Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Ambre Fétiche by Annick Goutal

Total Reviews: 28
"One, two, three
If you close the door
The night could last forever
Leave the sunshine out
And say hello to never

All the people are dancing
And they're having such fun
I wish it could happen to me

But if you close the door
I'd never have to see the day again."
10th October, 2017

I am not a fan of amber as star of a production. I find it too powerful, too mentholated, too suffocating. I prefer it as a superbly tailored supporting player, one never forgotten when not on screen or stage, but not constantly in my olfactory arena.

Goutal’s Ambre Fetiche is such a star production. Amber, very strong and center stage, tempered a bit by vanilla, supported by frankincense and patchouli. There is a peppery, sharp wood underlay that is for me particularly off-putting. I find this in all modern perfumery using oud and/or guaiac wood.

I am sorry to miss the other notes so lovingly described (labdanum, iris, benzoin) in reviews, but alas, I cannot pick them up.

Top notes: Frankincense, Vanilla, Amber, Labdanum, Pepper
Heart notes: Iris, Benzoin, Geranium
Base notes: Leather, Patchouli, Styrax, Woods

Ambre Fetiche may have been influenced by the iconic Creed Ambre Cannelle (1949), a heavy rose and ambergris-dominated scent, which I loathe. This had a heavy medicinal, menthol note that annoyed me. It was practically nose-numbing. This was Eva Peron’s scent and as such, may have hastened her demise. That concoction involved cinnamon, juniper, rose, bay, coriander, musk and real ambergris.

Ambre Fetiche is no way near as powerful as the Creed and for amber lovers, I imagine it is gorgeous and just what they are looking for. Since I have to be honest and consistent, I must pass on it, so while I cannot enjoy it, it does seem to be well made and assembled. I will let the majority of positive reviewers on Basenotes sway me to a positive thumbs up for the product itself, regardless of my inability to enjoy it.

22nd August, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
This opening blast is quite something! Burning smoky rubber, leather, hints of latex, some benzoin with resinous birchtar - a delightful blend of rough smoky leather. At that stage the amber is more like a backdrop on this dramatic olfactory canvas.

The core principle underlying the development of the drydown is: lose the rough edges gradually, introduce a floral component, mainly iris, and see the amber increase in intensity and its presence over time gradually. Over time this turns into a warm, glowing and smooth amber, which dominates the base and peters out gradually.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and an impressive ten hours of longevity on my skin.

The first stage is very convincing, albeit of less high quality than, for instance, Knize Ten, and with a somwhat contrived leather impression, but nonetheless well crafted. The later stages with the amber in the centre of their development are also lovely, but a bit more linear. Overall a rather nice product. 3.5/5.

18th January, 2017
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I like Ambre Fetiche, but I have to admit that the opening smells more like a byproduct of the petroleum industry than a perfume. Something plasticky and greasy in the top notes suggests Vaseline to me, or perhaps pleather. I don’t find this unpleasant, merely a little unsettling, especially when mixed with the sickly, biscuity undertone of the amber underneath.

The mental image: a prostitute at the Bunny Ranch, Nevada, at 2:30 in the afternoon, a big dollop of lubricant making a snail’s trail down the inside of her left thigh while a man in Stetsons huffs and puffs on top of her. The man's breath smells like biscuit crumbs - he hasn't washed his teeth. Bored, she turns her head to admire her new white pleather knee-highs, up around her ears now and close enough for inspection. Squeak-squeak goes the pleather with every thrust.

Biscuits, syrup, Vaseline, pleather. Stale cigarette smoke mingling with the powerfully sweet Victoria’s Secret Amber Romance body lotion she applied that morning.

The texture of the perfume is both dry-harsh and syrupy-sweet, resulting in an interesting pulling apart motion in the fabric, like honey rubbed against the grain of a plank of wood. The syrupy white amber is thickly poured, but clashes against the parched powder of benzoin. The resin sticks in my craw and the syrup cloys. It’s too intense, this feeling. The only other perfume that mimics this effect is Byredo’s 1996.

