Biased Amber – Review: Armani Privé Ambre Orient

Armani Privé issued a trilogy of perfumes early this year under the title La Collection des Mille et une Nuits. Ambre Orient, Rose d’Arabie and Oud Royal.

I was raiding my sample box for amber scents, a passion sparked by Ambre Fetiche, and came upon this sample of Ambre Orient I had previously ignored. I am glad I found it, Ambre Oriental is a very nice amber fragrance. The question is: is it worth the price Armani charges?

Well, let’s take a closer look.

Let’s listen to Scheherazade: “Sinbad the sailor was shipwrecked near a desert island, an island where amber sprung from a fountain and flowed down to the sea…”. For his part, Avicenna imagined that amber flowed from underwater springs or springs at the sea’s edge.
Then, 12th century scientists and mariners quickly gauged that the dull gray blocks of “anbar”, washed up on sea-shores, were trading at the price of gold with apothecaries and alchemists who attributed amber with magic, aphrodisiacal and perfumed powers.
From the earliest origins of perfumery, infusions of amber have delivered warm, golden and vibrant light to the greatest fragrances.
Just as the sun turns to gold as its mingles and sets over the water, Giorgio Armani has elected to work a liquid amber. Giorgio Armani masters the drape of a lamé blouse; fabrics that ripple and swing to the rhythm of movements. Each fold catches the light, shifting from warm, coppery gold to shades of pale, almost white gold.
Amber Orient is in the image of this liquid gold; a bit quiet when thyme and incense veil its top note, all the fiery warmth of wood breaks out at the heart: red patchouli, incandescent oud and unctuous sandalwood. At the base, the white light of vanilla reveals the final burning flames.
Giorgio Armani illuminates skin with the light of amber.


I don’t know about you, but on me that particular PR copy in combination with smelling the scent on my skin works wonders. Normally I hate the hyped drivel most companies choose to go with their perfumes, and maybe the heady amber is clouding my judgment, but doesn’t the golden sun mingling with water, and the liquid gold, and the illumination of skin with golden liquid amber sound like something you could enjoy? I know I could.

This perfume has a mind-altering power over me, all of a sudden I am partial to faux history and golden sunsets. Let’s try to stay objective here for a moment.

Notes, let us look at the notes, nothing like a good list to bring back rational thought:

Bergamot, thyme, frankincense, geranium, patchouli, oud, sandalwood and vanilla. It was created by Fabrice Pellegin in 2010.

The thyme in the opening is fresh and a bit sharp, but not too much, just to add a little bracing wake-up call of “Hey, Sleepy! Great perfume coming your way!”.

Then I smell the warm melange of incense-flooded and spicy amber and labdanum, and sun-warmed woody notes on a generous fluffy pillow of vanilla that diffuses around me, taking me in, making me comfortable and seeing to it that I have everything I need.

Okay, maybe that was not so objective. Or rational. But what the heck, I don’t have to be rational, isn’t that what the best perfumes do to us? Take away our walls of defense, making us feel instead of think, providing food for our emotional side, not the intellectual part?

That latter side of me is crying out right now, saying “How many amber perfumes does one person need? Look how expensive that Armani scent is! Doesn’t is smell very similar to countless other ambers? Look, here, there is your big bottle of Ambre Fetiche, Ambre Sultan right next to it, your wish list sports Dior Mitzah already, what else do you want? Get thee away from another amber, good woman!

Okay, so my rational side and my perfume-loving soul may not see eye to eye here. But let my biased soul tell you something:

I love Ambre Orient. It is smooth and warm and radiant. It is light and airy despite being such a voluminous oriental, somehow Armani manages to imbue his trademark flowing fabric-quality in this perfume.

It may not be the most original creation on earth, it certainly has been done before, but this particular soft lightness is rather unique in my (skewed by fumes and PR copy) opinion.

I can highly recommend Armani Privé Ambre Orient for amber lovers with a big budget, for those who have fallen in love I recommend a decant. And for those who have fallen in love and are under an embargo, I recommend patience.  🙂

Image source:, Silk-Flowing Figures by John Turner

About Olfactoria

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28 Responses to Biased Amber – Review: Armani Privé Ambre Orient

  1. Ohhh this sounds good. Really good. I’ve not tried a single Armani Prive scent yet, but dearest Undina has a sample of Eclat de Jasmin on its way to me right now, which I’m really looking forward to trying. I just got an 8ml decant of AG Ambre Fetiche on sale at The Perfumed Court for $10 or something crazy like that, and I’m very happy with it. I will need to seek out a sample of Ambre Orient, and Oud Royal sounds right up my alley too! Thanks for the post, Birgit. 🙂

  2. Ines says:

    There is only one thing I can say to this – one person needs a lot of ambers. 🙂
    Based on personal experience.

  3. Asali says:

    Oh, don’t do this to me, you mentioned all the right/ wrong things (depending on how you look at it ;-)), Ambre Sultan, warm and radiant, airy oriental, warm melange of incense, not to mention their own blah, which got me too..STOP PLEASE! I don’t know how they do it at Armani Privé, it sounds like exactly my realtionship with Bois d’Encens, which I love, and I know there might be others similar at a lower pricetag, but, alas, nothing as serene and beautiful, and now it sounds like AO, hits the same spot. It will be on my must try list.
    I’m with Ines on this, one can’t have enough ambers 😉 especially not if they are love at first sniff, which it sounds like this one is for you.
    Thanks for your London-diary, very inspirational:-)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Asali,
      I am sorry to bring you into an amber quandary here, but it is simply gorgeous, nothing I can do! 😉
      I love Bois d’Encens too!
      Thank you for reading! 🙂

  4. vanessa says:

    Lovely description, but I like quiet ambers as a rule, and I wonder if this one might be a bit rich for me after all – it seems to have quite a lot going on there, noteswise. Marc Jacobs Splash Amber is enough for me, or Prada L’Eau Ambree.

    So did you just figure out how to post in mid-air? ; – ) : – )

    • Olfactoria says:

      It could be a bit rich, especially in warm weather, but in the cold of winter you might fall in love! 😉

      I cannot post in mid-air, but I have mastered the art of scheduling! 😉

  5. Undina says:

    I keep my eyes open for those three new perfumes since I read about their release but they are still not to be found in stores around. I think it’s for the better – I have some time before I start plotting on how to get a portion of some (?) of them into my collection.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Armani was probably not reinventing the wheel with that collection, but they are very well made and pleasing. But I am certain you could find something very similar to them, should you want to.

  6. angie Cox says:

    I think I might go for a decant as my collection is getting ridiculous! It sounds lovely though I must say.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is lovely! You are certainly right, a decant is probably best, but I am waiting for the day the companies see the light and start offering smaller bottles, especially for collections, if they would offer a set of three fifteen ml bottles, I would buy that immediately, and so would many I believe.

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  16. ginzaintherain says:

    Oops: thyme is my favourite herb, and as you are possibly aware, I am not immune to the odd oriental or two: I think I need to try it, badly

  17. Shawn Burke says:

    OH MY!!!!!! THIS IS EXQUISITE!!!!!!!

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