Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux : Perfume Review

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Amber2

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

Whenever I wear Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Précieux and find myself charmed yet again by this sumptuous sweet amber, I wonder why this gem is so rarely mentioned on blogs. Fragrances from Maître Parfumeur et Gantier are well-made and distinctive, and compared to many other niche brands, the price point is very reasonable. Ambre Précieux can hold its own next to many other fancy and not so fancy ambers out there. All comparisons aside, it is a fantastic composition for those—men and women alike–who like their ambers dark, velvety and smoky.

The house of Maître Parfumeur et Gantier was founded by the late Jean-François Laporte, the original creator of L’Artisan Parfumeur. After Laporte’s departure from L’Artisan, he sought to further explore the novel idea of creating fragrances based around a single note or accord. The boldness of his Tubéreuse or Jardin Blanc, the dark bitterness of Route du Vétiver or the austere elegance of Santal Noble are closer to Serge Lutens’ fantasies than to the meek and bland “single note” ideas proliferating in today’s niche perfumery.

Ambre Précieux was created in 1988. It is a classical sweet amber composition, with strong accents of oriental balsamic notes and vanilla. The heft of amber is lightened by the surprising embellishment of herbal notes in which lavender dominates. The development of Ambre Précieux is fairly linear, but the layers of other notes used to foil the amber make wearing it a pleasure. As the lush sweetness of amber begins to form, the smoky darkness of incense and the tangy richness of animalic notes appear as well. This brocaded effect persists well into the drydown, where the woody and resinous notes are laced by vanilla. The sweetness nevertheless is moderate, which makes Ambre Précieux easy to wear.

Unlike opaque, power house ambers like Tom Ford Amber Absolute or Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe, Ambre Précieux has a pleasantly dry character. It is still a rich oriental composition, as one might expect from a classical amber, but the heavy elements are nicely balanced with aromatic, bright notes. The use of incense puts it closer to Annick Goutal Ambre Fétiche, while the herbal accents recall Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan. I doubt that one would need a bottle in their collection if one loves and wears the aforementioned fragrances, but amber addicts are always on the look-out for something new. And Ambre Précieux is certainly worth exploring!

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Précieux includes the notes of myrtle, amber, vanilla, nutmeg, ambergris, peru balsam, and tolu. It is available from Luckyscent, Aedes, Beautyhabit, The Perfume Shoppe, Fourseasonsproducts. 100ml, $120.

Sample: my own acquisition

Photograph of amber resin from wikipedia commons.

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20 Comments

  • Austenfan: I find this to be such an elegant amber. It wears quite lightly for an amber as well.
    Other MPG’s I like are Fleurs des Comores, Racine and Tubéreuse. But I have only smelled a few so far.
    Thanks for another excellent review! November 30, 2011 at 6:44am Reply

  • Suzanna: I haven’t smelled this in years and need to reinvestigate! This great review makes me want to acquire a sample pronto, even though I have AS (and a bottle of amber paste).

    Whenever I go to Miami, I pull out the Fraiche Passiflore. December 1, 2011 at 7:00am Reply

  • Alyssa: I tred this line early in my perfume life and couldn’t get past the heaviness, the just plain oddness that seemed to characterize the line. I’m sure that would read differntly to me now after another five years of serious sniffing. Must revisit! December 1, 2011 at 8:47am Reply

  • Erin T: I love this one. I don’t wear a lot of ambers – or orientals, in general, actually – but along with Armani Ambre Soie and Ambre Sultan, this is one I feel great affection for and manage to wear occasionally. December 1, 2011 at 11:03am Reply

  • Susan: MPG really is a great line. I am lucky because a shop in Austin carries it, so it’s more accessible to me. Honestly, I wonder if the problem is MPG hasn’t really had a blogger advocate. If people like you start writing about it, more people may give it a shot! Also with the sad passing of M. Laporte more people may explore the line. December 1, 2011 at 11:33am Reply

  • Memoryofscent.wordpress.com: Ambre Precieux is THE amber for me. MPG is one of my favourite houses. I haven’t got around writing about it yet though. It seems that the house has a noble policy of not targeting bloggers (which I admire) but I have also found from personal experience out that it can be needlessly defensive. Anyway there will be a lot more about MPG coming from me. December 1, 2011 at 2:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: Fleurs des Comores was one of the first niche fragrances I’ve smelled. I still have a soft spot for it. December 1, 2011 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, this makes me want to revisit Fraiche Passiflore! December 1, 2011 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: The only thing I dislike about MPG is the packaging. Those huge, bulky bottles drive me mad. However, I know that many like it. December 1, 2011 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: Ambre Soie and Ambre Sultan are the ambers I wear most frequently too. Ambre Fetiche is another one. December 1, 2011 at 3:33pm Reply

  • Victoria: As Memoryofscent says, they do not really do any significant online marketing. Maybe, that’s the reason. I seem to find out about their new launches months after they happen, and I mostly read online trade publications and blogs. December 1, 2011 at 3:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: Needlessly defensive is a trait that niche marketing managers have to eliminate. Nothing is more off-putting!

    I look forward to reading your reviews! December 1, 2011 at 3:38pm Reply

  • Nina Z: Any chance you could tell me which shop in Austin has them? I visit there occasionally (and no shop where I live carries this line). I would love to smell this amber. December 1, 2011 at 7:58pm Reply

  • Memoryofscent.wordpress.com: I guess with some bloggers following a needlessly aggressive marketing strategy some defensive mechanisms are justified. I believe however that being open is a strategy that pays off. Le Labo is the only house (to my knowledge) that has officially admitted to and explained reformulation. I think this is an example for all perfumers. December 2, 2011 at 2:41am Reply

  • Erda: No stars at all for this, Victoria?
    I have this but don’t wear it often: like many ambers, it often wears me. But I will give it a try again now that the weather is (finally!) getting cooler. December 2, 2011 at 8:32am Reply

  • Victoria: I just forgot to add the html for stars! Thank you for catching it.
    Ambers wear me too, almost all of them, so I know exactly what you mean. Which is why I usually pull them whenever it turns cooler. December 2, 2011 at 8:37am Reply

  • Memoryofscent.wordpress.com: I have the same problem with ambers and Ambre Sultan is my perfume nemesis. Ambre Precieux is completely different. Do try it! December 2, 2011 at 8:43am Reply

  • noisome: Actually a few years back, before The Great Niche Explosion, this was one of the most mentioned ambers, along with Ambre Sultan. Articles like yours and really, countless, posts of praise are signs that it has stood the test of time. MPG’s is often listed in the top 2 or 3 lists of people’s favorite ambers.

    As to MPG and their press – novelty seems to be the word of the moment. Crank em out crankem out crank em out if you want to be noticed these days. December 2, 2011 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: So true! Often I find myself being unable to keep with the new releases, not to mention trying to revisit the older launches on regular basis. Yet, with more new fragrances being completely forgettable, I more and more gravitate towards the old favorites. December 2, 2011 at 2:06pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Nina, they are downtown, here: http://www.enchanteonline.com/pages/guides/enchanteonlineabout.htm

    And Susan–we should say hello to one another sometime. I’m in Austin! December 2, 2011 at 2:19pm Reply

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