I was lucky enough to visit the Illuminum store in London for a full sampling of all their range last year. This fragrance line is the concept of Michael Boadi, and he's made some specific and rather odd decisions about the construction of each fragrance, e.g. limiting himself to (supposedly) eight ingredients per fragrance. Whilst this gives most of his scents an admirable simplicity, it also seems a little arbitrary: why eight?
The scent line is also very heavily focused on celebrity marketing, another thing which makes me suspicious. We have, I'm sure, all heard the stories that Kate Middleton wore Illuminum's White Gardenia Petals on her wedding day. Piper Leather (the best Illuminum fragrance by far, in my opinion) is allegedly worn by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Arabian Amber is worn by James Franco. Why focus so strongly on alleged links to celebrities? I know that movie stars have promoted perfumes for time immemorial, but there is no official brand association here, just allusions that certain people might be wearing this or that. Why not just let the scent speak for itself?
Anyway, onto Arabian Amber. There are some frankly awful scents in the Illuminum line, but the two stand-outs for me are the aforementioned Piper Leather, and Arabian Amber. It's a woodsy fragrance with a strong middle eastern connection. The top note is bergamot but I don't get a lot of that; instead, the first projection is a resinous woody cedar and incense, with a musky patchouli a little way down in the mix, and you can really pick up the opponax. It's warm, striking and a little smoky, definitely more of an evening or winter scent than a fresh summer number. Projection is good and it lasts fairly well - I can still smell it on my wrist 5-6 hours later.
The scents in this line can be expensive but search around and you can find them much cheaper; I got a 100ml bottle for £45, considerably less than the £100 RRP. Swing by the shop on Dover Street, just north of Piccadilly, and try it out.
Pros: Good longevity and projection
Cons: Illuminum concept starting to wear thin
There are no member images of Arabian Amber yet. Why not be the first?You need to log in or register to upload images