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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan

Review by Tom

It's almost impossible for me to think of reviewing Serge Luten's Ambre Sultan during an uncommonly hot and humid July in Los Angeles, (I know Al Gore's movie said the climate was changing, but by this week?) but I wrote that I would, so I will. Actually, maybe this is the perfect weather to review it: Beverly Hills feels like Morocco, so perhaps this is what it's supposed to be like...

Ambre Sultan starts with a blast of spices, a bit more muted version of his trademark fireworks, this time in coriander, bay and oregano. The initial bitterness is almost immediately mitigated by a creamy undertone of amber, vanilla and balsam. Various other notes weave in and out: (very light) patchouli, sandalwood and vanilla until it settles down to the purest and most sensual amber. This is not the cold and hard amber of other perfumes, this is a thick, resinous musky amber that is almost as sexual as Musk Kublai Khan is to musk. Others have written that this is very close to the scent of a woman (not that I'd know, but I am willing to send on a sample to Mr. Colombina for confirmation), I feel that it's more the scent of tanned skin: the scent of a teenager who had a vacation on Santorini, who bathed in the ocean and spent the days on the sand.

In any case, its sillage is not too much if you are sparing with the application (as usual with SL, something that applies to men more than women). Personally, I love this scent in winter: on one of our February days when it's pouring outside and my office is about 23 degrees to keep the computer happy, I can surreptitiously pull the collar of my shirt and get a grand whiff of that Greek Isle that I somehow only got near watching "Summer Lovers". Since it's only $92 from Barneys, Aedes or Neiman Marcus, you can save on that trip to Greece, and Peter Gallagher is on the O.C. anyway

Next: It's too hot to commit myself. Can I review Air conditioning?


Blogger lilybp said...

Great review! The scent of a woman, huh. . .? This was one of the very first SLs I tried, and I didn't care for it. Now that I love practically every other one (OK, so not Miel de Bois), I need to go back and try it again. . .

7:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am, strangely, not a fan fo Ambre Sultan (strangely, because, it sounds like a perfect fit for me). It is ...sour on my skin, for a lack of a better word.

As for your kind offer to Mr. Colombina. I love him to bits, of course, but I have a strong feeling that comparisons like "this smells like a woman" are way beyond the abilities of his nose :-) Perfumes smell "like alcohol", "medicinal" and "nice" to him, that's about it :-)

8:39 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review, Tom! Ambre Sultan is my ultimate amber fix. Smoky, spicy, powdery, dirty, balsamic, resinous - all in one. I adore it, especially in cold weather.

10:43 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Wonderful review! This really is just a joyfully decadent amber. One of my HGs, but I don't think I could wear it outside in summer. I also happen to adore air conditioning and I'd love to read your review of it. :-)

11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

well, I'll give you my mini review:
Air Conditioning

Mankinds ultimate achievement. (Fettuccine Carbonara runs a close second)


11:03 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

LOL! I so agree!!! Did you hear that Ina?? :-)

11:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I take it Ina doesn't like Fettucine Carbonara? But why? It doesn't have PRAWNS, does it? :-)

11:57 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marina, I have no objections to Fettuccine of any kind. What I mostly hate is A/C. Come on, stone me now.

12:11 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Gets out good stationary, starts to compose letter to Pope recommending Todd's nomination for sainthood. :-)

12:35 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Ina, Elle...
Here is my sad story and I think I should be included in that sainthood letter too. I am kind of with Ina on A/C. Mostly because Mr. Colombina is an A/C-maniac. He HATES heat. When it's over 72, he starts falling into pieces. Me, I love warm weather. I thrive in warm weather. I like to be comfortably warm in my home, to wear shorts and tank tops...but because of Mr.C I often sit around wearing cardigans and shawls. But I am fond of Mr. C, so I let him crank the A/C. I am clearly a saint.

12:40 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marina! Yay! Thank you, sweetie, you've just proven, once again, that you're my twin! I'm SO with you! Mr.Aromascope freaks out in heat, too. If the air isn't on when he gets home from work, he takes his clothes off, turns the fan on, and stands right in front of it in his underwear for, like, 30 minutes. Many a times have I walked in on him like that. There, I've just publicly embarrassed my husband. Btw, cute rhyme: "But I am fond of Mr. C, so I let him crank the A/C."

1:13 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

We are twins and they are apparently twins too. Mr. C even sometimes sends me anxious text messages before heading home, asking, is the A/C on? :-)

1:20 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my word! Same here! Except it's not text messages - it's frantic phone calls!

1:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...


1:27 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I have to say (even though it may cost me my bid at sainthood) I do not have AC in my home. It only gets uncomfortably hot in LA for about 2 weeks (this latest one is very unseasonable), and I like fresh air too much.

In the car however...

1:45 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Pulls out new sheet of cream parchment. Yes, you should indeed be included along w/ Mr. Aromascope for sainthood nomination. Saint Columbina...yes, sounds rather nice. :-) I *adore* heat outside, but for some reason love the look and feel of icicles inside. Blessedly, my boss is in total agreement w/ me. Wonderful man.

1:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Saint Colombina...ooh! *polishes halo*

2:04 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a fan of mysterious perfumes and Ambre Sultan is exactly that! It's very warm and give you an "after bath" sene. When it settles down is very sweet and elegant in a rare way for amber and in my opinion(since I have been to Santorini)it takes you to summer nights and island sunsets...especially when vanilla is revealed...

10:01 AM EDT  

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