entered!
On the men’s side, I recently bought Halston Amber Man which was released two years ago. I believe it’s exclusive to Neiman Marcus and somewhat difficult to find, but it has a cult following. Very well done and the oud in it isn’t overpowering – plays nicely with the myrrh and other notes. There’s been a number of bottles reasonably priced on ebay lately – normally a 4.2 goes for $90, but I’ve seen them listed, unboxed, for $37.99.
I’d love to try some of these amber blend fragrances. However I really like my amber straight up, so when the Renaissance Festival comes around, I stock up on my favorite amber perfume oil which clings to my clohtes, my hair and my skin. It doesn’t blow anyone out of the water, yet it’s deliciously ever present when someone comes close. Yum.
One more for Madini Ambergris!
It certainly is my favourite amber, despite our relationship being a bit… special. It’s sweet, filling desserts mingled with fire-smoky salt, and it’s gorgeous – I just can’t wear it more often than once a month. Day one is beautiful and yummy and everything I ever imagined perfume could do for a person, day two is choking on baklava.
I’d say it qualifies as a cheap thrill, because my 1ml sample has lasted me for about 2 years now.
Loved the post!
I love Amber fragrances! Great article. I love Coco.
OH….how I LOVE reading all these posts!!! Thank all of you for the great article and everyone who left a post!!
I am too much of a novice to be able to name anything but what I can tell you is that I love amber straight up!! I would absolutely love to find some fragrances that I like with amber being the main note and at least with this article and all these posts maybe I can begin to figure it out!!
I love these posts! I think I have only tried the easier ambers, like Atelier Cologne Ambre Nue and just days ago a sample of L’Ambre des Merveilles. So there are so many more to sniff! I am hoping to find something easy to wear but with some sillage. L’Ambre des Merveilles is perhaps too sweet for frequent use.
My gran used Must the Cartier, but I never grouped it as an amber, nor did I find it crazy.That perfume is just a bit too much for me, just like some typical 80s perfumes.
Lutens Ambre Sultan is my first perfume. I stll love it a lot.
But Mona di Orio is doing a good job seducing me…
I am pretty much a perfume virgin, but I think the dark honeyed incense that amber brings to mind makes me want to try some of the above!
I used to hate ambers many years ago, but something seems to have clicked in the last couple of years. I am especially excited about the dark, smoky ambers where the lighter, sticky sweet or more floral takes tend to leave me cold still. Thanks for the draw!
Thanks for another great guide post, I love them and Amber is one of my all time favorite notes so, this is especially interesting. Wow, I don’t know if I could narrow down to my one favorite amber but, my top few would be Ambre Orient by Armani, Copper Skies by Kerosene, Amber Narguile by Hermes and Amber Sultan by SL. And I think Dior’s Mitzah is much more amber than Ambre Nuit – I am surprised it is not this way on you, that is the fun of perfume though! And since it is never cold where I live I am sure I am blowing everyone away when I wear these, good thing I work from home 🙂
Oh, and I wanted to add that the strangest amber I have ever smelled is Yosh’s Sombre Negra. Which maybe should be classified as a patchouli extreme scent but, there is definitely amber to the dry down. Very, very dark and earthy but, interesting.
Wow, you got some completely different Blue Amber, or maybe it’s perception. I didn’t hate it, it just seemed weird.
Dangit, my commenty thingie is misfiring! I replied to you, but it went to the bottom!
Thank you! You know, The shape of the bottle is okay, I just wish they’d spiff it up a bit. No, I wish they’d bring the price down a bit. 🙂
Oh, yeah, Dune is definitely the fragrance to wear when you are being all “I want to be left alone.”
I really liked the Omnias. They never seemed to get much traction, not sure why.
amber AND incense, yum!!! yeah, it’s the idea, and everyone seems to define it somewhat the same, and somewhat different. A little like incense, it just swoops in and scoops up a lot of resins into a big bag.
Mazzolari is a line I think I’ve missed entirely!
I loved your description of Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe so much that I posted it to Facebook. I got some hilarious comments back including:
Person 1 – Sounds like this perfume might give you a bad headache
Person 2 – Or a bad reputation.
Exactly! I think probably both. 🙂
I adore Ambre Narguile, it’s one of the only really foody scents that I can get into. I made the mistake of getting my daughter hooked on it as well….I’d prefer she’d steal something less expensive!
Oh, no, you let her use the AN! Yikes! That’s one of those moments when I’m glad I don’t have a daughter to steal my favorite perfumes!
Amber is one of my favorite notes in a perfume. I am drawn to cooler (un-vanilla) types of ambers, mixed with resins (e.g. Amber Oil by Herbal Alchemy). I am also fascinated by the more herbal Ambre Sultan (and it is on my wish list) but I find it a bit too bizarre to wear on an everyday basis. I must say however that my search for the perfect amber still continues (the list above contains many ambers I am not familiar with). I can see and smell it in my dreams. In the meanwhile I can recommend Anne Pliska (elegant while not pretentious, and it is not as heavy and sweet either).
PS I was also puzzled by Montale’s Blue Amber and did not know what to make of it. There was something disconcerting about this scent. The comment above suggests that it is due to its coolness. Perhaps. For me, it somehow is uninviting and simply lacks depth.
Anna Pliska is so pretty, what a great go-to amber for you while you are still searching for “the one.”
That’s exactly how I felt abut the Blue Amber, not quite right, but interesting in the contrasts.
How could I have forgotten Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew Amber Nude! I fell for it the instant I smelled it. I wear it on days when I need a make-me-happy-and-bring-a-big-smile-to my face frag, exclusively for myself. It may lack subtlety and not agree with everyone, but I hold it precious for its uniqueness and character. It is simply the most cheerful fragrance imaginable.
Thanks Patty, I was hoping you would do an Amber post. I love Ambre 114, Ambre Narguile, and the Mona di Orio one. Of coarse now I want to try them all so hopefully I win 🙂 Many of these aren’t available here in Sydney to try, so lucky for me Surrender to Chance exists!
Oh, you are so welcome! I kvetch about amber far more than I really hate it, especially when I went through and found so many that I love to wear and also some new loves, like the Mona, which I adore so much!
I just love amber. I mean LOOOOVE AMBER! I need it! My whole body craves for it. The more intense and dirty it gets the better it feels. Balmy incensy Labdanum ones, salty and yes, slightly urinous (not really the vanilla comfort-food but if nothing else is around then yes, I’ll do them too). My craving for amber knows no limits. I was reading this article and every paragraph i was like “ok, yes, this is the ONE!”, only to move on and repeat my self. I really wish I could stop, it would do my pocket some good (it is experiencing the fear of the void lately). I set up goals though. Right now I am focused on Ambre Russe… or Ambre Narguile… or… oh screw this, it ain’t working
Haha, you crack me up. Maybe put them in a hat and pull one out and start there? 🙂
I love Dune, and it makes me feel that I must be walking on the wild side when I read your post!:-). I’m not exactly sure what amber smells like, so I’ll definitely be adding some of these perfumes to my list. (Also, thank you for always being the blogger that says a bit of what we are all thinking, Felanilla indeed!). Thanks for entering me in the draw, it would be great to finally have an olfactory understanding of what amber is!
Dune is a litte freakish, I thought you were gonna say it makes you feel like you are walking on the moon. 🙂
amber is an idea, remember that. It has a framework of notes that make it up, but it’s weird. you are so welcome! I have a hard time not saying what I’m thinking, much to my continually having to apologize sorrow.
I had Estee Lauder’s Private Collection Amber & Ylang Ylang – but not the expensive bottle with the gems on the cap. Thought it was nice, although it has that Play-Doh characteristic to it. Comforting scent, but also a little smoky.
I only tried that one briefly, I think. I liked it, but I’m not crazy about their bottles either. I don’t think I loved it.
Oh, I do love a good amber. Although, I guess it’s very much a matter of taste as to what’s good and what isn’t. For instance, I LOVE Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute. I was seriously crushed when I learned it had been discontinued. Proof right there that one person’s catnip is another’s cat pee.
In addition to AA, I also love Luctor & Emergo POTL. Great to my nose, as are a great many mentioned above. I would enjoy winning these samples, that’s for sure!! Show me the Rat Money!!