The discordant harmony of the birch tar, the amber, and the iris produces something of a similar push-pull feeling within me: I like it, and then I like it not. Each time I wear this fragrance, it’s like plucking out petals and never knowing whether you’re going to end up. Sometimes, I find the thought of the ride quite exciting. Sometimes, the thought of it exhausts me. Either way, like the Bunny Girl's client, it always lasts way longer than I want it to.
13th February, 2016

Absolutely fabulous is excatly how you feel when using this fragrance.AMBRE FETICHE is a scent that says "I have money and I am NOT afraid to spend it!!!" one of the best of ambre scent i've tried it. this fragrance has a touch of earth scents that makes it attractive for women and man. Amazing,Complex,Hot, Sultry, Oriental,Provocative,Smoky and Dangerously Sexy.

Sharp and heavy opening with strong elemnts like incense,vanilla, amber and labdanum over a balanced heart of iris and benzoin while a deep alluring mrriage of leather,vanilla and patchouli emphasize its oriental character and the uniqueness of this addictive fragrance.i adore the dry down as it is really fantastic and remins me OPIUM.

AMBRE FETICHE is one of the rare fragrances that take you back in time to the great depp perfumes of yesterday.It is only for the mature,self asured and impertinent especially a sedustress. one spray is all you need.It is reserved for a snowy night.anyway if you are looking for a wonderful and bold ambre scent, i would recommend this one.


Longevity?Great on my skin.

01st June, 2015
So strange, but does anyone smell Cheerios? It's the most specific memory-scent I get from this right off the bat.

17th March, 2015
incense, creamy white leather and warm amber with a saltiness..smells a little of petroleum jelly...

love how this one develops...find something warm and comforting about this and cant stop sniffing my own self all through the day.

wore it on a hot day, certainly projected well to my own nose but others commented that its kind of light (huh???)

lasted a long time more than 12+ hours and could smell it a bit even the next day.

smells a little similar to House of Matriarch Blackbird perfume

p.s. at times i do get a hint of iris? maybe my imagination
09th May, 2014
Bold, pungent, gloomy opening with a massive decadent incense feel on dark, opulent, dry amber. A macabre fairytale, the nocturnal side of Annick Goutal - just like in Encens Flamboyant. Weird and almost disturbing animalic notes flounder below like crawling underdogs on a roasted caramel base. Balsamic notes, still heavily smoky and somber. After a while you get the leathers and the dry, earthy accord of patchouli and labdanum, still with a bold and persistent incense note. A nice take on amber, a bit messy perhaps, but still interesting. I just love how Annick Goutal can give you these nocturnal, funereal, gloomy, animalic scents, and at the same time some of the most lovely, springy, delicate, impressionist and oniric scents around (Nuit etoilée, Songes, Mandragore...) - always with her subtle, unexplicable, signature fairy tale feel, which can be, in turn, kind of cozy or kind of scary.

13th April, 2014 (last edited: 17th April, 2014)
Chain smoking in the garage

Ambre Fétiche by Annick Goutal, just like the name implies, is not for the faint of heart. Maybe I’m influenced by the name, but I’ve tried AF on several times, and it just keeps delivering. At first, AF reminded me of vintage Shalimar minus the citrus with extra leather and incense. Then I picked up the rubber note, which isn’t listed. To me, the rubber is so pervasive, that it makes me wonder if I’m supposed to be picking up the "Russian" leather instead. By the way, what exactly is "Russian" leather accord? Anyway, the incense, leather, and rubber combine to create a garage effect. Yes, AF is a couple of mechanics wearing Shalimar and chain smoking. In other words, AF is a very atmospheric fragrance, like Avignon: it seems to envelope one in a cloud of fragrance that could be originating from the surroundings instead of melding with the skin. (Thankfully, the 15 mL splash bottle is the perfect amount of AF for me and I will probably reach for this during the winter months.)

