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Thursday, August 20, 2009

You Can Stand Under My Amber-ella

This has been a rainy summer. At times, it felt that "all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened". And having a large vessel built just in case seemed like not a bad idea.

I've noticed that of all scents, amber ones seem to flourish in humid and wet weather. For whatever reason, they smell better to me and on me when it rains, and, of course, there are few notes more comforting than the balmy, sweet, slightly powdery amber. I started my perfume obsession with amber-mania, over-ambered myself, and haven't touched an amber "soliflore" or a scent with a pronounced amber accord for a couple of years. It was the great deluge of summer 2009 that revived my affection for the note. Having gone through a number of old amber favorites (for example, the sublime Anne Pliska) and having discovered some new amber fragrances, I narrowed my choice of ambers that I would bring with me on the ark to the following three:

Keiko Mecheri's new Crystal d'Ambre. I will say straightaway that I don't think it would satisfy a hardcore amber fanatic, somebody who loves, for instance, the formidable Ambre Precieux by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier. Crystal d'Ambre is much tamer, a softer, somewhat more transparent take on the note (I suppose, thus the "crystal" in the name). Alongside the title ingredient, the almost chocolaty benzoin and vanilla are very apparent on my skin, as is the suede-like, very vaguely animalic accord. Everything is delicately rounded and refined; this is an amber that speaks in hushed tones, an elegant, infintely wearable and comforting creation. (, $115.00 for 75ml)

Fiore d'Ambra by Profumum left me underwhelmed in the past. This year, its piquant, honeyed warmth hit the spot. I don't know, if it really contains opium, but I do smell some spice along the lines of cloves, maybe even some cinnamon, and a certain floral piquancy that one finds in carnations. It is simultaneously less proper-perfumey and dressed-up than Crystal d'Ambre and much more sensual. The Mecheri is for rainy evenings out, the Profumum - for seductive nights in. One of my favorite characteristics of Fiori d'Ambra is the tarry, slightly burnt drydown; I find that smoky almost-leatheriness very appealing. (Luckyscent, $240.00 for 100ml)

Speaking of smoke, Neil Morris's Burnt Amber is a Guy Fawkes night in a bottle. Amber here is enveloped in the fumes of smoldering oak and oud, spiced up by pepper and sweetened by an addition of plum. Plum is always a plus, in my book. The plummy tarriness of the scent reminds me slightly of Marquis de Sade by Histoires de Parfums, only less leathery, more ambery. Having said that, Burnt Amber offers a unique take on the accord, and lovers of smoke and male readers should make a note of this perfume. Burnt Amber would definitely go with me on the ark, and I would insist on sharing it with my Noah. (, $70.00 for 30ml)

Are there any scents that you enjoy more in wet and humid weather? What amber favorites would you want to save in the Deluge?

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Anonymous Nowhereman said...

Scent Intense from Costume National, no question. Not only is it a complete amber explosion (a pulpy, dark berry of an amber), it seems to belong in rainy, humid weather. But rather than wanting to wear it out in the rain, it's more the thing you wear when you're stuck inside with your S/O because of the humidity and rain...

1:17 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For ages I've been trying to love amber. I can't seem to find a 'true' amber scent that suits my nose. I appreciate amber blends, such as the likes of Bulgari Black which I adore, but otherwise, I've been unlucky. Thank you for bringing a few new ones to my attention :-)


9:05 AM EDT  
Anonymous ScentRed said...

Donna Karan Gold. I thought it was the ideal, warm-me-up on a cold winter's day scent. It also turns out to be luscious in warm, rainy weather. I do think I get more of the amber on humid days.

Or maybe I just love it everyday ;-)

9:13 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I'm too addicted to being outside to really appreciate much rain, but if I'm able to be at home and read on rainy days, I can enjoy it. That means that my fave rainy day scents are essentially my idea of library scents - those involving smoke and leather. Tabac Blonde, Cuir de Russie, Cuir Mauresque, Fumerie Turque, Montale Cuir d'Arabie and HS Bell'Antonio are all ones I reach for on rainy days. But the idea of amber on rainy days sounds wonderful! Cozy perfection. Definitely need to retry that Profumum. Other ambers I adore are L'Artisans ambers (both), AF Ambra and Regina Harris Amber Vanilla.

9:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

"a pulpy, dark berry of an amber" sounds gorgeous!

12:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Have you tried Anne Pliska?

12:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

There are scents like that, that are always perfect :-)

12:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The idea of a library scent sounds so, so appealing! And how did I forget how much I used to love Amber Vanilla.

12:32 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmm, a slightly tarry, smoky, spicy amber sounds gorgeous... I'm drooling. Oops - then I saw the price! :-0

Ah, well, Neil Morris' sample set looks intriguing, too. Thanks! - Emma

2:16 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Because that 30ml would last me a life-time, I sort of didn't balk at the price. But- yay for sample sets, always!

2:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

I came late to the Amber party - until I fell completely in love with Absolu by Rochas. Naturally it's discontinued now!

12:00 AM EDT  
Blogger krnszn said...

In rain and humidity - that real heavy, tropical heat - I'm drawn to heady white florals. Makes me think of being in a jungle, surrounded by lush, heady, intoxicating scents. Recently received a sample of Parfum d'Empire's 3 Fleurs. Wow. It's SO overpowering. Perfect in this August swamp weather! Also love Carnal Flower and Black Orchid Voile de Fleur. Amber's never been my friend...and I have yet to gain an appreciation for it. Perhaps I need to try it in the rain and heat. Would I finally discover a love for it??? I'm afraid, though!

8:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

And I don't even remember Absolu. :-( In fact, nto sure if I tried it. :-(

12:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

yes, totally! Heavy white florals are gorgeous if formidable :-) in hot humidity.

12:31 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Marina,

I have tried Anne Pliska and it isn't quite me either. Thanks for the suggestions, though. Never realized how fussy I am!


1:02 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Fussy is my middle name, so...:-)

1:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Toysrguhd said...

The best thing to do on rainy days is to stay home and make little ambers

11:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I don't like amber jewelry. Prefer pearls. :-)

10:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Why are Italians on the verge of obsession in all that pertains amber scents? It goes back to Roman times, so perhaps. I have an ambivalent relationship with the bewitching effect of amber. Laura Tonatto's is astringent, almost medicinal, and I wore it only on rainy days. L'Artisan's is soft and lazy, and lovely, although a bit masculine. I would need to try Keiko Mecheri, because I simply adore her touch.

12:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Laurinha said...

A few Amber faves: Ambre Sultan, Ambre Fetiche, Eau d'Ambre... and other ambery beauties in disguise.

11:29 AM EDT  

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