Top 10 Amber Fragrances for Fall

Amber perfumes are some of the most popular choices for cool weather, and today Patricia explores various options, from light to dark, from simple to complex.

Ambers are crowd pleasers, the Golden Retrievers of the perfume world, ready to encompass you with a warm, furry greeting and a wag of the metaphorical tail. Granted, some are easier to love than others, and there is always someone who would rather not, but generally speaking the amber aims to please. Here are some of my favorites.

beert1

Amber for Beginners

My “starter” amber fragrance was the easy-to-wear L’Eau Ambrée by Prada.  With mandarin, rose, and jasmine to sweeten the way, I happily wore it until the patchouli drydown started to grate on me. I graduated to the warm and beautiful L’Ambre des Merveilles by Hermès, and its sweet caramel vanilla seems perfect for the cooler months. It reminds me of Prada Candy, but I much prefer its greater complexity. Every September I reach for the stunning starry bottle turned on its side.

If you want a light amber for the warmer months, look no further than Ambre Nuit by Christian Dior. No sillage monster, its citrus opening quickly morphs into a soft blend of rose, amber, and pink pepper that stays close to the skin and delights all day long. I also find Ambre Nue by Atelier Cologne easy to wear. It opens with a pleasant, realistic mandarin orange note, joined after several minutes by cinnamon and marigold. Its name is somewhat misleading, however, as amber is only one of many notes, and I find myself wanting more.

The Intermediate Level

More complex, but just as wearable and perhaps my favorite amber, is Histoires de Parfums Ambre 114. With a spicy opening of nutmeg, warm sandalwood soon follows with the addition of patchouli and vetiver. Although the fragrance isn’t sweet, I do get some floral rose and geranium in the drydown. It is so well blended and balanced, the varied notes swirl around you like the first warm breeze in spring after a hard winter.

Another winner among the blended ambers is Nobile 1942’s Ambra Nobile, with its mix of warm amber, licorice, and sandalwood. I have only a tiny vial of this and want more. Lovers of lavender will appreciate Ambre Précieux by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier. The lavender opens the show, but is immediately followed by nutmeg, vanilla, and a delicious balsamic amber. I can even forgive this perfume its ugly red bottle with the hideously huge bejeweled cap.

boel

Bring in the Big Guns

King of the hill must certainly be Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan. It opens big, with a large throw of balsamic amber tempered with herbs and spices. Coriander, bay leaf, and oregano lead in the slightly astringent opening, but the drydown is a pure syrupy powder delight. This one requires the right frame of mind, as it is not an everyday sort of fragrance, and commitment, as it easily lasts all day.

Parfum d’Empire brings us Ambre Russe, which not surprisingly has a hefty dose of vodka in its opening, followed by a smoky tea with cinnamon and leather. This is another powerhouse that needs to be sparingly applied, and it is not for the faint of heart, though it may make yours beat a bit faster. My favorite of this group is Annick Goutal’s Ambre Fétiche, with its stunning composition of amber, incense, leather, and vanilla. It’s definitely a good one for wearing (one spray only, please) by the fire on a crisp autumn evening.

Do you enjoy ambers? What are some of your favorites in this category?

For other lists of autumnal favorite, please visit Now Smell This and The Non-Blonde.

Flemish artists render the amber shades exceptionally well, hence two still lifes to accompany today’s post. The first one is by Osias Beert The Elder (1580 – 1623/24). The second is by Peter Boel (1622-1674).

Extra reading: Amber/Labdanum and Ambergris perfume notes.

Subscribe

149 Comments

  • annemarie: Ambers tend to be too dense and/or sweet for me. I’ve never really got past L’Ambres des Merveilles, which has many of the qualities of the classic amber but is like a scarf in the finest wool: gentle and floaty but still warm and comfortable. It’s an amber paired back to the greatest simplicity an amber can attain, I think. September 18, 2015 at 7:59am Reply

    • Patricia: I love L’Ambre des Merveilles, annemarie, and totally agree with your comparison of it to a lightweight wool scarf, combining sheerness and warmth. This is one of my HG fragrances that I’ll never be without! September 18, 2015 at 11:04am Reply

    • Bea: What a lovely description of my favourite fall scent, Annemarie! I agree with everything. September 18, 2015 at 1:53pm Reply

    • Malmaison: Yes, that’s it exactly. Perfect, comforting – coincidentally I wore it to bed last night and can still smell it around me like the softest of throws. September 18, 2015 at 3:56pm Reply

      • annemarie: Yes, it lasts and projects well, just as an amber should. Its weightlessness does not mean that it flits off your skin in less than an hour. Technically, L’Ambre is a marvel. September 18, 2015 at 5:17pm Reply

    • Kirstyn: I agree! Prada Candy is fun for the milky caramel feel, but L’Ambre is that with spice and woodsy depth! It is so great for the fall. I am a teacher, and I had a student who was convinced the dry down on L’Ambre smells like “sweet milk”, which cracked me up. September 23, 2015 at 2:03pm Reply

      • Patricia: It does have that creamy warmth!

        Thanks for posting, Kirstyn, and best of luck in the school year. You teachers work hard. 🙂 September 24, 2015 at 7:30am Reply

  • rainboweyes: I’ve never had amber-themed scent in my perfume wardrobe but I’m considering buying a bottle of Byredo 1996 this winter. What place would it have in your amber scent categories? September 18, 2015 at 8:04am Reply

    • Patricia: I haven’t tried Byredo 1996, rainboweyes, so perhaps another reader could chime in here with a comment about it. The only Byredos that I’ve samples are Bal d’Afrique and Gypsy Water, which I didn’t like and Flowerhead, which I did like (but not enough to buy). September 18, 2015 at 11:13am Reply

    • Jennifer C: I don’t know where it would fall in the categories exactly, but I really like 1996. It starts out with a cool and peppery top with a gin-like note, then it segues into an iris-infused amber that to me smells like amber and makeup.

