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  1. #1

    Default Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    So, fossilized ("real") amber oil is pretty great stuff. It smells wonderful, has terrific fixative properties and everything else. The only thing is, it's prohibatively expensive - about $100 an oz, give or take.

    Does anyone know if an imitation is made that comes close to the smell and longevity of the real thing?

    I'd be using it mainly for non-perfume applications, like incense and lampe bergers.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    I have tried a few from Poland and Latvia and they cost around £15 for 20ml. They are more or less phenolic and compliment the usual amber formula of labdanum, benzoin, & vanilla, which is otherwise too sweet,

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    If you don't want to put it onto skin, what is there stopping you from getting it analyzed, and making it up with all the requisite phenols that are verboten for skin applications?

    It ought not be too expensive to make up yourself. Or hire a perfumer to do it for you...? ;-)


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  4. #4

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    For the OP, btw so far as I know from the perfumery point of view, fossilized amber oil regardless of fine qualities is not "the real thing." At most it is a real thing, rarely used, but certainly not the definition, epitome, prime, or chief way for "amber" in perfume.

    There's a wide selection of "amber" materials, but none are generally thought of as replacements for fossilized amber oil, as that is ordinarily not considered, regardless of qualities.

    I bought the Eden Botanicals material and while not bad, personally didn't have an interest in using it.

    Incense isn't something I do but I thought the effect there was from burning amber, not any extract of it, or using any fossilized material.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    Itís a bit of both actually Bill, Iíve mentioned fossil amber in my blog post on the confusion of terms in this area: itís made by destructive distillation of either the waste amber from jewellery making or amber of too poor a quality for jewellery and is, or at least was in the 1950s occasionally used in perfume making (thatís according to Arctander - never smelt any myself).

    In perfumery Ďamberí more usually means either ambergris type odours or the classic labdanum and vanilla combination and itís many variations, just as you say.

    As to the OPs question about substitutes Iíd suggest looking at this description, also from Arctander:

    Its odor is smoky, tarlike, resinous, with a distinct resemblance to the odor of tanned leather
    That would lead me to look at m-Cresol, birch tar, cade oil and castoreum as a starting point for a recreation.
    ďBattle cries and champagne just in time for sunrise.
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    Chris Bartlett
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    Oh, and if you need some Phenol, I bought a Kilo that I don't quite know what to do with...

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by cuallito View Post
    So, fossilized ("real") amber oil is pretty great stuff. It smells wonderful, has terrific fixative properties and everything else. The only thing is, it's prohibatively expensive - about $100 an oz, give or take.

    Does anyone know if an imitation is made that comes close to the smell and longevity of the real thing?

    I'd be using it mainly for non-perfume applications, like incense and lampe bergers.
    Do you mean pinus succinifera? Just found 10ml of that on the German Amazon for 11Ä. Just asking. In case you are referring to that: I have used it occasionally, it reminds me of birch tar and -almost- only birch tar. The only fixative properties I have found it to have, where for itself, cause I couldn't wash the damn thing off. Many good suggestions here, wish you a lot of luck and certainly more success than I had.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    It also smells a bit like fuel to me.. Not sure which chemicals one could use for that. Maybe fuel?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    The "fossilized amber oil" I believe refers to products such as that of Eden Botanicals, of which their description is:

    Fossilized Amber oil is produced from fossilized tree resin that is millions of years old. Unlike our oils from living plants, there is no essential oil that can be directly obtained from the fossilized resin. Instead, the oil comes from a process called dry distillation whereby the amber resin is processed over high heat until an oily substance is obtained.

    While there are several sources for Amber around the world, Eden Botanicals is the sole source in North America for this rare form of fossilized Amber Oil. Instead of the inferior oil extracted from Baltic amber, our Fossilized Amber Oil is extracted from 35 million year old Himalayan fossilized tree resin. This makes for a dark, viscous oil with smoky, resinous, leathery, woody-dry notes and hints of pine and balsamic overtones. A unique and interesting note in any natural perfume composition, Fossilized Amber Oil dissolves in both alcohol and fixed oils and makes an excellent fixative and base note.

    Aromatic Profile: Smoky, resinous, leathery, woody-dry with a hint of pine & balsamic overtones.


