I am very late to the party with my review of Amber Rouge. There are many lovely takes on Maria McElroy’s newest perfume out there already. But I needed time for this one.
There have been perfumes in Maria’s line I fell for upon first sniff – Geisha Noire is one fierce and wonderfully dark, sensual amber that I desperately want a full bottle of (it’ll happen this year) or Geisha Rouge, a spicy hot affair that doesn’t leave anyone cold.
It is on this latter perfume, that Amber Rouge is based. A flanker or spin-off of sorts, Amber Rouge is a darker, sweeter development of the very spicy, but still airy and playful Rouge.
Geisha Amber Rouge includes notes of amber, cinnamon, clove, star anise, resins and incense and was created in 2011.
So why did it take me so long to “get” Amber Rouge?
It is no secret that I like amber perfumes in its many permutations, but I also have a history with honey, and not always the best. (Miel de Bois, Back To Black, Tobacco Vanille, Indochine – examples, in varying degrees, of me amping up the honey until nothing else is left.)
And so, for the first few times I wore Amber Rouge, the honey (not listed, but definitely there to my nose) took over.
It was a very cold day, when I got out Amber Rouge once more and gingerly, almost warily applied it to my wrist. And lo and behold – that day I smelled the whole picture. All of a sudden spices were there, hot cinnamon, cool anise, a rich clove. A deep, dark vista of resinous warmth opened before my nose, where previously there was only treacly sweet honey. It is still there, make no mistake, but now the honey chooses to play along with the others without overshadowing them all.
As Amber Rouge develops a smoky facet steals in, further diminishing the sweetness and lending a more airy feel to the dense notes.
And thankfully, once smelled in its entirety, I can’t un-smell Amber Rouge. It is a honey monster no longer.
Amber Rouge is sensual and inviting, it embraces you with warmth and it does feel comfortable. It is soft and tactile. But this is not an innocent hug like embracing a cuddly teddy bear, but rather a more grown-up version of closeness is evoked. (My mom would be proud of this chaste, but still informative sentence.)
As always with Aroma M perfumes, I adore the fact that it is an oil. It feels decadent and caring to apply it and it is a great respite for my dry winter skin not to be drenched in alcohol for once.
I’m glad I didn’t give up the fight against the honey too early, once honey moved over, Amber Rouge’s beauty was unveiled.