      One day when I was wearing it, I went to Starbucks, and while I was at the counter, one of the baristas commented to the other that someone smelled like nag champa incense. I didn’t say anything, but I feel reasonably certain it was me, since I was standing right there. And I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but I realized I kind of did smell like nag champa incense. September 18, 2015 at 4:14pm Reply

    • Walt: Another enthusiastic vote for 1996. For me it does the amber and iris combo even better than Ambre Fetiche (which I also own and enjoy). Amouage Opus VI is pretty good too. September 21, 2015 at 12:16pm Reply

      • Patricia: I haven’t tried the Amouage Opus VI either! But it sounds like the 1996 is not to be missed. 🙂 September 21, 2015 at 5:52pm Reply

  • Caroline: Like annemarie, have frequently found amber too dense, sweet or cloying. But my gateway in this genre has been TC’s Alahine, which I’ve grown to love. Perhaps the florals give it more air, or my tastes are just evolving. Last year I was on the fence about L’Ambre des Merveilles, so I look forward to giving it another shot. Will also sample Ambre Nue–thanks for the suggestions. September 18, 2015 at 8:17am Reply

    • Patricia: Alahine is another amber fragrance that I must try, especially since I generally like floral ambers. Please let us know what you think of Ambre Nue! September 18, 2015 at 11:17am Reply

    • Mariann: Mine too! I love Alahine but can only wear it in cooler weather. September 19, 2015 at 11:50am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Ambers are not my favourites, but I love Ambre Sultan. I wear it not often, it must not become too familiar. It is such a special, solemn perfume.
    I like Ambre Précieux and my amber of ambers is Shalimar (i own the edp). September 18, 2015 at 8:17am Reply

    • Patricia: Shalimar is so lovely, but since it is the SS of a dear friend, I leave it to her to wear. I can only wear Ambre Sultan on occasion as well, mostly because it makes such a powerful statement. September 18, 2015 at 11:20am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Those still levens are so beautiful…i like that kind of paintings especially with oysters, a lemon and a cool glass of white wine..mmmm!
    Always salivating in the Rijksmuseum. September 18, 2015 at 8:20am Reply

    • Patricia: Aren’t they gorgeous? (Thanks to Victoria for choosing them.) September 18, 2015 at 11:20am Reply

    • brenda: This has very little to do with scents – just to say my husband and I once spent a day at the Rijksmuseum – our first times(s)…and it was so moving to me, I will never forget it. We are from a prairie city in Canada and that museum became our gateway to committing to hunt out a museum-almost everywhere we travel. Though funds were not a plenty, we scrounged a bit of cash together to buy a large Rembrandt, Jerimah (sp?) which still hangs in our living room – giving much pleasure even after many years. Though I can’t remember for certain, I think it may have been in my Oscar de la Renta days, or even Anais Anais. Thanks for the mention of such a lovely museum…. September 18, 2015 at 5:52pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Brenda! That must have been before the restauration of the museum. It was not so spacious then, and more attention to the paintings and less to the building.
        Rembrandt was a genius, wasn’t he? I understand that you were deeply impressed. We had a big exhibition this year, ”De Late Rembrandt”..paintings from his last years. His art fully developped.
        My favourite from the Rijksmuseum is De Staalmeesters. Such a pity they hanged it in a too low position.
        Did you see the Pieter de Hooch paintings as well? So quiet, so intimate.. I love him even better than the fabulous Vermeer!
        Greetings from Amsterdam! September 19, 2015 at 12:32pm Reply

  • Sandra: Great article
    Thank you for sharing your favorites.
    I am looking forward to the fall season. September 18, 2015 at 8:50am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks, Sandra! I hope you will sample an amber or two along the way :). September 18, 2015 at 11:21am Reply

  • Natalia: I love ambers, my favourite classic is vintage Coco, modern with a delicious cherry accent – Ambre Narguile by Hermenessence and not sweet at all but reminding me of a real piece of ambergris – Tom Ford Rive’d Ambre.

    I also like Amber Ylang Ylang by EL but I find it too linear ) September 18, 2015 at 9:00am Reply

    • Patricia: How did I not mention Coco? It was a signature scent of mine back before I owned too many perfumes to be monogomous! Deeply sweet with that cherry note you mention, it always reminded me of cherry cola.

      Thanks for sharing your other favorites, Natalia. 🙂 September 18, 2015 at 11:25am Reply

  • Lynley: I have and love quite a few of those happy amber pups you mention! 🙂 I would also add Kalemat for fruity amber, Armani/Prive for nuclear amber- this one is so dense it’s like being under the weight of allll your thick, fluffy winter blankets at once! And my favouritist amber ever (yes i made that word up) MPG Ambre Dore. It’s an amber oud but the creaminess of the amber mellows the oud and it becomes this light but creamy, not too sweet, utter delight. My biggest fault with ambers is that that is all they are- there’s not too many surprises. Having a slight oudy twist makes it, for me, far more interesting and enjoyable. September 18, 2015 at 9:21am Reply

    • Patricia: MPG Ambre Dore sounds very interesting with its oudy surprise. I’m so enamored of Ambre Précieux, that I haven’t looked further in the MPG line. But you have awakened my curiosity, and I’m eager to try it. Thanks for all your suggestions! September 18, 2015 at 11:31am Reply