Final verdict: AF is good, but not one of my go to fragrances. I’ll just stick with Bulgari Black, thank you.

06th July, 2013
ill stay neutral here. i am not amber fun, but this is XXL amber scent, the only question do you like such potent dry and bitter amber- leathery scent?
it opens up sweetk creamy, nice to my nose , then it goes so bitter-dry heart(too much of benzoin) that i hate , the drydown again is more accaptable to me and the scent lasts 3 days at least!, so strong that my mobile phone took over the scent from the blotter! cant imagine how long it would take to use up 50ml bottle!
24th October, 2012
What in my opinion does defines the initial Ambre Fetiche's "scrawled" mess is a rough and averagely dry (for a while at least) combination of spices (i think cinnamon overall), light smoky frankincense, labdanum, dried fruits (plums?) and dusty ( styrax) amber. Some woodsy resins lurk around in the middle of the sweet tornado. The burst is originally shocking in its salty-sweet (yet fruity) dissonance but in a while its kind of doping dirtiness starts to crab you for the throat as the alcohol's need does with the alcohol dependents under abstinence. In this phase the sweetness, still notable, bursts and fades a touch in a sort of mild-opaque olfactory alternance  and the perfume is a bit decadent in its slightly bitter and resinous undertone simil-beeswax, in its play of lights and shades and due to a touch of bergamot and patchouli (i suppose). Many micro particles of cream, incense, spices and moss keep on swirling around in an even more increasing  milky-powdery sweet way till when  a subtle sophisticated floral-musky accent plays its game leaning the juice over a more feminine side. The juice holds on being powdery because of the benzoin, the powdery-detergent  effect from iris, white woods and some incense still lingering around. The final touch of leather whereof many talk about is a pattern of final suede that emerges when the molecular milky dust starts a bit to recede and a more defined floral spark soars in the air. Another ambery fragrance whereof i appreciate the alternance of the different stages in its long trip. Just the dry down is fully satisfactory to me but at this point the lasting power has finally exausted its energy.
01st August, 2012 (last edited: 15th July, 2014)
Extremely brutal amber and leather. It really is that simple.
02nd April, 2012
Incense is becoming a real love of mine. The more I experience it in fragrances, the more devoted to it I become.

Ambre Fetiche is all about the incense. Not only is it the scent; it's the ash, the smoke and the stuffiness of it all, brought together in one big bottle of harmonious love.

This fragrance is what I had dreamed Ambre Gris by Balmain to smell like. Rich, vanillary, smokey and exotic. It is becoming rather difficult for me to choose between Myrrhe Ardente and this fragrance as my next purchase.

Please don't expect this fragrance to be shy, Ambre Fetiche is the opposite. It wants to be loud and proud. This fragrance is a real head-turner.

The sillage and lasting strength is absolutely incredible. Whoever said that Annick Goutal fragrances don't last, must be mad. Especially during Winter, this fragrance will last, and last and last.

I would find it incredibly difficult to resist any man wearing this fragrance. Hell, I'd find even it difficult to resist myself if I was wearing it too. I feel like such a bad-girl wearing this, and I must say that I like this new-found me.

Do beware that I am one for strong, bold, in-your-face type fragrances, that are not always to people's tastes. The trick is to avoid overdoing the applications. Regardless of whether or not people like Ambre Fetiche, they will absolutely hate it if you go overboard.

22nd March, 2012
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The scent pyramid I found for this wonderful fragrance from the house of Annick Goutal is an elixir of amber, frankincense, labdanum, styrax, benzoin, iris absolute, vanilla and Russian leather. Very interesting notes included...hmmm.

I sprayed it on for a "review" - one spray on my wrists and one on my neck. Great warm, smoke-infused amber fills the air. A nice diffuser of styrax sits on the table in front of you...wafting notes towards you. Incense lurking underneath all of this, but not heavy and definitely an amber & vanilla/frankincense blend - like one I have that I burn around the holidays. Resinous and balmy...very nice. Soothing. However, this is not an incense-laden scent or that "dirty".

