Serge Lutens : Ambre Sultan – guest review by Mario

The amber stone, not the accord.

The amber stone, not the accord. (click to enlarge)

Created by : Christopher Sheldrake

Date : 1993

Genre : Herbal amber

Concentration : eau de toilette

I was very happy that Normand asked me to review Ambre Sultan. It was my first experience with any Serge Lutens fragrance and I was very curious to experience this prestigious house.

After the spray, I was very disappointed with the smell of the fragrance, as it reminded me of a very old-fashioned snobby ambery concoction that a duchess might wear to the opera. Luckily, this first impression lasted only a few minutes before I got into the soul of this incredible fragrance.

Ambre Sultan is an amber in the rough, images of dust and soil went through my head. Although the amber accord and amber gems are two different things, AS is as far from the highly-polished gem of the same name as it can be! What I got from Ambre Sultan was much more the wood resin as it comes out of the tree… before it is polished by nature or by man into the gems used in jewellery today.

Ambre Sultan is very smoky and not unlike vetiver in that way. It is also herbal (it lists oregano as one of the main notes). It reminds one of dried oregano leaves. I was also surprised how natural this smoky-ambery fragrance smells… as to the smokiness and the herbs. If you like Sycomore, you will certainly be interested in this.

The amber is present throughout the day but I could not tell if I preferred the smoke or the amber as both gave me more pleasure than I expected. It was a long-lasting journey. At the end, the smoke dissipated to let a beautiful vanilla-amber impression that I stayed on my skin until I went to bed.

Thierry Mugler : A*Men Le Goût du Parfum / The Taste of Fragrance / Pure Chili (limited edition)

Great bottle!

Great bottle!

Created by : Unknown perfumer

Date : 2011

Genre : Spicy wood

Concentration : eau de toilette

This flanker is part of an A*Men series following Pure Malt and Pure Havane.  Actually, I know very little about the whole line (except for Angel and Angel edt, which I love) let alone two flankers, but a friend, Mario, brought me a sample of The Taste of Fragrance and insisted that I write a review.  When I asked him why he wouldn’t write the review himself, he wanted to know what a person not familiar with the A*Men line thought.  So… here I go… with my blank, uneducated mind.

This is not the kind of perfume I would wear but it is the kind that I WILL wear.  I was totally blown away.  A*Men The Taste of Fragrance is a warm, ambery woody scent laced with ginger and candied anise.  It’s an incredible combination.  The hot ginger and cool anise work together perfectly.  Other reviewers speak non-stop about the chili paste but I didn’t smell the chili at all, although I sure could feel it.  There is a “hotness” note in there which bumps up the “wow” factor.  I found this fragrance to be long-lasting and very sexy!

So… when I decided to wear it to this year’s Art Tattoo Montreal 2013 show, it made me feel confident AND totally rebellious, even though I don’t have any tattoos and after visiting the show for the past 10 years, it’s unlikely that I will… well, maybe just a little butterfly or a religious theme or marine or Old School or… wait for it… the SHALIMAR bottle!!!  Yesss!  What a great idea.  And then again, maybe not.

Enjoy the week!

Art Tattoo Montréal 2013 (click to enlarge)

Art Tattoo Montréal 2013 (click to enlarge)

Estée Lauder : Youth Dew

Created by : Josephine Catapano (?)

Date : 1953

Genre : Cola amber

Concentration : Eau de parfum

My friend Roland knows wine.  He elbowed me at the cinema while watching Midnight in Paris to signal out a very prestigious bottle of wine that was at Salvador Dali’s table.  I hadn’t noticed… I was too busy enjoying the Youth Dew that was wafting through the air.  At first I thought I was surrounded by several coke fiends.  The smell of cola was dizzying, as was the heavy butter scent, no doubt from the popcorn.  But it was Youth Dew that was mystical.  It brought me to another time.

When Estée Lauder realized that American women didn’t buy their own perfumes, she tricked them.  She came out with a bath oil which she named Youth Dew.  Apparently, she asked the perfumer to make it gentle enough that it could be put directly on the skin as perfume, if desired.  When the ladies were seduced by its scent, she came out with the eau de parfum.  No one can accuse Estée Lauder of not being a smart businesswoman.  I wish I had one-tenth of her savvy.

I don’t like to list notes that most people won’t get.  Most perfumes can be reduced to 3 or 4 notes and it’s the same with Youth Dew.  It’s a herbal amber (think balsam wood, not vanilla)… but it has a distinctive and predominant cola facet.  When I hold the scent strip up to my nose, I also get a frankincense note.  I like to use Youth Dew in my perfume workshops because it is so distinctive and fun… a little goes a long way and, true to Estée Lauder’s mission to provide women with a little luxury for little cost, this one is extremely reasonable.

Youth Dew is classic top-down architecture.  It starts with a slightly citrus top… moves to a herbal cola centre and ends with a sultry, sexy frankincense finish.  I know of very few perfumes where I look forward to the basenotes… this is one of them.  I had a great time wearing it today.  I was never bored.

In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen used Parlez-Moi d’Amour as the leitmotif for the past in his movie and although it doesn’t hark back all the way to La Belle Époque as the movie might suggest (it was written in 1930), it’s a lovely song.  Enjoy!

Top image : Photo of Estée Lauder

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