This is a dark, rose-y twist on the resinous amber genre; a vivid, labdanum-heavy composition in which agarwood is flushed with dark vetiver and patchouli to provide a singed effect—one that conjures up the impression of smoldering leaves. The rose—prominent and bitter—is backed by a sharp olibanum serving as a counterpoint to the semi-sweet and medicinal labdanum, situating the scent as somewhere between gothic and bohemian. For an oriental, it’s dry, veering more acerbic than sweet; and even though it’s comprised of several key items, it makes a fairly singular statement, shifting only at the beginning and at the final stages where it becomes an ashy merger of sandalwood, oak moss, and incense.
Oriental is my genre of choice, and I’m particularly drawn to dark, heavy amber and incense scents that are perhaps a little overcooked and dramatic. To a degree, this is playing many of the notes that I enjoy, but the rose and the charred components—clearly central to the composition’s overall theme—impede my enjoyment. The goopy labdanum, merged with the rose and what appears to be a touch of leather, juxtaposes a chypre-esque bitterness against balsamic aspects of the amber. The result is closer to what you find in Tauer’s Incense Rose or By Kilian’s Rose Oud than the name suggests, and for me, it causes a bit of cognitive dissonance. Ambre Noir isn’t really a straight-up dark amber; it's primarily a dry, charred, labdanum-rose fragrance. But as with all scents from this line, the composition is jaw-droppingly polished and perfected and the structure is stable enough to carry the scent for a full day’s wear. It’s sombre, haunting, and develops beautifully, and so if rose, incense, and smoky notes are your thing, this fragrance is absolutely worth checking out as it's one of the best genre-benders around.
Reminiscences of Mazzolari Lui and Gotham Neil Morris with this viscous, animalic, mossy amber with some incense in composition, a sugary-gummy and leathery starring labdanum in the blend and a rosey floral effluvium exuding in the air. Another winter dark spicy creation very, very rich. The incense effluviums, the resinous labdanum of the forest and the dirty amber whirl in the air in a sort of mystic and exotic holy ceremony. The dry down is delightful with hints of myrrh and and obscure rosey sparks floating in the sky. Leather (or the leathery feel of labdanum) is present in the animalic blend on the side of musk, moss, amber, myrrh and may be something further of edible (honey?). The dry down is structured by dirty and slightly smoky woods of the forest. Another dark beast that is more on the mystic side than on the one of the naughty boldness or gothic fear in my opinion because of the almost spiritual chord of incense and labdanum, the faint patchouli and the too edible mellifluence of opoponax.
My Ambre Noir experience diary:
At spray: Wow! Sweetness blast! Honey, sugar, candy Amber.
5/10 mins. in: Prickly! What's that? Pepper? Peppered Candy! Fun! A little gritty/flinty/crunchy
30 mins. in: Balance. Zen beauty. Rich amber with a peppery lift, flinty pencil shaving base.
1 hour: Pepper fading, Pencils growing. Clear modern woods. A touch Ormonde Jayne.
2 hour: Pepper gone, woods keep blooming, growing colder, impersonal, loosing interest.
4 hour: Harsh modern synth-like drydown. Dull. Chemical woods. Memory of amber fading.
6 hour: Faint tickle: pepper, amber, woods,
Conclusion: It seems to be a good quality product. For the most part it has a good balance and the 30 min. to 1 hour span is lovely. The modern woods seem cold and impersonal to me, lacking character or individuality. I'm not wear it, it's not wearing me, we're just somewhat adjacent each other.
Recommendation: Support independent perfumers! Buy some and judge for yourself!
True to its name, Sonoma Scent Studio AMBRE NOIR is a dark, thick and viscous, YOUTH DEW-like perfume. One look at the contents of the vial, and it becomes clear that this is a serious elixir. The opening is briefly medicinal but then the composition smooths into a “dusky” (as they put it—and rightly so!) labdanum-rich amber perfume. This is strictly a winter affair, with an oily incense note along with the other hard-hitting oriental components, but I'm wearing it today (April 18, 2011), as we in Boston have no spring, so we're trapped in winter basically until the day that summer dawns (sometime in May, we hope!). So far so good. I'll update as the evening progresses...
...It's a winner: smooth and seductive: I want it!
Dark, deep and rich unsweet amber fragrance. Well, it's not that much amber, it develops and changes during it's lifespan, which is quite long. It's complex and you'll need time to find the "amber" theme.
Diamondflame's description is spot on IMO.
I do not know to say if it pleases me to AN or not. Initially, I smell sharp flowers and a little of dust. One mixes, where I cannot distinguish notes. I think that it is a feminine perfume. The candy - to the few - appears. Some minutes later, it acquires smoothness. I feel that AN can conquer me. It goes being to the level of the skin, softer, delicate. But still I feel a fine blade… I do not perceive the land, nor the incense, nor the leather in my skin. But some sândalo, amber, white pachoulli. I like, consider it attractive. Pleasant perfume in some occasions. Perhaps it is not for me.
(Não sei dizer se AN me agrada ou não. Inicialmente, eu cheiro flores afiadas e um pouco de pó. Uma mistura, onde não posso distinguir as notas. Penso que é um feminino perfume. O doce - aos poucos - aparece. Alguns minutos depois, adquire suavidade. Sinto que AN pode conquistar-me. Vai ficando ao nível da pele, mais macio, delicado. Mas ainda sinto uma fina lâmina... Não percebo a terra, nem o incenso, nem o couro em minha pele. Mas algum sândalo, ambar, branco pachoulli. Eu gosto, considero-o atraente. Agradável perfume em algumas ocasiões. Talvez não seja para mim.)