Damp, rich and inky soil, full of crumbling mulched wood, shot through with lipstick iris and a no-holds-barred-sweet amber – this is the striking statement of Ambrarem and I am so glad it exists to make it. I can imagine it is the kind of thing that will be considered unwearable by many. Me, I feel like saying, ‘Where have you been all my life?’
I am naturally drawn to earthy tones and smoke, to wood notes that are so deep they sing of violence rather than the usual harmonies of fragrant wood types. And I love thick nectarous rose perfumes and florals of that nature. Here the shades of these things successfully intermingle to produce magic; granted there are no floral notes listed, but the surge of ambery sweetness gives Ambrarem that aspect.
I feel grateful that Histoire de Parfums can offer something so out of the ordinary and unusual that still, like the best perfumes, reaches out to some secret recess of the wearer’s mental makeup. A perfume of communion.
Softens considerably over the course of the wear and snuggles up just fine.
Ambrarem opens with a beautiful, powerful, evocative powdery-chypre accord of amber, a resinous note which to me smells almost like olibanum (the elemi?), a waxy, buttery note of iris, balsamic-earthy green notes and something underneath which may be oud and something dustier like dry tobacco or other woods. Elegant and pleasantly noble, with an intricated personality ranging from dark and gloomy to the mature and self-conscious sensuality of a classic "poudré" scent, warm, rich and nostalgic, softened by amber which creates a dusty, warm, sweet cradle for the heart of the scent. In the middle there is also a herbal-fruity accord with a sort of earthy bittersweet feature that kind of reminds me of rhubarb, and that I guess is maybe due to spices and red pepper. I miss a bit the sandalwood note which is supposed to be there. The evolution leads towards a smoky-earthy drydown, with a fascinating gradual progression that comprises a sort of an arising fog that slowly captivates and envelops all the warm and sweet initial notes in a dark oud aroma – a discreet, pleasant, smoky and gentle oud note. Complex but incredibly mellow and harmonic, yet somehow not memorable (I don't know why exactly, just a feeling - all notes are kind of "ordinary", good but nothing really new or "wowing") but surely pleasant. One of those scents I personally would not rush out home to buy right away, but surely I would at a bargain discount sale.
I cannot not love this fragrance. I've tested Ambrarem over the course of 3 samples and each time I fall more in love with it. Right off the bat I get a huge oud/iris combo that is almost saccharine with a heavy dose of castoreum underneath it. This initial phase lasts for about 1 - 1.5 hours and will turn some people off because of how animalic and oudy it is in this initial phase. But then comes the dry down and this is where the magic happens for me. Starting at around 1.5 hours in the iris begins to fade and the amber comes up. The castoreum and oud are still there but balanced out by the sweet amber. And this amber note is enchanting. This is one of those fragrances that I wear and while I'm doing something a movement of my arm or change in the air current will bring the scent to me again - and every time I think how wonderful this scent smells.
I would definitely recommend sampling this one, do not blind buy as this fragrance's opening will turn some people off. For me, it's one of my favorites. Longevity is excellent - 12+ hours. I would say sillage is excellent, you don't need to spray too much to get a lot of performance. Wearability is where Ambrarem fails, it's hard to justify a bottle of this since the notes (castoreum and oud) can be a real turn off for some people. Also, I live in a fairly warm-weather location that doesn't allow for wearing "heavy" fragrances like this very often.
There was a really big hype about this fragrance on youtube and I was dying to test this out.
Finally yesterday my samples arrived and tested it on my skin.
The opening is a sweet and strong floral scent with some leather (petroleum like) in the background.
The floral note is saffron at the start but saffron fades away slowly and give her space to the powdery iris.
You can smell both anyway, but saffron was stronger at the opening but in the dry down both are at the same power level.
The leather note smell like modern leather based fragrances such as "TF Tuscan Leather" and it's always in the background. you can smell it easily but it's not in front and bold.
I can't smell any oud or animalic notes at all.
The scent gets a little darker and a little more leathery smoky in the mid, but again it's floral notes (specially powdery iris) that dominating.
In the base I can smell a sweet ambery/vanilla scent with leather, iris and saffron all in the background.
This fragrance kind of remind me of "Tom Ford for Men Extreme" specially in the base so if you like that, you may like this one too.
Projection is very good and longevity is around 12 hours on my skin.
A solid fragrance but something that I've smelt before. there is nothing new or unique about it at all.
06th February, 2014 (last edited: 27th May, 2014)
Marine rot and forest fire - what not to love?
I had a blotter with Montblanc Legend in my pocket from this morning. After spraying some Ambrarem on my wrist, I took out the blotter and realized that Ambrarem is niche at its finest. Why? Because in comparison to a mainstream scent, Ambrarem is very very difficult to enjoy. Give it to your average Wal Mart shopper, and they will recoil in horror, yet the perfume community is raving about it.
