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  1. #1
    atrac's Avatar
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    Default What does Amber smell like?

    I know that this question sounds *really* stupid, but what does amber smell like? I know that question can't be easily answered, so a better way of asking would be to inquire what cologne has the heaviest amber smell?

    Even better, let me explain my confusion. I wore M7 to work a few months ago...put on way too much and alienated a lot of people. But one girl who got near me well after the drydown said "oh you're wearing amber!" I said it was M7 and she said "I bet there's a lot of amber in it." So, the smell that permeated from me is what I concluded to be amber.

    A little while later I smelled "The Lover" from The Gap and one of the dominant notes reminded me of the M7 dry down. "Heavy on Amber," I noted.

    Soon after I smelled "Adventurer" from Eddie Bauer and also noticed a strong note similar to both M7 and "The Lover." "There's another amber one!" I proclaimed (internally).

    Well, I was set to living my life believing that I knew what amber smelled like, then I decided to go into Bath & Body Works and smell they're line of fragrances entitled "Amber." I was set to smell M7, The Lover, Adventurer....nope! Not even close. This "Amber" immediately reminded me of Hanae Mori EDT and "Tomorrow" from Avon.

    So now I'm confused...and I ask "what does amber smell like???" The M7/Lover/Adventurer note that I smell (heavily in all) or Amber(BBW)/Hanae Mori/Tomorrow? Since the predominant note in each set is completely different to my nose, I can't believe "both" would be the right answer.

    Sorry for being so wordy, I just had to justify my possibly silly question.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    The only way I can describe what amber smells like is to tell you its a warm, resinous scent that can produce a faint prickle at the back of the nose. Its rich and earthy.
    Vegetal amber - the hardened resin from tree sap - is fragrant when ground or warmed.

    In perfumery the smell can vary greatly as generally Amber is produced synthetically. Your own exploration with amber fragrances is testament to the diversity of amber interpretations in a fragrance.

    Amber Narguile, Gaultier2 and Rochas Absolut are all excellent examples of where you'll easily recognise amber.

  3. #3
    jenson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    is Azzaro PH amber based....?

  4. #4

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Amber is also made with natural ingredients. It is often a combination of woods, resins, incense notes, patchouli and vanilla. It can be light and fresh (heavy on the frankinscence), or dark, thick and sweet (lots of patchouli and vanilla). Eden Botanicals makes wonderful, pure ambers.
    ~Grenouille knew for certain that unless he possesed this scent, his life would have no meaning.~
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

  5. #5

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
    Amber is also made with natural ingredients. It is often a combination of woods, resins, incense notes, patchouli and vanilla. It can be light and fresh (heavy on the frankinscence), or dark, thick and sweet (lots of patchouli and vanilla). Eden Botanicals makes wonderful, pure ambers.
    Yeah, the Eden Botanicals ambers are excellent. Amber Rose is awesome, as is Amber Royale.
    Currently digging: Le Labo Rose 31 and Oud oils.

  6. #6

    narcus's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by atrac View Post
    So now I'm confused...and I ask "what does amber smell like???" The M7/Lover/Adventurer note that I smell (heavily in all) or Amber(BBW)/Hanae Mori/Tomorrow? Since the predominant note in each set is completely different to my nose, I can't believe "both" would be the right answer.

    Sorry for being so wordy, I just had to justify my possibly silly question.
    Atrac, by no means is your question silly! To give you a good answer is not as easy, though.(I don't know Hanae Mori, unfortunately). Generally, it has to be said that not all of the ingredients in any one perfume can always be detected by a healthy nose. Even if you are trained to do that (and who, other than pros really are?) you will miss some. Artistic perfumes are meant to be absorbed as a whole, not by its elements. And there are always main notes, and supportive ones, like the amber in M7. I never thought about M7 as being oudhy or ambery. I only got the oudh after having really been exposed to several oudhs.
    And the amber? I am not sure I get it even though I know it's there. Ambers can give perfumes a very velvety, soft feel. That's why it's often used in leather fragrances, for example. I think I get warmth, and softness from the amber in M7, but not much of a detectable smell.

    BUT a prominent amber note (a combination of several notes) has a a very distinctive smell. Rather than adding more words to describe it, I recommend you note down a number of perfumes from the directory which have Amber or Ambre in their names. Take this list to the perfume counter and ask to smell some of these. They should be good quality perfumes. After having smelled a few different samples from your list (or whatever the store has that would be equivalent) also on your forearm, I am sure you will know what unites these perfumes: the heavenly, slightly sweet and inspiring smell of AMBER!

    (most of the weekend I spent sampling ambers and also ambergris. Maybe in the meantime you have done similiar sampling, and actually no questions any longer )
    Last edited by narcus; 25th February 2008 at 10:48 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Aren't "amber" and "ambergris" two different things and two different scents?

