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  1. #1

    Question Amber in the 1980s

    I am hoping that the perfumer’s here could help with a query I have regarding ambers.

    I am aware that amber accords are produced in various ways but there is or was a certain ‘amber note/accord’ present in many amber/ oriental amber fragrances produced during the 1980s and I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on what these ingredients were? I have noticed the scent in fragrances like Obsession for Men, Black Suede and Old Spice and others. This type of accord also usually imparts a touch of powder into the fragrance. This is in contrast to modern heavy oriental ambers like Grand Soir which although very nice feels extremely different. Any ideas? Any help would be most appreciated.

    Thank you

    Sheik Yerbouti

  2. #2
    Yes!
    Paradeiserl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    I think I can say that this perfume has a slight but smellable influence of ambergris: TED LAPIDUS pour homme (1978)

    I am very lucky that I still have two original miniatures. One of them unopened and the other opened only a few days ago.

    The only problem is that this fragrance of late 1970s - sorry not 80s - is out of production for a long time.



    Exactly this perfume would be a great alternative for today's oud-overloaded offers!
    Something to translate: ... says the real important German cabaret artist Dieter Nuhr: "Und wenn nichts weiß, einfach mal die Fresse halten!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    Thanks Paradeiserl. I’ve never smelled Ted Lapidus Pour Homme 1978. I was more intrigued to find out what it is that makes the distinctive amber scent in many of the fragrances particularly the scent profile produced in the 1980s. While it is possible that real ambergris was used I wouldn’t know and was hoping a perfumer might lend their insights. I’m more inclined to think it may be a combination rather than a single ingredient.

    As already mentioned its present in Obsession For Men, Old Spice, Black Suede but also others such as Fendi Uomo, Chanel Pour Monsieur EdT Concentree and Tiffany For Men had a similar ‘amber’ note. It just smells entirely different to any amber accord I’ve come across in modern times.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    Many are confections of labdanum and vanilla. Commonly used were also nitromusks, which have all been essentially removed. Also salicylates, especially in old spice. Try also spices like cinnamon, clove, cardamom and coriander and a fresh citrus top. Light doses of white florals like jasmine, heliotropin, or others. Sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver and their related chemicals.
    Last edited by fragrantregard; 6th June 2020 at 03:39 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    Thank you fragrantretard. I understand labdanum and vanilla are a classic combination to create an amber accord. Now you mention it the older style ambers had a slightly floral air. Many of the things you have mentioned have got me thinking. The old ones also didn’t seem smokey in the way labdanum sometimes can (like incense). I’ll have to do some more investigation. TY for your help.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    Many classical ambers contain labdanum or cistus, both effective in traces (0.1 or 0.2%). Labdanum can be smoky, but certain specialties, like dynamone or ambrarome, are more cedar and dry, or animalic. You can also use other resins: benzoin, peru balsam, tolu balsam, which are sweeter, and even more floral cinnamic, than labdanum. Consider also styrax, which can be burnt or floral, depending on the variation. These in conjunction with vanilla can bring you into the same odor family.

    Finally, dose in traces castoreum or civet — especially with vanillin. These are very common in older orientals as well.

    Personally, I also see some distance between Chanel PM, and Obsession, for example. Both are sweet, but the latter is more resinous and sticky, the former more citrus and dry. I wouldn’t put them in the same category necessarily.
    Last edited by fragrantregard; 6th June 2020 at 05:01 PM.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    I wonder, as fragrantregard was saying, whether it's not so much the ambers per se, but some of the accompanying ingredients and fixatives. Back then they had oakmoss, coumarin, and more musks, materials that don't feel heavy, but give longevity. Now, these are restricted, so amber perfums go heavy on the amber and usually add a lot of patchouli as well. Also, back then people didn't like sweetness in perfumes, but now the more the better, so a slug of sweet materials is usually added as well.

    cacio

  8. #8

    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    Oakmoss and coumarin are two other, very probable suggestions. Both common materials of yesteryear, especially in orientals.
    Last edited by fragrantregard; 6th June 2020 at 08:02 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    Definitely not saying all of the ones I mentioned above are part of the same category but they have a certain commonality which puts the idea in the ball park especially in what comes across as the amber aspect of the scent.

    By contrast modern ambers always feel heavier, stickier, more resinous and often but not always sweeter. As you say if some restricted stronger ingredients were used back then in trace amounts that might explain the difference with a focus on the ambers feeling more airy compared to fragrances produced now. The feel of Old Spice and Black Suede really capture the scent, feel and spirit of what I mean in terms of airy, floral, powdery, sweet 80s amber.

    In this instance the diffusive power, not scent of oakmoss could be at play too but it feels minimal.

    The joys of perfume!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheik Yerbouti View Post
    especially in what comes across as the amber aspect of the scent
    This is precisely the claim that I remain skeptical of. Which is not to say your perception is wrong, but I cannot grasp the link you are making, as I don't feel PM belongs with the other two. For me it is less oriental, more citrus, more mossy vetiver and perhaps sandalwood/cedar. It is maybe vanillic, but, in comparison with Obsession, less resinous, less sweet, and more natural; Obsession is synthetic like DHM, and spicier -- i.e. closer to Old Spice. PM leans more cologne like Eau Sauvage, a feeling I do not have from Obsession.

    If Old Spice is what you are looking for, try, as I mentioned: patchouli, vanillin, coumarin, heliotropin, and spices (clove and cinnamon). Incorporate other elements of the fougere accord, maybe violet, and try different citruses. Very important also is saliyclate.
    Last edited by fragrantregard; 6th June 2020 at 07:35 PM.

  11. #11
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    Trilby Lark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Amber in the 1980s

    Interesting thread. Nothing these days, and I mean nothing, will ever move me as much as the original Obsession.
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