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Nose-to Nose – Our Top 10 scents for October – Amber scents for Fall


Photo - Wikipedia - Amber Room of the Catherine Palace, St. Petersburg

Kay: OK! It’s official. Fall is here as of September 22nd!

Gwen: I know – isn’t it wonderful?  Bright sunny days with that cool edge to them. Have you noticed that some leaves are starting to turn, although we need a frosty night or two to bring out the brilliant reds, burnt orange and gold colours.

Kay: We can wear our sweaters and boots, and we can wear our ambers.   I think the ambers always smell best in cool weather – they seem to come alive, open up, and croon “love me”!

Gwen: Ahhh, yes, the ambers…….sigh. Amber makes just about any note smell great – warm, inviting, comforting, even sensuous, or spiritual.

Kay:  Did you know that the amber note in perfume is a total perfume-fantasy note? The honey-coloured hard amber stone used in jewellery has no scent at all, of course, because it’s ancient petrified resins. The amber perfume note is the honeyed stone imagined as a smell, and is a actually a resinous mix, usually a combination of labdanum, which is rock-rose, and vanilla, or tonka bean, which smells like a blend of vanilla and cocoa powder. Today, perfumers use synthetic ambers, too. The amber note is what makes the Oriental style unique as a genre – these notes came from the Far East.

Gwen: So the amber note is a sweet and powdery note, and is not to be confused with ambergris which is an entirely different thing – whale vomit to be exact……yes, I said whale vomit  - ambergris has an aquatic salty/sweet smell and is used as a fixative.  It enhances other notes. But the fantasy amber note can smell floral, or gourmand, or smoky, or dry, or woody, depending on what it’s paired or blended with. I love the smoky ambers – wasn’t Guerlain the first to do an Oriental perfume, the famed Shalimar with a smoky vanilla-amber accord?

Kay: You’re right. When was that?....1921, I think. Shalimar is a great perfume, it’s a classic from another era, but it is so perfect, and so iconic, it smells modern again. Every perfumista should wear Shalimar at least once, just to experience it’s amazing dry-down.

Gwen: I agree. Well, Shalimar’s at the top of my amber list….

Kay: What else is on your list?

Gwen: I can’t talk about amber without mentioning these..

Alambar - Laboratorio Olfattivo.

Amber is shot through every stage of this fragrance, but it is so harmoniously blended that it never grows harsh or overpowering. It develops into a skin scent of pure amber – warmed, sweetened, softened, but not so much that it loses its earthy/musky mojo - and made perfect for cooler temperatures.

Vol 870 YUL-CDG - Monsillage.

This is the cool Canadian north – not harsh and wild but refined and tamed.  Fir needles, cedar wood, clary sage a floral heart of ylang-ylang/osmanthus/bergamot all resting  on a rich base of amber and resins that are smoothed by musk. You know, I just got a little shiver thinking about it!

Ambre Russe - Parfum d'Empire.

Representing a journey across the Russian Empire of the 1800’s, it opens with a cold, sharp note of vodka, along with champagne followed by warm spices. Black tea adds a smoky, exotic note. At the base, deep, gorgeous leather shows up, sweetened with a honey note from rich earthy amber. I can’t imagine Fall without wearing it. 

Myrrhiad - Huitième Art Parfums 

Here the amber isn’t at the base, but it's used at the top to sweeten sharp, bitter myrrh and leads the way for rich warm vanilla, unsweetened licorice before it gets smoky and resinous. The development of this scent is so exceptional, is has to be experienced.

Kay: I'm going to have to get a decant of all of ‘em! Ya know, BFF, one of the great things about a lot of the amber scents from niche perfumers, is that they are good on both men and women – it’s a skin thing! And they’re not power frags, they stay close and intimate….here’s my amber list….

Ambre Fétiche – Annick Goutal

Sweet and creamy at first, then leather, then vanilla, then a sort of caramel/cocoa note, then back to smokey leather and incense. It unfolds, exotic and powerful in a soft way….definitely not a “girly” amber scent.

Chergui – Serge Lutens

Built around tobacco leaf and hay notes, there’s honey and iris and incenses and sandalwood, and ….amber. Warm and soft, this perfume has a quiet sillage, and is insanely beautiful.

L’Ambre des Merveilles – Hermes

The legendary, sensuous amber note is the star player from beginning to end, softly sweet, edged so faintly with salt and citrus, tobacco and wood, becoming a warm intimate skin scent.

L’Air du desert marocain – Tauer

Andy Tauer’s masterpiece - dry, warm, earthy and subtly complex.  It opens with spice and citrus, then rock-rose mixes with resins and the magic happens…. an ethereal accord of incense and amber that touches the soul.

Avant-Garde – M. Micallef

Truly unusual, it starts with a smoky citrus, moves into buttery sueded leather inside an accord of incense and glowing amber notes, with a charismatic sillage faintly tinged with almonds dusted with dark cocoa. Divine!

Gwen: Now those are ambers frags worth coveting.

Kay: I’ll get the decanting supplies out...


Try any of these amber fragrances for Fall - we know you'll love them, just like we do! Just click on the links to learn all about them.