Armani Prive Ambre Soie : Perfume Review

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Briullov_fountain

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Armani Prive Ambre Soie conjures a sensation of bittersweet chocolate melting on the skin, as the composition warms up after the initial scattering of sweet and earthy anise notes. It alternates between hot velvety and dry powdery aspects, underscored by cinnamony sweetness.

Created by Christine Nagel in 2004 for Giorgio Armani’s exclusive collection Armani Prive, the composition presents several facets at once. Its sheer darkness is juxtaposed with spice dusted flower petals, without being evident whether one is feeling a sweet bite of clove or peppery warmth of carnation. Creamy, almost lactonic note smoothes sharp spicy edges into a soft mélange. However, there is an element of candy-like sweetness that strikes me as somewhat stilted, lending an opaque quality to the middle notes. It lightens as time goes on, losing the candy-like simplicity and revealing a chocolate touched by incense aspect of benzoin.

Golden effervescence of patchouli and dryness of cedar provide a wooded element to the ambery drydown, however as the fragrance begins to fade, distant echoes of balsamic vanilla resonate through the translucent darkness. It does not have a strong sillage, yet the sensual effect of amber is undeniable. Whereas earlier the composition swirled like melted chocolate, it soon turns into a soft veil, clinging to the skin like wet silk.

Armani Prive Ambre Soie, along with Bois d’Encens, Eau de Jade, and Pierre de Lune, is available at Giorgio Armani boutiques, Saks 5th Avenue, and Harrods in the UK as well as directly from Giorgio Armani website. The presentation is minimalist, yet striking. All four fragrances are intended to be worn by both men and women.

Karl Brulloff. Fountain in Bakhchi-Sarai. Detail. 1849. Oil on canvas. The Pushkin Museum in Moscow, Russia. from abcgallery.com

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31 Comments

  • julien: I once smelled it.
    Of course,it is pleasant and beautiful…even though it hasn’t the same composition as RUSH bu GUCCI,it makes me remember it in its sweet yet kind of horny sensation.
    It is as sweet as a mother’s caress and yet it is warm.
    Beautiful…but the price!my god…And it doesn’t stay that much on skin… 🙁
    kisses,dear. October 12, 2005 at 5:43am Reply

  • Marina: Oh, V, that description sounds so very appealing and I am glad that I have (I beleive) a sample coming…I actually hope that I won’t like it, because the price is prohibitive in the extreme. October 12, 2005 at 9:59am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, it definitely stays very close to the skin, however I think that this aspect makes it more sensual. At any rate, I agree on the price, which is prohibitive. Don’t they sell the sets with all four fragrances in small flacons in France? I see these everynow and then, but I do not think that I like all four enough to obtain a set. I would be happy just with Bois d’Encens and Ambre Soie. October 12, 2005 at 10:04am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, if it is a bit too sweet for my taste, then I think that it will be fine for you, since you can handle much sweeter fragrances than I can. Just be prepared to apply it liberally, because it is a fairly subtle composition once it softens. October 12, 2005 at 10:05am Reply

  • Robin: V, lovely review, I enjoyed trying it although you know amber is not my favorite note. Have they come out with a set of these 4, similar to the Hermes discovery set? I thought I read that maybe they had. October 12, 2005 at 10:19am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, thank you! I see sets of all four on Ebay frequently, however I never followed up on whether US venues carry them as well. Perhaps, the boutiques might. It seems like a very sensible idea. October 12, 2005 at 11:18am Reply

  • mreenymo: Melted chocolate? Did you say melted chocolate, V? lol!

    I have not tried this one, but received a generous sample of the Eau de Jade last year. It was lovely. It reminded me a bit of the all but vanished Oh de London! that was so popular with us girls in the late sixties and early seventies. Unfortunately, Eau de Jade has no lasting power whatsoever. And, at those prices, that’s a crime!

    Hugs! October 12, 2005 at 11:39am Reply

  • Judith (lilybp): I tried this only once, and liked it–but not enough to buy it (it IS sweet). The one I would buy (and WILL buy if only I can find a relatively affordable source) is Bois d’Encens. I thought that was great! October 12, 2005 at 11:59am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, yes, at one point, it has a langurous melted chocolate quality. Lasting power leaves a lot to be desired in the case of Eau de Jade. While Ambre Soie is subtle I notice it throughout the whole day. I wore it last night, and I woke with the traces of it still remaining on the skin. October 12, 2005 at 12:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: J, it is on the sweet side for me as well, however I like the final result enough to put up with the candy-like aspect. Like you, I would say that Bois d’Encens is definitely my favourite of the series. October 12, 2005 at 12:24pm Reply

  • Sisonne: Dear V, Ambre Soie sounds very interesting – I didn´t know that there excist exclusive Armani scents! Of course I´d like to try them, but don´t know where – I´ll start searching 😉
    As you know, I don´t like very sweet fragrances, but today I tested Flowerbomb & the sales lady & I were both surprised that I can wear it & how good it smelt on me, not overly sweet as on the paper stripe. October 12, 2005 at 1:23pm Reply