Yup, that’s how fragrance works. I am sorry for you that something you love is discontinued, it’s hearbreatking, but it should be around for a while. I’m still hoarding Velvet Gardenia. Why do you think he introduces so many fragrances, then discontinues so many? It’s weird.
I was just thinking about trying more amber perfumes last night after smelling Montale’s Blue Amber and really liking it; to me, it is very sweet and warm with no hints of coolness whatsoever. I hated amber the first time I smelt it (Ambre Sultan) but eventually liked it enough to buy a 3.4 oz bottle of Obsession. Thanks for the giveaway Patty!
I left you a comment, but my stupid new comment thingie misfired and threw it at the bottom. I think I have my trusty OLD comment thingie back.
Great post and wonderful to read all the comments! I love amber, and the huger, the better. Ambra di Fiori is one of my real favourites, and I’m very tempted to buy Profumums Ambra Aurea, too (and I like the bottles, sensibly square things that fits easily on the shelves). A bottle of Ambre Rusee is heading towards me in the mail. L’oiseau de nuit is more leather to my nose, but very cozy and comforting. LADMM is just out of this world, but I have a hard time thinking about it as an amber – to me it’s actually a very cool scent, makes me think about clear skies. Dune I feel more respect than affection for, but sometimes I wear it to signal “I’m in a bad mood, don’t come close”. It’s not a very inviting scent, is it …? And I’d like to mention Omnia Profumos Amber, a light, cheerful amber – but I’ve only ever smelled it from a sample, why oh why do they have to make 125 ml bottles? (But perhaps I will buy a full bottle after all … I’m sniffing it now and falling in love again).
And so many other ambers to try – thanks again for the list, and for all the comments.
I hate my new commenty thingie, really really do, but i can’t seem to turn it off.
Ooooh, I do love the ambers. Amber is the first thing I crave when the weather begins to chill and once the sweaters come out, it’s all ambers and incenses for at least a month or so. I love and wear a lot of the ambers you reviewed. Amber is as much an ‘idea’ as it is a ‘scent’ and to my mind, anything that makes me feel warm, snuggly, and sexy-as-hell all at the same time is an amber. With so much variety, amber is never boring.
Between the article and the comments, you’ve mentioned all of my favorites except one, Mazzolari’s Ambra. One could argue that this is an amber more in name than in substance, but I have loved this one since my first sniff.
I replied to this, i swear, but it went to the bottom!
Another PdE, with some amber as a bit player after a kick-start featuring citrus and herbs: Iskander. Just tried it yesterday, it’s lovely. And this one is more about the dignified monarch (drop the barbarian horde, get the heavy fur coat and the crown), so it’s easier to wear.
I haven’t smelled Iskander in a while. now I need to go look at it again. I’m a little fond of the barbarian horde, but now I must compare!
And I am so with you on L’Ombre Fauvre and Felanilla. I love both of them. And I’m totally doing the Ambre Russe and MKK combination. I don’t even need a double-dog dare. You’ll be able to smell me when I do, I’m sure. 😉
Yeah!! I think we are going to have Freaky Fragrance Saturday tomorrow where we all find our most over the top combo we can think of, wear it out, then discuss next week how that worked out. 🙂
I’m doing it too!
Patty, what a great post! Thanks for this. 🙂 I’m so happy that amber season is back — I absolutely *love* ambers — and the bigger the better for me. My collection includes full bottles of Ambre Russe (epically awesome), Ambre Sultan, and Amber Absolute — my Holy Trinity. I also have Tabu (an oldie but goodie) and Sonoma Scent Studio’s Winter Woods, which for me is as much about Laurie’s amazing work with amber as it is about smoky woods. I don’t know if you ever had the chance to try her original Amber but, my goodness, it was fabulous. I’m test driving Ambre 114 and Copper Skies and am really liking both of them. What about Ava Luxe’s ambers? Do you have a favorite from that line?
Yeah, amber season and musk season and vanilla season and big fat incense season! 🙂
Tabu, oh, yeah, it’s so great, I love the vintage stuff, it just knocks my socks off still. I need to play with that Winter Woods. I don’t have any, but she gets so much love for her work, I feel way behind in finding it!
Ava luxe ambers, I don’t know any of those, I don’t think, at least not the amber specific ones.
Laura Mercier Amber Vanille. I find it to be a nice warm comforting syrupy amber, definitely for the cooler months, and tenacious, as most ambers seem to be. It’s a little stronger at the opening than I usually like, but I get a yen for it now and then. Can’t find it anywhere online now. Was it discontinued (gasp)?
I’m still pretty underdone when it comes to my familiarity with this note (experience is limited to the LM frag, the Hermes Merveilles line, which I heart, and the original Prada perfume, which I remember someone somewhere calling an amber-centric frag) so I’d be curious to hear what others think of it.
*Correction to above: When I said I’d be “curious to hear what others think of it,” I meant the LM perfume, not the amber note. There are obviously puh-lenty of opinions here about the latter.
I never tried that one. LM seems to discontinue stuff too often, so I quit playing with her perfumes! I’m not sure that it is true, but if you can’t find it it could be. They seem to have all the body products, but no perfume. Weird!
The original Prada on me was a lot of patchouli. Not sure why, but I tend to amp that a lot. I liked the other ones after that where they emphasized another note, and that made the amber show up, which was really nice!
Are there any non-super sweet ambers? The few on the list that I have tried always turned noxious on my skin.
Which ones went sweet? I don’t amp sweet much, and some skin really skids into sugar, but if you tell me which ones turned sweeet, then I can see if they do the same on me. Many of these are pretty dry and not vanillic.
it could be that your skins takes the resins that make up the amber accord and just overrotate any of the sweet parts of it. Then it’s trickier!
MPG’s Ambre Precieux remains my top amber fragrance. I will have to re-try L’Air du Desert Marocain as I was not impressed my first sampling of it. Also, believe it or not, Avon’s Tomorrow for Men is the best bang for the buck amber out there.
I think the Tauer is whether you are okay with the base. The first maybe 4-5 or more fragrances had a very distinctive base. Some worked for me – like Marocain – and others didn’t.
Okay, so is Avon Tomorrow still widely available and not discontinued? 🙂 Not hunting i down if it is! 🙂
Other ambers are L’Occitane ambre, Brecourt Ambre Noir, Olympic Orchids Olympic Amber, and Les Nombre d’Or- ambre. Please enter me in the drawing! Thanks.
I guess the giant hole in my collection must be reserved for amber, because the only one I own in this entire post is L’Air du Desert Marocain. And I love it madly! So maybe if I win this drawing, I’ll finally figure out what amber is about. 🙂 Thanks!
Oh, oops! 🙂 it may be you aren’t crazy about a lot of them, just one or two, or maybe it’s big gaping hole!
It sounds like a really interesting sample to have. I’m fairly new to perfume, and I don’t think I’ve tried anything yet. If I got it, I’d definitely go back to the review and go easy on the ones that are hard to scrub off.
Welcome to the perfume family!
I am newly swept up into the world of perfume and am trying to control my compulsion to try EVERYTHING you guys review. This sample set would be quite the experience for me (and my sister who I share my spoils with). I have my fingers crossed!
Oh, don’t give in! Take your time and enjoy this part. all of those perfumes will be out there in two months or three months or six months. My biggest regret when I first started my BIG perfume journey is that I went through a lot of stuff early on without spending enough time with it, jut went on to the next thing.
I’ll cross my fingers for both you and your sister! 🙂
LOVED this. I’m fairly new to the perfume addiction and over the last year or so that I’ve had my nose to the bottle, amber has fast become one of my favorite notes. My current favorite is Histoires de Parfum Ambre 114 but this gives me so many more possibilities to explore. I feel like a kid in a candy store and am now armed with more names for my next sample order for STC! 🙂
Oh, new perfume addict, welcome to the Krazy Klub. That Hdp is a great amber, so at least you know you’ve got a good one and you aren’t missing the whole show!
My 1st experience with amber – EL’s Youth Dew Amber Nude – made me gag. I suppose it might have been because I tried it in really warm, humid weather, but it put me off amber for ages. (Un)fortunately, I have now fallen in love with Ambre Narguile, and am fighting off FB temptation…
Oh, yeah, wearing amber in the heat is just a ohhellno for me. And YDAN is not exactly an amber shrinking violet.