  8. #8

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by GMF View Post
    Aren't "amber" and "ambergris" two different things and two different scents?
    yes and no LOL

  9. #9

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCure View Post
    yes and no LOL
    I guess it depends on the scent. The ambergis in the base of Creed scents is certainly different than opposing 'amber' scents. I think it just comes down to the quality of ingredients used.
    I have: Davidoff Relax, Dior Homme Sport, Boss Selection, Azzaro Visit, and Creed MI (will provide # on bottle for verification) available.

    Looking for the following: DG The One, Himalaya, YSL L'Homme, John Varvatos (not vintage) Canali For Men or Paypal.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    A simple amber "synthetic" could be made from Benzoin, Vanilla and Labdanum (I *think* labdanum) mixed in the correct proportions. Of course, it can and does vary from this, but there will be a whiff of vanilla, a lot of benzoin and Labdanum like notes. Of course lots of other things in most "ambers" too as the above is very very simple.
    Last edited by Bromo33333; 25th February 2008 at 06:45 PM.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Regis Philbin View Post
    I guess it depends on the scent. The ambergis in the base of Creed scents is certainly different than opposing 'amber' scents. I think it just comes down to the quality of ingredients used.
    Let me ask it another way: If a scent is "crafted" to have an "amber" note, are they going after an ambergris scent without using real or synthetic ambergris? Or by "amber" do perfumers mean the fossilized resin from trees, while "ambergris" is the whale excretion, each having a unique scent?

  12. #12

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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    "Amber" IIRC is said by Mandy Aftel in her book, to be an accord based upon Ambergris scent.

    Based upon amber-sap incense I have smelled burning, the vanilla-benzoin-labdanum accord is pretty close to that.

    So ... who really knows except if someone claims "Ambergris" you can be pretty sure they are trying to replicate whale vomit! "Amber" I think can be all of the above, or none of it.
    Last edited by Bromo33333; 25th February 2008 at 07:38 PM.
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  13. #13

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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by GMF View Post
    Aren't "amber" and "ambergris" two different things and two different scents?
    - Yes, they are indeed. The trouble is, that the average Joe will never know as long as perfume houses (Creed), and even a few perfumers keep muddling facts. Reason: more than (an estimated) 98 % of so called amber, and so called ambergris are in fact various synthetics, patented by the chemical industry.

    "How do you make an amber? Labdabun + Vanillin + Ambroxide", says Jean-Claude Ellena in The Perfect Scent (p 108). (I suppose Ambroxide is a Symrise product, i.e. from the German company who had Ellena under contract for a number of years. Ellena is a minimalist. There are far more complex amber compositions, and if the synthetics are from Roure or Givaudan, they will have different names. The art of making perfect natural ambers was developed in northern Africa. Ambers, slaves and gold were the three most precious goods of mankind in biblical times, and the production of ambers had been a well guarded secret.

    Ambergris itself does not have a very pleasant smell, but it is known to emphasize floral notes in perfume or harmonize compositions, and make them last longer. It enhances the perfume on skin noticeably. Guerlain and other French perfume houses have more or less stopped using ambergris between 1960 and 1970, and critics say that a lot of perfumes never smelled as good ever after. You can layer ambergris on perfumes and cologne, they say. And you can order small quantities of ambergris tincture form www.profumo.it (Abdessalaam is a BN member also.)

    The Swiss niche perfume house LesNez (René, BN aka EauxM) uses real ambergris in his first (three) perfumes issued in 2006. For details, maybe you want to start here:
    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder View Post
    These are three very well made perfumes. My wife has worn LMPTL almost exclusively for a year or so, it has become her very refined signature. She is on her third bottle now. L'Antimatiere is a fantastic, subtle perfume with lots of natural ambergris which is very beautiful and interesting. It is not for everyone because it takes a while to tune the nose to ambergris (the reason why some smell nothing). It is not for those who want a loud announcement of their presence but for another kind of perfume user.The Unicorn is a stark, natural green violet, with a cool impression. Unusual as a "cool green"...
    Balmain is going to release a new perfume in a few weeks. Its name: Ambre Gris (more details on Osmoz)
    Last edited by narcus; 26th February 2008 at 10:38 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I just saw that L'Artisan has these decorative pomander-like spheres that are filled with amber. Text from the L'Artisan site says, 'We have created an amber note made entirely of vegetable ingredients blended together to form a solid substance similar in nature to organic amber.'



    So, I'm gathering from this, that L'Artisan is interpreting amber as amber from sap, trees, etc. and NOT ambergris from whales, right?

  15. #15

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I dont know who Amber is but im sure she smells great!

  16. #16

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    To me, the amber note in many frags smells like Play-Doh.
    I get so overwhelmed ... by olfactory hues. ~ Phish

  17. #17

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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Amber(gris) is what stays on your skin, after everthing else is gone. For me it smells like vanilla. Example: M7 according to YSL contains amber(ambergris) and Opium PH contains vanilla. In the end, the very end, both smell almost the same for me.

  18. #18

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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    NOTHING better than going out and smelling some good examples:

    A VERY good fragrance that encapsulates (and then goes beyond) the essence and mystery of Ambergris is Eau des Merveilles by Hermes....