Expecting even deeper and darker notes to come, this surprisingly turns toward Myrrhe Ardente about 30-40 minutes in - sharing a "sweetness" with the labdanum, benzoin and vanilla combining to create a "creamy" texture for the nose. No beeswax or anything carmelized here...not cloying at all. The resinous warmth still there, the touch of initial smoke has cleared and we are moving towards the dry-down. This takes another unique turn - and I think a very good one.

However, as Myrrhe Ardente is honeyed and you can almost feel benzoin crystals forming on your skin (just short of cloying - although that is part of its own beautiful nature), the iris absolute note here in Ambre Fetiche creates a nice lifted, slightly powdery accord...which leads to a slight touch of leather. It is very faint - but creates a nice feel on the dry-down. What happens is nothing short of experience in fragrance, not something you just spray. This is for connoisseurs and lovers of unique and true perfumery (as all Goutal bottlings are). I try to mention that point in every review I do for a bottle of this house's work. This is niche, artistic and created with true imagery - not marketing in mind. The idea is to transcend the wearer (and those around them) to another place. This does for me, along with virtually every other Goutal I've ever had the joy of trying or owning.

I really like this as a fragrance as well - it is a wonderful amber scent and clearly unisex. Myrrhe Ardente is definitely far better on my wife's olive skin. I think this will be as good or better as well. The potion that Ambre Fetiche is in a bottle is truly wonderful - it is meant to worn and adorned. Not a casual fragrance, but definitely one I will reach for on special occasions and when I want to radiate warmth and confidence. Again, I don't give ratings to Goutal's work...the house creates art, so a quantitative rating is not apropos. I really, really admire this.
14th March, 2012 (last edited: 15th March, 2013)
Well, this does have amber in its name and is an oriental in design. Although those things usually have little appeal to me, I do find this to be an interesting scent. It starts off very ambery and rich, with plummy and buttery notes. It is very sweet. The sweetness abates somewhat, and interesting incense and leather notes appear. The scent takes on a brown hue in my mind. The leather note is intriguing – I’d say that people who like leather scents should check this out. Suddenly the sweetness appears, in a new guise: cocoa! I get the definite note of chocolate (blended with vanilla and cinnamon) here. Not my style, but an interesting experience.
24th June, 2010
I would never use more than two sprays... it is brutally strong! I'm actually starting to feel like I should have used one.

EXCELLENT silliage and longevity. I messed up and applied this just before a road trip and my friends were rolling down the windows to get away from the aroma.

I get heavy incense wih a touch of amber at first, but later the two balance out - that's honestly about all I get. For me, the incense is overwhelming for the first hour and borders on nauseating... I dont enjoy it until after that, and wouldnt wear it if I had to meet with say, a date, within that hour window.

Overall I'm still debating on whether or not to sell the bottle entirely. I'll give it a few more wears... if I keep this one, I'll be keeping it because I personally like the way I smell, as nobody else seems to be tripping over themselves to ask me what it is.
05th February, 2010 (last edited: 28th November, 2012)

So many mentions of birch tar… When I encounter birch tar in many fragrances, the birch tar is so strongly obnoxious that I have to scrub it off. The odd thing About Ambre Fetiche is that I don’t get the birch tar note at all… And I get very little smokiness or incense. I do get a light frankincense and labdanum in the opening, but they do not come on as strongly as they might: They remain subtle and yet they keep the amber under control. Ambre Fitiche begins as a dry amber and I like that idea – there are more than enough sweet amber scents in the world. Unfortunately, the dryness doesn’t continue… the fragrance picks up a less ambery / more generically sweet powdery character from the benzoin and iris in the heart and vanilla in the base. I pretty much lose interest in this because I don’t understand the exchange of a full bodied rich, dry amber to a thinner benzoin / vanilla watery sweetness. The leather doesn’t save Ambre Fetiche from the thinness and powderiness, either. To my nose this is a very nice amber fragrance – nothing special but well structured and proportioned… one of many…