AN is gorgeous, and you are so lucky it works for you! I always wish it were me, but it just blows up into an amber/honey bomb that crawls down my throat. 🙂
This post – so wonderful I’ve archived it. I adore amber, strange girl amber – bad girl amber. Amber with maybe just a whisper of vanilla a sneeze of patchouli. A stolen cookie from your Gran’s smuggled out in the waistband of your Wednesday Strawberry shortcake panties- Anne Pliska. Chance encounters, a broken heel, ‘ meet me one last time’ amber: Red Dragon by Carnival Wax.
I’ve come over all misty thinking of amber. Must revisit DUNE and pull up my Tom Waits playlist.
Rat Money ? I miss my Dad.
Thanks, Apryle! What great descriptions. Amber is so tied into emotion, it’s crazy, huh?
And Tom Waits goes with Amber. so does the music they are using for that television series Nashville. Completely amber.
Maybe all dads are amber, do you think?
Wow what a cool post and a fabulous draw!!! I’m an amber noob, but for me appreciation of the amber accord seems to be coming with, ahem, age! Tried Must de Cartier when I was much too young and silly for something so strong (and I may yet be too young and silly for that type) but there are so many other variations on the theme now that would no doubt suit my taste better. I figure if I’m not into the current fad of cotton candy covered in gasoline sweetness, maybe amber is calling me!!!
I think age does help. i don’t know if we get more tolerant of stronger smells or our smeller isn’t as sensitive to them?
MdC is pretty fierce, and I’ve built up a good tolerance for it over the years, and it still makes me laugh to smell it because it’s just so different. And, yeah, if you’re not into the sugary thing, amber could work!
Looking forward to getting out Ambre Sultan and EL AYY (very snuggly vanilla amber once you get past the rather too-sweet opening. We have had a very prolonged warm spell so far (high 80s) here in Texas. Makes it hard to decide what to wear. But the temps drop tonight!
I think I just couldn’t make it past the EL, but I missed including it because I think it would be a good choice for some people. I have to think about it now.
Cooler temps, time for the snuggly perfumes!
Amber Russe description is the exact scenario of a dream I have never forgotten. I’ve only tried the Lutens, Gutal and Chanel, but crazy cat lady who lives in the big (ware)house on the corner suits me a bit. Looking out at the fog on the river it seem it will soon be time for Amber again.
Wow, you have cool dreams. I don’t have that good of ones, I’ll swap you.
it is time for amber here, our second snow in October, the cold settling in. I’m just not sure I’m ready, but I don’t think the weather cares.
Got my fingers crossed for this drawing, amber is my favorite note. speaking of which, I took copious notes on your post, thanks for the extensive listing and vivid descriptions.
You are so welcome, and good luck!
Amber is a very nice “note” if done correctly. It is long lasting and can be very rich and elegant, or it can make you shrivel up your nose and irritate the perfume Gods in the next galaxy. Some of my favorites ate Histoire de Parfums Ambre 114 and Christian Dior Amber Nuit.
Yeah, that’s it exactly. With amber, one person’s perfect is another person’s ew. It’s a hard note to find a One Size Fits all.
Amber scents are surely one of my favourite category and the one I own the most decants and bottles from. Most of my favourites have already been mentioned in the article, but in any case here is my top amber list:
Dior Ambre Nuit
I Profumi di Firenze Ambra del Nepal
L’Artisan Ambre Extreme
Mona di Orio Ambre (the most sparkling amber ever!)
Montale Blue Amber
Ormonde Jayne Tolu
Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu
Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan
Tom Ford Amber Oud
Voluspa Baltic Amber
Not in my top, but I also enjoy Balmain Ambregris, Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche and many more.
I do love the idea of a warm cozy amber to cuddle up with, and I have yet to find “the one”. I guess you can say I’m on the prowl for an introvert amber formula that is warm and fuzzy and feline. Perhaps I will make my own one day!
That’s too bad that you haven’t found the one. 🙁 But i always believe it has to happen!
I am convinced I must experience Mongol hordes and beehive head ambers. Thanks for this post!
Yes, you must!!! There is nothing like it, even if you hate every minute of it. 🙂
I absolutely adore amber, it’s my favorite note. My newest love is Ambra Di Luna by Ramon Monegal. Soft, warm with a touch of vanilla. A love. Other ambers I love are: Must De Cartier, Prada L’eau Ambree, and even Guess Original sometimes, which was a good mainstream release. I like Stella because of the amber. Just sampled Cinema again..and I like some of the scent..but there’s something fizzy-green about it I don’t like. Fizzy and creamy at the same time..doesn’t work too much for me. I have much more appreciation for Coco after smelling Coco “Noir”. Such a nice bottle..such a blah of a release. I would truly love to win these ambers as I haven’t tried many listed! Thanks for the giveaway!
Okay, you guys are killing me with all the talking about that Monegal amber. I knew I should have figured out how to get a sample before now.
Coco Noir is my biggest disappointment of the year. I wanted so much for it. it didn’t even have to be the best thing ever, just get to the level of Coco, then do something a little different. They should take lessons from hermes and what they have done with the merveilleses.
I haven’t tried too many ambers yet, but OJ Tolu and By Kilian Amber Oud are fantastic! Definitely taking notes on this article!
Oooooh, you have a couple of great ones already. Well, Tolu doesn’t work for me personally, but I’m a big fan of it on other people. 🙂
I am just an old amber ho. I pretty much like them all. Right now I’m wearing Olympic Amber by Olympic Orchids, and it is a wonderful incensey amber. Prada L’eau Ambree is another favorite. Auric Blends Amber is so dirt cheap that I wear it to bed almost every night. Thanks for the draw.
I love Olympic Orchids. i don’t have that particular one, but I think I need to sample it.
I think you’re the second person that’s mentioned that auric blends thing. Hmmmm, now I have to look for that. But at least these are cheaper things y’all are sending me to find, so I’m grateful. 🙂
Sorry I’m late to the party. I just had to add my faves. First I use to bathe in Must de Cartier. Still love it for a stroll down memory lane. Just have to brag that I am hoarding a bottle of Attrape and will wrap it and put it under the tree for me. Also, for the people in the cheap seats, try Bath and Body Works Sensual Amber. I use the lotion and it is something I always have to have in the fall. The only one I like from the BBW store. My alltime favorite amber though is Ambre Sultan. If you asked me if I liked amber, I would probably say “not particularly, I’m a vanilla girl”.
You aren’t late at all. We run these parties all week long. 🙂
Oh, good one! I should wrap up something I spent way too much money on for myself this Christmas. oh, wait, that would be that way too much fornasetti incense thingie and the refill incense sticks. I’m still shuddering thinking about that.
I’m glad you mentioned the BBW pick. I can’t do very many BBW things, I’ve got a couple that will work, so I’m happy when anyone points out the ones that are decent because their price point is great.
Do you like vanilla amber?
Prada l’eau ambree is one of my favorite TJMaxx purchases, and so right for autumn. I am rarely in the mood for sweet, but sometimes you just need something cozy. Crossing my fingers for this draw! And thanks for such a great list. I’m going to have to revisit Dune thinking amber, I don’t own it, but like it… and I’ve never thought of amber before!
Love it when you can snag a bargain. I’ll cross my fingers for you!
I check TJMaxx regularly and I’ve never seen anything remotely enticing. It’s mostly celebrity deck. But I do have a few Amber samples upstairs that are now calling my name, Prada and Hermes included.
What an amazing array of amber fragrances! It’s a very favorite note of mine and my current go-to is BK Amber Oud, which was my birthday present this year. I tried Mitzah a couple of years ago and adored it, but I remember it more as a patchouli centered scent – another favorite note.
Oh, you are good to yourself on your birthday, I love that! I think the Amber Oud is my favorite or at least top three.
Oh, good, I’m glad someone else had Mitzah go like that on them too. It is just all patchouli on me, it’s so patchouli I can’t find anything else in there. I gave up. 🙂
CSP Vanille Ambre is charming and typically CSP-simple, just vanilla and amber with a bit of brine. It’s great stuff if you like that Comptoir vanilla.
Oh, no, I don’t get along well at all with the CSP vanilla. 🙂 I think there was an overdose like years and years ago when I first tried it, and I thought it smelled marvelous for like 5 minutes, and then it was stuck on me, and I couldn’t get it off, and I panicked and showered like five times and it was still there.