    Two reasonably accurate and also interesting takes on Amber (the vegetal side of the name) are Ambre Sultan - Serge Lutens and also Amber Absolut - Tom Ford.

    One very very popular synthesis of both sides (also heavy with 'fougere' notes and sandalwood though) is Azzaro's classic Pour Homme

    and a most interesting modern kick off from all this is Guerlain's L'Instant (especially the original woman's perfume)

    do note that the last two are twisted but wildly successful modern takes on what you seem to be looking for (the original smell of amber and ambergris)
    Last edited by zenman7; 13th March 2008 at 03:41 PM.

  19. #19

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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    So, I'm gathering from this, that L'Artisan is interpreting amber as amber from sap, trees, etc. and NOT ambergris from whales, right?
    Right. By the way, I have that one, and it's the greatest amber smell I know. Never came across an amber perfume like it, but there are a hundred good ones, including Ambre Extrème.
    Last edited by narcus; 13th March 2008 at 06:44 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by olfactory bulb View Post
    To me, the amber note in many frags smells like Play-Doh.
    That's quite interesting, because the Amber note I detect in M7/The Lover/Adventurer/Givenchy Pi (I'm adding this one to the mix) DOES smell like Play-Doh!

    The "other" Amber in BBW Amber/Hanae Mori/Tomorrow by Avon smells nothing like Play-Doh!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I do not agree is amber smells like vanilla. Natural Copal is the closest one can get to real amber without having to wait a couple million years. Amber is a fossilised (is that the right word?) material, it is hardened, like a stone. It does not have an actual smell unless you start to burn it. Copal, on the other hand, is used as a substitute for incense. Imagine smelling Tam Dao with a very, very oily base. Copal is not even close to being sweet.

    I always thought that Ambergris and amber were not related on origin or scent. That said, I have never smelled real ambergris. I think that the real word perfumers should use is "resin" instead of amber, eventhought the latter sounds much more luxurious.

    So your question is not stupid at all, it is actually very intriguing...
    Last edited by irish; 30th November 2009 at 10:07 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Wow, lots of confusion in this thread.

    There are three things called "amber" associated with perfumery.

    The first is ambergris. It's produced in whale stomachs, possibly to protect them from hard sharp objects (squid beaks, for instance), hence the nickname "whale vomit", although "whale pearl" might be just as accurate. Fresh ambergris is a byproduct of the whaling industry, but considered unsuitable for use in perfume; the good stuff spends years in the ocean before finally washing up on shore. I haven't smelled the real thing, but the synthetics have a distinctive fresh-woody character with some resemblance to clary sage; the real thing is said to be smoother, more complex, and somewhat animalic.

    The second is mineral amber. This is fossilized tree sap. It's translucent and kind of an orange brown color, like honey; it is, I suspect, what the color "amber" refers to. Actually, this isn't used in perfumery at all; mineral amber has no smell unless it's heated (by burning, or working with power tools) and the smell is supposedly an unpleasant resinous or "burning plastic" smell. According to some sources on the internet, it's possible to extract an oil from the resin, but the smell is similar to when it burns.

    The third is perfume amber, which is often confused with mineral amber. Perfume amber isn't any kind of fossilized sap; it's a solid perfume, typically composed of labdanum, benzoin, and beeswax, with any number of other ingredients as the maker desires (patchouli, frankincense, and vanilla being probably the most common). The scent is heavy, resinous, and sweet, but not particularly like ambergris. It's also possible to extract an amber oil from the solid, or to construct an amber oil by using extracts of the resin ingredients.

    So when a scent says it has "amber" notes in it, which of these three do they mean? Unfortunately, there's no way to tell. Ambergris has a kind of legendary status, being known as a precious material that makes any perfume better but is too rare and expensive to use in modern commercial formulation.. a kind of unattainable exotic luxury from the past. The word "amber" has an evocative, mysterious quality that makes it sound desirable even to people who don't know what it is. No perfume marketer would hesitate an instant to claim that something has "amber" or "ambergris" notes; their real stock in trade is genuine 100% Grade A bullshit, and they'll say anything, anything, to sell a bottle of juice. But since ambergris has its own word, I generally assume that when a perfume says it has amber in it, they mean the solid perfume kind.. and I think most perfumes with "amber" in the name have the characteristic smell of perfume amber.
    Last edited by Xplo; 1st June 2008 at 05:55 PM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Labdanum, the resin from the Rockrose plant (Cistus Ladaniferus) is the closest oil or absolute in chemical structure to true ambergris - although not having actually smelled the latter I can't say how similar they actually smell. Labdanum is a very rich smelling substance though that goes through quite an evolution all by itself. Rich, resinous, hints of leather, myrhh like notes, and much more.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    Labdanum, the resin from the Rockrose plant (Cistus Ladaniferus) is the closest oil or absolute in chemical structure to true ambergris -
    I've heard this too, but I have serious doubts about its veracity. Near as I can tell, they smell nothing alike, except possibly in having an animalic note. I suspect the amber/ambergris confusion has led some people to believe that perfume amber is a recreation of ambergris (and if I am wrong: cite sources, please).

