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Spanish Amber – Fun, happy, and easy to wear – February 5, 2017

Spanish Amber -

Our neighbourhood has what I think is one of the best natural food stores in the city. It’s a co-op called the Big Carrot which has expanded over the past three decades to include a separate Beauty section, and a well-staffed Dispensary for natural supplements, all part of what is now a unique shopping area with an outdoor courtyard called Carrot Common. I drop by every few months to pick up vitamins, or stock up on soaps and the rose oil face cleanser from Australia that I can’t buy anywhere else.

I love the smell of the Beauty shop. It’s has a nose-tingling aroma, filled with the scent of hand-made soaps, beeswax candles, aromatherapy essential oils, and natural fragrances. I always check out the fragrance testers, especially the ones in the colourful packaging by Pacifica Perfume. The Pacifica story is a really feel-good corporate story, which I hope is true….

Brook Harvey Taylor’s fascination with the magical world of scents began as a teen, and led her to study aromatherapy in Oregon where she seriously started making perfumes about the same time as she also met Billy Taylor, a photographer and film-maker. They shared a passion for the West Coast outdoors, as well as a grassroots vision for a business together:

“They believed that if they invested in the quality of their products and the fragrance experience, rather than marketing, people who fell in love with Pacifica would spread the word. They were right. Their devout following of fragrance aficionados and earth-conscious connoisseurs deeply value Brook’s fresh approach to perfuming which enhances rather than overwhelms. Her blends are sophisticated and complex, yet, fun, happy, and easy to wear.”

I’m certain I’ve spritzed every one of the 18 Pacifica fragrance testers in the Big Carrot, many times over, with the result that I’ve bought several to give as gifts, and a few as gifts just for myself.  I’ve also bought several scented candles, which is another successful part of the Pacifica scent story. For my money, one of the best scents in the line is Spanish Amber.


Spanish Amber is all about resins. An Oriental woody scent which works beautifully on female or male skin, it’s dominated by resins, deliciously balsamic and woody, citrusy in the top from bergamot and lemony elemi, creamy and powdery-rich in the middle with a sandalwood and rose geranium accord, then drying down with warm spiced amber and deeper drier labdanum notes in the base.

The dry-down may seem fairly linear on the first couple of wearings but there is a subtlety to Spanish Amber that I re-discover and wait for every time I wear it. The amber note in perfume is usually an accord of labdanum (incense), vanilla, and benzoin (smoke) and I get a warm expansive sensation as the resins in the base bloom with soft vanilla and tendrils of smoke, and my mood always lifts. I love the soft sillage and the fact that it easily lasts 6-8 hours, which is excellent duration for a fragrance composed from essential oils and de-natured alcohol.

Give the Pacifica fragrances a sniff when you have the chance. They are so reasonably priced that you may pass them over as not worth sniffing, but you’d be wrong. As ambery as Serge Lutens Amber Sultan, or Annick Goutal’s Ambre Fetiche, Pacifica Spanish Amber is lighter and less overwhelming, but just as comforting and worthy of love.

When I need a re-set, that’s exactly the kind of amber I want. Fun, happy, and easy to wear.

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