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Monday, October 01, 2007

Perfume Review: Montale Blue Amber

Review by Kelley

This fragrance really got me thinking. I mean, how many scents do you own that are primarily linear scents? You apply them and they don’t change much if at all. Chandler Burr described Mugler’s Angel as having many faces and said it was like having a conversation with someone that has ups and downs and is constantly changing (not a quote, just from memory). You start off with the most dramatic thing that happened to you during the week or the top notes, “Your sister’s pregnant?”, and then you switch to less important things like your job, “I can’t believe the bit*h got a promotion and I didn’t”, and finally you end with the base notes “see you later honey, after we get back from Barbados”. Sometimes, this can wear you out!

There are a few scents I can think of that are primarily top notes. Hermes’ Eau D’Orange Verte is one that comes to mind. You put it on and it screams freshness and summer goodness with its basil/mandarin orange accord. However, after about 30 minutes it’s gone. Once those top notes burn off there is nothing left. Another one is (I am sure some would disagree) Malle’s Bigarade Concentree. I can think of one scent that is primarily base notes and that is M7 by YSL. I love it especially during warm weather because it really blooms on my skin. Scents that are primarily base notes seem to stay really close to the skin.

The first time I tried Blue Amber, I wasn’t impressed. Sort of like the first time I saw the movie “Pride and Prejudice” staring Kiera Knightley until I realized that the director tried some very difficult shots with no edits (check out the party scene and you can see the actors run to make their next line clear across the room…the scene seems to go on and on forever with no cuts!). Blue Amber’s sillage is the most amazing thing about this scent and I almost didn't notice it. Amber (resin or incense) is usually used in fragrances as a base note. It’s also often used as a fixative. Base notes tend to stay close to the skin after all of the top and middle notes have burned off which is their nature. This scent is so amazing because it has a wonderful sillage! It wasn’t until a friend paid me a compliment about 5 hours after applying that I started to think…hmmm, there might be something to this.

I do smell a little of the bergamot at first but I had this idea that the name “Blue Amber” was maybe referring to a blue fruit like blueberries or blackberries or something. There is the tiniest of fruity quality as the scent opens and lasts a good hour or so. This is a sweet amber with none of the harsh edges that often accompany amber scents. The geranium in this is muted and I smell a little coriander but not much and forget about patchouli. In the middle stages I thought I smelled a little cedar but maybe that is the coriander. Later into the wearing, the vanilla starts to come forward. This is a fairly straight forward scent with little progression but it is glorious. It ends on a very strong vanilla note. Blue Amber seems to last about 10 hours on my skin. I bet this would smell wonderful on a hot day which would really activate the true nature of amber which usually needs body heat to create sillage. I have worn my sample several times over the past few months and finally decided to order a bottle. My next submission to PST is a page from the Perfume Addict’s Diary in which I try to order a bottle of Blue Amber from Switzerland.

Please chime in with your observations on top note or middle note or even base note scents. Or, what about scents that change so much they wear you out?

Montale fragrances are sold online and around the world at finer boutiques. The Oud series (like Aoud Lime) runs about $150 for the 50ml and $210 for 100ml and the Eau de Parfum line (like Blue Amber) run $125 for the 50ml and $175 for the 100ml cans. Notes include: Italian bergamot, bourbon geranium, coriander, patchouli, vetiver, amber, and vanilla.


Blogger tmp00 said...

I agree with you on the Hermes- it's all top notes and nothing else.

Chene is one that stays pretty much the same beginning to end.

10:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh Kelley...I hope that page from the Perfume Addict’s Diary has a happy ending. I tried to order a bottle of something from Switzerland too, and it was not a pleasant experience at all. But as I don't learn, like a fool, I ordered something again on this recent sale of theirs *sigh* We'll see what happens this time.

10:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Don't worry M, it is a happy ending with a wonderful surprise. As it would turn out, they threw in a gift! You will have to wait to see what happened but if you ordered too then we will have to share stories.

10:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, I love Chene and can't wait for it to come out in the export line! Is it already out?

10:16 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

no official word (even that Chene is the release), but rumor is it will be Nov-Dec

11:27 PM EDT  
Blogger Gaia said...

I've always suspected some of the Jo Malone scents to be nothing but top notes: They smell unfinished, like someone forgot to make a base that could actually last.

As for Blue Amber: It was mean to me. We were supposed to be friends and lovers, but it wouldn't cooperte and it all went horribly wrong.

1:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Gail S said...

Oh my, I have tried Blue Amber at least four times now and just can't do it! On my skin, it's bitter, bitter and bitter. And that's all.

Heh, I ordered from the recent sale also (NOT Blue Amber)so I'll have to see how it turns out! Had to run my confirmation e-mails through Babelfish to figure out what they said. And then it still made no sense. Kind of babel-ish :)

3:44 AM EDT  
Blogger leopoldo said...

Chene is out here in the UK.

Blue Amber - demasiado amber for me.

3:58 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

You guys ordering from Montale are masochists.

Some of the weird ones like Jungle Elephant or CdG original, you just want to go, oh, sit STILL already!

Some of my favorite comfort scents (like KenzoAmour) are comforting in part because they're just calm and consistent throughout, with not much development.

8:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Hmm... I am going to have to get a sample of this for the partner to try. He's in an amber-loving phase and he won't wear anything that is sillage-negative. Thanks for the tip!

11:12 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Will have to retry Blue Amber. I can't remember why it didn't work on me. Possibly my ger*ni*m (making protective sign of cross as I type this) amplifying skin? Anyway, will hunt down my sample and give it a second chance.

3:07 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

The non-blond, what do you mean? It went all wrong? I can't wear florals because they completely disappear on my skin. Give it about 5 minutes and then nothing...

Jo Malone scents alway left me hungry for more. I am not into Zen perfumery.

4:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

gail, those confirmation emails were a riot in babelfish! They made no sense at all. I just trusted that everything would work out...and it did. Good luck and let me know what happens and if they throw anything else in the box!

4:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

leopoldo, I will keep an eye out for Chene. It's one of my favorites from Serge.

Blue Amber would be too much for lots of people. Not me!

4:46 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Marchlion, yes! Linear can be very calming. There are no surprised that way. I have a problem with McQueen's Kingdom and that is that it turns very bitter on my skin in the late drydown. After about 5 hours I have to reapply because it's so bitter. Hmm, I will have to think about that.

4:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

ducks, please try it. I can't imagine that it wouldn't be a pleasing scent. I understand about the incompatibility on some people but it's so smooth and well done. It does however have geranium which can be bitter not to mention myrrh. Good luck.

4:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

elle, the geranium is very slight. This isn't like L'artisan's which has tons of geranium. This is very smooth and has tons of vanilla. Let me know what you think.

4:51 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelley, great review! I never expected to like this one from the list of notes, but I do - enough to actually wear it myself, but also in an admiring way for its masterful composition.. I think it's best for a man, or as a winter perfume. It has a great presence.

11:52 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When naming his perfume “Blue Amber” Pierre Montale did probably not expect that Blue Amber did exist. Maybe he considered it an oxymoron and therefore a specially attractive name. Hey, but google it and you will surpriesed: There is even a web page: And did you know that Blue Amber really has a different smell than regular amber?

3:54 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just trying on my sample from luckyscent...and i love it! I really love amber and resins. This one smells really clean and true to the amber (come oils can be very overbearing, sickeningly sweet and cloying). this does none of that. It is a wonderful base resin and you can spritz a floral overtop for intrigue. I agree that the jo malone line is very light and linear but the red roses is such a true rose that it works with just about anything if you layer. In conclusion. This is full bottle worthy - but not for 200 bones. Please montale. lower your prices for the broke and fabulous!

12:41 PM EDT  

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