In the beginning I was really confused by this too and couldn't figure out why there seemed to be at least two different amber notes. One was described as animalic and fatty, the other was resinous and sweet. I found this entry in wikipedia, however:
"Amber is fossilized tree resin (not sap), which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry."
The article goes on to say:
Scent of amber and amber perfumery
"In ancient China it was customary to burn amber during large festivities. If amber is heated under the right conditions, oil of amber is produced, and in past times this was combined carefully with nitric acid to create "artificial musk" – a resin with a peculiar musky odor. Although when burned, amber does give off a characteristic "pinewood" fragrance, modern products, such as perfume, do not normally use actual amber. This is due to the fact that fossilized amber produces very little scent. In perfumery, scents referred to as “amber” are often created and patented to emulate the opulent golden warmth of the fossil. The modern name for amber is thought to come from the Arabic word, ambar, meaning ambergris. Ambergris is the waxy aromatic substance created in the intestines of sperm whales and was used in making perfumes both in ancient times as well as modern. The scent of amber was originally derived from emulating the scent of ambergris and/or labdanum but due to the endangered status of the sperm whale the scent of amber is now largely derived from labdanum. The term “amber” is loosely used to describe a scent that is warm, musky, rich and honey-like, and also somewhat oriental and earthy. It can be synthetically created or derived from natural resins. When derived from natural resins it is most often created out of labdanum. Benzoin is usually part of the recipe. Vanilla and cloves are sometimes used to enhance the aroma.
"Amber" perfumes may be created using combinations of labdanum, benzoin resin, copal (itself a type of tree resin used in incense manufacture), vanilla, Dammara resin and/or synthetic materials."
If you read the Lovejoy mysteries, in one he takes bits of fossilized amber fround on the beach and melts them together using a candle to create a gem. Because I had read this, I atempted to do this with a nice piece of amber jewelry I had that had been damaged by immersion in a jewelry cleaner (should have read the find print on that cleaner....) I thought I could kind of "heal" it by patially melting it. No such luck.
But I did learn that when the fossilized amber is heated, it does emit a strong resinous scent that is quite pleasant. It also burns easily.
I bet if you crushed some amber (it will make a kind of dust) and heat it gently in some kind of recepticle, you would get a usuable product.