What not to like? It is truly marine in a way that only a beach can smell after a storm subsides, and the tide goes out, leaving marine life to rot under the sunlight. May not sound pleasant, but the only people who would not feel a sense awe at this natural beauty, are those who have never seen the sea.
Once the ocean calms down, the oud comes out. It is smoky, resinous, and acts to put the marine accord on solid ground. The scene which comes to mind involves camping somewhere along the Pacific Northwest Coast, getting stranded in a heavy downpour, and then trying to start a fire to warm yourself and dry your clothes.
This scent has a strong masculine element to it. I am having a hard time figuring it out, but it is something which reminds you of an old toolshed, complete with gasoline and greasy, oil soaked rags.
While not exactly pleasant, it is complex, evocative, and very original.
It was love at first sniff, but after buying a bottle, I realized that I have a very hard time wearing it as it is overbearing regardless of how much you apply.
I give it an 8/10 for everything except wearability, which I give it a 2/10 for.
Pros: Original, evocative
Cons: Not pleasant"
I may very well love Ambrarem more than Petroleum. As enamored and bewildered as I am with the latter, which I respect and admire immensely, I just find the former so much more approachable in its bewitching and entrancing qualities. On me, Ambrarem initially explodes with a fantastic greenness that is simultaneously oceanic (salty) and earthy (sandy grassy). It's really delicious; there are fantastic undertones of iris and elemi and sandalwood and castoreum and salty peppery light-vanilla bold-amber intense-castoreum and lovely-oud. It lasts quite awhile on my skin, and its various manifestations are all absolutely mesmerizing.
The opening is earthy-rooty-dirty with a gasoline-like vibe thrown into the mix; it takes me to a construction site with freshly turned earth and running diesel engines. As time wears on it mellows out to a much less controversial woody resins and cool mineralic amber.
There is no way AMBRAREM will appeal to the average fragrance user who usually decides at first sniff. Even seasoned noses will take a beating from this. While it makes for an interesting sample, in the final analysis, is the projected scent or worn fragrance worth the nightmarish opening? NO. At least not to my nose. And that is why I can only give this a thumbs down.
Wearing Ambrarem Histoires de Parfums i soon detect a weird animalic amber/iris really peppery, herbal, earthy/medicinal and aromatic with a "sweet-salty" spark. The first impression is bewildering, wet, vaguely medicinal, and soon animalic, i detect indeed by soon the amber/castoreum accord yet rising from the back but it is humid (rooty/earthy and wet because of the elemi/iris/watery saltiness influence i suppose), highly spicy aromatic due to the effect from the saffron and really peppery for at least a couple of hours. The rooty/peppery vibe holds on woodsy and "fur type" till when a botanic iris starts to emerge spicy/aromatic , earthy/rooty and with a deep dusty aroma that is in my opinion aroused by the interaction of sandalwood, animalic notes, pepper and saffron. Some balsams tend to soften the following development (in a well balanced and absolutely never cloying way in my opinion) that projects finally out a really particular type of amber/iris which holds on surprisingly till the end to be spicy/rooty and botanic and that becomes leathery and woody surrounded by an aromatic and alchemic medicinal (veguely ozonic) saffron. An almost unique iris/amber/oud accord introducing (though in a different way---aoud/saffron/resins/salt rather than aoud-gasoline) also some trails of that weird mineral/leathery/medicinal feel that we enjoyed in Petroleum. I prefer the full and experimental Petroleum's performance even if this issue deserves a lot of interest as a new particular take on a nowadays classic amber/oud accord.
10th February, 2013 (last edited: 11th February, 2013)
For me I can't wear this. I like my ambers pleasant, full and rich and smooth. This is very bracing and harsh and you can most definitely find the Oud in there. I like Oud but it needs something to balance it out, here there is no balance. If you like your Oud with more harshness and don't want it mellowed out, try this. I don't like it because it's not my type of scent but for what it is, it is very well done. There is a slight hint of dirtyness in here, I haven't tried Petroleum and if it's more harsh/and ramped up than this I probably won't.
The trio of -m Editions rares seems to me a brutalist experiment to marry disturbing, bilge notes a la Secretions Magnifiques to the classical, rich style of the HdP house. Much as I admire the conceptual experiment, I am hypersensitive to these notes, so, as alfarom pointed out, I find Ambrarem horrifying. It is the scariest of the trio. The metallic bilge note is amplified by the strong pepper in the top, resulting in a monster of uncommon evil. Besides, I feel that the bilge note has no relation whatsoever with the rest of the composition, a classical smooth amber, which gives the effect of a light oriental scent being brutalized by an attack of decaying zombies. In this sense, Petroleum, which is perhaps even stronger, smells less evil, as the bilge note doesn't feel out of place with the rest of the composition. But Ambrarem joins the undistinguished company of M/Mink and Tirrenico as the symbol of the unchecked, full power of these powerful, synthetic materials.