    • Tati: Sounds wonderful, I fill have to try. I liked Kilian Amber Oud, but it disappeared too fast for the price. I wonder if the Ambre Dore is drier? September 19, 2015 at 5:40pm Reply

  • Angela: I have to be in the mood to wear a big Amber fragrance, but in addition to Ambre Sultan, I sometimes wear the original Lagerfeld for men (same bottle, but not the one that is sold today and labelled ‘classic’). I was introduced to Lagerfeld in college in 1985. My now husband wore it then. September 18, 2015 at 9:22am Reply

    • Angela: Forgot to add that IMO shalimar Eau de cologne in the disc bottle is like a light gateway Amber; to my nose it’s more bergamot and the dry down isn’t powdery or dry or sweet in the same way as the more modern renditions, September 18, 2015 at 9:24am Reply

    • Patricia: I’m sure you have many happy memories associated with it. Has it changed much since 1985? September 18, 2015 at 11:33am Reply

  • briony hey: I’m surprised I haven’t got more ambers. Thinking about my (too large) perfume collection at home the only two I can recall are Ambre Narguile and Divine’s Etre Aime. But they’re two I absolutely adore and you’ve just reminded me – I need to give them a wearing. September 18, 2015 at 9:28am Reply

    • Patricia: Sometimes with a large collection, a reminder is needed to pull out forgotten favorites! Thanks for sharing yours. September 18, 2015 at 11:35am Reply

  • Nancy Adornato: As the weather cools, I reach for both the Hermes and Lutens in my collection – never let me down! September 18, 2015 at 9:29am Reply

    • Patricia: Yes, they could be considered the gold standard of ambers! September 18, 2015 at 11:36am Reply

  • Karen: I love love love amber and was thrilled to receive a large sample of Ambre Sultan amongst other treasures from Limegreen. As I’ve commented before, years ago I wore an amber oil – the very exotic Tunisian Amber from the local food co-op. I can’t wait to try some of those listed in your article and in comments, and Lynley’s mention of Ambre Dore sounds wonderful.

    As the nights get cooler, wrapping up in a big shawl, looking at the stars while enveloped in a cloud of earthy sweetness sounds perfect! September 18, 2015 at 9:34am Reply

    • limegreen: It only seemed like a large sample because a little of Ambre Sultan goes a LONG way! 🙂
      Lucky you that you have amber wearing weather where a blanket is needed! September 18, 2015 at 10:16am Reply

      • Karen: Yes, the nights have been so nice and cool, very refreshing! September 18, 2015 at 3:21pm Reply

    • Patricia: Another amber lover! And what a great description of your perfect night star-watching. 🙂 September 18, 2015 at 12:28pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I love ambers although surprisingly I’m not smitten with Golden Retrievers; perfectly lovely dogs, but I guess I like dogs with a bit more of a mind of their own.
    The only ambers that I’m not very familiar with are the light ones in your post. I think I tried Ambre des Merveilles at some point but can’t remember it well.
    I share your enthusiasm for Ambre Précieux (and yes the bottle is ugly!) Ambre 114, Sultan, Fétiche and Russe. I own (partial) bottles of the last 3 and am still dithering on whether I can justify the purchase of another amber. That would be a choice between the HdP and MGP amber.
    Great post! September 18, 2015 at 9:51am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks, Austenfan! It was fun going through my collection of bottles and decants and pulling out my favorite ambers in anticipation of fall, my favorite season.

      You have a difficult choice ahead of you. Personally, I’d go with the Ambre 114, as I love sandalwood and am not a huge fan of lavender. But if you love lavender…. September 18, 2015 at 11:44am Reply

      • Austenfan: There is the snag, I adore lavender but I don’ t want another big bottle. September 19, 2015 at 4:56am Reply

        • Patricia: I share that feeling! I haven’t bought a new bottle in quite some time now. September 19, 2015 at 10:18am Reply

  • Richpot: Rania J’s Ambre Loup is magnificent! September 18, 2015 at 10:01am Reply

  • Richpot: Also Kalemat Amber Oil. September 18, 2015 at 10:02am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks, Richpot, for your suggestions! September 18, 2015 at 11:44am Reply

  • OperaFan: I once had a nasty encounter at the opera with a woman wearing a mega-dose of the strongest, sweetest amber perfume I ever encountered. I’ve been wary of amber-centric fragrances ever since.
    I can’t separate amber from the category of Orientals, so will name Coco, Shalimar, and Alahine that come to mind as my favorites. If I can wear just one, Coco would be it. September 18, 2015 at 10:21am Reply

    • Patricia: As I mentioned above, I adore Coco and would happily wear it (a small spritz only!) to the opera.

