Ambre Gris by Guillaume Flavigny for Balmain 2008

Hi there Perfume Posse. Ambre Gris was a sensation, then it was not. The over hype killed it because people were expecting it to be better than Serge. Which meant that for a long time it was readily available on the discount sites. I was sniffing around for a backup bottle and surprise, it’s sold out in quite a few places, and now most of the sample/decant sites are sold out too. As I wear it sometimes as a morning wake up scent I thought we should take a little trip down memory lane. Come with me….

Ambre Gris by Guillaume Flavigny for Balmain 2008

Ambre Gris Pierre Balmain FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Myrrhe, benzoin, pink pepper, cinnamon
Heart: Immortelle, tuberose
Base: White musc, benzoin, amber, guaiac wood (tree of life)

I love the thick, salty resinous opening that reminds me of the smells in a dockyard after work has finished for the day or one of the beeswax based waxes I do my table with 4 times a year. It goes on rich and lightly fizzy and has a honeyed sweetness that I find quite enticing. Amber Gris is also quite waxy like a candle that you’ve just unwrapped. Maybe the scent left on your hands after unwrapping.

Ambre Gris by Balmain candle moritz320 PixabayPixabay

Here’s where Ambre Gris gets a bit tricky though, the flowers come in and there is a moment of jarring. Immortelle and resins playing bully boys for top position and the immortelle has that awkward unreal desiccated plastic smell in spades here. Backed by the oft plastic smelling tuberose and for a short while Ambre Gris does quite sail as smoothly as it should.

Once we get through we find sweet vanilla and salty skin over white musks that continues to hum away for me at a low level for hours.It’s like the perfect meld of Ambergris the whale discharge and Amber the sweet resinous foody accord.

Very wearable and a perfect office scent. I find Ambre Gris good as a wake up and focus fragrance, that weirdness really snaps me out of whatever funk I’m in too. By the time it’s over my mind is alert and ready for action. The fragrance has by then become comfortable and while being very nice it is something I can have floating under my radar yet wafting softly to all around. Nice. There’s quite a bit of air in my 100mls so I must like it a lot.

Ambre Gris by Balmain North_Bondi_1 WikipediaWikipedia

Further reading PerfumeSmellingThings and TheNonBlonde
Parfum1 has $27/40ml
Posh Peasant has samples starting at $2/ml

Did you ever get caught up in the whirlwind of a fragrances hype? Which one?
Portia xx

  • Meredith says:

    I love Ambre Gris! Such a snuggly comfort scent with a bit of weird for interest. I have a sizeable decant that is disappearing at an alarming rate so I think I may need a FB of this. I’ll have to get my shop on!

  • Ann says:

    Yes, yes, yes! So happy you wrote about this, Portia! I love(d) everything about it, from its disco ball / microphone cap to its blocky bottle to the wonderful juice inside. So I ask myself: Now why don’t I have a bottle of this? My old fear of the FB purchase, I guess. ūüôā Off to find my sample of it. Sigh…

    • Portia says:

      Hey Ann,
      Great that we share a love of Ambre Gris. Clearly you were distracted by other things. It happens to me too.
      Portia xxx

  • Sun Mi says:

    I do get caught up in the hype sometimes – usually for gourmandish things, but they hardly ever prove to be something that I like! But some that I got obsessed with the idea of (before trying) were Or du Serail, Sadanne, Cuir d’Ange, Voyage…

  • Deb says:

    I got caught up in the hype of this, bought it, sold it, and now wish I had it. The story of my life. I shouldn’t sell anything ever….yet have two bottles I’m probably going to list on evilbay.

    • Portia says:

      Yes Deb, Clean out anything you’re not using. Take a small decant of it for the times when you can’t remember why you sold it.
      Portia xx

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Hi Portia,

    Been wondering about this one for quite a long time, so thanks for this review. I even think I have a sample around somewhere… Wearing L’Artisan Tubereuse today. XO

    • Portia says:

      Hey there Queen Cupcake,
      L’Artisan, is that Nuit de Tubereuse? I freaking love that and have a back up bottle just in case.
      Portia xx