Dear Scent Diary,
It’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.
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.
The 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.