    It's way way more expensive than the above.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nizan View Post
    It also smells a bit like fuel to me.. Not sure which chemicals one could use for that. Maybe fuel?
    I should think some of Paulís Phenol might be the answer for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Roberts View Post
    The "fossilized amber oil" I believe refers to products such as that of Eden Botanicals, of which their description is:

    Fossilized Amber oil is produced from fossilized tree resin that is millions of years old. Unlike our oils from living plants, there is no essential oil that can be directly obtained from the fossilized resin. Instead, the oil comes from a process called dry distillation whereby the amber resin is processed over high heat until an oily substance is obtained.

    While there are several sources for Amber around the world, Eden Botanicals is the sole source in North America for this rare form of fossilized Amber Oil. Instead of the inferior oil extracted from Baltic amber, our Fossilized Amber Oil is extracted from 35 million year old Himalayan fossilized tree resin. This makes for a dark, viscous oil with smoky, resinous, leathery, woody-dry notes and hints of pine and balsamic overtones. A unique and interesting note in any natural perfume composition, Fossilized Amber Oil dissolves in both alcohol and fixed oils and makes an excellent fixative and base note.

    Aromatic Profile: Smoky, resinous, leathery, woody-dry with a hint of pine & balsamic overtones.


    It's way way more expensive than the above.
    So have you got some of this stuff Bill? If so does it live up to the amazing description? Iím feeling like I should get hold of some now . . .
    ďBattle cries and champagne just in time for sunrise.
    ― David Bowie
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    Fine fragrances hand made in The Shire
    Quality perfume making ingredients
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume
    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog for more info about perfumes and perfumery.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    I did order the tiny sample (6 drops), Chris, and from memory this part of the description sounds accurate:

    "This makes for a dark, viscous oil with smoky, resinous, leathery, woody-dry notes and hints of pine and balsamic overtones."

    Except balsamic: I don't tend to think I picked that up, but wouldn't rule it out positively.

    I looked for it now to have a fresh impression, but I don't have it now. I must have diluted it all and used all of the dilution, though I hadn't thought I'd used it all up, especially as I'd tried it in a formula relatively recently. I suppose I must not have cared when it ran out? Don't know.

    As personal taste, by itself I didn't have any impression of amazing but rather "not bad, perhaps might be useful." It was only tried a few times, never was useful in those formulations. Except for the fact that "unique and interesting" can mean anything at all, if it were intended to include "helping the formula" I'd positively disagree with:

    "A unique and interesting note in any natural perfume composition, Fossilized Amber Oil dissolves in both alcohol and fixed oils and makes an excellent fixative and base note."

    Well not surprisingly, not many things are of value in "any" composition, but only some. So that was advertising-speak of course. Also just now I noticed the qualifier, "natural." It's fixative value I cannot say. Excellent note, I doubt but could be personal taste. Might be a modifier of value in some cases.

    Anyway, I'm open to it being of value sometimes, personally though I doubt I'll ever use it in a formula even if I were to get another when ordering again from Eden. But many times, in a new project the mind goes back to an item way, way on the back shelf as being just the thing for a particular purpose so I wouldn't rule it out. It could be far more useful for others perhaps.
    Last edited by Bill Roberts; 29th October 2014 at 01:49 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    I bought some of the EB Fossilized Amber Oil a while ago. I just dug it out and put some on a test strip. I'm still new, so my description is probably lacking. At first sniff, it smells smoky and tarry and like church. It would be a good note for an incense type of blend.

    I'll keep checking it.
    "This, what is it in itself, and by itself, according to its proper constitution? What is the substance of it? What is the matter, or proper use? What is the form, or efficient cause? What is it for in this world, and how long will it abide? Thus must thou examine all things that present themselves unto thee." Marcus Aurelius

  13. #13

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    Agreed, I'd see the potential use if wishing an incense note -- personally I've never wanted to aim for that, so that wasn't useful for me. Excellent example of different usefulness according to the person or brief.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Any acceptable substitutes for Fossilized Amber Oil?

    Thanks for the thoughts both: Iím going to hold on to my money for the moment I think, although incense is certainly an area that interests me I already have quite a lot of stuff that goes in that direction.
    ďBattle cries and champagne just in time for sunrise.
    ― David Bowie
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    Fine fragrances hand made in The Shire
    Quality perfume making ingredients
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume
    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog for more info about perfumes and perfumery.




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