      Once I overapplied Teatro alla Scala by Krizia before going to symphony and was so mortified I couldn’t enjoy the program. That never happened again! September 18, 2015 at 11:47am Reply

  • Wendy: My dearest and most favorite Amber is Laurent Mazzone’s Ambre Muscadine. When the weather cools and my tastes turn to smoky teas and red wine, cashmere sweaters and snuggling in, I bring out this scent. The sweetness of the amber is balanced , in my opinion, by a musk reminiscent of Luten’s Kublai Khan…animalic and grownup.
    The notes are : Mount Atlas cedar, vetiver Java, violet, Madagascar vanilla absolute, white honey, Siam benzoin, amber, and musk.
    The epitome of a comforting scent, but sexy, and rich with promises of more than simple comfort. September 18, 2015 at 10:21am Reply

    • Patricia: Wow! That sounds like some perfume, Wendy, to be worn at one’s own risk 🙂 . September 18, 2015 at 11:49am Reply

  • Daisy: I reach for Ormonde Jayne Tolu ….amber at its heart and it feels like a great big furry sweater or blanket wrapped around me. And then, my go to is L’occitane Amber, sadly discontinued. My perfume friend and me just adore the sweet little metal lid. Thanks for the list, looking forward to trying a few of them this fall. September 18, 2015 at 10:22am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks for your suggestions, Daisy! I must have Tolu in my OJ sampler…. September 18, 2015 at 11:50am Reply

  • limegreen: I went through an amber phase — my starter amber was Jo Malone Amber and Lavender, so emphasis on “starter” because I discovered that most amber fragrances are quite different than this! I also discovered L’Occitane Ambre before it was discontinued, and this is more like diet Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. Later on I “graduated” to Ambre Sultan, but my loudest amber is Bond No. 9 New York Amber. I can’t wear this without my sweaters and scarves smelling like it for weeks.

    Thanks for the good read, a great post as always! I now have something from the Histoires line to try — for me, looking at all these indistinct bottles on the shelf, it’s hard to know which one to pick up and test.
    You reminded me to dig out my sample of Merveilles and to try it again, especially in this weather. Like austenfan, don’t remember it all that well. September 18, 2015 at 10:28am Reply

    • limegreen: I had a “starter” set of all the Prada amber minis with all the name variations of ambre and l’eau, and I could not really tell them apart! September 18, 2015 at 10:34am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks, limegreen! I think you will really like Ambre 114, and please let us know what you think if you try it.

      I haven’t tried Bond No. 9 New York Amber, but I believe that most fragrances in this line are currently being offered on Haute Look for very good prices. September 18, 2015 at 11:58am Reply

  • Michaela: Golden Retrievers of the perfume world! How funny!
    Tonight I’m going to sample Ambre Nue. I remember I put the sample aside in the heat of the summer to try later.
    I love Shalimar. I sampled and liked L’Occitaine Eau des Baux. I like very much a sweet Middle Eastern amber called Raghba of Lattafa Perfumes (the same as Scentstory 24 Gold for me). If Chopard Cashmir is amber, I love it too, sometimes. I mean to sample many ambers, thank you for this excellent post! September 18, 2015 at 10:59am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Michaela. If you are used to the Middle Eastern ambers, Ambre Nue may seem very tame to you! September 18, 2015 at 12:01pm Reply

      • Michaela: I sampled Amber Nue and it’s gorgeous. Very delicate and airy compared to Middle Eastern sweet, heavy ambers, indeed. But I feel Amber Nue so easy to wear, a perfect daytime fragrance for autumn, and I appreciate it’s longlasting. I like it very much. September 21, 2015 at 5:47am Reply

  • DelRae: love Fall … am partial to parfums DelRae’s Bois de Paradis. September 18, 2015 at 11:11am Reply

    • Gretchen: that is a delightful bottle of mine. The one and only fragrance I’ve worn that anyone ever commented on – positively, I’d add! September 18, 2015 at 12:01pm Reply

    • Patricia: A lovely fragrance! I just wore Wit yesterday, as it is still quite warm here. September 18, 2015 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Ayesha: Soulle Amber by Floris is a soft and harmonious scent. Like comfort food, something you never tire of. September 18, 2015 at 11:13am Reply

    • Patricia: Nice! Rice pudding, maybe? September 18, 2015 at 12:22pm Reply

  • Trudy: Amber is a fragrance road I’ve never traveled but I’ve been curious about. To be honest, I’m not sure I could identify amber in a fragrance. I’m going to try the Prada. I like Hermes Eau des Merveilles so I will check out the amber version. Love the post and all the suggestions and comments. September 18, 2015 at 11:14am Reply

    • Patricia: Glad you enjoyed the post, Trudy! The comments provided so many additional favorites, that my amber sampling days are far from over. 🙂 September 18, 2015 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Anne Sheffield: I love Amber. But if it s too strong it doesn’t seam to work for me. Amber sultan never quieten down on me unfortunately.
    My favourite Amber is L eau d ambre by Artisan Parfumer. It s very cosy, very comforting and yet very elegant. September 18, 2015 at 11:45am Reply

    • Patricia: I go back and forth loving light ambers and then wanting something a bit more substantive. I’ve only heard good things about L’eau d’Ambre by L’Artisan Parfumeur, and you make it sound very appealing. Thanks for commenting! September 18, 2015 at 12:32pm Reply

  • snowyowl: Soothing, comforting, deep and whole. I also crave amber this time of year, thanks for this excellent post! I will check out some of yours which I’ve never tried.
    My faves and recommendations would be By Kilian Amber Oud (profound, rich, smoky, pure) I feel like a queen wearing this; Lubin Akkad and Korrigan are not to be missed. Of course, Shalimar is the classic go-to also. September 18, 2015 at 11:58am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks, snowyowl. I will check out some of yours, especially the Kiliam Amber Oud as I would love to feel like a queen! September 18, 2015 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Gretchen: Ambers have tended to be my favorites, but I fear they’re getting strong competition from chypres and incense as I get older. My favorite ambers are Alahine, Shalimar, Ambre 114, and Ambre Aurea. Sonoma Scent Studio’s Winter Woods is also a joy, and I like Le Labo Labdanum 18 once in awhile as well. Coco was a favorite back in the 90s, but haven’t worn it since. September 18, 2015 at 11:59am Reply

    • Patricia: The incense, amber, and myhrr listed as notes in Ambra Aurea (by Profumum Roma) are calling my name. Something in the base of SSS fragrances doesn’t agree with my skin, but I’m interested in the Le Labo Labdanum 18. Isn’t it a bit difficult to come by though?