Okay, probably not that bad, but I stear clear of them personally. I think they work great for people whose skin will eat some of the sugar, and I hear that there are wild compliments on it if it works, but they won’t behave on me.
I was already starting to wonder of Eau d’Ambre will make it to the list but I see I shouldn’t have worried. 🙂
It’s a great list and I already have a list of things to try – I love amber so new ambers are always welcome.
I still haven’t gotten my hands on Ambre Narguile, I am really wondering what that one smells like (Nazgul?! – I’m bound to love anything with LotR association). 😉
Haha! Of course it did! I could have included the other amber or Prada’s, the men’s one? I get them mixed up, but figured two on the list might be too many.
AN is really beautiful, honey, amber, spices, rum, vanilla. it is just a monster. Beautiful, but it won’t leave me once I put it on. I’m totally not kidding. I wouldn’t go near it because one drop is part of me for days!! 🙂
for other people, it is the HG, and it is gorgeous on them. So who knows?
Ooh pick me, pick me! 😀 I really like amber, and this is the perfect time of year for it (thought where I am, it doesn’t get cold enough – at least not for very long – for the really heavy stuff). I don’t have a lot of amber-centric scents at the moment, but it’s one of the many things I’ve wanted to explore. I have tried and like L’Air du Desert Marocain, Ambre Sultan, and Ambre des Merveilles. Other than those, though, I haven’t tried most of the ambers in this post. I just went on a leather/tobacco sample binge.. I think I feel an amber one coming on.
Oh, wait, I forgot.. I had a sample of Jo Malone’s Lavender & Amber too. I didn’t care much for that one, though.. not enough amber. I had a lavender & amber incense that I got at L’Occitane years ago that I really loved. It was more amber-centric, kind of a spicy labdanum with sweet lavender (if I remember correctly). I was kind of hoping it would be more like that.
For sweeter Ambers I love Ambre Narguille and SSS Winter Woods but my favorite amber is the dry dusty spicy herbal amber of Andy Tauer’s L’Air du Desert Marocain-absolute perfection!
lots of Tauer marocain lovew. I’m not surprised at all, it is spectacular in every way.
Terrific survey – thanks! I don’t know many ambers but L’ Air du Desert Marocain is one of my all time favorite perfumes (I will now always think of sex in a desert tent when I wear it!) and also love SSS Ambre Noir. Would be oh so happy to learn about others!
Marocain is really special. I know, now I’m stuck thinking about sex in a desert tent, which is the opposite of what I should be thinking about.
I’m not much of an amber lover. But I’m open to trying. XD
Okay! You know, that’s a great start!
I need to try the Mona di Orio amber again. I also like Ormonde Jayne Tolu but nearly knocked myself out the first time I wore it—It was definitely over 65 degrees, and I applied a bit too liberally.
Oh, no! yeah, that is the stuff of nightmares. But you just don’t know until you know, and then it’s too late unless you are near a shower and a scrub brush and Lysol. 🙂
Amber lover here, but only in the winter.I enjoy L’occitane’s Amber and Prada’s L’eau Ambree.Chanel’s Coco is another favorite. Thanks for the great article and draw.
You are so welcome, Dana. I didn’t know L’Occitane had an amber!
I adore amber perfumes. Thanks for compiling such a comprehensive list, so many new to me things to sample. I own a FB of Ambre Soie. It’s gorgeous. Ambre Sultan is very nice also. I find amber to be very comforting.
You are so welcome! Ambre Soie is definitely one of my favorites in the group, I wish it were cheaper and more available!
Ambers, so far mine are Kenzo Jungle Elephant and Coco and an old Krazy Krizia, are perfect to spray on just for you, your snifter of Franjelico or Mandarin Napolean and the latest perfume book, or perhaps a perfumed mystery. This is one of those “my” perfume types.
I need to dig into some Kenzo Jungle Elephant, I seem to keep missing trying some. It sounds completely like something I’d love.
Wowsers! This is a post I will keep on hand…I love amber but find it confusing, because it is always interpreted so differently. You get the labdanum/vanilla type, to the dry ambergris, and all the floral in between.
Love Ambre Fetiche, even panicked and bought a backup bottle just in case…Tragic I know.
L’Air du Desert, drier but delicious.
Sampled Mona’s yesterday and it stuck with me till bedtime. Nice.
Now all I have to do is work through your incredible list of lemming fodder. Thanks!
Yup, amber is so different, the combinations to make the accord can vary.
That Mona is so amazing. i know I keep saying that, but it just make me so darn happy, and it was unexpected. That’s even better!
I keep thinking of Mona’s work as Nuit Noire, Lux, Carnation, her early stuff, so I’m expecting some big, fierce perfumes. I know she had changed gears before she died, but the Nombres are just perfection, at least the two I’ve been playing with have been.
I just love these big giant posts you do.
Amber is hard for me. I love it, but if it isn’t juuust right, Play-Doh. A perfume I thought was made for me, Tann Roka Aki, with patch, amber, cedar and vetiver, is seriously Play-Doh. I’m getting there, though, and have worn many of the training wheel and a few of the heartier ambers well. I think it just takes time and patience.
Thanks, Tama! Really. Play-Doh? I think amber can take time. It’s still difficult for me because it’s so heavy that all the conditions have to be right to wear it. I like that there’s so many that are working for me now!
What a great post! It’s added several fragrances to my must-try list.
Of all the ambers I own and love, Ambre Sultan’s my favorite. I first smelled it way back when you were selling decants on Ebay; it was in a Serge Lutens sample pack. I was just beginning to explore perfume, and its here-I-AM assertiveness shocked me! But I kept slipping back for another sniff…
wow, that is like 100 years ago! I think the last time I sold anything on ebay was in early 2007? Though you know, after all of that drama, and they banned Lisa for life from ever buying or selling on ebay just for that, they now have decants all over ebay. What a goofy business.
AS is a great amber. It is assertive, but it’s not aggressive, which is a very cool thing!
I love these best of. please do more.
I will, Saul! I may do them every other week at some points if it gets to be too much to do them every week, but I’ll definitely keep doing them!
I love amber. Favourites are: Ambre Sultan, Ambre Russe, Ambre Précieux, Ambre Fétiche and Ambre 114. The Hdp line has another fragrance, that is classified as a leather, ( an immortelle one) dries down to a gorgeous soft amber. It’s the De Sade one, 1740. Highly recommended.
Great list of favorites. I do need to try more fo the HdParfums. I think I have a little set around here with a couple of them in it that I need to dig up and get that one!
Well my favorite is Ambre Russe, but it would be nice to have something a wee bit tamer so I can, you know, actually wear it in public. So I’ve been taking notes here.
Wha? you won’t wear AR in public. I think we need a Posse Challenge. Wear Ambre Russe and MKK in public – together. Take pictures of reactions.
I am CRAZY for amber, but would have a very difficult time choosing a favorite. Oh, well, I guess I’ll just enter the draw and hope, hope, hope! 🙂
Hee hee! You amber nuts, you crack me up. 🙂
LOVE amber – thank you for a very informative post! My favorites are Coco and L’Eau Ambree, although they’ll only appear in Jan/Feb for me. Freezing temps for wearing amber for sure. Otherwise, they make me completely sick.
Thanks and would love to be entered in the draw! So many to try!
That’s it! My tolerance has gone up after trying all of these, but I would have never attempted it on a warm day(s), they will make me nauseous because they are just so powerful. I don’t mind smelling them on other people, it’s just the nonstop smell in the heat and I can’t get away from it that is a complete yuk.
Another wonderful list! I have always loved the smell of the cistus shrub, with its delicate flowers and amber smell, and grow one in the side yard so I can enjoy crushing a leaf every now and then. To me, amber is best when it’s playing with the band, not out there in the lead. I think of BAL a Versailles and Shalimar as my main amber loves. The Huitieme Art Amber Cerulean sample I had from Lucky Scent last year drew a lot of compliments, and my spouse took it over. I enjoy the Donna Karan Labdanum, which was meant for layering. And I keep a little Song of India amber perfume cream in alittle carved stone hat, fir the fun of it. But please do include me in the draw, always love a chance to learn!
I want a cistus shrub! Will one grow in colder climates? Must go investigate. 🙂
I missed that Huitieme, not sure how! They do some really nice scents. Agree on the DK labdanum. I couldn’t decide whether to throw it in here or not. i couldn’t figure out if they are still making it or not. I think so?
