Tom Ford Private Blend Amber Absolute : Perfume Review

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Amber_2

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

I knew that Amber Absolute was going to be my favorite from Tom Ford’s Private Blend when, after sampling all twelve fragrances, it stood out in my mind. Returning to my samples again and again, I came to admire two fragrances above all–Amber Absolute and Oud Wood . While the latter is an interesting polished and transparent take on oud, the former is a voluptuous and resinous composition. One can almost feel the heft and the slightly rough texture of raw silk when smelling this dramatic amber. …

While amber commonly tends to refer to the semi-precious fossilized resin, in perfumery, the word refers to an abstraction of the complex odors of ambergris. Rich, animalic, warm and salty, this substance regurgitated by the sperm whale, has been sought after since antiquity for its unique scent. Given its scarcity and high price, amber accords have been devised using materials like labdanum, which approximate the fragrance of ambergris, particularly since purified labdanum contains ambrein, one of the materials that gives ambergris its scent. The classical amber accord in perfumery tends to be sweet and vanillic. The best examples I can offer include Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, L’Artisan Parfumeur L’Eau d’Ambre and Annick Goutal Ambre candle .

In contrast to these sweet ambers that seem to be dripping with honey, Tom Ford Amber Absolute is a much more somber composition. Restrained by large dose of incense, the woody-ambery accord has an appealing dryness. The juxtaposition between the gothic aura of incense and the sensual sumptuousness of the animalic notes produces an interesting effect. As the composition develops, the salty warmth becomes pronounced, lending yet another twist to the resinous and rich Amber Absolute.

Tom Ford Private Blend Amber Absolute includes notes of amber, African incense, labdanum, rich woods, and vanilla bean. The Private Blend scents include Amber Absolute, Noir de Noir, Velvet Gardenia, Black Violet, Tobacco Vanille, Oud Wood, Purple Patchouli, Bois Rouge, Moss Breches, Tuscan Leather, Neroli Portofino and Japan Noir . They are currently available at Bergdorf Goodman.

Photo of silk from High Fashion Fabrics.com.

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18 Comments

  • nattygold: Hi,
    Your description of Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute brought to mind Montale’s Blue Amber. It’s also rather dry,salty and not your typically sweet amber. Did you notice any similarities between the two? April 12, 2007 at 11:28pm Reply

  • Jupiterbelt: Thanks for the review! I really enjoy the rich texture of Black Orchid and I look forward to sampling Amber Absolute.

    I am partial to fragrances with amber: it’s gorgeous when done with nuance! I like Hermès Eau des Merveilles and Narciso Rodriguez For Her as a result.

    Just a quick question: how is crystalline amber different from the classic amber? L’Instant de Guerlain obviously used the crystalline version, but I haven’t figured out the difference yet…

    Thank you for your time and have a great day! J April 13, 2007 at 1:46am Reply

  • chayaruchama: Lovely review, Vika.

    I echo your love of this one- it left me breathless.
    Another that was formidable, was the Velvet Gardenia- so true- to -life
    in rendition.
    I adored Moss Breches [which makes me laugh… ‘Brech’, oyfn Yiddisch, means ‘vomit ‘ !] too.
    Tuscan Leather and Black Violet were pleasant- they ALL were PLEASANT- but those 3 really did it for me.

    I think Mr. Ford will do very, very well with this line. April 13, 2007 at 6:52am Reply

  • chayaruchama: Lovely review, Vika.

    I echo your love of this one- it left me breathless.
    Another that was formidable, was the Velvet Gardenia- so true- to -life
    in rendition.
    I adored Moss Breches [which makes me laugh… ‘Brech’, oyfn Yiddisch, means ‘vomit ‘ !] too.
    Tuscan Leather and Black Violet were pleasant- they ALL were PLEASANT- but those 3 really did it for me.

    I think Mr. Ford will do very, very well with this line. April 13, 2007 at 6:53am Reply

  • March: That’s a lot of scents to release at one time. I haven’t smelled them yet, and of course I’m looking forward to it. Do you have any additional comments about what percentage of these are excellent, merely good, so-so (or whatever category you’d like to use)? April 13, 2007 at 7:15am Reply

  • Elle: This sounds absolutely divine. But *why* must there be so *many*? Praying that I only feel the two you mentioned are essential to my continued existence. April 13, 2007 at 8:08am Reply

  • Marina: Ooooh! Ooooh! And that is all I am capable of saying, as it sounds so wonderful. Do you think Tuscan Leather has my name written on it? 🙂 April 13, 2007 at 9:26am Reply

  • Robin: I have already forgotten which I smelled other than Moss Breches. Have a feeling my wallet will make it through the whole collection unscathed. April 13, 2007 at 11:28am Reply

  • William: I’m very interested in Oud Wood, Bois Rouge, and Noir de Noir. Is there a comprehensive list of notes somewhere yet? April 13, 2007 at 12:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: William, here it is (my posting of March 1st; or go to “News” tab and scroll down):
    http://boisdejasmin.typepad.com/_/2007/03/tom_ford_privat.html April 13, 2007 at 12:40pm Reply

  • William: Thanks Bois! Will you be reviewing them all soon? April 13, 2007 at 1:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I will start doing so, although I admit that I do not care for most of them (save for the two I mentioned in the review as well as Black Violet which is another stunning blend.) This is not to say that the rest are poorly done, but that their aesthetics do not appeal to me. April 13, 2007 at 1:21pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nattygold, I recall that Blue Amber was very dry and woody. I need to compare them side by side, but I would say that Amber Absolute is quite distinct. April 13, 2007 at 1:24pm Reply

  • k-amber: Victoria, thank you for great review. I hope this like is available soon here. After reading this, this sounds to be another favorite amber, a winner!

    Kaori April 14, 2007 at 3:01am Reply

  • Judith: Well, I just got back from NY. I thought the Amber was beautiful, but for some reason it didn’t seem to work so well on my skin. After reading your review, though, I feel that I should give it another chance. The two that worked well on me were the Oud Wood and (to my surprise, b/c I hadn’t yet read Chaya’s comment:) the Moss Breches. April 14, 2007 at 8:16pm Reply

  • chayaruchama: Oh, Judith…
    I’m SO puerile !
    ‘Brechen’, in German, also means ‘to break ‘, but I’m such a baby, all I can do is giggle.
    We could split a bottle, though… April 14, 2007 at 9:58pm Reply

  • Judith: Not making myself clear, Chaya. I meant I wouldn’t have been so surprised that I liked this scent if I had known that you did! The rest was funny, but I have to admit I still don’t understand the name (feeling slow here:). I did buy a bottle, and would be open to splits. . . Of course, now I am craving Oud Wood. April 15, 2007 at 4:30am Reply

  • Vev: I just wanted to compliment you are just a great fragrance blog! Easy to read an comprensive. You are helping me shape my fragrance choices. April 15, 2007 at 9:52am Reply

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