  25. #25
    Lian's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I´ve bought solid perfume amber in Marrakech, it´s unbelievably strong, powerful and addictive. I keep it locked away and still you can smell it if you open the cupboard. I love and adore it and if thL´artisan wooden balls smell the same I need to get one soon!

  26. #26

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Throughout this thread nobody seems to have described what amber actually smells like, is it sweet, tart and sour, woody, animalic, balsamic , ?

  27. #27

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    afraafra, it varies ... Amber is not a material you can find in nature, it is made by men. This means that the smell varies a lot from one house to the other.

    To me it has to be balsamic, slightly animalic, medicinal and warm.
    L'amour fait songer, vivre et croire. Il a, pour réchauffer le coeur, un rayon de plus que la gloire; et ce rayon, c'est le bonheur. (Victor HUGO)

  28. #28

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    afraafra, it varies ... Amber is not a material you can find in nature, it is made by men. This means that the smell varies a lot from one house to the other.

    To me it has to be balsamic, slightly animalic, medicinal and warm.

    Night, this is quoted from http://ayalasmellyblog.blogspot.com/.../anbar_21.html

    Anbar, or amber in Arabic, refers to both ambergris and the fossilized resin used as a gemstone whose beads are often used in Masbaha (prayer beaded chains). I got the perfume oil by this name at Majed’s shop, and it is also dark in colour.

    Anbar perfume oil is not as animalic as Al Mesk Aswad, but is still fecal, dark, sweet, and has hints of civet. It smells so animalic it may have some ambergris to it. Like Al Mesk Aswad, I smell hints of camphor at first, which smells cool and metallic, with hints of myrrh and benzoin. Most of all, Anbar reminds me of antiques made of dusty copper and brass and of chains of amber Masbaha displayed in abundance in a crowded souk, where fumes of incense weave their way through the abundance of old Persian carpets, coin-decorated belly dancer’s outfits, piles of dusty incense tears, copper lanterns and hookas laid out on the cool, footsteps-polished dusty stone floor.

  29. #29

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Amber is made of labdanum and vanilla. All the other materials go on top (musk, civet, patchouli, oakmoss, sage, etc.).

    Ambregris is natural as you said.

    These are two different materials.
    Last edited by Night; 2nd August 2008 at 03:52 PM.
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  30. #30

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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lian View Post
    I´ve bought solid perfume amber in Marrakech, it´s unbelievably strong, powerful and addictive. I keep it locked away and still you can smell it if you open the cupboard. I love and adore it and if thL´artisan wooden balls smell the same I need to get one soon!
    Yes In Morocco they make very good amber. You can order solid Amber via Ebay in Europe for very little. They come as sugar lumps, white color going into cream. There are two dealers, on in France, the other in Belgium ( I believe it was). But the solid Amber from L'Artisan is much better still. No amber perfume compares to it, including Ambre Sultan. OOPS, just noticing that this is the old thread where I have said about the same things before, sorry!
    Last edited by narcus; 2nd August 2008 at 04:21 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  31. #31

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    You can also buy solid amber fragrances here:
    http://www.edenbotanicals.com/crystallized.html

    I have never bought Eden's ambers but I do buy a lot of essential oils and absolutes from them.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  32. #32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    You can also buy solid amber fragrances here:
    http://www.edenbotanicals.com/crystallized.html

    I have never bought Eden's ambers but I do buy a lot of essential oils and absolutes from them.


    Quoted in part from link http://www.edenbotanicals.com/about_amber.html

    The fragrant amber, is a semi-solid mass of tree resins or gums mixed with essential oils, bees wax and fragrant plant powders. Amber resin is not simply a resin that is tapped from a mysterious tree growing somewhere in the Himalayas! If it were there would be a pure amber essential oil, an amber absolute, or an amber co2 extract. Amber resin is always a blend of different ingredients from many different sources. Every manufacturer of amber, or amber oil uses a different blend of ingredients, hence the consistency and aroma varies considerably. Each amber resin maker uses his or her own, unique and secret formula.

