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  1. #1

    Default Tested Ambre Sultan during Mardi Gras

    Hey guys, It's the wee hours of the morning here, but due to a RAGING case of acid reflux and other maladies I have been unable to sleep well for the past week... So I have to try to remain upright, and what better way to do so than to type up a nice long scent review-slash-diary entry on Basenotes.

    To start, I had decided it was time to try a Serge Lutens fragrance. I had only briefly smelled two SL's before when The_Giraffe brought some samples over a few months ago. I sniffed Santal de Mysore (Loved it) and Chergui (Too much coumarin IMO). I'm not really into sweet fragrances, but I wanted to get a bunch of Lutens samples. Plus I also decided to buy a bottle of something blind (I'm a big fan of the blind buy--it seems like a bigger payoff and sense of gratification when it's something you love- and if you don't love it, there's more incentive to give it a chance)

    So based on a lot of reviews and such, I decided to buy a bottle of Ambre Sultan. What had I heard about it? Well, I was expecting it to be dark and sweet--possibly too sweet for my tastes. Also, I gotta admit, I was always struck by the comments saying it smelled like a woman's private bits... heh-heh. Not that I personally want to smell like that, but I did want to see if that was true.

    Well, I received the bottle on Thursday from Aedes, and couldn't wait to sniff it. I unscrewed the little cap and dabbed some on the back of my hand and onto my arms. It smelled a little like those vanilla wafer cookies. Only darker. I picked up the benzoin and styrax in it. It was nice, but actually less weird than I thought it would be. It didn't blow my mind. It was kind of a straightforward Oriental it seemed.

    But later, I decided to screw on the sprayer attachment (The bottles look much better with the screw caps, on the Lutens bottles, the sprayers don't look right). When I sprayed from the sprayer instead of dabbing it on, it smelled much, MUCH different. This time I got the herbs up front. It smelled like marijuana and I did detect something vaguely coochie-like as well. It was kind of jarring, how herbal it was up against that ever present sweet resinous base. Kind of reminded me of Eau Noire the way those oddball dry herbs just sit there always on the verge of being swallowed up in the sweet vanillic morass.

    Saturday was the day of the big Mardi Gras event in St. Louis, which is a big deal here. We have the biggest Mardi Gras event in the USA after New Orleans. And part of the fun is the whole "flesh-for-beads" thing (You give a random girl a string of beads and she shows you her boobs). I always have to work on Mardi Gras, but this year I said screw it, I'm going to party and have fun.

    Well, it was snowing all day. Cold and miserable. But my brother and I went to a big party at his friend's place right down in Soulard (where all the action is). We were going to find ourselves doing beer funnels out of big orange parking cones (ah, peer pressure).

    But first, before we left I had to decide what fragrance to wear. Since it was absolutely freezing cold, I went with Ambre Sultan. I did a "light" application (it's still pretty strong regardless) and made a mini-vial to keep in my pocket.

    I had asked my brother if he had tried the Ambre Sultan and he said that he had seen it on the bathroom shelf and tried it and liked it. He did ask me if it contained civet. I said I didn't think so, to which he replied, "well I was sitting alone in my car last night wearing it and it smelled good. I thought I smelled "butt" for a minute, but I think I may have ripped one and not paid attention." That cracked me up.

    So anyway, it felt like the coldest day of the year. Walking around the streets, no cars, beers in hand, pockets full of jello shots, beads around my neck, all bundled up-- and even then, man Ambre Sultan almost seemed like a bit much. The benzoin is just so in your face.

    We went to a party and I was talking to this girl who was dressed in French garb--powdered white wig, white face paint, blue satin dress-- that was really a hot look-all girls should dress like that. At one point when we were standing outside talking, I she got kind of close to me and made a noise like she liked my fragrance. That was nice. Then later I heard her having an argument with her boyfriend. I ended up getting drunk, cold, and fatigued fairly early and took a cab home in the afternoon, alone. My brother stayed there all day and night. (Damn cold weather--I only got to see one pair of breasts.)

    I feel sick. It's my own fault for standing around getting exposed to the cold. My voice is all messed up. My nose is clogged up. Just the thought of sniffing Ambre Sultan makes me want to sneeze. (Plus some guy I work with coughed on me all last week. His name is Glenn and he looks like Keith Hernandez and talks like Foghorn Leghorn. When I told him to stop coughing on me he bellowed "Aw, you can't get sick from me son, I'm on medication" What a moron. I love the guy to death--he's really eccentric and people joke that he's my dad and he calls me "Son" all the time. I could tell you some serious "Glenn" stories... the guy was on Judge Judy one time. Also he has gambling issues. The best was one time he had injured his leg. We asked him what happened. He said he was down on his luck, when he saw a rabbit sitting in his back yard. He took a knife and was going to try to sneak up on the rabbit and cut its foot off for luck, but he slipped off the edge of the porch and accidentally stabbed his own leg... Really, this guy is like some folk hero. I'm fascinated with him.)

