This fragrance is the aroma of enigma, an aromatic conundrum, "radiant/dark", dodgy and elusive. A dark resinous-vanillic sultry amber with vegetal-green-musky facets, leathery-woodsy/resinous nuances and a shadowy pencil-shavings taste. This is my first impression about Ortigia Sicilia Ambra Nera. Whiffs of leather and fir resins/galbanum are notable under my nose. Several scents jumping soon on mind? Quite sure and each of them for several specific characteristics: YSL M7 Oud Absolu, Tauer L'Air du Desert Marocain, Nasomatto Pardon, Clive Christian C for Men and vaguely Amouage Interlude Man. Basically this amber seems supported by further resins, dark patchouli, woods (mostly cedarwood) and soft leather but I get in the air kind of mineral and aromatic patterns as well. The resinous presence is remarkable, so woodsy-boise and musky-piney, despite finally the aroma waves sharply as fresh breeze in the air. This freshness is a a distinctive trait of the general composition. The general atmosphere is dark, enigmatic, musty and velvety, I detect indeed a touch of mouldiness and a weird earthy-mineral vibe lingering in the air (in to a similar way) as well (as an undertone) out of scents a a la Histoires de Parfums Rosam, Petroleum, Ambrarem and Noir Patchouli. Anyway, I get this weird powdery-mineral-aldehydic-gasolinic airy (aromatic greens) vibe which is vaguely moldy, misty, leathery and woody (kind of pencil shavings). This juice is a great amber-dominant fragrance, I get a sort of dark-clear-red (as the sunset's melancholic/romantic light) translucency quite breezy and nostalgic. There is a powerful spiciness in the blend, it seems to get a cinnamon/clove dominant spicy accord producing a moderate burnt sugar (a tad licoricey) effect a la Idole de Lubin (boozier) and Parfumerie Generale Coze 02 (more cocoa-veined and "papery"). I detect aromatic fougere facets counteracting and balancing the resinous-animalic-chypre shades. The aroma of leather unfolds its velvet throughout, amber is powdery and shadowy, patchouli, galbanum, may be olibanum and oakmoss provide a misty warmth (vaguely animalistic and woodsy). I have to say that this amber is quite modern, cozy and chic at same time since suede, faint florals, patchouli and overall aromatics provide a quite (surprisingly) fancy, cool and wearable appeal which I use to admire as well in my favorite Costume National Scent Intense. Finally I find this juice well blended, balanced, patchouli-nuanced (dynamic, modern) and extremely elegant (as soon as resins and powder recede). One of the best dark-oriental ambers around.
This might be my holy grail of ambers.. very strong and boozy alongside the amber accord is to die for. also some pepper thrown in to mix things up a bit.. unisex but not as feminine as Ambre Russe and a few others I have tried. if you come across this pick it up.. Sadly to say I only have a decant.
Pros: great composition of notes
Compared to the other Ortigia fragrances, the moment you spray this you know it has a complexity that is slightly lacking in the other Eau de Toilettes/Colognes/Parfums in the range. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy most of them, but this is so much darker than the others. This is winter by an open fire with warm whiskey.
It opens with a head swirling mixture of pipe smoke, black pepper, aniseed, cardamom and spicy bourbon, and is almost too much for the nose to take in.
After 15mins an amazing balmy, almost balsamic accord takes over. Everything harmoniously softens, the smoke clears and the amber resins and woods appear with just enough vanilla to warm up the spice notes which remain. By this point, I can't stop sniffing myself and get an overwhelming sense of comfort from it.
A perfect amber that lasts (I applied mine 10hrs ago and it's still there.)
*On a side-note, every once in a while, depending on the weather, this can start off a little unpleasant on me. It opens smelling bitter, 70's and very manly. This passes after 5/10mins but is always an unwelcome surprise given that it normally opens so enjoyably. Might be best to try this one before buying.