Well, I think of it as a drought tolerant plant but Cistus grows all over Golden Gate Park, so they must not be too picky! Mine is not a happy camper where it is, but it still has pretty flowers, delicate papery pink things, with petals shaped like little hearts. I don’t know, but think the DK Labdanum is dc’d, oh well. I wish I had the other things from that collection. Was Ambre Exreme from L’Artisan discontinued? I notice it isn’t on the list, and that is one muthah of an amber.
I love amber- Ambre Fetiche was my introduction to the niche rabbit hole. Thank you for this list of so many new-to-me ‘fumes to explore!
you are so welcome, Caela!
Mmmmm, yeah! Love me some amber! Amber Absolute is my most-favorite-est. Your son’s description is hilarious and is exactly why I love it. And make that a smoldering beehive because it does have a dry incense to help temper all that sweet – well, at least for me…
I so wanted to love Ambre Russe but for some weird reason I kept getting black tea from it, and it wouldn’t step aside for the booziness. I like booze more than tea so I said ‘no thank you.’
When I first quested for amber I was shown and I bought Satellite Padparadcha, but it smells more of cedar and musk to me now than of amber.
I own and adore L’Oiseau de Nuit because I am in love with labdanum. And yeah, Must de Cartier is strange – I always put the parfum on so tentatively, as in, hmmmm, how is this going to behave on me today…
There are so many ambers you mention that I still need to try. Thank you for the list!
you know, I know that about Amber Absolute! What I hate and he hates the most about it is why other people love it. I do not get to the dry incense part in enough haste to stop my stomach churning. 🙂
Oh, black tea, yum! I think that’s why I can stick with it through the boozy parts.
L’Oiseau is just beautiful. MdC, exactly! I step up to my bottle of parfum sideways and pull it out gently so it won’t bite me. But it always does.
I generally am not a huge fan of amber – but you make some of these sound so amazing that I really want to try them! I have L’Artisan’s L’Eau de Ambre in lotion – but when I wear it my partner gives me the dreaded “old lady” comment.
Hmmmm. to avoid the old lady, you could just go for the Ambre Russe, then he’ll look at you like you’re a drunken cossack. 🙂
The By Kilian is a great amber to start with – soft, silky. The mona amber, the same. Starts harsh, but it is just Grade A Beautiful after about 15 minutes. Maybe the hermes l’ambre. See what he says on one of those! If it’s still “old lady” well, he spent too much time close to old ladies who smelled great. 🙂
I haven’t smelled most of those, but I do love Ambre Narguile, and I nearly fainted when I smelled the Mona at MiN last week. The scent strips I was so greedy with are still wafting in various places in my apartment.
Isn’t that Mona incredible? I wish I loved Amber Narguile. I think I might have to revisit it, since I’m apparently no longer an Amber Hater!
Anne Pliska was Total Play-Doh on me. In fact, it’s the scent that had me scratching my head for the entire day, trying to identify that note…then sitting bolt upright in bed at 2am screeching “PLAY-DOH!!!” then falling back into a deep sleep of contentment, having Done My Duty as a perfumista! LOL!
That Mona just KILLS me. I wasn’t expecting to like it at all after the start, but when I went back to it, I just was in heaven. It is one of the prettiest amber perfumes I’ve ever smelled. it’s really special.
Are you gonna break down and buy it?
I would have considered myself more in the “meh” camp for amber – don’t hate it, but it’s not a favorite either. There’s some on that list above that fell into the Abyss of Nice for me. Howeveeeer, stick amber in with a little somethin’-somethin’ else, like spices or incense or leather or smoke, and now you’re talking. LADDM, Ambre Fétiche and Dune are loves, and Anné Pliska is on the TBS list.
Okay TBS? I should know this, but it’s not coming to me. 🙂
Oops, you probably don’t know that one, it’s one of my terms (along with the Abyss of Nice). TBS means “To Be Sampled” and it’s a twist of a term used a lot in the book review corner of the blogosphere, the TBR pile. It’s understood that a “To Be Read” pile will never decrease in size, as for every book that you read, at least two are added to the pile. Sounds pretty familiar to us perfumistas, that’s for sure, so I stole it. 😉
I don’t really know if I like amber or not… I am kind of new to this and was primarily a Chanel girl. I do love Coco in the fall & winter. I used to wear Dune and loved it but cannot remember it now.
I remember trying Must de Cartier back, way back in my younger days and I think I thought it was too heavy or too much. I tried the Prada on a sniffer paper, and I still can faintly smell it 2 weeks later! I have mostly liked lighter scents, but get so annoyed because they do not last on my dry skin. I think that’s why I love Coco so much…it is cozy gorgeous and it lasts!
I would love to experiment to find out if I really do like other ambers. Thanks for the post and the generous draw.
Must de Cartier is too much, you were right. 🙂 I mean, if you love amber, it’s kind of perfect, but you have to really, really love it in some crazy way.
Based on what you love, I’m guessing you would have some ambers or other orientals that would work. I’d start with the easier ones and see how it goes!
Ha!! That bit about Copper Skies is right on: both the description and my voice, the “hey” and the “eh”. So I admit it, I’m a total Canuck. Still enjoying the sample they kindly made me at MiN NY. (As well as my Lyric body cream, you generous soul. I dig, I dig. Did you get yours yet?)
Joining others in saying that: a) I love this series of posts, and how comprehensive they are; and b) I had no idea that I liked amber as much as I apparently do. Love and own the Ambre Soie, and am always beyond delighted to see it mentioned: Christine Nagel is just a genius with amber, they’re never too heavy with vanilla. Two of my other amber-y favorites from her are Mauboussin PF and Theorema. Also own and cherish the MPG, the Tauer, Dune and Sublime (distinctly original version).
You are so funny! I don’t think your Canadian “eh” is that bad, I just spun it a little so it sounded more like you. 🙂
I need to check with them and see if their order came in. I’m not worried, it will get here. Then I read Anita’s note somewhere about putting on her lyric cream and perfume and was thinking, hey! Then remembered she got a sample of the cream, I think.
So what do you think happened to the Ambre Soie? I mean, you can still get them in England easily, they just stopped sending them over. Not sure if that is deliberate or what. Nagel did the Jo Malone Amber and — wait, the dark intense series. i’m too lazy to scroll up. Pretty sure she did that. It’s fierce, but does remind me of some Donna Karan things.
theorema, amber? Well, yeah. I think of it as more of an orange scent, but it’s definitely amber as well.
Thanks! Doing these has been a lot more fun than you can imagine. I may have to go to every other week. But I love having all the comments on one post with more great perfumes that I forgot or didn’t include. It’s like this whole community love-fest for one note!
Big love for amber here! PdE’s Ambre Russe being my favorite, and when I read “wild, feral amber/patchouli bomb” I got all excited, so that’ll tell you a bit about where I land on the Rat Money scale. 😉
I love this series of guides, Patty!
Of course you did! 🙂 I love people that hit that high on the rat money scale. I’m working my way up to it, but still have a loooong way to go.
Glad you’re loving them. They are so long! They’d be in Mark’s no-no list of posts over 1500 words. I stopped looking at the word count in Word, and I keep rejecting the idea of doing it in parts. I just want one per note.
Oh, so many frags, so little time!
I know! What really fun is going back and reading what I thought about fragrances I used to hate and now love.
I think Hermes new L’Ambre des Merveilles by Jean Claude Ellena is pretty nice. Quiet, simple, maybe in the training wheels category. I got some crazy ambers, too, but for me this one is just right.
Kathryn, i think so too. They did a beautiful job on that one, restrained, luxurious in feel, you get amber, but it’s not overwhelming at all.
Not much of an amber ‘fume fan myself – it’s just kinda not my thing, so please DNEM, though I think it’s wonderful of you to offer the draw!
Alahine works for me because it is SO floral and complex and rich without being overwhelming. (Bonus: it smells great on the spouse.) And I like BK Amber Oud very much – it’s so lightweight and silky, like a beautiful scarf.
You know, I think there’s an amber for everyone in this list somewhere. Agree about Alahine. The amber just gives it such a great rich quality. The Teos are another line that never get enough love or attention.
I haven’t tried many ambers yet so I think it’s too soon to declare a favorite. I have a sample of Blue Amber which I now have to go back and try based on your description! Thanks for the honking draw!
