The opening smells like some old fashioned cough syrup--like a heavily flavored attempt to cover some foul tasting medicine. It is almost a deal breaker even though the drydown is very, very nice.
Neil Morris Burnt Amber
When it comes to Neil Morris' fragrances I am a big fan. I find that most of his creations work on me and Burnt Amber, created in 2008, is no exception. Burnt Amber has many of the hallmarks of what I enjoy when wearing one of Mr Morris' scents, it has a complexity and density that is far above most of what is available out there. Which is why wearing one of his scents is the equivalent of watching "Lost" on TV. I get everything necessary to enjoy the show on the first viewing, but I always watch each episode twice. Because I get new insights and pleasures when I can take my eyes off of the central action to notice the things happening in the background. Burnt Amber is the same for me. The first time I wore it, being the fan of the central note and the composer that I am, I liked it a lot. Upon further wearing the nuances became more apparent to me and make this one of my favorites from Mr. Morris. The top starts with an interesting mix of plum and pepper. This gives a pleasant sweet and spicy contrast to the start of this. These notes are joined by the promised smoky amber in the title. A very warm amber appears sheathed in a woodsmoke halo. The first time around that was what I noticed most, as it is the heart of this scent. On subsequent wearings I realized that the plum note in particular persists and that adds a dark sweetness to the amber and enhances the sweet aspects of the woodsmoke. The base is a mix of oud and oak over an animalic castoreuem. This is a strong finish, appropriate to the building intensity leading here. Oak adds a hefty, woody strength that is contrasted with the complexity that oud brings. Along with the castoreum this gives the base a depth; and again the addition of the plum, which is still present and accounted for, accentuates the sweeter aspects of all three notes in the base. According to Mr. Morris' website it was this addition of the plum note that was one of the last things added to Burnt Amber and the importance it plays throughout the development of Burnt Amber makes me wonder if this would have been half as good without it. Burnt Amber has incredible longevity and above average sillage. Once again I turn to one of Mr. Morris' fragrances and am amply rewarded for the experience.
A sharp, jumbled together mixture of woods, smoke and sweetness. The sharpness of the fragrance detracts from the overall dark theme, but nonetheless Burnt Amber turns the amber category on it's head.
The dark brown juice is a sign this is going to be a scent very 'brown' smelling and it is. But rather than smell musty and tar prominent, the smoke and oud notes darken the mood with a lasting almost yeasty-like quality to the wood. Oak wood never smelled so edgy.
Longevity is average and sillage is slightly above average, but mostly due to a particularly annoying aldehyde that annoyed my nose. I assume I am just hyper sensitive to this particular aromachemical.
Weird and clever. But unwearable as a daily scent for me.