Olfactive Studio Close Up, Vilhelm Purple Fig, Ex Nihilo Amber Sky, Nishane Ambra Calabria, Mad et Len Terre Noire, Malbrum Wildfire, Phuong Dang Raw Secret, Inspiritu Temperantia, Provision Resonance
Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 08/26/2016

In short, there is no such thing as an amber essential oil.

This story first appeared in the August 26, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The concept of “amber” — fossilized tree resin hardened into a golden stone — is a late 19th-century olfactory invention typically comprising vanilla, benzoin and labdanum. Combined, these rich ingredients impart a soft warmth, a subtle sweetness and depth.

The earliest amber perfumes were legendary: Jicky — introduced in 1889 by Guerlain, and Ambre Antique — created by François Coty circa 1905.

“Amber notes are becoming more popular as retro-inspired fragrances continue to trend,” said Sherri Sebastian, a Los Angeles-based perfumer who is launching her own niche brand — Provision — this fall. She is spotlighting a trademarked ingredient called Amber Xtreme in Resonance, a star eau de parfum in the collection.

“Amber notes vary in intensity and effect,” she explained, “making them the perfect complement to a variety of fragrance profiles — from green citrus to heavier, smoky, woody scents.”

Case in point: A slew of niche perfumes making their debut this season feature amber, blended with notes ranging from Turkish Rose to Green Coffee.

Give amber a whirl, and maybe you, too, will be described as someone “of enigmatic allure, incomprehensible, aloof” — just as wearers of Coty Ambre Antique were in a 1936 ad for the scent.

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