You are so welcome. Did you like the Blue Amber? I’m still freaked out about it, it’s like a vampamber, undead, sorta amber, but Just.Not.Right.
I have a couple of ambers I didn’t see listed above: CB: IHP AmBrosius and Marc Jacobs Winter Amber. The AmBrosius is a wild ride up front that calms down to snuggly perfection. The MJ is a light, perhaps a bit too sweet, amber that I think you can pick up for a song.
Oh, how did I miss the CB! That is the problem with doing these, you are bound to miss some faves, and I have with the Ambrosius. The MJ winter amber I don’t know that well, but for amber lovers, grabbing those cheap nice ones is never a bad thing.
DNEM! DNEM! I’m in the HATE IT camp! Thank you for posting these so I can know to avoid them. 😉
The strangest thing, though. My HG of HGs is Attrape Coeur, which is said to be an amber!?!?!? HUH??? Perhaps Ambre 83 is the exception in my case? All I know is that every other perfume I’ve tried with amber in it hits me in the most negative way. It’s a sweetness to the note that I just can’t do…
See, I think that is just as worthwhile, helping ambah hatahs know what to steer clear of.
Attrape Coeur is, yes, an amber. 🙂 Now, it’s not typical, and it’s Guerlain, so I don’t know that it would be the same for you as many of the other more traditional ambers.
Oh my my, I have a big ( “big” as in perfume budget busting) love for amber. Ambre Sultan and Anna Pliska are always in rotation. AP is weird, you DO get asked what you’re wearing, more so than any other perfume I wear. I discovered By Kilian Amber Oud a few weeks ago and couldn’t keep my arm away from my nose for hours. I’m interested to try some of the fiercer ambers you mention, particularly Ambre Russe and Aoud Ambre. Copper Skies didn’t really work on me – it started out well and then quickly drifted off into sorta nothingness. Every time I reread this post I add another perfume to my “must smell” list. You are wonderfully evil!!
Oops! At least the Pliska is not horribly priced, so that’s a great thing. Weird thing about Pliska, up close I’m never sure about it. Have it waft by, and it’s love.
Isn’t Amber Oud amazing? I love all of those Kilian ouds. I think it’s some of the best stuff he’s done from just a sheer wearability standpoint,and each of them is a little different based on the note emphasis, but each equally wearable. Great, great stuff.
Shame about the Copper Skies. I think it lasted a good 5-6 hours on me in that great zone, which made me very happy! Yup, definitely do the Ambre Russe, I think it’s great, even though I hate it for like 4 hours. I’ts a love/hate thing. Aoud Ambre, I’m really not kidding about the urinal cake accord. That phase doesn’t last too long, so just laugh and go with it. It’s all good once that passes.
Amber has always scared me. It always seems like a note that smells great for the first 5 minutes then becomes plasticy or weirdly medicinal and then it clings for days. It’s such a long term commitment!
I do remember really liking AG Amber Fetiche and I love Tolu. At least, for me, Tolu doesn’t last until next week! Please enter me in the drawing I would love to sample a wide range of ambers. Thanks Patti!
Tara, amber is not a one-night stand, that’s for sure. It’s the good time that just won’t go home.
wow, Tolu I just can’t shake. I think it’s my skin, it just sucks in amber and hangs onto it. Might be why I have so much trouble with it. i do incense great, no problems. It’s just the resins they use to make up the amber accord that won’t give up.
I’m a newbie (case in point: I tried Tolu for the first time in August…in DC) so this list sort of scares me. But I trust you, patty, to lead me through the rat stink, urinal cakes, amber, and all.
OMG, this level of trust is completely not earned. I’ve talked people into smelling stuff that they are afraid to bring in the house, that the mailman hands to them with outstretched hand. Smell is scary fun, no? 🙂
I have only tried 2 of these..the Kilian Amber Oud and Ambre Russe..I find Ambre Russe to just be a soothing easy scent..so maybe that means Amber is mild on my skin?!…hmmm…something to ponder.
Yeah, I think so! What do you think the Kilian is? I think of that one as really smooth and soothing, almost a creamy amber. Ambre Russe turns into that kind of scent, it just takes it a wee bit to get there!
My favorite is discontinued ; ( thought I have back stock-Ambra Grisea by IDPF-a truly sweet, briny, raw and somehow sophisticated amber.
And a cheapy runner-up-courtesy of Ms. Ida-Madini Ambar Gris. A super-deep, again briny amber, not for amateurs! Gorgeous alone, or layered.
I don’t think I ever got to try that one. I hate it when they make them go away. Is it better than AdN?
Okay, I’m out on the Madini. We went out there when we were in NYC, but got so overwhelmed by the mass of oils, we didn’t see that one, but pretty sure my amateur amber status would make it a miss. 🙂
Wow, that’s a lot of amber! I love several of these, in particular the Teo Cabenel Alahine. Thanks for the draw!
You are so welcome. That Alahine is just so nice and easy to wear and still gives off a great amber.
HAHAHAHAHA!!! I positively adore amber though I realize it can be a loud and difficult accord and reading this post actually made me chuckle out loud. 😀 I’m very excited to have such a lovely list of ambers to go through, though you did mention some of my favorites. L’Air du Desert Marocain is probably my absolute favorite perfume of all time much less my favorite amber! And I LOVE Amber Absolute!! I think Brigit described it perfectly when she called it “All American” haha. Big fan of Amber Oud, Amber Narguile, Ambre 114, and Amber Noir and I’d like to add Tabac Aurea as well. Also, I’ve always thought of Organza Indecence to be an amber. Ava Luxe’s Amber D’Or is pretty fantastic as well and unfortunately I don’t think I’ve tried her one that’s supposed to be a dupe of the Ambre del Nepal. I also obviously need to pull out my sample of Ambre Russe again. I think the booze scared me off the first time around lol.
You amber people. 🙂 Amber Absolute is just such a huge no on me.
But I love some of your other faves. Who makes Tabac Aurea? Why am I not remembering.
OI is a bit of a problem for me. I thought about putting it in vanilla, I thought about putting it in this one, but I can’t seem to move it either direction in my head to land, so I just keep skipping it. I think I just have to leave it in oriental.
Is AL still doing her amber? I know some things she is and some things she is not. I do like her fragrances a lot!
Oh, hell yeah, do the AR again.. I took it like a man this time. Just spritzed with abandon, wept profusely for a few minutes, then enjoyed the ride.
Sonoma Scent Studio makes Tabac Aurea.
Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe….ah yes, autumn is here. This is the warm, cozy sweater of pefumes that hands you a drink for good toasty measure. Thanks so much for a fabulous read. This shift worker is going to go spritz some ambery comfort and head to bed…and won’t have to spritz again tonight before work! ;o)
I love autumn! If you are spritzing PdE AR, you may not have to spritz for a few days, even after a couple of showers. 🙂
I love amber and hate AMBER too. Amber Malaise set in a couple of years ago. Maybe it’s time to shake off the dust and try it out again…thanks for the reminder! (and the draw)
You are so welcome. yeah, amber can make you weary. But I’ve stayed away from it for a while now, just too much emotional crap that comes with it. This time it wasn’t so bad, and I achieved another level of appreciation. We won’t be roommates all the time, but I don’t mind amber visiting for a day or two.
I love this series!!!
(and thanks for the draw!)
I am no amber expert: the note is wonderful, but it has the ability to take over everything else and amber-named or amber-based perfumes do not have much development and often end-up smelling similar to one another. That said, I love AT’s L’air du desert marocain, and the iconic SL’s ambre sultan. I also like BK’s Ambre oud very much, though it makes me feel sad, I don’t know why!
Ambers are cozy, but they make me feel a bit melancholic – not a bad thing per se, sometime an introspective scent is just what one needs!
Thanks, Zazie! I’m probably going to switch to every other week on the series since it takes about 5 days off and on to test and retest everything, write it, sit on it for a day, edit, sit on it for another day and do a final edit. And they are so long! I’m shocked you guys read the whole thing.
I was surprised at how different they started smelling as I put in more time with them. Each has a pretty distinct feel to it. They are the same, but different emphasis – more resinous, more spice, more rough in smell texture, chewy.
Yeah, melancholy is the right word. like an inward sigh.
Creed’s Angelique Encens. Discontinued of course, but I have a few decants to last me. I hope.
