Amber: 64 posts

Amber in perfume descriptions can be sweet and resinous or animalic and salty. The sweet amber is based on the Mediterranean rockrose (labdanum, cistus labdanum) or be a purely fantasy accord of vanilla, patchouli and woods. For other types of amber, please see Ambergris (Animalic Amber).

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.

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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.

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Miu Miu Perfume Review

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Launching a perfume today requires an intricate–and costly–configuration of product development, marketing, and distribution. Small brands may risk taking their own idiosyncratic course, but large fashion houses usually rely on another brand to create and distribute their fragrances. If they want to make real money, that is. For Prada’s sister Miu Miu, the partnership has been with Coty. It means in practical terms that the Coty fragrance development team weighs heavily on the finished creation, subjecting it to market tests and other scrutiny; after all, the success of it will reflect as much on Coty’s profit margins as it would on Miu Miu’s. In other words, don’t expect avant-garde or cutting edge.

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And so I didn’t. But I was still taken aback at the wan aura of Miu Miu. I am certain that in its early iterations it must have been more interesting, since it was composed by Daniela Andrier, a perfumer noted for the elegance and polish of her creations (Marni, Bottega Veneta Knot, Prada Infusion d’Iris, Martin Margiela Untitled, all among my favorites). But what I smell on my skin is pale and far from the flamboyant chic of Miu Miu fashion. There is definitely quality, there is attention to detail, but it feels like the numerous cycles of market tests stripped Miu Miu of its more distinctive parts.

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Serge Lutens L’Incendiaire : Fragrance Review

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It’s hard not to take a second look when a maestro of exclusive perfumery offers you something even more exceptional. When Serge Lutens presented L’Incendiaire last year, it promised ultra rarity (Paris only and maybe some distant Middle Eastern outpost), luxury and drama. How can it be anything but intriguing? I eagerly extended my wrist to be anointed with the precious potion.

Lincendiaire

My first impression was that L’Incendiaire should make any Serge Lutens’s fan feel giddy. It has enough incense to perfume all the souks of Arabia. Its amber and musk accords are prodigious. It takes dark to another level. It smolders. It heaves. But nothing about it made me want to swoon (much less part with the $600 that buys you 50ml of this fantasy). L’Incendiaire is beautiful, but it’s about as nuanced as a three hour Bollywood drama. At some point, you crave a break.

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L’Occitane Eau des Baux : Fragrance Review

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It’s always a special thrill to discover an affordable and interesting perfume, and we love to share such little gems with you. Today is Elisa’s turn.

The easy-going, effortlessly good-looking, yet overfamiliar and somewhat unexciting chum in a romantic comedy – the one the hard-to-please heroine inevitably falls hard for in the end – that’s L’Occitane Eau des Baux. This near-perfect amber – available at your local mall for under $60 per handsome, flask-like 100 ml bottle – is so thoroughly pleasant and charming at first sniff that a hardened cynic like you or me might be initially suspicious. What’s going on here? Is this some kind of ruse? Is this “nice guy” going to let me down if I trust him too soon? Do I only like him because he reminds me of somebody else?

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After testing Eau des Baux repeatedly for several years, I finally realized it’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get situation, bought a bottle and haven’t looked back.

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Burberry Brit Rhythm for Women : Perfume Review

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Burberry has done all it could to sink Brit Rhythm for Women. The awkward name, the cliched marketing lingo of sexy, rock-n-roll, and edgy, and its place of honor as the nth flanker to Brit don’t inspire much excitement. This is a shame, because Brit Rhythm is a sophisticated, quirky lavender wrapped in peony and sheer amber. It’s the most interesting and distinctive fragrance in Burberry’s collection, although you’d never guess so based on its bland trappings.

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If your idea of elegance is casual and understated, Brit Rhythm will be a good fit. At its core is a complex lavender accord, a brave choice for a feminine perfume. A common presence in masculine colognes and skin care products, lavender has acquired a staid and dull reputation. That lavandin, a harsher, brasher note, is often used instead of real lavender doesn’t help matters either.

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