Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Sweet, warm and delicately animalic aroma of amber is not the only reason why this note is such a popular presence in the modern perfumery. It has an ability to round out other notes, smoothing the progression from one accord to another and fixing more delicate aspects of the composition in place. Its sensuality has a soft quality, which means that amber laden fragrances have a seductive subtlety.
The most beautiful aspects of amber shine in Hermès Ambre Narguilé, which was created in 2004 by Jean-Claude Ellena as a part of Hermèssence range. Like his other amber focused L’Artisan L’Eau d’Ambre, Ambre Narguilé does not merely hint at the idea of amber, but develops it fully. Yet, while being a rich voluptuous note, amber in Ambre Narguilé does not obscure other notes layered over it. It provides a beautiful backdrop against which the radiant and smoky facets of the composition unfold. It is strong, yet delicate, like carved marble screens of Mogul palaces. …
Sheer layers of smoke swirling over a honeyed undercurrent set the stage for the sensation of dark richness, which very much reminds me of cutting into a caramel cake and watching the burned sugar redolent cream drip slowly from the edge. It pairs the dark translucence of honey seeping through the tobacco leaf with a fruity note that lies between a brandied cherry and a baked apple. The composition almost becomes gourmand given the prevalence of dessert associations, from hot apple strudel to besan halwah, Indian roasted chickpea and raisin sweet, however with a brilliant touch of amber, Ambre Narguilé gains an abstract quality. Wooded balsamic tonality of amber both lightens and harmonizes the composition, revealing its seductive side by warming up and softening the final result. Ambre Narguilé conjures visions of wrapping oneself in a cashmere blanket on a cold winter night, while watching the snow fall in the darkness.
Notes include labdanum, benzoin, vanilla, tonka beans, roasted sesame seeds, cinnamon, coumarin, orchid. Hermèssence collection also includes Vétiver Tonka, Rose Ikebana, and Poivre Samarcande. Osmanthe Yunnan with notes of osmanthus, apricot, freesia and tea will be available this month. Available from the New York Hermès boutique located at 691 Madison Ave.
Persian miniature: Nobleman Enjoying Quiet Time With Friends. From www.rubiyat.com/index.html.