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Alambar - Enrico Buccella + amber = big love - February 25, 2013 New Fragrance Listing


Photo - Steam rising from Lake Ontario, February 2013 - S. Ross

Amber, warm and potent, is my go-to cold weather note. Earthy, musky, sweet, deep and dark it has the character to stand up to winter when most other notes hibernate.

Amber's rich aspects make it an olfactive sandbox for perfumers to play in, blending, treating and coaxing the best out of its different aspects to create some of my favourite frags - rich and earthy Amber Russe; musky and exotic Ambre Fétiche or the warm, sensuous L’Ambre des Merveilles.

But right now, I’m favouring Alambar by Laboratorio Olfattivo. I’ve been wearing it exclusively since I bought a bottle at Sens Unique in Paris a few days ago.

Truth be told, I went into Sens Unique with a long wish list and while I had been familiar with Laboratorio Olfattivo, I didn’t really know the line – foolish me.

Laboratorio Olfattivo is an Italian niche line that started putting out perfumes in 2010. Their angle, according to their web site, is that they offer “an innovative collection of fragrances in which artistic research and the art of perfume making play the leading role. It is an artistic workshop in constant ferment, energized by perfume artists who work in total freedom, without any constraints on their creativity.”

This got my attention, but what kept it was their line-up of perfumers: Rosine Courage, Marie Duchene, Pierre Guillaume and Enrico Buccella.

Ahh, yes, Enrico Buccella, the nose behind one of my favourite niche lines, Sigilli. His Claudiae is on my "desert island" list as is his Pyrgos – and believe me, for all the perfumes I own and love, it is a surprisingly short list.

So what does one of my favourite noses do with one of my favourite notes? He creates one of my favourite amber frags.

It opens with citrusy bergamot – not a blast, not a hit, just a citrus presence – before coca appears adding a note of deep dark chocolate, sweetened by earthy, musky amber. As it moves to the heart, there is a whiff of rose - likely from genariol – that gives it a gorgeous floral aspect while cinnamon adds spicy warmth. Then vanilla appears – exotic, sweet and delicious. But before you can even think ‘gourmand’ amber wafts up and balances it perfectly – allowing the cinnamon to play up its warmth and the vanilla to highlight its sweetness, but only in supporting roles. On me, it never gets ‘gourmandy’, just deliciously seductive.

Amber is at the base too, where incense dries it out and gives it a slight smokiness and musk plays up amber’s animalic aspect and smoothes the whole composition out at the drydown.

Oh, yes, the drydown… Alambar is all about the amber – the juice is even amber coloured – and amber is shot through every stage of this fragrance, but it is so harmoniously blended that it never grows harsh or overpowering, even at a concentration of 17%. Alambar is a sophisticated unisex fragrance that 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.

I see this one shooting up the "Desert Island" list with a bullet.

Alambar is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.