    The color of amber resin depends on the ingredients used to make it. Colors range from golden (called honey amber) to reddish, brown and near black. The consistency also varies from very soft to quite hard. Some ambers are waxier, while others contain more crystals. But perhaps it is the aroma that we are most interested in, and this varies greatly as well. There are sweet, floral ambers, and woody, musky ambers. At this point one may question, why is amber resin called amber. We believe it is because amber resins are attempting to imitate the scent of ambergris. Ambergris means gray (gris) amber. Ambergris is a gray, black or whitish colored substance that was originally collected from the surface of the ocean by fishermen or from pieces that have washed ashore. It is thought by many to be one of the most sensuous fragrances known, and has been used in perfumery for a long time. The ambergris comes from the sperm whale, which excretes the substance from its intestinal system. For the whale, it is a substance that helps to sooth the intestines after eating cuttlefish. Because ambergris has also been collected from sperm whales that have been intentionally killed, we do not use it in any of our products. Neither do we use synthetic ambergris. True ambergris is a very rare substance.
    there are some basic ingredients that are commonly used. These include a resinous base of Styrax tree resin (commonly called benzoin) from the benzoin tree (Styrax benzion or Styrax tokinensis [which is the more fragrant and finer variety]). To the resin and wax base, the amber maker adds essential oils or fragrance oils or ambergris. The types of oils used will determine the final scent of the product. Fragrant plant powders such as sandalwood powder are also added to some ambers. The types of oils typically added include sandalwood and patchouli. Almost any other oils may be added to get the desired scent. A spicy amber may have cinnamon, cardamom or ginger added. A sweet flowery amber may have geranium, rose or a hint of ylang ylang added. Other oils that may be used in certain ambers include: vetiver (khus), spikenard (jatamansi), frankincense, myrrh, cedarwood, vanilla, ambrette musk, etc.
    Last edited by afraafra; 2nd August 2008 at 06:13 PM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    As previously stated, Amber smells like Azzaro PH, no, seriously, form my own experience, amber tends to smell smoky, a bit powdery, leathery and even a bit fleshy, all this with an above average lasting power

  34. #34

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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    well, if you know Vetiver Ambrato from Bois 1920 you will understand.. This is Vetiver and Amber.. Fresh Vetiver and warm Amber at the same time...

  35. #35

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I think this is a very pertinant question. As we can see, Amber is described by many people with many different discriptions and somehow try to come up with a collective idea about what many degrees of amber and ambergris smell like. I still struggle with pointing out the top, middle and bottom notes, but with time and reading here, I get a somewhat better understanding with threads like this.

    I could go out and buy the coffret from LaLabo and try to study each of these accords, but being a full nose is not my goal. Perhaps someday I'll be a good nostril with any luck.
    Your nostrils, which will dilate immesurably in unspeakable contentment, in motionless ecstasy, will ask nothing better for space, for they will be full of fragrance, as if perfumes and incense; for they will be glutted with complete happiness, like angels who dwell in the peace and magnificence of pleasent heaven.
    (From Maldoror by Comte de Lautreamont)

  36. #36

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    If you want to smell one of the finest amber, be sure to contact Abu Bakr Al-Misky (BN'er). He has one of the finest amber oils for sale.
    And the price is great too!
    Last edited by tahasyed; 12th November 2009 at 01:37 AM.

  37. #37
    Sybarite's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by afraafra View Post
    Throughout this thread nobody seems to have described what amber actually smells like, is it sweet, tart and sour, woody, animalic, balsamic , ?
    It actually manages to be all those you mentioned, and still more ... ! (lol)


    It's deep, sweet, earthy, somewhat vanillic, somewhat woody, very resinous, and slightly animalic ! ... ( And I could keep going .... )
    ...

    "The earth laughs in flowers" - (E.E.Cummings)

    ------------------------------------------

  38. #38
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    When ambergris is of a sufficiently high and excellent quality, (the finest really !). And has undergone the correct ageing process and transformation, during the many necessary years of floating and contact with sea and sunlight, for this transformation (chemical and biological) to occur correctly. And then (when out of the sea) it's aged even further to become well mature (the older it gets, the better it gets too !). It's scent profile keeps changing over the many years ... gradually losing most of it's more usual/common and brutally pungent "sea-skank-like" animalic/sea/salt/bile scent profile. All the notes mellowing, developing and maturing with time. If it is actually of sufficient quality and advanced age, it starts becoming sweeter and develops these distinct and intoxicating "ambery" notes. (As would a tincture of an excellent quality ambergris !) ...
    (These were the really precious ambergris lumps, that kings would perfume themselves with. Proclaiming the most intoxicating and divine scent in the world ! ). ... (And , no, it did not smell merely of just animalic "sea and bile" like "skank". ~ As you would get from all other average quality ambergris). ...
    And though, it never actually looses it's skanky animalic facets completely. It just becomes more well rounded, the skank much more subtle, warm, sweet ... and well ... with said marvellous amber-like scent !)
    The chemical that ambergris produces which is mostly responsible for this sweet attractive amber-like scent is called "ambrein". "Ambrein" is the main active ingredient responsible for it's attractive and desirable amber-like scent. ... (And it is also this particular "ambrein" scent that perfume-labs try to replicate when reproducing new "ambergris" synthetic aromachemicals).

    When ancient perfumers tried to replicate this sweet ambery note, with what they had at their disposal (i.e. just from nature). They found that the closest they could come to resembling it somewhat, was with a basic accord of Labdanum (most important !), Vanilla and Benzoin. ... (Labdanum alone is apparently the closest scent we have in nature, which comes anywhere close to resembling this renowned divine "sweet amber" scent of aged ambergris (and it's ambrein) ... Though of course you need the vanilla and benzoin for some warmth and sweetness etc. And most importantly of course, some skanky animalic notes for better accurate authenticity of the entire ambergris scent profile. ... It then begins to resemble it to a certain extent. Or, as close as we can possibly get.