19th January, 2010
The opening reminded me of plain biscuits (crackers), weirdly. It doesn't start off sweet, but works its way slowly into a rather conventional smoky vanilla base that is very lightly spiced. While I enjoy it, it is hardly mind-blowing. I would have preferred a little more intensity in this one.
07th January, 2010 (last edited: 07th April, 2010)
An oddly gourmandy amber, odd because it's not gourmandy in the vanilla-sweet and syrupy way usual to amber fragrances but rather due to a buttery freshly baked bread accord. Actually, it's more the feeling than the scent of freshly baked bread it captures - the sauna-like, steamy heat common to amber fragrances is here translated to a freshly opened oven and the hot air oozing out of the bread when you break the slightly burnt crust. The scent is so hot and dry it feels a bit like breathing in dust, or, unfortunately, like hitting your nose against a wall of shiny, white plastic, a similar effect to the one I felt in CB Musc Reinvention although not as intense. I prefer dusty dry amber fragrances to sticky sweet ones, but due to that plasticky feeling I can only give a neutral rating.
20th December, 2009
I find this combination of Russian leather and amber to be positively satisfying in every regard. I shall certainly be acquiring a bottle of this!
22nd November, 2009
The most interesting amber I've ever smelled! I really like ck Obsession and after smelling Ambre Fetiche, Obsession is like water. So powdery, so spicy, so... ambery! Brazen at first and you can smell the unique "salty" accords that I get from almost all of Goutal's frags. This stuff lasted for over 12 hours. It's still on my shirt the next day. Really rich and good stuff. Wear it liberally in the heat of summer! (just kidding)
04th June, 2009
Bigsly Show all reviews
United States
I'll give it a neutral because it's certainly not bad. However, I'm not really sure what to think of this. At times it reminds me of a simple but nice amber fragrance, such as Etro's, but at other times it seems to be a Shalimar "wannabe." I don't get fairly constant sillage but rather a waft now and then. It's almost like too much of a tease, and makes me think of other fragrances that are similar but that I'd rather be wearing. At one point, at least two hours after spraying, I thought something great was happening, but whatever it was, it didn't last long at all. I "blow away" top notes as much as possible, so keep that in mind. I'll likely try it again, but I really don't look forward to doing so, and at this point, that's a very bad sign. Some might prefer this to fragrances like Shalimar Light, of course, but AF just seems too shy and awkward to me. My guess is that this is all about personal preference, rather than one being "better" than another.
30th April, 2009
Every review here so far seems to capture some aspect of Ambre Fetiche perfectly. I was in Saks Fifth Avenue testing the line up of Annick Goutals that they had available as the SA looked on. She was doing her regular sales pitch as I continued to spay, sniff and write down notes for later reference. I was pretty much letting everything she was saying go in one ear and out the other, knowing that I would recognize something I was drawn to no regardless of what she said. Then I came upon Ambre Fetiche and that was it. I held the strip to HER nose and she said, "Oh my God, that's mysterious." "Exactly" I said, "That's what I'm looking for".

