This is actually one fragrance where I have to agree with everything Luca Turin says about it in his book the "A-Z Guide to Perfume!" It does indeed smell like a "hippie shop!" :D I could actually sit and name specific stores I've been in that tend to use this type of scent in the air as ambiance! I won't name them though, because I'm not affiliated with them, but I know exactly what Turin means! :D Several of the perfume oils I've tried from "Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab" are quite similar to this one too, since they often tend to favour amber based fragrances.
There are a few impressions of my own that I would like to add too though.
"Ambre Sultan" is overall a fairly dark, green, smoky, earthy and somewhat bitter scent. It does actually contain some vanilla notes that were pretty noticeable when I first sprayed this fragrance on from my sample tube, but there isn't really enough vanilla to "balance" out the bitter and smoky notes, and I felt like the sweet notes faded out fast. They say this one (like all of the Serge Lutens line) is unisex, but I would politely disagree with that assessment. This is one fragrance that I actually do find to be quite "manly" and "butch", no offense intended to any of the ladies who might like wearing this one. It's just my own thought! I think I might love this fragrance on a man, but I don't think I would buy a bottle of this for myself! Plus, I find I don't receive compliments when I wear this style of fragrance. I used to wear "Ormonde Woman" by Ormonde Jayne a few years back, and someone once commented that the scent just seemed "spooky" and "witchy" on me! :D "Ambre Sultan", by the way, distinctly reminds me of "Ormonde Woman" in a few ways. Or, in any case, it is definitely a fragrance that brings to mind an image of a deep, dark forest, evergreens, burning wood and bonfires and smoke. It also has a distinctly earthy, green smell as well as slightly bitter and somewhat medicinal smelling notes. So, yeah, I can see how some people might find this kind of fragrance "spooky!" Like I said, it's a scent that, to me, seems to have a bit of a darker vibe. I probably wouldn't buy or wear this one, but I feel that I have to give it five stars and a big thumbs up, because these types of scents always fascinate and intrigue me! I'm always amazed by how well a perfume can imitate a complex smell like burning wood, incense, bonfires or smoke! And this is definitely a fabulously smoky fragrance! Definitely buy a sample and try this one! It's worth it!
Edit: After wearing this perfume for a few hours,it actually dries down to a very lovely spicy-sweet skin scent! I can definitely smell the vanilla now. In the dry down it actually reminds me of a Christmas candle scent! It seems more unisex than masculine, and I'm actually enjoying this one a lot the longer I wear it! :)
Ambre Sultan is perfectly nice - one of those ambers that mixes resins with wood and vanilla. It's got a bit of what smells like pine tar for smoke and some cedar for that "wood shavings" effect.
But here's the thing about amber perfumes: There are so many good ones out there that you can be completely justified in being nitpicky, because if there's anything you don't thoroughly enjoy about an amber perfume, there will be others out there that fix whatever you don't like. With that in mind, I don't like the vanilla in Ambre Sultan - it's that ethyl maltol smell, so it gives the perfume a marshmallow/cupcake vibe that I find vaguely cheap. If you share my ethyl maltol pet peeve, I'd suggest Histoire De Parfum's Amber 113, which is quite similar to Ambre Sultan, but with the sandalwood amplified and the vanilla toned down. But again, that's a nitpick. Ambre Sultan is quite good and worthy of a thumbs up even if it's not my smoky amber of choice.
From a sample...
Another terrific fragrance from Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake. Like all Lutens scents, Ambre Sultan is characteristically sweet but with a resinous tone, especially in the early stages. The opening is a sensuous blend of spice, resin and amber notes that starts and continues very soft and doesn't project much. I like amber and AS is a fantastic representation of the note. It's as much of a feeling or atmosphere as it is a scent. It conjures memories of shopping in a Turkish bazaar with the middle eastern spice mixing with the berry-pine amber creating an exotic and intoxicating atmosphere.
AS is really a personal scent, as it is very soft and close to the skin. Additionally, it's marketed as unisex, but it fits better on a female than it does on a male, IMO. For those who want something with more masculine, and bigger projection, look to Tom Ford Amber Absolute or Bond 9 NY Amber. Amber Sultan is an indulgence for the wearer and/or a significant other. My wife loved it, and I enjoyed smelling it on her.
26th October, 2015 (last edited: 10th November, 2015)
It is always a conversation starter.what is it?where can i get it?An intimate, seductive and hot fragrance that is inspired by the timeless emotions of being deep in love.Delicoous and Dangerous at the same time.in other words Sweet,Potent,Passionate, Spicy,Woody,Subtle,Sultry and Laudable.
Sharp and strong opening with exotic elements,the middle notes are balanced but the base notes are the best part this one for me,when a sensual base of hot amber and wood with patchouli add comfort and warmth.The result is a sheer sensuality and this scents reminds me a hot Arabian woman.
AMBRE SULTAN is a definite keeper.More suitable for a mature lady.It is reserved for COLD weather and INTIMATE/SPECIAl occasions.It is not for Everyone, Ladies if you are loking for a gorgeous amber smell that will make the men drop at you,I would recommend this one.
Longevity?8 hours on my skin.
01st June, 2015 (last edited: 13th June, 2015)
The first spray of this was a fantastic array of spices and resins and just a hint of something so familiar and personal, something almost sub-conscious, from my childhood. I couldn't really concentrate on breaking the fragrance down because of it, I just had to keep sniffing. It was great!
This is one of those fragrances that plays all kinds of tricks. I've learned to spray just my wrists when I'm first testing a fragrance so that I can get an idea of what it smells like to someone at arms-length from me. This fragrance smells like one thing up close when your nose is buried in your wrist and a completely different thing when a bit of the scent wafts up from my wrists, and I realized that the great spicy accord is the one I smell right up close but the one wafting up from my wrists at arms-length was the very familiar accord from my childhood, and as it got stronger, it hit me what that smell was: play-doh. Unmistakable, as true as if I had just opened one of those little yellow plastic tubs with the red lids. This only gets stronger as the heart notes continue. I've only seen a couple of reviewers here mention the play-doh note and only a couple over on the "other" fragrance review site so it seems to be a skin chemistry thing which is too bad because my bright-eyed excitement over how the scent opened turned into disappointment at smelling like I rolled around in a child's art classroom.
That being said, the scent does seem well-blended and well-put-together and is very intriguing to me from an artistic point of view. The fragrance is like vivid imagery in a way that most are not. This seems to be a regular thing for the SL line since most of them bring images and feelings directly into my mind and have some artistic merit. As for actually wearin this though, I am unlikely to wear it again unless I find myself in the highly improbable scenario that I'm meeting someone whom I need to impress by impersonating a children's teacher.