Sweet powdery gasoline mixed with a vegetal vanilla pretty much sums up my impression after several full wearings of Ambrarem. I so want to give this a thumbs up not just because HdP is one of my fav houses but also because Ambrarem is actually a truly creative and well done fragrance, yet at the same time it seems as though it was created to appear especially synthetic, thus giving it a somewhat hollow and emotionless presence. It seems less a work of art and more a "presentation" in bizarre boldness. I admire its originality and it's oddly easy to wear, yet I sometimes catch a whiff of it and squiggle my nose in that split second before I remember I'm wearing it. So yes, I don't particularly care for how the scent makes me feel yet I find myself appreciating the originality. It's definitely a polarizing scent, and while I don't consider it an amber fragrance (more like a highly mutated cousin of amber) I still recommend everyone seek out a sample of this release.
Ambrarem enters the world as a bright uplifting slightly sweetish fragrance which contains oud. Considering the fact that both elemi and vanila are used here I'm impressed Ambrarem smells as good as it does. Balance it has. Nothing is too out of hand---the vanila, the elemi. The animalic stuff is quite tame.
Even at the very beginning when Ambrarem is at it's best it never has much of a "wow" factor. It reminds me in tone at least of something like Puredistance "M": not terribly exciting, but well made and user friendly. In a short time Ambrarem moves from "good" to "unexceptional". The oud, never that strong to begin with, starts to fade leaving the nicely balanced rest behind. Unfortunately the nicely balanced rest is like that of a zillion other drydowns. Ambrarem just doesn't compete in any catergory oud or otherwise.
Update April 4 2013
Smells like someone attempted their first pie and messed up the recipe.
05th May, 2012 (last edited: 04th April, 2013)
For a long time i was looking to get an amber base fragrance for winter. Usually amber fragrance tend to be too sweet for me, because of either the vanilla or the cocoa. I tried alot of them from Annick Goutal, to Serge Luthens, or l'Artisan Parfumeur even Montale, none of them was really what i was looking for. I wanted to like l'Instant de Guerlain but never enough to buy it. Then one day i got a couple of Histoire de parfums samples (btw i liked them all, very nice line) and one of them was Ambrarem, that i ordered first for my son who is an amber lover. My first impression was wow nice fragrance, i got the amber but a smooth one, not overwhelming, not too sweet, probably the pepper and the oud tone down the natural sweetness of the amber. Nice. then I came back 5 minutes later and i was blown away. What could have been disastrous for me is the vanilla part in the base note. Instead of becoming like all of the others amber fragrance, the vanilla is there to blend all the notes together in a perfect ensemble. OUTSTANDING !!!
I know I am going to take a beating on this, as Ambrarem is getting near universal love here on Basenotes, but I don't like it. I get almost nothing in the way of its listed top notes, instead it almost immediately gets to the Oud and amber combo, and it is quite sweet and cloying. There must be some vanilla or other "sweetener" in here, because this is one of the sweetest ambers I have encountered, and I do not like sweet ambers at all. There is also a not too subtle petroleum vibe going on, but unlike Pétroleum from the same company where it works brilliantly, in Ambrarem it comes off as annoying. Castoreum rounds out the notes I can detect, and it is a pretty strong dose at that. Sillage and longevity are unfortunately superb.
What can I say? Ambrarem is just not for me and I will have to respectfully disagree with the majority that love it. Try and smell it for yourself and make up your own mind. Not recommended, unless you absolutely love sickeningly sweet animalic amber/Oud combos. 1.5 stars out of 5.
25th March, 2012 (last edited: 21st December, 2012)
Here's another winner from the guys at Histoires De Parfums. Recently released as part of the series Edition Rare together with Petroleum (mineral) and Rosam (vegetative), Ambrarem is supposed to be the animalic one. It strikes as a bold yet incredibly balanced concoction of spicy/peppery oud and vanilla with a strong castoreum presence and leathery/resiny undertones. A touch of iris provides a subtle creamy/lipstick vibe while saffron enhances the oriental quality of the oud. On top of this, you have to add what looks like being the signature of this series: a mineral, sort of watery/marine note juxtaposed to the cumbersome presence of all the other elements.
If compared to the one in Petroleum, the aforementioned marine accord, is definitely toned down and sort of overwhelmed by the bold warmness provided by the oud/amber combo. Don't get me wrong, if you can't stand watery/aquatic notes in perfumery, you'll probably won't like Ambrarem either but if you're fine with the style, you'll probably discover a terrific and modern representation of the oriental genre.
That being said I still think Petroleum is the most original of the lot because of its civet/aldehydes/oud combo that is quite an experience (swimming against the stream here), but if you're into slightly dirty ambers that are bold and wearable at the same time, you can't go wrong with Ambrarem.