Sweet amber and smokey incense. Perfectly named. What it reminds me of is campfire marshmallows. Projects nicely and feels heavy with warmth, so don't go overboard with the sprays. More of a cold weather fragrance.
To me it's very similar to Amber Absolute, but in a softer, more civilised, more feminine - more French - way. I love both.
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)