“Yummy amber, dirty – Ha!”
Those were the words I noted in my little black book, when I first smelled Ambre Russe. A sample sent by the lovely reader Tara, Ambre Russe did not take long to find its way into my amber-loving heart. And as I like to point out, there is always room for another amber.
Ambre Russe starts out boozy, alcoholic and slightly plummy, an almost gourmand opening (hence my initial designation of “yummy”) and slowly turns darker, smokier, rougher, a little leathery and, I can’t avoid that word – dirtier. I usually think of myself as someone who does not like all out dirty notes in perfume. MKK (Muscs Kublai Khan by Serge Lutens) is not for me, neither is Parfumerie Générale’s L’Ombre Fauve and I am currently struggling hard with Absolue pour le soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian, but there is the kind of well-blended dirtiness, the little tease of dirtiness surrounded by smooth prettiness that is immensely attractive. Shalimar (especially vintage of course) has it, Musc Ravageur has it, and Ambre Russe does too, that sensual component that makes a perfume say “Come here!” not scream at me “Stay away – I stink!”.
After the initial cocktail phase of the top notes passes, a lovely melange of tea, amber, spices and leather emerges, holding out for hours, the drydown is sweet and deep like a basso profondo singing on and on even when the rest of the choir has packed up hours ago and left for home.
I cannot attest to how Russian Ambre Russe is, but I trust Marina’s take on it. To me Ambre Russe is opulent, intricate, complex, yet still not heavy. It retains a certain weightlessness despite its list of notes, despite its warmth and richness. I can easily imagine wearing this also in summer, maybe not in the worst heat, but I am sure I will crave it often at night in the next months.