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I 'get' why some people love this, but also why some are totally underwhelmed. This fragrance is everything that's wonderful about amber - warm, cuddly, powdery, grounding, close to earth, hearth, and security. That's a lovely set of adjectives, and why amber is consistently loved. I just can't diss its raison d'etre. This one does the job.
On the other side - amber can be boringly one-dimensional and flat if you're not in need of its warm, earthy succor, or if you're not strictly an amber person. I have an 'amber' friend and she loves them all, smells good in them all, and radiates amber - in case you didn't make the association she's a Leo...
But for the rest of us, amber needs to do a little more to be able to push our buttons. And that's always been my problem with it - I need a little more complexity layered in or I become bored.
For me, that is the problem with this amber - just not enough complexity. When ambers are kept at the level of AMBER, they have no where to go but where they are - that niche they inhabit so successfully. I only need to inhabit it every so often - on snowy days sitting inside by the fire, holidays, etc., all the typical amber-ances.
I notice it's been compared to it's half-sibling Musc Ravageur a lot, and found lacking, primarily in animalics. A fragrance can't be demoted because of lack of animalics - each fragrance has it's own being. But the comparison is irresistible because they have the same father. So basically we're comparing the mothers here...
I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate by saying this, because I too prefer Musc Ravageur, and consider it my favorite ambered fragrance. It has so much more going on, and yes, it's sexier, though an amber doesn't need to be that. But amber does lend itself sooo well to that direction, and makes the whole seductive tone very warm and inviting.
What am I saying? All in all, this is a nice amber, but I'm one who needs a little more variety in mine. It doesn't necessarily need more sexiness, just more... anything. But, it is marketed as labdanum, so one shouldn't really expect more technically. But for me, an amber always feels like a base that lacks completion, that begs for accent notes, needs a story line.
Note: actual labdanum resin (cistis is the essential oil) has a somewhat high, vaguely oud-like, sidenote, which this one lacks, even if it's called by that name. Sonoma's Incense Pure actually has a more realistic labdanum note, and the drydown on that one is almost pure labdanum to me. I don't consider that preferable - it's just interesting how the names don't always end up reflecting the fragrance they're sourcing, but what else is new?
18 July, 2012