Agree on that one. I’m just not including discontinued stuff anymore unless it’s a huge bellwether or historical one that I can’t take a pass on. I am going to truly miss AE when it finally disappears from my little stockpile. But hopefully I have a few months/years yet!
haven’t had the opportunity to try many of the ambers mentioned, but I know and love Ambre Sultan and Prada’s L’eau Ambree ( wich was my first tiny step towards the rabbit hole…)
would love to win this draw
Good luck, Irina! you have tried to really great ones already. You know, there are fewer sucky ambers than I thought there would be? Or maybe I just avoided the ones I knew were sucky and didn’t talk about them. Probably. 🙂
Whah!(Local Cantonese Chinese expression for absolute amazement) What an incredible toil with and incredible result. You have worked really hard and I hope you feel really good about it! Thank you for doing that for us Posse Peeps. So many ambers to still try and here I thought I pretty much knew enough!(guess I should know better). You are killing me softly with your song(s)
Ambre Sultan, Ambre Fetiche, Sublime , Prada 3 mainly with a few others you have mentioned. Love love love ambers, except for your first category! Am lemming the Mona
What about the beloved Attrape?
So I am the opposite of you today..would love the easy way out…just carry on painting and have all those beauties arrive at my door and then and I will have the delight in being gifted the samples and go through getting to know them with your blog and reviews by my side:-)
Oh, thanks, I love that expression!
That mona has your name on it, if you love amber. Especially with the ones you have a love. You just have to kind of grimace through the first 10-15 minutes, and then it smooths out and is probably one of my favorites.
Attrape I didn’t put in because it’s gone, and I’ve decided to leave out things that aren’t available anymore unless it’s just really special in that particular genre.
Plus, I have to confess not a lot of love for Attrape. There is some combination of notes in it that almost makes me violently ill. I’m not sure what exactly, but I try to avoid smelling it anymore. That reaction grew over time. i do admire it, it’s just a big no.
I love amber! Can never get enough! I love Armani Prive Ambre Orient which almost kills me at first blast, but once I get past the first 5 seconds, I’m good. (I never use this while going on public tranportation though, as I’m not sure my fellow riders would survive it.) Another favorite is HdP Ambre 114, which is just so soft and smells like my own skin. (Or what I’d want my skin to smell like if it wasn’t accompanied by perfume, perfect base for anything else.) Plus, I’ve just recently started enjoying Jungle Elephant by Kenzo, or as my husband calls it: the cinnamon explosion.
I know I have some of that ARmani around here. I just need to find the right box. 🙂
love that Hdp. Have you tried the Ambrarem in that lien? I keep hearing really nice things about it.
I induced a coughing fit in my car-mate on the way to an out of town meeting in which I worried about my sillage all day. Wrong day to try my Ambre Nargille sample. I do love amber, though, even if I do get flashbacks to my essential-oil-wearing days. So many to try!
Oh, dear. AN can be a trauma moment in close quarters. 🙂
I own Ambra de Nepal as the only amber perfume and would really like to test more. Thanks!
You are so welcome. AdN is just so pretty, and I think it’s one of the best things Ipdf has done, so you’ve got a great amber!
Oooh, at last a Guide for me! I already love and wear some of the “easy” ambers on the list, like Anne Pliska, Barbara Bui, Sublime, Coco, and Ambre Sultan. Am looking forward to trying out some of the weirder, more difficult ones, too. Thanks for the great post!
yeah!!! All those florals and vanilla must have been painful! 🙂
you are so welcome, have fun!
The Nazgul’s definitely gonna getcha, and when it does, it’s not gonna let you go. I mean, it’s TENACIOUS. I can’t really spritz it on – I have to spray it on a tissue, and then dab the tissue on my wrist. It’s hard to believe this is a JCE creation. Lovely, in really small doses.
Other favorites are Lutens Ambre Sultan, which I think achieves a smoothness that few others of his line ever do (though I love them nonetheless), AG Ambre Fetiche (thanks, Dinazad!), and yes! The PG L’Oiseau de Nuit may not be an amber, but it is fierce and beautiful.
you know, maybe that would work! I love so much about it, except it’s just so BIG. Like with Angel. I do the Taste of Fragrance or the Leather one, one of the stronger extrait’ish blends, then one drop, and it’s quite perfect and wearable and doesn’t make my head explode.
I just received a decant of Hermessence Ambre Narguile, and love it, thought there’s no way I can afford it.
I’ve rarely met an amber I didn’t like–it’s definitely my favorite note. At the moment, I’m madly in love with L’Air du Desert Marocain.
There’s something so mysterious about amber…it’s very dreamlike. The bedtime scent I most frequently apply.
You know, you could try and do a split of one of their discovery sets. They do four 15 mls,and I think they still sell the four-pack for like $160? Maybe that’s gone up, I haven’t gotten one in a long time. If you can find someone elses that want the other three, in whatever flavor they like, you can snag your AN for like $40-50, depending on taxes, etc!
Amber is the twilight accord. Incense so so meditative, but that warmth of the resins that make up amber are much more active, but not peppy active like citrus notes.
Amber frags seem to be the only ones that last on my scent-devouring skin. Thank you for such a great compilation. I must now lemming Geisha Noire…
Geisha Noire is a worthy lemming, and it’s a great price, I think! Well, looked. Not super-cheap, but $80 for 50 mls isn’t horrible. It’s definitely strong enough to withstand your scent-sucking skin. 🙂
Dune! I never realized that it was an amber… I just remember how amazing it smelled to a young teenager back in the very late 80s/early 90s and wanting a bottle. (I still want a bottle, darn it!) Ditto for Coco. My first knowledgeable experience with amber was a roll-on bottle of Auric Blends Amber circa 2000/2001 — big, sweet, and overwhelming. I actually thought I hated amber after experiencing that roll-on! (Same for their sandalwood — I’m wondering if the early naughts were a bad time for Auric Blends, or if they just really aren’t that good a brand) Since then I’ve learned that amber is a lovely scent and features in quite a few scents I love 🙂
I know! Once that came up in my research, it was like, well, yeah! That explains Dune. Okay, well, nothing explains Dune. But that’s really a great thing.
I’ve never smelled any Auric Blends, that doesn’t sound very appetizing, though!
I love amber. Yeah, I know. But it almost always works on my skin. My current favorite is the HdP Ambre 114, which is elegant and delicious.
I think the amber lovers are lucky, it’s not a conflicted note! And there are so many great orientals out there that are just so much fun to wear.
Patty, thank you for a great post . I did not think I liked amber but you have two of my favorites on your list, OJ Tolu – absolute gorgeousness and Barbara Bui – perfect snuggling perfume. Now I just need to smell everything on your list.
Well, you probably don’t need to smell everything. Start with the bellweathers and see if you like those. If you don’t, you probably don’t have a huge love of amber. But if you love Tolu and Barbara Bui, well, you know… duh, I think you must like some amber perfumes. 🙂
I’m surprised/humbled by how many of these I have not tried or not spent enough time with to form an opinion, so thanks for the draw.
I recently bought Nobile 1947 Ambra Nobile after Gaia reviewed it on The Non-Blond. It’s not too sweet or heavy and has some interesting accent notes.
The basic difficulty with amber is that it often lacks evolution, and ends up getting on one’s last nerve.
You are so welcome! I hadn’t either, so it was a very cool trip for me as well. I didn’t have that one, and I did want to try it. I guess I’m always surprised when I look around and don’t have something somewhere. 🙂
Amber does have a hard time evolving. It mostly can only soften, but some of them do manage an evolution of a different kind. Just not a traditional thing.
Hooray–thanks for testing the ambers. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it! I was one of the posse readers egging you on because, after four years in this biz, amber is still elusive to me.
A lovely Swapmaniac sent me some Ambre Sultan in the last swap and I knew I’d found “my” amber. Odd, though that Alahine and Ambre Nue, two other popular ambers, just smelled like medicine on me. Ambre 114: sheer perfection. Copper Skies: minty amber (yes, I know that’s probably the cloves but I love what seems to be mint).
Ambre Russe smells just “pleasant” to me–uh oh! I must be missing something. Tonight I’ll dab some from the sample vial and reevaluate.
Thanks for this marvelous guide. There are so many more ambers to try!
