To me the key characteristic of this fragrance is birch tar deep in the background... But birch is not listed so i'm guessing it's just a combination of other dark woods and smokyness that gives me that birch vibe.
Other than that it's a pretty straight forward spicy incense, with a nice "mental color" of graphite grey.
Seemingly nicely blended but left me kind of cold and uninspired.
This is an interesting take on an amber based scent. The whole scent isn’t overtly sweet and cloying like most ambers, but instead it has an subtle ozonic/marine quality to it. It opens up a tad on the cherry cough syrup side, but thankfully that aspect goes away rather quickly. The sweetness settles down into a wonderful dry, ashy vanilla that’s as if you’re smelling a piece of vanilla amber resin as the wind blew across a smoldering fire next to the ocean. It’s a dry and subtly sweet vanilla amber with a peppery/earthy backbone that stays at about arms length for sillage and also has good longevity.
The "flow of consciousness" of notes I feel at the opening: amber, incense, lavender, linalol, clove, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, benzoin, pepper, vanilla, aromatic woods (cedar?)... most of them I don't know if are actually there but that is how the opening smells to me. Basically a sweet and spicy amber, with a pleasant, bold opening. It then slowly becomes a bit more green-balsamic as minutes pass, some herbal feel with a mentholated touch – kind of CdG realm. That's a nice transation. You feel the pungent feel of ambroxan on the base, the cedar and the styrax, and also a tiny bit of dry and a bit plastic patchouli – does not smell great, but it is still fine for the purpose. And that linalool insecticide vibe, subtle but persistent from the very beginning. Frankly this overall smells a bit dull to me – the amber/incense/green notes accord is nice, but also a bit confused and... I don't know, not catchy. Pale, perhaps. Anyway, overall this scent is closer to some green incenses CdG's like Sugi or Zagorsk, more than to amber-based scents. Short persistence (too short for me). Nice, but not worth the price tag for me.
18th April, 2014 (last edited: 19th April, 2014)
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This dark incensey/oriental is a delicious combination of balsams, resins, woods, floral notes and incense in which the latter plays a backbone role surrounded by a delicious sticky spiciness. The first blast is almost boozy and i suppose (may be ostensibly) to detect a rhum/tobacco cozy combo in the middle of the spicy resins, jumping up in mind nuances from aromas as Idole de Lubin, Bois d'Ascese (smokier) and partially Coze 02 (without the booziness). The resins are soon prominent enveloping all the elements (floral notes included) in a sort of sticky incensey embrace by soon dark and mysterious. There is a touch of smoke in the blend as flanked by cloves/cinnamon, birch resins and dark woods but the smoke is marginal (such a smoked sugar) and the incensey aroma is closer to a spicy/vanillic type than to a properly steamy one a la Norma Kamali Incense. Vetiverus comes partially to mind because of the central combination of resins, vetiver, amber, incense, styrax, patchouli and labdanum but Black Amber is probably less resinous and more properly leaning over the oriental side. Yes, as an incensey one the Black Amber's type of olibanum is more closer for instance to Messe de Minuit or to all those decadent/resinous/oriental liturgical fragrances than to the drier, smokier and colder (aseptic) incenses a la Kyoto, Black Tourmaline, Hinoki, Full Incense or Caraceni. The dry down is a delicious but effectively rather linear incensey/spicy oriental with a dark woody side and a touch of honey/wax in the mix. A great choice for the Easter's nights spent roaming around the mediaval towns for tight halleis and churches enlighted by the candels casted inside for the "night of the tombs"'s ceremonies.
Gotta agree these are six killer fragrances from Agonist. If I had had £800 on me, I would have purchased the lot, but went for this and 'The Infidels', which has a retro feel, but with no reference points to others I know. Black Amber is just so lush for winter. Get on to them -- I'm going back to the Well for sure.
ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC...WARM AND WONDERFUL AND THE PACKAGING IS GREAT. I FEEL LIKE EVERYONE IS JUST "NOT GETTING" AGONIST. I THINK THEY HAVE WONDERFUL PERFUMES AND REALLY WORTH TRYING.
A dry earthy and peppery amber, with smoky and salty facets which give it a subtle leathery undertone. The slight saltiness lent by the seaweed absolute certainly imbues this amber with interesting "touch-of-the-sea" nuances ,which one could argue lends it a more accurate true 'ambergris' approximation which other ambers tend to lack. So an ingenious and original choice of note which gives this amber it's own unique character. (And don't let said seaweed notes put you off, for whilst certainly present, it's use is subtle enough as could be easily missed unless focused on.)
The 'earthiness' and ever-present 'smokiness' I imagine is mostly due to the cypriol/cyperus (nagarmotha) which usually tends to be so. Tho' it could also perhaps be from the amalgamation of the baser notes (perhaps even a particularly smoky vetiver variety, as some tend to be ?) It is however a rather different kind of 'smokiness' particular to the more usual cade or birch-tar, for example. It's difficult to explain exactly, but it's far less "bonfire" and more subtle peppery/earthy in quality. Here it reads more as a particularly smoky frankincense. Like one's smelling the burnt incense tears, smoke and all, from a lit censer (as opposed to just frankincense oil). ... There is also a subdued herbal presence in the background. But it's more like an indistinct melange of dusty dried herbs rather than freshly-picked 'green'. (Is that oregano I smell back there ??). And hiding beneath all this, the expected vanilla (for a typical 'amber-accord') is actually rather unexpected, for being surprisingly subtle and suppressed, used with such restraint that I'd say it's probably the perfect amber for a 'vanilla-o-phobic'. (Tho' personally I'd have preferred more vanilla with all that lovely smokiness. (Two notes I find most complimentary.) Another thing that's kept in check is the sweetness, it's overall a far more dry than sweet amber. And tho' I personally don't mind sweet balsamic ambers, I'd actually say that Black Ambers' dry resinous aspect is probably it's most alluring quality.
And whilst this amber is certainly dark and intriguing, there's also something lacking for me that I can't quite put my finger on. Being a big amber luver a good 'amber' frag practically leaves me weak at the knees, Black Amber unfortunately, for whatever reason, just doesn't.
Bottom line - there are just better, more captivating ambers & for a better price.
(Tho' the newer 'non-sculpture' flacons certainly make these far more affordable.
A sweetish incense-centered concoction which I find both interesting and disappointing at the same time.
Pros: The quality of the incense is great. More leaning towards the one in L'Eau Trois and Messe De Minuit than to, say, Avignon or Preludio D'Oriente. Botloads of other resins and woods such as styrax, cypriol, cedarwood and sandalwood enhance the dry character while vanilla provides a sweetish facet to slightly smooth the fragrance.
Cons: Not as potent as I expected, somewhat short-lived and a tad too linear...The seaweed note in the opening is meh. Fortunately it recedes very quickly...