* Prices may differ from that shown
After having reviewed a few generic and mainstream fragrances that were quite off the mark of what I expect to be great perfumery I had a craving for something genuine, solid and unpretentious so I picked up my my third and last Serge Lutens miniature (the other two are Chergui and Arabia) unreviewed so far
Niche lines often use the same packaging for all their editions, this is no:different with Serge Lutens creations: The smaller, 50ml perfumes come in sleek, tall, rectangular bottles that have a simple, practical, yet elegant and stylish look to them. The liquid is a lovely, luminous amber colour naturally representing the scent within.
Top notes: coriander, bay leaf, oregano, myrtle
After a dab on my wrists I'm instantly hit with bitter, boozy amber mixed with a liqueur-like sweetness that's spiked with a somewhat sharp, peppery or ginger-like seasoning. Imagine sniffing a lovely bourbon with nuances of vanilla and pungent spices that also has a sublte darkness to it; a prelude to what is to come next.
Heart notes: patchouli, myrrh, resins
About 15 minutes later Ambre Sultan turns sweeter, creamier and even spicier than before. Although not listed, my nose discerns cinnamon (the styrax used in the amber accord perhaps) and also stewed prunes (a facet of labdanum used in the amber) together with vanilla sugar and dry, nose tickling powdery patchouli reminiscent of Christian La-croix's C'est la fete Patchouli.
The patchouli here is a lot darker and smokier than in any perfume I have encountered before and that is because it's combined with dry, dark, woodsy, spicy and resinous notes giving an intense insensy feel as a result. The final accord is reminiscent of the smoky, gummy insense you get in churches or in eastern perfumes only softened by the presence of sweet dried fruity nuances and vanilla. Dramatic and gorgeous!,
Base notes: sandalwood, benzoin, vanilla, amber
With the hours going by and the insense, patchouli and spicy aspects having largely evaporated, the composition settled as a soft,vanillic woody scent with the emphasis on woods and sandalwood in particular resting on a bed of amber. The distant whisper of cedar, vanilla and sandalwood coupled with a light and subtle undertone of amber acted as a natural fixative lasted more than 8 - 10 hours on me. The current warm weather was possibly responsible for the quicker evaporation time: however the fragrance did stay on my clothes where it gave off a light sillage I could perceive well after 12 hours of wear.
Designed to showcase a single amber note using multiple ingredients and complex blending, Ambre Sultan is a lovely piece of perfumery in the oriental category. Refined yet bold, it has a style on its own amongst amber scents. It is elegant, rich and versatile - if somewhat linear - with a heart that tends to evoke the richness and depth of Middle Eastern attar-type fragrances. The relatively thin structure of the base and the transparent drydown however mark a definite difference and put Ambre Sultan more in line with contemporary niche fragrances.
Following the gourmand trend of the 2000s, Ambre Sultan is sweet and vanillic whilst being rich, spicy and woody drawing on many of the most exquisite oriental ingredients including its namesake amber. I recommend Ambre Sultan despite the steep price tag as only a tiny spray suffices for a day's wear. Suitable for men and women who love rich and complex orientals and especially ambers to be worn - as its sillage is moderate - in the daytime or evening summer and winter alike. To sum up, a versatile, lovely, well-worked amber all year round.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
UK department stores (House of Fraser, Selfridges, Liberty, Harrods) stock it however prices can vary con-siderably from £69 to £102/ 50ml Eau de Parfum. The same range of prices apply online on Amazon so the best bet would be to try winning a bid on eBay.
Thank you for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on ciao.co.uk
Pure amber, saps and resins /