Censored To Maintain PG-Rating – Review: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan

I have a healthy respect for Serge Lutens perfumes. There are many I adore, but there are equally many that have sent me to the sink scrubbing furiously, to get rid of something that did not agree with me.

Usually, light or subtle are not adjectives one would immediately associate with a Lutens creation. And not that Ambre Sultan is either of these traits, but it is way less than what I was expecting in volume.

I thought an amber fragrance from our dear Serge would blast me clean out of my boots, to put it mildly. What I got was a purring kitten, sleeping in my lap, spreading its warmth, not a roaring tiger that is out to have me for dinner.

Ambre Sultan is a gorgeous perfume, an amber to love, an amber to cherish, an amber perfect in its execution, but it does not pack a punch like Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche, Armani Privé Ambre Orient, Parfums d’Empire Ambre Russe or Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute, it is a lot subtler and lower in volume.

I would not make that much of a fuss, were it not a Serge Lutens perfume. You just come to expect certain things and when they are not met, there is a kind of disappointment, that is not necessarily rational or justified. But it is there nonetheless. I let that distract me from appreciating the excellence of this perfume for a while, but thankfully I have come to my senses.

Things would be different had I come from the other side. Never having smelled an amber scent like the ones mentioned above, would probably have resulted in a different view. But volume or lack thereof, is only one side of Ambre Sultan, the other, the gorgeous, the excellent side looks different. So let us talk about the good side of Ambre Sultan now, okay?

Notes include coriander, amber, oregano, bay leaf, myrtle, angelica root, sandalwood, patchouli, benzoin and vanilla. It was created by Christopher Sheldrake in 1993.

Ambre Sultan has a strident medicinal-herbal start – the bay leaf and coriander are clear as day – that I have come to love. It would have sent me running for the hills only a year ago. As soon as the herbal sharpness recedes, a smooth, warm, darkly resinous and complex amber emerges. Deep, interesting, enveloping and sensual. (Okay, it is all out erotic to me, I find it deeply sexy and all those things I am going to refrain from mentioning in a family oriented blog.)

Ambre Sultan is to sensuality what Muscs Kublai Khan is to sexuality.

The essence of an awareness, an all-over sensation of feeling your own borders, your skin as a surface of contact, on fire, an alertness that runs through you from top to toe. All that is happening when I smell Ambre Sultan. Or rather when I imagine it on somebody else.

To elicit that kind of reaction in me beats sheer volume any day.

Image source: beautesse.at, Sensuality by Vala Ola via celebrateart.com

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in Amber, Fragrance Reviews, Oriental, Serge Lutens, Spicy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Censored To Maintain PG-Rating – Review: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan

  1. Ines says:

    Ooooh, that certainly piqued my interest! ;)
    It seems which ever review of this I read, I’m only more eager to try and wear it. I believe a sample will find its way to me soon.

  2. Tara says:

    I think this would smell AMAZING on a guy and seems like you have proof that it does! Isn’t it wonderful the vast range of feelings perfume can evoke in us, even if it’s not us wearing them?

  3. Tarleisio says:

    For someone with a shady past – and a somewhat suspect future – I blush to say that this is my only FB amber, ever. In fact, it was very nearly my One And Only…amber. It was certainly my first Serge Lutens, bought on the premise of a wax sample that took me to somewhere I had never been before and never went again with any other. It blew me away like so much dandelion fluff and to this day – two years later – it still does. I have no words for its magnificence – well, actually, I do, but this is a family blog, right? :) But I love it. I loved it then, I love it still, and I do believe I always will! ;) And take it from me – it never goes unappreciated! :D

    Thank you, B, for your moving homage to one of the Great Immortal Ambers – and my own gateway ‘drug’ into the perfumoverse of Serge Lutens.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I know that this is your amber of choice, so I am glad you approve of my review.
      Another great amber you would surely love is Armani Prive Amber Orient, I recently discovered this one and it is sublime. Watch this space! ;)

  4. Undina says:

    Last weekend I sniffed a bottle of AS: there were too many things I wanted to try that I’ve left this one for later. Of course, now I wish I haven’t.

  5. AS was the fragrance that made me the “fragrance freak” (as my friend says) that I am today. It lured me to the dark side. I was young, barely out of high school, maybe I was still in high school, I was 16 or 17, when I sniffed it and wore it. People kept telling me it was sex in a bottle. I was too inexperienced to understand those remarks then, now I do. Hope I didn’t take this out of the PG rating :S

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ah, your gateway scent…. ;)
      What an excellent choice, your taste was apparent even at that young age!
      I might have to black out a few of your remarks, to stay within PG rating guidelines. ;)

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  10. 1glogirl says:

    I only recently gave this one a REAL try. I kind of blew it off a long time ago. This time I must have been ready. This Ambre Sultan came almost alive. At first I figured it was nothing special….then the dry down……I almost felt it physically resinating on my skin. It was like a warm hug and I felt the warmth of it. Magical and yes ….sensual and sexy! I must have it!
    Gloria (glorious1)

  11. I love Ambre Sultan… actually was wearing it today. Although you now have my interest piqued on the others that you say “pack a punch!”

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