    However this is obviously quite difficult to reproduce entirely, and one will probably only ever achieve just "a close-ish very second-best resemblance" at very best ! ... (As it's scent too varies, apparently, from ambergris lump to ambergris lump, dependant on many various factors).

    Then, to add more to the confusion : .... This is how the whole "amber accord" started out in "ancient" perfumery centuries ago. ... But meanwhile each perfumer since then has played around with this attractive accord. And each one, not knowing exactly the scent of the "original" (with very few ever possessing or even ever smelling "the real deal" probably ??? (As not all ambergris develops these sweet ambered scent qualities !). And with all also still being eager to further "add their own distinctive different touches and interpretation upon it", so as to differentiate their "amber perfume" from some or other "amber perfume" out there. Each will add their very own extra notes . ... And so, one might add more woody notes, whilst others more incense or spice, or a touch of this or the other. Just so they have their own slightly different character !?? (Lutens. for example, added much herbs to his "amber") ... And so on, and so forth ... !
    So ... from just that basic base accord .... you still got many different smelling ambers.

    So now, many many years later, you get many different ambers. And they'll all smell different (though also instantly recognisably "amber"). ... So much so, that it even became it's own "fragrance family". (And is also at the base of most, if not all, "Orientals" too !)

    And when you get to amber synthetic aromachemical reproductions. Each company wants their very own ambergris/ambrein "smell-a-like" too. (And variants thereof ... like ambrox, an oxidation of ambrein) ... These are usually "copied" and derived from actual Ambrein (which is isolated from the Ambergris) ... Or they use (extract) ambrein-like products from Bee Balm or Labdanum (Cistus Ladaniferus) resin. Both have a scent which compares to ambrein, though their fixative qualities are unfortunately just not as good.
    These synthetic "ambers" will also vary from company to company, picking up their own distinct scent profiles, signatures and variations. ... Though they all try to reproduce the ambery scent of ambergris/ambrein. ...

    Which is why it is kinda difficult to tell you exactly what it smells like. For there are now sooo many different smelling amber notes, and amber accords. (Though, once you know how a few smell like, you should then be able to easily recognise all the rest, even when they're somewhat different .) ... There is very much a recognisable "signature", if you will.

    Then ... To add still even a little further confusion : ... Once all these different ambers throughout the ages have been passed down and modified ... and then once again, ... and then once again, and so on and so on . ... You have perfumers copying copies of other copies that are already copies of other copies themselves. Which are by now copies and modifications of other copies etc. etc. etc. ... in a long chain of degraded modified ambers. Deviating more and more from the original intended scent.
    This of itself has also gone on to breed another different type of amber scent. Lets call them "mongrel-ambers" for now. ... As these ambers are now actually no longer trying to replicate the ancient "ambergris/amber" ambers. ... That was kinda lost along the way somewhere !!?? .... And these now just try achieve a warm, resinous and very woody scent.
    Of course here, because the scent no longer resembles actual amber, and more just a blend of woody resins. ... All sort of confusion has arisen as to the reason for naming them ambers. ... Is it from the Styrax resin tears (which also happen to look like "fossil resin amber") ... Or because Styrax resin itself is also from the tree named "Liquidamber Orientalis" ??? .... See, with all these different "ambers" left, right and centre (and I've not even mentioned them all yet !) ... It's not surprising there is sooooo much confusion about the name and it's origin. ... I mean, even because of this very confusion between "fossil resin amber" and "ambergris amber" , the French finally decided to add the word "Gris" (=Grey) to Ambre (which is what it was called before) , and the word "Jaune" (=Yellow) to the "fossilised resin ambers. ... And so we get AmbreGris (Grey Amber) = ... The source of our word Ambergris !

    Though these resiny/woody accords and frags are still somewhat similar, because they still have many of the elements and ingredients of those past classical ambers. But usually just way more "pared down" and "simple". These are really much more about the resins and woods. And they've pretty much lost their "animalic" notes, and completely lost the "skanky" quality. ... They are much more woody and "cleaner", and really quite different. For these "woodier-ambers" are no longer trying to replicate anything to do with ambergris or ambrein in any way particularly. ...
    The majority of these ambers are being made by Hindi essential oil and attar distillers and makers. ... And these are then mostly sold off to perfume manufacturers to actually use in the bases of their scents. Mostly for use in basic accords of their oriental bases. And they do have a vaguely "ambery" feel, though it's a different type of amber, being much more strongly about the resin-woody quality. ... (Though, don't get me wrong, a slightly woody quality was still part of the classic "ambergris amber" accords).

    Sorry ! ... It's really not at all easy to explain. ... You will only truly learn the differences and then start understanding when you start smelling all the different ambers. ... Then their differences and similarities will all start making sense finally !