    But I'm kind of on the fence with regards to Ambre Sultan. I wish there was maybe more wood and less sugar to it. I'll have to try it again after my illness goes away.

    With regards to the other Lutens... Damn, I wish I had bought Arabie blind. Ironically, Arabie is the one that is usually said to be too sweet. I found it to be amazing. It smelled exactly like a gingerbread incense that I had years ago. Definitely I liked Arabie the most. I do like Ambre Sultan, but I think Arabie is more my style.

    Gris Clair I wore to a NHL game on Friday night. It was kind of stuffy. And to me, it smelled a lot like Laguna Homme after it dried down.

    Daim Blond... eh, mothballs. I liked parts of it. but overall it reminded me of mothballs. I washed it off and sniffed the place where it had been and got a strong unmistakable whiff of alpha-isomethyl ionone... so I ran to the card and looked at the ingredients and sure enough, alpha-isomethyl ionone was the first ingredient listed after water.

    Chypre Rouge. OMG. Awful. I posted my perception of it in the reviews. Kool-Aid and pecans. Not even worth more words.

    Miel de Bois. Sorry it smells like pee. I don't know that it's possible to make a fragrance with honey notes that doesn't smell like urine (Kouros included). I think that's just the dual nature of working with phenol notes. Miel de Bois is an OK fragrance to sniff on my arm when I'm by myself, but I wouldn't ever dare to wear it.

    Why does it seem like all of the interesting Lutens are not in the export range. It's kind of annoying. I don't know that this house is really up my alley. I'll keep trying Ambre Sultan when my nose clears up.

    Take care.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tested Ambre Sultan during Mardi Gras

    What a great and amusing 'review' you got us here, Ted. Awesome! Too bad you catched that cold - hope you'll recover soon. For some reason, by the way, I always get a very distinct 'sauna' note from Ambre Sultan.
    "Perfume is the dream that carries me."

    There is always the sky to look at

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tested Ambre Sultan during Mardi Gras

    Nice review. No matter how much I apply, Ambre Sultan suffocates me. Not one I can wear.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tested Ambre Sultan during Mardi Gras

    I much prefer arabie too. I was surprised not to find it too sweet and I love the whole fruit and spice thing. I found ambre sultan quite disappointing after arabie. It smelled a little like the base of arabie with all the interesting stuff left out.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder


  5. #5
    If not now, when?

    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Miami, FL

    Default Re: Tested Ambre Sultan during Mardi Gras

    Love the review - Ambre Sultan is one of my favorite scents, but I have just started down the long expensive road that is Serge Lutens.

    You have such an outstanding 'nose' Indie Guy - I love fragrances but I usually have no IDEA what the notes are that I'm smelling...while you seem to target right in on a scents olfactory compositions. I'm jealous...

    I have not smelled Arabie, but now I'm really curious.
    Currently wearing: Vetiver by Guerlain

  6. #6
    Renato's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Default Re: Tested Ambre Sultan during Mardi Gras

    Hi Indie,
    How come you are putting up with a "RAGING case of acid reflux".

    Today's medication can fix this, no matter how much one parties and sniffs scents.

  7. #7

    CologneJunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Overland Park, KS
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Tested Ambre Sultan during Mardi Gras

    Great post, Ted! They actually showed pics from your Mardi Gras on the local news to show everyone all bundled up, but still having a great time.

    I recently received a decant of Ambre Sultan (*grins northward*). It's unlike anything I've ever smelled, that's for sure. I was amazed at how strong it was!!! I typically use 6-8 sprays...but most of my stuff is very subtle. I used 3 sprays of Ambre Sultan and could smell it for hours upon hours. On the whole, I really liked the scent. It's not something I could see myself wearing often, but I'd definitely wear it again.
    " David Bowie really God?" - Penelope Garcia

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tested Ambre Sultan during Mardi Gras

    If you will take a swig of Apple Vinegar, it will fix your acid reflux in 30 seconds promise. Even better is a swig of Dill Pickle juice. I swear this works and fast.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tested Ambre Sultan during Mardi Gras

    I too have started down that long and expensive road after discovering Fenwicks in London stock an extensive range of Lutens scents.
    I tried a few (Chypre Rouge is bizarre isn't it? But somehow compelling) and Ambre Sultan was the one I fell in love with (I may well go back to try others at a later date...but I can see this being a very dangerous and expensive affair!)
    Having said that, I'm of the female persuasion. I thought it smelled like church incense but my friend thought it smelled a bit rude. It must be the musk. To me, though, Agent Provocateur smelled a lot ruder.

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