Aha, it was you!!! 🙂 it was really pretty fun, it’s just a weird trip though. It’s very likely a chemical in there. If you smell alcohol – and I do on some perfumes, and someone else at Sniffa weekend had the same experience, trying to remember who? – it’s a note you are anosmic to, my opinion. Some people smell nothing, other just smell the alcohol base, like a sheered off chemical that won’t read.
I think Copper skies does have mint in it – going from memory – and I do get that on the open. It’s those weird contrasts for the first 15 minutes that I don’t love but fascinates me.
Ambre Russe pleasant?! Okay, now I’m convinced you’re anosmic to something in there. Russe is an amber monster on me – maybe it’s me – it huffs and puffs like some crazy dragon in a cossack throwing vodka bottles at me, keeping me ducking for about two hours. Then it is absolute perfection, and I love it. You may need to spray it. Get a spray vial, spray it and see if that changes anything. 🙂
Patty–I bet you’re right! I know I’m anosmic to some musks…and I can’t smell Infusion d’Iris edt at all for the first 45 minutes. Ambre Russe could be sending others a message I didn’t intend!
The only amber dominant scents I have really tried is Chanel Coco in EDP form and M.Micllef Note Ambree. I wasn’t thrilled with Coco because it smelled a little too dated for me. Usually Chanel’s classics don’t smell like they are from the ’20’s, they (should) smell timeless. Note Ambree only smelled alright to me but nothing impressive. I had ordered a bottle unsniffed a few years ago before I really got into decants. The bottle of Note Ambree is gorgeous and looks like it is hand painted. But I think Note Ambree was discontinued though.
Aren’t most orientals amber scents?
I think coco in EDP does smell dated. It may just be me, but the parfum just seems more timeless.
oh, sorry, didn’t reply to the last. yes, most orientals use amber. Amber isn’t exactly a note, it’s an accord. Something I sorta knew but didn’t really hone in on until i did this. Amber itself is a rock with almost no fragrance, so they used to mix ambergris and labdanum, I believe, to get an better-than-amber scent. Ambergris now is so rare and expensive, they do more blending of notes to get it.
When I think if amber, I think of something specific. I wonder if we all think of the same thing? But, yes, I think almost all orientals have to have an amber accord in there, that’s what warms the base. just how prominent the amber is is how I sorted through these – doing some research to see if there was consensus on some of them as well.
(my best Jude Law impersonation):
“Oh, Patty. How I’ve missed you!”
Which movie is that from? You goof.
Oh, you’ve got to try Ambra di Luna by Ramon Monegal. Really gorgeous fragrance; it’s very soft and even though the notes are very different it’s similar in character to Alessandro. Big snuggle bunny fragrance!
I so wanted to get my hands on that! Looked there every sample I had, and nothing anywhere. It sounds so pretty. Have you tried anything else in that line? There were just so many, I couldn’t sort through them and just haven’t tried any of them so far. But now I have a place to definitely start!
Damn, Patti, now I don’t know whether to take a cold shower or immerse myself in Ambre Russe and see what happens. I love amber and used to mix a little of the NOW amber oil into my favorite lotion to give everything a little amber undercurrent. I think you have all my favorites on the list except Rochas Absolu, which is an online cheapie amber blend in a cool space age type bottle. Perfect fall scent.
Honestly? No one’s life is complete unless you’ve immersed yourself in Ambre Russe just once to see what will happen.
Hmmm, Rochas Absolu, now I need to hunt that one down. I missed a few that I’m still finding. 🙂
Wow, you have done it again! Comprehensive AND funny. I, too, have ambivalent feelings about amber. I love Tolu (my most worn amber) and the Tauer. But number of the others are a little sickening, including the L’Artisan. Still, you’ve got me curious about a number I haven’t tried, and I’ve been meaning to try the MPG for years…..
I think one of my ex-husbands said that about me once or twice. 🙂
The MPG is great. I think it gets overlooked because it’s been out there so long and everyone references it as the amber to smell, but it IS the amber to smell, along with a few others.
I love Geisha Noire! It goes angora sweater, comfort scent on me. Keep thinking that I have to buy a bottle soon. Not a fan of ambers that have that sharp, clean undertone – that’s not what amber is about!
GN is so pretty. It’s also incredibly sexy as well. I think that surprised me. yeah, clean amber? I mean, I may make fun of the smutty, rough ambers, but i prefer them to the “fresh” ambers. 🙂
Amber is not one my favorites, feels too sweet and heavy for most events I go to. However, am pretty keen to try the Amber Oud by Killain and some the Montales. And cuddle in a warm sweater, by the fire and a hot drink.
Most ambers are just too much. The trick is put them on about six hours before you need them. Then they have softened up and are just amazing, most of them. 🙂 the amber oud is perfection right from the spritz.
Wow, Patty! Great list — and who knew there were that many ambers around? I was nodding my head, muttering, “Yes, yes!” to so many of them that had slipped my mind.
And I don’t care what Mr. Turin says, I always have loved and still do love me some of that Must de Cartier, in all its variations (from parfum to EDP, EDT, Must II, etc.). Think I’ll go raid my vintage stash now. Thanks!
And thanks, Patty, for the love for the classy Chanel Coco and the Armani Prive Ambre Soie (a sleeper amber hit if there ever was one)!
Coco is the start and finish of what amber/oriental should be. Ambre Soie is really just so damn beautiful. I hadn’t smelled it in over a year, and when I did, I almost fell off my chair. I had just forgotten how beautiful it is, or maybe it’s again nicely?
Must de Cartier is just weird, you have to admit! I’m always taken aback by it. It’s got some interesting history too. I guess one version was introduced first, then another, and this might be some mash-up between the two? I skimmed over the story, but it’s on yesterday’s perfume, I believe. MdC lovers should read it!
I guess it is a bit different, but you’ve gotta smell the old stuff — the stuff they’re selling now just doesn’t cut it — it hits you over the head and that’s it. What was confusing about the line (at least from what I recall way back then) is that originally the edp and the edt were two totally different scents, with the edt being much lighter, more for daytime wear. And then they came out with the Must II edt and edp, both of which were different scents as well, but in the lighter vein of the original edt. Whew, I’m confusing myself, ha! And of course, there may be more to it than that …
oh, I’ve got the old stuff! 🙂 It didn’t hit me over the head, it was this freaky thing out of the bottle that would start to get better, then take a turn, and some of the turns are revolting and some are lovely, but none of them are boring.
That’s the story! EDT and EDP were different. Did they merge them? I need to go re-read that story. I was running out of time and had to do a quick scan.
I seriously need to put all my scents on a spread sheet. I know I’ve got an amber or two around here somewhere but I can’t recall the names or where I’ve put them. Perhaps I wasn’t too crazy about them and that’s why I don’t remember? Maybe senility? Anyway, I’d love to be included in the draw. Thanks.
Isn’t it awful? I think that’s why I decided to do this series. I need to sort it all out in my head, then I discover things I forgot I loved, wound up loving things I thought I hated and even wound up hating some things I thought I loved.
Amber is sneaky and maybe one of the last notes that I’ve come to love, even though i still hate it. 🙂
I really can’t say I’ve explored that many amber perfumes. I do enjoy L’air du Desert Marocain. I don’t dislike amber I guess I just like some other notes more and have spent more sniff time on those. I know I have perfumes with amber in them but I don’t have any that have amber as the starring role.
I’m still puzzled because I would have thought the stuff I really loved in amber would have been a very short list, but my personal list is pretty long. probably about 10 that I’d be happy wearing all the time.
I used to think amber was not in my wheelhouse, but then I really love many of the perfumes on this list, even some of the ones listed as cray-cray. Definitely want to try Arquiste Infanta en Flor (ah, to be a Portuguese princess for a day.)
Shocking, isn’t it? I love the cray-cray ones too. 🙂 Probably more. That darn Infanta is making me nuts! I need to sort things, especially perfume. And I can’t even decide if I just admire it and don’t love it or love it and it’s just being coy.
Oh my. Where to begin? I need to go home and raid my perfume cabinet to see what I have!
I was pleasantly surprised, once I start going through them how many I really, truly loved. Some I ignored because I didn’t think I liked amber perfume. Well, learned something here!
I like L’Artisan L’Eau de Ambre, but I haven’t tried many amber based perfumes.
do you not like them in general or just haven’t gotten ’round to them do you think?