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.