I love Amber. I’ll even buy cheap Amber scents. I love that slightly gingery incense note it has. Less Chypre than an Oriental, a good Amber can add spice to a Winter scent and warm it up whilst not being overpowering.
The Amber to end all Ambers is Hermès Ambre Narguilé. Once this was created in 2004 by our old friend Jean-Claude Ellena, I don’t know why other perfume houses didn’t just give up and say “what’s the point? They’ve won”. However if we are talking fiscally, I’m rather glad other Amber scents are available as the price tag is currently £150 for 100ml. Let me know if you can find it more cheaply. However, it must be said that scent of this calibre goes a long way and one squirt of Ambre Narguilé lasted around six hours on me, and you don’t need much. In case you are wondering, I borrowed my sample and I am aware of how fortunate I am to have a generous friend with a perfume collection that makes me want to steal and rob, even though I am a nice girl really.
It’s worth quoting the creator of Ambre Narguilé himself here, from the Hermès website:
” Amber, the Western expression of Eastern fragrances, has a warm, enveloping, almost carnal smell. I wanted to imbue this idea of amber with the memory of the East I love where tobacco – blended with the smells of fruit, honey and spices – is smoked in narguilés, or water pipes, and where swirls of smoke diffuse a sweet sense of intoxication.
JCE says it better than I can, but here is my personal interpretation: The amount of vanilla used today in just about every scent that has emerged in the last twelve months has almost put me off ever liking it in a fragrance. In addition, I don’t like gourmands, or anything that smells remotely edible on my skin. Famous last words.
However Ambre Narguilé is like smelling Christmas Cake and Cinnabuns from the next room with a dot of Cognac under each nostril. The vanilla is heady and thick, like liquor, and not cheap and sweet as it so often can be. There is honey in here, but only enough to soften it and not to overpower. It is a dark, raisin like smell that has enough Amber to stop you smelling too cakey. It’s rich, enveloping, warm, aromatic and wonderful.
It’s not widely available, it’s not cheap, but frankly my dear, I think it’s worth a fight.