Unhateable? Atelier Cologne Ambre Nue

Dear Scent Diary,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s hard to dislike amber. It’s as close as you can come to a non-subjective good smell, agreed to by everyone on the face of the earth. If you hate an amber fragrance, chances are, your hatred stems from the notes used in combination with amber, not the note itself. Hate Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan? You probably hate the bay leaf. Hate Hermes Ambre Narguille? It’s likely the baked fruit. But if you’re in the majority, you love both those fragrances for their beautiful amber-y warmth.

Amber is an aromatic resin that perfumers approximate using an accord of vanilla, benzoin and labdanum which give the note its warm, sweet, resinous, round coziness. Amber accords also tend to produce potent and dense fragrances. Not so with Atelier Cologne’s Ambre Nue. Duh, it’s a cologne, you’re probably thinking to yourself. Well, yes and no.

An xmas gift for which I hinted strongly.

An xmas gift for which I hinted strongly.

Atelier Cologne aims to coin the term ‘cologne absolute’. Their fragrances are inspired by the traditional eau de cologne composition of citrus and herbs, but in much stronger concentrations. Ambre Nue is part of their Matiere Absolutes Collection that branches out even farther from the cologne style, using notes of vanilla, amber and patchouli and in perfume extract strength (or so they claim).

Ambre Nue opens with a bright, sweet citrusy orange, gradually softened by the amber base. As it develops, the amber becomes more prominent, giving the orange top note a soft, pillowy cushion of benzoin. As the action continues, a hint of dry patchouli peeks in to add some depth. A pinch of cinnamon enters the edges of the picture to add just a little more complexity.

an100The overall impression is soft, freshly sweet, warm and worthy of inhaling your wrists deeply, which I’ve been known to do when wearing it. Stated simply, it’s a sweet orange amber fragrance that is light, polite and moderately long-lasting. I spritz liberally and carry a purse-size around for upping my bliss.

After discovering recently that benzoin is a note that I particularly enjoy (Chanel Coromandel, Ineke Field Notes from Paris, everything in the Guerlain Matiere series) I’ve been seeking out fragrances that have the note. While benzoin is not the star of the show in Ambre Nue, it’s there and it’s heavenly. Ambre Nue is definitely worth a try if you’re interested in an amber scent that isn’t overly strong and can be worn in the summer.

If anyone has any suggestions for perfumes with a strong benzoin note, please let me know.


9 responses to “Unhateable? Atelier Cologne Ambre Nue

  1. Great impressions! Ambre Nue is one of my favourite Cologne Absolues from Atelier Cologne. Pretty unusual 🙂

  2. Amber frags were my gateway into niche perfumery. Ambre Sultan is still one of my all time favorites. However, I am not that excited about trying new ones at the moment. Amber overload. I have tried Ambre Nue and thought it was quite nice. Dior’s Ambre Nuit is different enough to be enjoyable as well. It’s when they all start to smell the same that you know you need to take a break 🙂

    • Hi David,
      So true, it’s definitely possible to over-explore and tire out our schnozes. Sounds like you need to skip the ambers for a while. 🙂 I like Ambre Nuit quite a bit more on my husband than on myself for some strange skin altering reason. Sexy on him, sharp and synthetic on me. Ah, well.

  3. I like amber perfumes a lot. Ambre Sultan, Ambre Russe, Mitzah and Ambre Fétiche are just the first that came to mind. Love and wear them all.
    I liked all of the initial Atelier Colognes’ offerings. Can youimagine how surprised I was whenI tried Ambre Nue and actually disliked it?

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