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Ambra – fresh and warm and sensuous

One of my favourite months is October. Where I live, it starts out as late summer, when the leaves turn fiery red, burnished gold and Jack O' Lantern orange and ends as the real beginning of autumn, the leaves fallen to the ground, leaving branches, boughs and limbs bare. It has an air of melancholy about it that makes me seek coziness and comfort.

October is a transition month for sure, and like other transition months, weather and temperature are unpredictable. There are warm days, hot days, cold days. One day you're wearing a jacket, the next, flip-flops. The only sensible solution for any perfumista is to find a scent that can perform in both warm and cool weather. It sounds daunting, but Ambra, from Etro is up to the job.

Etro started as a textile design company founded by "Gimmo" Etro in 1968. The Milan-based business soon became known for its paisley patterns. Today Etro is a family-owned fashion and lifestyle brand that produces fabrics, accessories, ceramics, wallpaper, clothes and fragrances. Originally, perfumes were added to the Etro stable in 1989 and were intended to enhance their clothing lines. This is around the time when niche houses like Serge Lutens and Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier started producing fragrances, making Etro a pioneer in niche perfumery. Ten fragrances, all signed by Jacques Flori of Robertet made up Etro's initial launch. Ambra was among them.

On me, Ambra opens with nose-tingling bergamot, backed by a note of fresh, bright lemon. Coriander is fresh, peppery and spicy, and it complements the citrus beautifully before the flowers appear. A geranium note smells lemony and green and rosy, the perfect way to introduce a sensuous note of rose. The florals keep the scent light and fresh. At the heart, ambery labdanum appears. The labdanum is deep, resinous and balsamy, and to me, smells like a forest of fir trees which adds a different dimension of freshness to Ambra. Things turn from fresh to warm and cozy when patchouli and styrax show up, giving Ambra a dry woodiness that lingers in the background as the base notes appear. There's amber, sweet, animalic, and a little powdery braced with caramel-tinged, warm, velvety opoponax. Vanilla is creamy and cozy, while musk adds sensuality and fixes Ambra to the skin.

This EdT has a lot of heavy notes, yet it's surprisingly light while still being rich. If you're looking for a BIG fragrance, look somewhere else. Ambra has an elegance that comes from being perfectly balanced so that the notes intertwine and dry down into a soft, smooth, refined sensuous stunner.

The real beauty of Ambra though lies in its duality. It transitions from a fresh scent into a cozy, warm one making it ideal for warm or cool days. Who am I kidding? I'd wear Ambra any day.

Ambra is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.