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said in the previous reviews about Ambre Fetiche other than to stress the pungent smokiness of this amber scent. However, I don't get much of a leather note at all. It is very different than most of the ambers that are being sold today, so ladies, if your looking for a soft, sweet, girly amber, this ain't the one. It lasts a long time and as Buzzlepuff said, it does go through a huge change between those first opening notes and the final drydown. This is worth trying for anyone who loves amber scents. I would love to smell this on a man.
16th March, 2009
Sybarite Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I agree with most of what's already been said about the luvly Ambre Fetiche. But I'm afraid don't quite agree, with JaimeB above (sorry!), on one important point. I have both this and Cuir Beluga and though they share some notes, they do not (to my nose) actualy smell alike. (I appreciate it may to yours, JaimeB!). So believe me, if your nose happens to approximate mine rather, you will be missing out on one faboulous fragrance. What is true however, is, if you enjoy one, you're probably pretty much guarenteed to enjoy the other one too. As they are the same "type" and "feel" of scent. (But one is obviously more Amber with the other being much stronger leather). So please don't be put off getting one if you already have the other. You shall be missing out!
Then another importat point to mention, as this might really bother some. I have heard quite a few people, here on BN, mention (on other reviews for other scents, usually ambers) a "play-doh" note (accord?). Well I've been quite puzzled, as I've never been able to pick this note up on any scent. Well, I didn't ........
........Until now ! ... One hour in, as the scent progresses, sudenly unmistakably, the "play-doh" note rears it's ugly head (unless you find it attractive, as I'm sure many of you might?! ... Bringing back playful childhood memories and all). ... I must admit, I did not find it as offensive as I thought I would. But thought it best to warn those who dislike it, as it's certainly here and as "clear as day". And does stick around for a good while ! Not that the scent is very long lived (unfortunately that's one of Goutal's scents least attractive trait).
Otherwise, I found it an attractive scent. Bound to please most Amber lovers! (But am sorry to say, that if I had to choose just the one ... Guerlain's -Cuir Beluga wins hands down, being one of my all time fave "top ten" scents!)
06th March, 2009
Ambre Fetiche is a very warm strong masculine fragrance that is wearable and mesmerizing from the opening. There is a very dark birch tar leather in the opening supported by frankincense and in the distance is a warm echo of amber. The sweetness of the amber is completely hidden by the birch tar "fetish" of this amber based scent. The only similar opening I have tired is Kolnisch Juchten by Regence which is very similar in its dark leather opening. As the scent wears down in 4 or 5 hours the amber is now emerging as the last note standing with dry warmth that stays for a remarkably long time. The evolution from dark leather to pure amber is a long one, but the difference in fragrance development is dramatic from the opening to drydown some 7 - 8 hours later.
08th January, 2009 (last edited: 24th November, 2009)
This is an amber that requires some patience. The opening nearly blasts the wearer with frankincense. Some reviewers describe it as sweet and boozy and others describe it as incensey. I agree more with the latter, although some sweetness is certainly present. On this wearing, the middle notes nearly caused me to layer on another fragrance, as I had done on a couple of other occasions. A strong birch tar leather note nearly overwhelms and had I not waited it out, I would have probably given AG a neutral for harshness. But, ten to fifteen minutes later, the edges softened out, leaving a soft, slightly resinous amber with just a hint of leather. The drydown is well worth the wait, placing this fragrance among my favorites in the amber category.
04th January, 2009
JaimeB Show all reviews
United States
Rather strong on the birch tar (Russian leather) note at first, but then this dries down to reveal a more ambery scent. The incense, labdanum, and styrax in the top combine to give an assertive oriental impression. Though the leather predominates for quite a while, it only finally disappears quite late in the drydown. Powdery benzoin and iris soften, but do not overwhelm it. In fact, for a scent containing such a definite powdery heart, it hardly comes across as powdery at all. I have to say, though, that this fragrance, while quite lovely, is overall a very close approximation of Guerlain Cuir Beluga. This is not very apparent at first, but as the development progresses it becomes unmistakable; so I would say if you have Cuir Beluga, you may not need this one at all.
16th November, 2008
Ambre Fetiche is an amber that knows not to overdose on the vanilla syrup; instead, there's a liberal dollop of incense resins which lend it a Middle Eastern, spicy quality. A leathery (birch?) note enters the picture an hour or so into the thing, darkening the pitch and smoking up the joint while an earthy, powdered iris root blows kisses from off-stage.

My favorite of the Les Orientalistes series.
13th November, 2008