    And on a slightly different Ambergris vein :

    Now Ambergris has also always been revered for it's supposed excellent aphrodisiac qualities as well !

    Here is an interesting article I found, that seems to perhaps proove that this may very well be true after all. ... Which I thought was very interesting and thought perhaps you guys might find it interesting as well !!??

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8540767

    That Ambrein might indeed be aphrodisiac !
    And it'[s actually more these "types" of ambers that most people will probably associate with being an amber. (Rather than the more "accurate" skanky animalic ambergris/ambrein derived classic ambers).
    Last edited by Sybarite; 12th November 2009 at 10:35 AM.

  39. #39
    bokaba's Avatar
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Amber tends to be a house note composed of various resins and called amber because the raw extract resembles fossilized tree sap called amber. Amber tends to be resinous, sometimes salty, sweet, or powdery--it is up to the perfumer. Ambergris is something different--the intestinal lubricant of sperm whales used to expel the beaks of squids and other marine shellfish.

  40. #40

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Sybarite---a very nice and concise view on the amber family. Thanks
    Your nostrils, which will dilate immesurably in unspeakable contentment, in motionless ecstasy, will ask nothing better for space, for they will be full of fragrance, as if perfumes and incense; for they will be glutted with complete happiness, like angels who dwell in the peace and magnificence of pleasent heaven.
    (From Maldoror by Comte de Lautreamont)

  41. #41
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by JickyMan View Post
    Sybarite---a very nice and concise view on the amber family. Thanks
    Pleasure! ... Glad you enjoyed it !

  42. #42
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Abergris and amber are two diferent materials that "look" similar. Ambergris is a note and has smell. Amber, the fosil does not. Perfumers make acords with resins which they call amber, but in the true sense of the word, they are not actual amber.

    Ambergris, and amber (mede by perfumers) smell different.
    Shameless Plug: Sales thread with Roses Musk, Rose Poivree, and others.
    Looking for lot of samples of female fragrances.

  43. #43
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    There is much misinformation that perpetuates the confusion between amber and ambergris ! ...
    Fossil resin amber has absolutely nothing to do with the amber "accord" and amber notes in perfumery. These are two entirely different things that just happen to be named the same.
    Fossil resin amber is never actually used in perfumery. Nor do perfumers ever try to emulate it's smell. ...
    Fossil resin amber can be (and has been) transformed into an oil by a destructive distillation process, producing a low quality oil (sometimes used only by aromatherapists (if even !?)) ... but is never actually used in perfumery because it's smell is not particularly pleasant nor useful for perfumery !

    It's exactly because of this confusion, that the French decided, long ago, to differentiate between the two types of amber, by adding the word "grey" (= Gris) to the one amber (i.e "Amber Gris") ... And the word "yellow" (= Jaune) to the fossil resin amber type of amber, which they now name/call "Ambre Jaune". ... (So as the two would no longer be confused. However "we" somehow seem to continue confusing the two "ambers" perpetually !)

    Yes there is still a difference between ambergris and amber ... and yes they vary in scent. ... And there is even a difference between amber accords and amber notes. Though synthetic amber notes (such as ambrox etc.) are still trying to replicate ambrein, which is the main active scent ingredient of ambergris. ... So the original source of amber notes is actually stemmed from ambergris. ...
    (Though ambergris when smelled as a whole (and not just it's stripped down constituent parts) in all it's animalic glory, does again smell very different ! (Often tried to be replicated in the more animalic amber accords (though with some artistic licence! )
    Though when actual ambergris is used in perfumery, it is mostly for it's effect on the other notes as a whole, as almost an "amplifier" and "fixer". Rather than for it's actual scent, as such. ... Though when they mention ambergris as a note, in a specific perfume, then they do mean an amber-like scent !)

    It's all very confusing , and there is far more to be explained ... (and, of course there is always perpetual variation and "artistic licence" happening too!). Much more than I can get into here now ... But if you "google" it, there is a wealth of information available. (Just make sure to pick the correct information, and not the equal amount of misinformation which is also just as equally and abundantly available, unfortunately ! )

  44. #44

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    Cool Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by atrac View Post
    That's quite interesting, because the Amber note I detect in M7/The Lover/Adventurer/Givenchy Pi (I'm adding this one to the mix) DOES smell like Play-Doh!

    The "other" Amber in BBW Amber/Hanae Mori/Tomorrow by Avon smells nothing like Play-Doh!
    Go downtown http://www.perfumela.com/shopdisplay...upont++For+Men

    Call them first, see if it's still in stock. Great amber drydown. Check out the reviews.
    Though I like our moderator's trip to Marrakesh better, it might be slightly more expensive

    We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
    Save the whales. I need the ambergris.

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  45. #45

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Warm and waxy?

  46. #46
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I doubt the initial poster was desirous of starting a scientific or linguistic symposium on the true meaning of amber. The fella just wanted to know what an amber note sorta smells like.