      Thanks so much for commenting, Gretchen! September 18, 2015 at 12:39pm Reply

  • Alicia: I am afraid that know amber much better in jewelry than in fragrances, but the little I know I love. Coco has been for a long time now a beloved winter companion. On occasion I wear the opulent Ambre Sultan. By Kilian Amber Oudh is one of the few ouds I can smell with pleasure. Besides my familiar Coco, the amber I enjoy the most is Tauer L’Air du Désert Marocain, for me a unique fragrance. September 18, 2015 at 12:03pm Reply

    • Patricia: Does the cumin in L’Air du Désert Marocain bother you, Alicia? Though I must admit that I haven’t tried this one in years, I remember it as being rather heavy on the cumin.

      By Kilian Amber Oudh has risen to the top of my sample list. So many commenters have praised it here today. 🙂 September 18, 2015 at 12:46pm Reply

      • Alicia: Patricia, nothing bothers me in L’Air du Désert Marocain. I confess that I don’t remember it as particularly rich in cumin, instead I recall well the cumin note in another fragrance which I also love, Jungle l’Elephant by Kenzo, and it certainly didn’t bother me at all. Rich in spices as it is, Tauer’s creation is extraordinarily radiant. It is that radiance what persists in my memory, and what I love. September 18, 2015 at 3:29pm Reply

        • Patricia: Thanks, Alicia. I’ll need to check my samples to see if I still have a vial of LAdDM. My tastes have changed so much since I first started sampling. I might very well love this now. That happened to me with L’Ombre dans L’Eau, once shunned and now a huge favorite. September 18, 2015 at 6:13pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: These are all great ambers. I would add Hermes Ambre Narguile, yummy, and Teo Cabanel’s Barkhane, a deep resinous amber that lasts many hours. A wonderful amber. September 18, 2015 at 12:27pm Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you for your suggestion of Barkhane. I’ve never heard it mentioned before. Another one for the sample list! September 18, 2015 at 12:57pm Reply

  • marini: I wait all summer to pull out my ambers. I have them all, from the almost sickly sweet amber of Laura Mercier’s Amber Velvet to Amber Aurea, and my newest, Fiori di Ambre by the same company. Profumum, I believe. My beloved wears Amber Russe, which on him, is simply divine. He has women coming up to him all the time, wanting to sniff him. And BTW, the longevity of Amber Aurea, which I put on a wool sweater I bought in Alaska, lasted for MONTHS. Insane longevity, if you like that sort of thing… September 18, 2015 at 12:29pm Reply

    • Patricia: I can imagine that Amber Russe would be terrific on a man, though all the attention it generates must get a little annoying for you!

      And isn’t is amazing how tenacious amber fragrances are? They last forever on clothing, whereas florals seem to fade rather quickly. September 18, 2015 at 12:52pm Reply

  • Mer: I love amber but it must be balsamic, not too sweet, L’Ambre des Merveilles is too much for me. I can do as sweet as Anonimo Veneziano (more oriental) and my favourite amber is of course Ambre Sultan.

    Ambre Russe sounds great, and so does Rive d’Ambre mentioned above by Natalia, I must try them. September 18, 2015 at 12:43pm Reply

    • Patricia: Let us know what you think once you try them, Mer.

      I love the sweet ambers, but they can begin to get cloying after awhile, so it is good to have a range including some dry ambers. (At least that is what I tell myself!) September 18, 2015 at 12:55pm Reply

  • Claire: I was feeling left out of the Amber love, especially following my comment yesterday about ubiquitous Amber Vanilla Woods dry-downs. But I love Coco, a winter classic for me, and I swooned when I received a sample of By Kilian Amber Oud (I love BK Rose Oud as well). I think I will have to try more! I have some tiny perfume containers I bought in India which were carved out of betel nut and filled with a solid crystaline Amber mixture. The Killian Oud was completely reminiscent of that concoction. I wonder if they really contained Oud and Amber in some form! The fragrance is long gone, but the containers absorbed the oils and are still somewhat fragrant. Thank you Patricia. Maybe I will find more Ambers to love. I love spicy fragrances and spices certainly seem to be good partners with Amber. September 18, 2015 at 12:59pm Reply

    • Patricia: So many commenters have mentioned the BK Amber Oud that I really must try it (along with Ambra Aurea).

      But I really wish I could have a tiny perfume container carved out of betel nut and filled with crystallized amber! What a mini treasure. September 19, 2015 at 10:25am Reply

  • Claire: Can Antoine recommend more Amber fragrances similar to By Kilian Amber Oud, and maybe at a better price point? Would BK Rose Oud be considered an Amber fragrance? September 18, 2015 at 1:15pm Reply

  • Claire: Any One NOT Antoine! September 18, 2015 at 1:16pm Reply

    • Karen: Ha ha ha – I was just about to scroll up and look for Antoine’s comment! September 18, 2015 at 6:23pm Reply

    • Patricia: Though we’d be happy to hear from Antoine, should he want to comment! 😉 September 19, 2015 at 10:25am Reply

  • Aurora: ‘The Golden Retriever of the perfume world’ made me laugh a lot… and so true. I really loved reading your 10 top ambers Victoria. I have l’Eau Ambree and like it very much, I tested Ambre des Merveilles (from the traveling sample box) which I found very good even though l’Elixir for its sticky, salty edge is my favorite of the series. I also know Ambre Fetiche thanks to the generosity of Hamamelis, a majestic perfume, and I’ve never tried Ambre Sultan, Ambre 114 and Ambre Precieux, all three go on my sample list. You’ve already referred to Tocade in the Autumnal Lists post and here is another classic giving me lots of amber: Sublime.

