Post by Ainslie Walker
I acquired today’s fragrance last week in the midst of my “whale excitement”, it has now become my “go to” fragrance of the month. Every time I wear it, there are positive comments. I find I get that with anything animalic, smoky or “mysterious”. It’s a fragrance many wouldn’t dare to buy off the shelf, as it may not seem instantly pretty, but once worn or smelt on someone else, the depths and layers come alive.
Amber Absolute by Tom Ford 2007
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Amber, incense, vanilla, olibanum, labdanum, woody notes
As we would expect from Tom Ford, the box and the bottle is distinctive, mysterious and understated. It looks black, but held up to the light it’s actually a dark, dark amber colour. The label is gold-plated. I love holding the bottle in my hand. It’s cold, solid and sends a small shiver of excitement into me every time I pick it up.
Amber Absolute is delicious and sultry, warm and engulfing. In fact I would happily bathe in it! I love it as a winter scent. It makes me feel cosy, yet glamorous. There’s strength to it, akin to a sip of spiced rum. It’s a more old school kind of a smell, one of old wooden ships and incense…explorers on the high seas. It’s definitely unisex.
Photo Stolen Pixabay
Amber Absolute makes a statement, whilst also crowd pleasing, with it’s coumarin and vanilla bean notes, though avoids becoming overpoweringly or generically sweet. I love that the notes remain savory, so to speak, and I think it’s amped up incense and old woody church/ship smell is behind this. It nods quite a lot to TF’s Sahara Noir…Olibanum/woods/balsamic…It’s this part that I think divides the love or hate for this fragrance. I don’t think many would remain on the fence about it. There’s dry salt air from go to whoa. It’s robust and full, a little goes a long way. During the dry down (8 hours or more, later) it gets a more leathery and animalic then tapers to sweet, powdery and a little smoky-vanilla. There’s treemoss and oakmoss, but not enough for it to stand out too much, just enough to let the other ingredients ride on their back.
Photo Stolen Flickr
It’s good, really good. It’s not really doing anything too new, but doing it really well. That ‘niche’ colliding with ‘mainstream’ thing that TF does so well. That “smells expensive” thing he also always seems to nail. Marketed as the strongest, most concentrated amber, I rule out real ambergris is in the ingredients list, but it is an ‘amber’, that plays with the elements of raw ambergris.
A little ode to Ambergris:
“It’s hard not to fall in love with ambergris. Here is a solid lump of whale feces, weathered down—oxidized by salt water, degraded by sunlight, and eroded by waves — from the tarry mass to something that smells, depending on the piece and whom you’re talking to, like musk, violets, fresh-hewn wood, tobacco, dirt, Brazil nut, fern-copse, damp woods, new-mown hay, seaweed in the sun, the wood of old churches, or pretty much any other sweet-but-earthy scent”
Christopher Kemp’s Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris $22 delivered from BookDepository
Sadly Amber Absolute has been pulled off the shelf and discontinued…the TF house says, fragrances, like fashion, (and whales) have their seasons…