The opening of Ambre Narguile is all about thick, balmy honeyed resins and Oriental notes of tonka and spices, bringing in a feel of dandified powderiness à la Jaipur Homme, just blending it with the golden, boozy and sweet warmth of the rhum-cinnamon accord. Musky notes on the base. No amber to me, but it does have a warm smoky feel which may remind that smell. And... well, that’s it. Quite a simple scent, basically a gourmand-powdery-spicy galore, much linear and fairly heavy, which to be really honest becomes quite soon a bit boring to me. It smells “quality” for sure – and I mean good quality, not “interstellar quality” - and both tonka-powder fans and resins-gourmand fans will probably like this, still I feel something is just missing here. It’s... nice. And nothing more than that. Too “simply” nice, too generic for that incredibly expensive price. Think of any Oriental powdery-spicy scent, that will be likely a good alternative to this. A really decent “hippie bourgeois” fragrance which may easily fit Les Néréides or Boucheron range and similar brands (which I deeply respect; but they cost a fraction of this).
Surely one of my least favorites in the Hermessence's range. This is basically a cinnamon-driven sweet gourmand with boozy facets. No amber, no smoke.
Yes, it's a crowdpleaser. So what? If you like the genre, Nu_Be Hydrogen plays definitely in the same league and it's a cheaper alternative.
Ambre Narguile is one of those scents that circumvents the thinking part of your brain and goes straight for the dopamine receptors in your central nervous system responsible for the registering of pleasure. Do I think it's high art? No. It's a gourmand and I don't believe that straight-up gourmands can ever be in the same artistic category as chypres - it's both a question of a missing abstraction and the too-obvious pandering to our primal instinct for food and comfort. It reminds me of a scene in Friends when a psychologist who is dating Phoebe starts to analyze her friends (because he hates them), and points out that the giant coffee mugs they're always drinking from are merely replacements for their mommy's boobies. "You might as well just stick a nipple onto those things," he snarls at them.
Well, stick a nipple onto the bottle of Ambre Narguile, because if it's not the most comforting thing in the world outside of your mom's boobs, then I don't know what is. It works on an almost subliminal level, like those supermarket stores that pump a synthesized smell of freshly baked bread through the air ducts because they know that nothing stimulates the subliminal desire to shop for food than the smell of a freshly baked loaf. Ambre Narguile works on the same level. It cleverly suggests the shape of all manner of delicious things - rum, raisin bread, the yellow custard you get in real Danish pastry (the type you buy on Stroget near the Illum department store - it's been eight years and I can never forget), hot tea, baked apples, woody cinnamon sticks, and vanilla tobacco leaves in your uncle's pipe - without posting a flashing billboard over your head. It's a fragrance that trusts you are adult enough to get all the food references without having to spell it out for you S.L.O.W.L.Y., like you're the village idiot, and thus neatly avoids the clumsiness and overly literal approach of most others in the gourmand category.
Above all, it's Ellena! Which means that the heavy, potentially stodgy food notes are treated with the typical Ellena lightness of touch. I don't normally like his style, with all that washed out, transparent woodiness, but here his approach makes sense. His deftness at infusing perfumes with light and air works particularly well here, and ensures that you don't stagger away, full and nauseated. Ambre Narguile is both light and rich, making for a damn near perfect balance in a gourmand scent.
Amber - what amber? No matter. Ambre Narguile occupies, for me, vaguely the same territory as Musc Ravageur and Tobacco Vanille, two other scents that could also be called up before the 'truth in advertising' standard board for serious infractions. Both of those advertise one material in their name (musk and tobacco) and then feed you with practically a whole cupboard's worth of delicious edible things instead - vanilla, cinnamon, lavender, custard, and cream. I don't object too terribly to this old switcheroo, to be honest, because I am your typical shopper in those supermarkets with the bread smells pumping through the vents, mentally intending to buy the plastic bin bags I went in there to get in the first place and ending up in the Cadbury's chocolate aisle instead. I smell something as delicious as Ambre Narguile and my thinking self absconds to some other room, leaving all of my base pleasure receptors in charge of the ship. Just slip that nipple in my mouth and I am done.
I feel like a big Apfelstrudel LOL, although I smell tobacco leaves too (not in the listed notes)
This one is going directly to my wife's wardrobe, no doubt about it.
I can't give it my thumbs up since I think it is not for me, although it smells wonderful in my wife. So a neutral seems appropriate.
Ambre Narguilé was something of a disappointment for me. At first it's honey, spice, and raisins, all of which somehow remind me of khyphi. Must be the raisins. The scent is very oriental. Very sweet. Very gourmand. Very Arabie. But with fruit on top.
Amber is not the dominant note, as it is in Ambre Précieux and Ambre Sultan, which are my two "benchmark" scents among modern ambers. As Ambre Narguilé ages cinnamon that's present in the top notes strengthens. Soon I'm smelling middle eastern pastry, or maybe Christmas potpourri. At any rate, Ambre Narguilé is about food, not sex, and there's very little that's lascivious about it. This will probably please those who find the deeper amber fragrances too overtly suggestive. The sweet, spicy accord at Ambre Narguilé 's heart reminds me of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's Cimabue, but that scent is a touch drier and quite a bit more complex.
Ambre Narguilé remains pretty linear once it settles down. Eventually it dries down to cinnamon and vanilla, with very little amber to be found. I suspect this fragrance will appeal more to lovers of cinnamon than to fans of amber. Meanwhile, there are plenty of outstanding sweet spicy oriental fragrances like Ambre Narguile out there: I've already mentioned Arabie and Cimabue, plus Rousse, L'Air du Desert Marocain, Eau Noire, Eau Lente...you get the drift. And guess what? They're all cheaper!