    The illustrations are beautiful as always, I didn’t know these two painters, thank you! September 18, 2015 at 2:23pm Reply

    • Patricia: Glad you enjoyed the article, Aurora (and my rather sad attempt at a joke)! September 18, 2015 at 6:20pm Reply

  • Aurora: So, sorry Elisa, again thank you for an inspiring list, and thank you Victoria for the illustrations. September 18, 2015 at 2:26pm Reply

  • Aurora: What’s wrong with me today: Patricia!!, I get it right at last! so sorry for confusing names twice! September 18, 2015 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Patricia: Ha! You gave me a good laugh 🙂 .

      My now-departed mother-in-law used to go through at least four or five names before she hit on the right one! September 18, 2015 at 6:17pm Reply

  • Pixel: Love ambers, though I’m not sure about the comparison to golden retrievers, lol. I’ll second or third or fourth the recommendation for Profumum Ambra Aurea (ferocious tenacity). And Kalemat. And Armani Prive Ambre Soie, a sophisticated ‘boardroom’ scent. Also have to tip the hat to Tom Ford Amber Absolute, recently re-issued, another powerhouse amber. And CBIHP Ambrosius for a raucous good time. September 18, 2015 at 3:28pm Reply

    • Patricia: They’ve reissued Amber Absolute?? I hope it hasn’t been massively reformulated.

      Thank you for adding some new names to our amber soup, Pixel! September 18, 2015 at 6:22pm Reply

      • Pixel: The new Amber Absolute smells the same as my old decant. Yum. September 18, 2015 at 8:37pm Reply

        • Patricia: Happiness… September 19, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

  • MikasMinion: Ambers are one of my favorite categories. My favorites are Ambre Russe, O Hira (if I could afford more than samples I’d be in heaven), Alahine, Barkhane (for all ten seconds before it disappears), Ambress by Anya’s Garden, SSS Ambre Noir, Ambre Sultan, and Mitzah. I’m sure there are more I just can’t think of at the moment, but these are my most worn. September 18, 2015 at 3:57pm Reply

    • Patricia: Ah, Mitzah. I didn’t include it in my list since it is discontinued, unless they are bringing that one back, too! Now, wouldn’t that be nice? September 18, 2015 at 6:25pm Reply

      • Pixel: Mitzah is back too. It was available for a few weeks in late August/early Sept; their website now says it is ‘momentarily unavailable’, you can sign up to be notified when it’s back in stock again. September 18, 2015 at 8:39pm Reply

        • Patricia: I have a honking big bottle, but I’m glad that it’s available for others! September 19, 2015 at 10:27am Reply

    • elisa p: Glad to see SSS Ambre Noir. It’s almost the only amber I need. September 19, 2015 at 11:01am Reply

  • Annikky: Most of the time, amber doesn’t do it for me. Paradoxically, the ones I do like are the big ones – your last three. There was a period when I wore Ambre Sultan quite regularly. But I love the top tens regardless of the topic – it’s always interesting to see what people love and consider best of class. September 18, 2015 at 4:25pm Reply

    • Patricia: Exactly. Reading and responding to the comments is just as much fun as planning and writing the article. I learn so much from the knowledgeable community at BdJ! September 18, 2015 at 6:27pm Reply

  • solanace: I adore ambers, and noted your faves to try. During Summer, Eau de Mandarine ambree is delicious; JP Sublime is perfect for transitional weather and gloriously complex Omnia Profumo ambra is my absolute favorite of them all, very sexy and comforting in the cooler months. September 18, 2015 at 4:44pm Reply

    • Patricia: The description of Omnia Profumo Ambra in Fragrantica is making my mouth water. Notes of orange, bergamot, geranium, incense, lavender, patchouli, vanilla, labdanum, opoponax, and amber sound like a winning combination. This is a must-try! September 18, 2015 at 6:33pm Reply

      • solanace: There are so many tempting suggestions in this thread, I´ll have to place a sample order. Thank you for the lovely post, Patricia. September 18, 2015 at 7:01pm Reply

        • Patricia: My pleasure, solanace. I’m glad you enjoyed it. September 18, 2015 at 9:00pm Reply

  • hajusuuri: Nice list of ambers! One of the best ones out there is Profumum Ambra Aurea. So many to try but not much skin time to do so! September 18, 2015 at 9:23pm Reply

    • hajusuuri: En plus Serge Lutens Chergui! i wore it twice this week! September 18, 2015 at 9:25pm Reply

      • Patricia: Love the honeyed tobacco note in that one! September 19, 2015 at 10:29am Reply

    • Patricia: So many love this one, and I can’t believe I haven’t tried it yet. September 19, 2015 at 10:28am Reply

  • Tiffanie: Thank you, Patricia, for the thoughtful list of amber fragrances. I am intrigued. Amber fragrances are often a no-no for me. I sometimes can’t scrub them off fast enough. Ambre Nue didn’t work, I think, due to the patchouli or something else in the base. I like the smell of Ambre Narguile in the bottle but not on skin. Is it the labdanum or coumarin? I wish I knew.

