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.