    So, to summarize (with a felling axe):

    Ken Russel: smoky, a bit powdery, leathery and even a bit fleshy

    Bokaba: resinous, sometimes salty, sweet, or powdery

    Narcus: gives perfumes a very velvety, soft feel

    Sybarite: deep, sweet, earthy, very resinous, (also somewhat vanillic, woody and animalic)

    Xplo: beeswax, with any number of other ingredients as the maker desires (patchouli, frankincense, and vanilla being probably the most common). The scent is heavy, resinous, and sweet.

    Sculptorofsoul: rich, resinous, hints of leather, myrhh like notes

    Affrafra: hints of camphor at first, which smells cool and metallic, with hints of myrrh and benzoin...antiques made of dusty copper and brass...where fumes of incense weave their way through the abundance of old Persian carpets...piles of dusty incense tears, copper lanterns and hookas laid out on the cool stone floor...

    Me: old window screen
    Last edited by Frip; 7th October 2010 at 05:35 PM.

  47. #47
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Earthy, resinous, thick in feel, naturally sweet.

    It can also smells like beeswax sometimes.
    Last edited by The_Cologneist; 28th March 2011 at 12:28 AM.

  48. #48

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I think that smell mainly spicy resin,a bit sweet

  49. #49
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I think that the "modern" amber is a construct of the current perfumery based in extract of resins mixed with another earthy notes with an air sweetened...
    a representation of modern amber for me is allure homme with that composition based in benzoin , labdanum and patchouli.
    another thing is the ambergris or the fossilized amber.
    my current top five (always in transition)

    Dior Eau Noire
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  50. #50

    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Perfumery's amber isn't the fossilized resin, which has very little scent, but an accord designed to emulate the golden warmth of the fossilized resin. In Mandy Aftel's Essence & Alchemy she speaks to this:

    Amber has nothing to do with the semiprecious fossilized resin of the same name. It originally referred to the scent of ambergris, which was also called ambra, but now an amber note is usually one that has been created from labdanum combined with styrax, vanilla, civet, or benzoin.
    Further confusion arises in the inconsistent use of terminology. Ambergris being a distinctly different material is sometimes referred to as grey amber while amber accord is sometimes referred to as yellow or golden amber. Amber accord is soft, vanillic, warm, powdery, resinous & lightly animalic.

  51. #51

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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    whataBout amBre russe?

    wouldlike to know if thisfragrancesmell like amBer

  52. #52
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I have never smelled a pure ambergris tincture, but I have long imagined that it must be the primary, pungent power-chord in Amouage's Molook Attar. That doesn't feel like there's a lot going on - it is very linear, which is part of the reason I associate the constant hum of salty, animalic funk with this ambergris note. I suppose it could be the varieties of Oud (Cambodian and Indian) used that seem to jump so forwardly in this scent, but if so, this Oud feels quite distinct from that used in other Amouage scents/attars, thus the reason for thinking that this is Ambergris.

    For those that know ambergris (and know Molook), is this far off? (And if so, what exactly is that most pungent facet in Molook?)

    As for Amber, I have always heard that Kiehl's pure Amber oil (can't remember the name) was a good reference for the concept of a perfumer's concocted amber. I think it is discontinued, but the brand still has body washes and other creams that carry the fragrance. I smelled these in a duty free and had one of those "so that's what it smells like moments" Then again, without having a pro there to put something under my nose and say "that's it!" - all of this is conjecture.
    Having Simultaneous Affairs with: Amouage Memoir Man, Fate Man, Interlude Man, Epic Extrait (yep... the femme version), Tribute, Homage, Opus IV, VI, & VII • Puredistance M, Black • Tauer L'Air & Carillon pour un Ange • Knize Ten Golden • L'Artisan Al Oudh, Traversee du Bosphore, Dzing! • TF Noir de Noir • Xerjoff Homme, Richwood, Regio, 1861, 1888, Zafar • Serge Lutens MKK, Gris Clair, Fille en Aiguilles, La Myrre • H de Parfums 1740, Noir Patchouli, Tub3 Animale • Abdes Salaam Tabac, Sharif, Mecca Balsam • MDCI Invasion Barbare, Chypre Palatin • Nicoläi NY, Vie de Chateau Intense, L'Eau Mixte • Dior Leather Oud & Patchouli Imperial • Chanel Sycomore • Guerlain Derby, Songe d'un Bois d'Ete • MFK Oud Cashmere Mood • Ormonde Jayne Man

  53. #53
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    I thought this was interesting. Got to love ebay!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMBERGRIS-WH...#ht_1216wt_986

  54. #54
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    Default Re: What does Amber smell like?

    Quote Originally Posted by El_Guapo View Post
    I thought this was interesting. Got to love ebay!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMBERGRIS-WH...#ht_1216wt_986
    Ha, two available and three sold. I didn't realize the going rate for ambergris was $40,000/kilo.

    Also, the ebay listing claims ambergris cures Parkinson's disease... that is a pretty bold claim.

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