  • julien: My dear one and only,i have never seen any set to buy at armani’s boutiques.
    Maybe is it not something for France or shall we ask for it before we see it?
    Don’t know… October 12, 2005 at 1:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: C, you are a woman of strong resolve when it comes to discovering new things! 🙂 I am not sure if you might find it too sweet, because it does not have a sharp sugary sweetness, but rather warm richness. I would be curious what you think. October 12, 2005 at 2:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: J, I am not sure. Perhaps, it is something new. If you are at the boutique, perhaps you can ask them. As always, I rely on you as my Paris connection for the latest news! October 12, 2005 at 2:11pm Reply

  • Michel: dear bois de jasmin
    i never try ambre soie because friends of mine said all the armani privé are insignifiant so such negativity deserve a snif so i test them and of course my friends was wrong ,the beauté of
    Bois d’Encens is still present in my mind but my heart goes for Eau de Jade this is so fine, so exquisit, all the good thing of a cologne but in green . . .with a very intime aspect perhaps something old i mean nostalgique ,the natural aspect is incontestable . of course because is concentration this is an egocentrique scent but what a pleasure . . .Pierre de Lune is like an aristhocratic person but very charming but the price , the price 150 euros for 50 ml . . . !
    it’s probably because the flacon : one piece of wood sculpted i know this sort of artisanal technique for limited production is very expensive October 12, 2005 at 2:21pm Reply

  • yann: Christine Nagel did also the Miss Dior Cherie, and the fabulous Eau de Cartier, which in my opinion, inspired a lot the New Mc Queen My Queen
    and Theorema is definitely one of my favorite from Christine, with 2001 roses from Lancome and the amazing Baccarat October 12, 2005 at 2:42pm Reply

  • michelle: Will now have to try this one on my skin. I fell in love with Pierre de Lune… it is especially evocative in the far drydown. Very sensual. In a quiet way. October 12, 2005 at 3:36pm Reply

  • Laura: V, sorry to interrupt. Could you email me at my normal address. I don’t have your email address on the laptop I’m using :(. October 12, 2005 at 4:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Michel, I also prefer to make my own conclusions on the fragrances. I found the series to be interesting, even though with varying interest among fragrances, as usually is expected of these kind of releases. Thank you for sharing your impressions. I really enjoyed reading them. October 12, 2005 at 5:35pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Yann, I also really like Theorema, which interprets spices in a wonderful way, warm, scintillating and very elegant.

    As for the Lancome fragrance, I very much regret its limited edition status. It was one of my favourites from Lancome. I wonder if they are going to bring it back. October 12, 2005 at 5:37pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Michelle, that is how I would characterize Ambre Soie as well, even though it is a bit more explicit. October 12, 2005 at 5:39pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, just emailed you! October 12, 2005 at 5:40pm Reply

  • Karin: I saw these in Harrods this summer. I generously sprayed myself and cards which were put in envelopes, but have little scent left now, or the scents have blended so I can’t tell which is which, though they are labeled. I didn’t have enough time to really decide which of them I loved the best. The bottles have a nice heft to them and are quite substantial. I don’t know that they are anywhere in the States. October 12, 2005 at 8:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Karin, yes, they are sold at any Saks5th Avenue store that carries Armani line. I liked the bottles too, with that minimalist, yet luxe look. October 13, 2005 at 3:50am Reply

  • Karin: Unfortunately my SAKs (about an hour away) does not have the line. I’d even like to see the cosmetics side of the line. October 13, 2005 at 1:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Oh, that is too bad. I wonder if you call NYC Saks for samples. October 13, 2005 at 2:11pm Reply

  • sarcon: The Saks in Chicago carries the line. I was not impressed with the fragrances, none really grabbed me. The bottles even seemed kind of cheap, to me. They look great, but were strangely light-weight. And the “stone” caps seemed to be plastic. My experience with the bottles seems, weirdly, to be the opposite of what Karin describes. October 14, 2005 at 4:21pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Sarcon, the bottle itself is much lighter than what I expected, but I liked the overall presentation nevertheless. Besides Ambre Soie and Bois d’Encens, which were my favourite, I was not as impressed with the other two, probably because they seemed to lack body. However, I need to retry them again. October 14, 2005 at 6:43pm Reply

  • sarcon: yes, they lack body. that’s a perfect way to describe my sense of these fragrances. They were all a little lacking to me, though the 2 you mention were slightly better than the others. The bottles do have a beautiful appearance. October 19, 2005 at 3:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I am keeping my hopes up for the new one though, which is called Amethyst. We shall see what it will turn out to be like. October 19, 2005 at 5:44pm Reply

  • Katie: I really like this perfume March 2, 2007 at 5:47am Reply

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