    I’m wearing Eau des Merveilles today, and now I feel a bit silly, since some descriptions include an amber note. I may need to try L’Ambre des Merveilles and explore from there, a fine way to spend the fall season. 🙂 September 18, 2015 at 9:34pm Reply

    • Patricia: Yes, do try L’Ambre des Merveilles and perhaps one or two of the drier ones if L’Ambre is too sweet for you.

      We all have our difficult notes. Mine are vetiver and patchouli, which for me are OK in small doses and well blended. Though I did learn to like Encre Noir and love a good rose/patchouli fragrance. September 19, 2015 at 10:34am Reply

    • Mariann: L’eau de Merveilles was the first ´ambery’ fragrance I liked and though I have found others, I love the salty note in this! September 19, 2015 at 11:39am Reply

    • Figuier: Thanks for reminding me of Ambre Narguile, Tiffanie. I think it’s got a reputation as a huge scent, but my memory of it is actually quite soft…will have to find my way to a Hermes boutique and test again. My sister had a sample ages ago which I remember smelled delicious. September 22, 2015 at 6:04am Reply

  • Floragal: Boy have I come a long way. I love and wear Ambre Russe, and would not have considered it a big gun. L’eau Ambree was a starter amber for me as well, and I adore Ambre Nuit.
    114 is a new love and a number of others have been added to my list to try.

    Enjoyable read! September 18, 2015 at 9:45pm Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Floragal. It sounds like you have a varied collection of ambers already! September 19, 2015 at 10:37am Reply

  • kayliz: Thank you for the amber special just in time for autumn! I’ve been in search of an amber I can imagine myself wearing for what seemed like far too long, until I discovered Ambre 114, but this, too, strikes me as too dry on some days. As soon as I get a “masculine” vibe it puts me off, and so do tobacco, cumin, fruitiness, burnt notes and a lot of sweetness or muskiness. I’ve tried (and not much liked) a long line of excellent ambers so know I must have a narrow tolerance for this category, but two more that squeeze through my small amber window are Ambre Sublime by Stendhal and Sable Marocain by Phaedon.

    Am eagerly awaiting the launch of Volnay’s Ambre de Siam! September 19, 2015 at 8:26am Reply

    • Patricia: Phaedon is a line I know virtually nothing about, other than that it was started by Pierre Guillaume of Parfumerie Generale. They once made a lilac perfume that I loved Rue de Lilas, now discontinued and impossible to find.

      Ambre de Siam sounds intriguing. I just checked Fragrantica for a list of notes: ginger, bergamot, sandalwood, amber, cashmeran, benzoin, white musk, patchouli and saffron. Does anyone know when it is due to launch? September 19, 2015 at 10:47am Reply

      • kayliz: I heard September 2015 — still waiting… September 19, 2015 at 3:25pm Reply

  • Barbara: By Kilian’s Amber Oud is wonderful… September 19, 2015 at 8:33am Reply

    • Patricia: On my sampling wishlist! September 19, 2015 at 10:47am Reply

  • Annija: I love love love Ambre Russe – no other amber does that for me. I’m no fan of Latvian autumn and winter, but I think I’ll get through with a bottle of Ambre Russe. September 19, 2015 at 9:52am Reply

    • Patricia: I would think Ambre Russe would be perfect for a Latvian autumn and winter. Stay warm! September 19, 2015 at 10:48am Reply

  • elisa p: I’m pretty finicky about ambers. There seems to be a fine line between enjoyable and nauseating (L’Occitane Ambre, Ambre Russe, and Prada fall into the latter category. They all have a similar type of amber smell that doesn’t sit well with me). One of my favorites is SSS Ambre Noir because of the wispy rose and woods . I also like Annick Goutal’s Sables, L’Erbolario Meharees, and FM Musc Ravageur. September 19, 2015 at 11:23am Reply

    • Patricia: I like rose in my ambers as well. Have you tried Dior Ambre Nuit? September 19, 2015 at 11:34am Reply

  • Karen: Since I just bought a FB of Coromandel yesterday, after the SA gave me a beautiful miniature sample last week, I’ve been loving it and sinking in to its warmth. Although patchouli, an elegant refined Chanel patchouli, is what surrounds me – I kept thinking, Is that amber I’m getting? Sure enough, amber is one of the notes. So, not quite a qualifier as an amber fragrance, but it’s there adding warmth and depth. Man is it a beautiful cloud to be wrapped in! September 19, 2015 at 3:13pm Reply

    • Patricia: Coromandel was hard for me to like at first, but something in it made me keep trying, and I’m so glad I did. Enjoy your bottle, it’s a great fall fragrance! September 20, 2015 at 1:04pm Reply

  • Leonie: I have to confess to being surprised to see Ambre Sultan listed as one of the ‘big guns’! I have a bottle that I adore and wear almost daily during spells of cold and wet weather (so probably about 8 months of the year in London where I live…). My perfume knowledge is limited so I haven’t tried the lighter ambers that are listed here to compare, but my perfume taste otherwise tends towards quite light florals. I just don’t think of myself as someone who wears heavy-weight perfumes!

