Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan: Because I Got High


After the cosy success I found with the delicious Ambre Narguilé, and being an Amber fan, I thought Ambre Sultan would be a dead cert for my Fragrance Hall of Fame. I could not have been more wrong.

Some fragrances can affect your mood: Guerlain Apres L’Ondée makes me feel wistful, Eau de Cartier makes me feel happy, Frederic Malle Iris Poudre makes me feel threatened… and so on. It can’t be explained. Smells makes you react in ways you could never expect or rationalise.

Ambre Sultan immediately brought to mind that noxious cloud of um…”herbal” smoke you sometimes find lingering above a gang of youths in an insalubrious neighbourhood. Strongest notes are Resin, Myrrh and Oregano. It smells of the kind of thing you would extinguish if a police car drove past.  It made me feel heady and nauseous.

Maybe the prolific Christopher Sheldrake did a good job. Maybe this really is the smell of a Souk or a Bedouin Tent. If it is authentic, it’s put me off Souks and Bedoun Tents for life.  This one not only repelled me, but caused me to take two paracetamol and feel panicky.  I’m glad this was on loan to me and that I had not forked out for it.

You may feel differently. If you are a youth in an insalubrious neighbourhood.

6 thoughts on “Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan: Because I Got High”

    1. I’m trying to alternate one I didn’t like with one I loved, so that I don’t come across as too negative all the time. Is there a perfume that you’ve reacted strongly to? One that has made you want to smack it, kick it out of your home and throw its suitcase out of the window, whilst shouting “And don’t come back!”

  1. I hated Cabochard! I publicly described it as ‘the Anti-Wordbird’ and debated whether if I wore it I would explode.

    However, I have since come round to oakmoss and chypres and now I love Cabochard. Daft, huh?

    There have been some monumental scrubbers (as in’ fragrances you want to scrub off’) that I’ve tried. And some of them are heartbreaking. I thought of myself as definitely a Chanel Cuir de Russie kind of woman – deluxe, sophisticated, sensuous and classic. Sadly it smells very very bad on me.

    Oh – I just remembered one! Martin Margiela Untitled – was written up everywhere as being very green and fresh and utterly fabulous. I really wanted to try it and was seriously considering a bottle – this stuff sounded mouth-watering! So I tried it on a sniffathon with some other stinky friends and… it smelled like I hadn’t washed my hands after I had been to the toilet, (if you know what I mean). I checked it with my compadres and yup, it made me smell of bums. And not nice bums; really stinky bums. Bad bums.

    That was a case of ‘put the bottle down and move away with your hands in the air’.

  2. Your bum smell story reminds that I have to get round to reviewing Feminite du Bois by Shiseido. Similar story- sounds great on paper, but an alarming scrub-it-off-now once on my wrist. Don’t get me started on Halston Catalyst- I’m saving that review for when I’m in a very bad mood!

  3. I find Feminite du Bois lovely occasionally but too radiant for me. I wear Dior’s Dolce Vita instead – it’s a re-do by Pierre Bourdon (oh and BTW I think you may really not like his style!)

    I’ve never tried Vent Vert but I’d love to. I used to wear Ma Griffe and I’d hope it would be fresh and green like that. Not green like the bum of Martin Margiela.

    “Bring me the bum of Martin Margiela” as they would say on “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue”.

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