    Anyway I enjoyed reading this list and will be intrigued to try out some of the different members of the amber family when I get the chance. L’Ambre des Merveilles will be high on my list, since I’m generally a big fan of Hermes fragrances. September 19, 2015 at 5:15pm Reply

    • Patricia: If you like Hermes fragrances, you will probably love L’Ambre des Merveilles. It is definitely worth a try, and the bottle is just stunning! September 20, 2015 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Tati: Loved this article. Amber is one of my favorite notes. One of my first perfume loves in the 80’s was Must de Cartier perfume. Only now do I realize it is considered heavily amber-based. I have many of the ones listed, including Ambre Sultan, Ambre 114, ad L’eau Ambre Extreme by L’artisan. Love them all! My new FB longings for amber are Ambra Nobile and Tango Masque Milano, which has an incredible tea note paired with amber. September 19, 2015 at 6:17pm Reply

    • Patricia: Right now I’m enjoying some Ambra Nobile from my sample. If I didn’t already have so many full bottles, it would be on my short list, too! September 20, 2015 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Nataliya: What a wonderful article Patricia. I do love amber despite my husband hate any trace of it. So I have to hide from him warm Ambre by Remincence. Another favorite ambers I love are Armani Privè Ambre Soie and Comme des Garcons 2. September 20, 2015 at 4:48am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Nataliya. You have some lovely ambers to hide from your husband. 😉 September 20, 2015 at 1:25pm Reply

  • Lavanya: ooh – I need to try Ambre Fetiche. Theoretically I should love ambers but in practice I find some of them a bit cloying like Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute (which I like in theory and in tiny doses). One of my favorite ambers is Prada Cuir d’ Ambre of which I have a teeny amount. I probably like it a lot as the leather probably cuts the denseness of the amber? And I do enjoy Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan.
    Thanks for this lovely list! September 21, 2015 at 12:55am Reply

    • Lavanya: Oh and I also really like OJ Tolu especially in the extrait. September 21, 2015 at 12:56am Reply

    • Patricia: I gave my sample of TF Amber Absolute away, but I remember it having an almost leathery amber note. I’m glad to hear that it is now being offered again.

      The weather has suddenly turned cool here, and I’m wearing Ambre Precieux today and enjoying its spicy warmth.

      Let us know if you like Ambre Fetiche! September 21, 2015 at 11:01am Reply

      • Lavanya: Oh – Was Amber Absolute discontinued? I have no idea if they’ve brought it back. My sample was from years ago and my comment was based on memory..:)

        I will let you know when I try Amber Fetiche! September 21, 2015 at 3:18pm Reply

  • nozknoz: Glad to see Nobile 1942 Ambra Nobile on the list!

    To me, Oriental Express, one of Thierry Mugler’s Les Exceptions collection, is a just right light oriental. $220 is a bit steep, especially of one of the few Mugler bottles that I’m not wild about, but I’m getting a decant thanks to the NST split meet posted Saturday. (I think it’s still open if there is enough interest for another bottle.) September 21, 2015 at 7:44pm Reply

  • Figuier: Great list Patricia! The first section especially is perfect for me, as I’m currently searching for a light-weight amber. Ambre des Merveilles was already on my testing list thanks to Victoria’s rec; but the Prada sounds very promising also. I’ll hopefully have a chance to test them both in duty free next week 🙂

    The only amber-ish scent I own atm is Attrape-Coeur, which is actually quite strong but somehow feels lighter thanks to the gourmand feel and vanilla and incense drydown; I’m wearing it now, in miserable weather – it’s perfect for autumn and winter. September 22, 2015 at 5:59am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Figuier! I love a good incense drydown, so I’ll have to dig out my sample of Attrape-Coeur and try it again. Now, where did I put it is another matter…. September 24, 2015 at 10:38am Reply

  • Wendy: I think Miss Dior Le Parfum is a gorgeous amber. It’s too bad we don’t often hear it mentioned in the perfumista circles. I’ve been sampling it for a year now and it’s time to pull the trigger this season! 🙂 September 22, 2015 at 11:30am Reply

    • Patricia: It is so beautiful, and I cut my perfumista teeth on that one, as it was a gift to me from my mother when I was a teen. I think that she assumed from the name that it was appropriate for a young person. Thank you, Mom!!

      After a year’s worth of sampling, it’s definitely time to pull the trigger! September 24, 2015 at 10:43am Reply

  • Rita: I love Youth Dew Amber Nude. Perfect amber scent. September 26, 2015 at 9:03am Reply

    • Patricia: Does it smell at all like the original Youth Dew? The “Nude” in the name seems to indicate that it is less overwhelming. I’ll check it out next time I’m near an Estee Lauder counter. Thanks for the recommendation! September 28, 2015 at 10:59am Reply

  • Rajni: Shalimar is, and will remain my absolute favourite. For summers I do tend to lean towards L’eau ambree, which you rightly put under the starters. Apart from these two, Ambre Sultan is indeed the Sultan of everything ambre, I really do need to be in the mood for it, it makes you sit up and notice, and can soon overpower if not the right frame. But beautiful all the same. September 28, 2015 at 7:24am Reply

    • Patricia: I totally agree with you, Rajni! I can only wear Ambre Sultan at certain times, preferably on a cold autumn day. September 28, 2015 at 10:57am Reply

  • Vani: In the fall I absolutely fall in love with my Miss Dior Le Parfum for the beautiful amber caramel dry down scent it leaves on my scarves, I love when I catch a whiff of it the day after I applied it. I have to say that after reading this post, I am very curious about L’Ambre des Merveilles by Hermès as you kind of compared it to one of my favorites, Prada Candy. October 15, 2015 at 9:47pm Reply

  • Carol: Amber has been my go-to for years. Recently, I have migrated to drier Amber perfumes, which presents a dilemma: what to do with my older purchases of sweet, golden Amber? Any suggestions for perfume layering to reduce the sweetness? August 26, 2016 at 5:42am Reply

What do you think?

From the Archives

Latest Comments

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2019 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy