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Group: Oriental woody
~ INTRODUCTION ~
I'm a perfume collector and received a 3 x 5ml miniature set of the Yves Rocher Secrets d'Essence range from a friend last year including Voile d'Ambre. This fragrance was actually the very first addition to the Secrets d'Essence series, a themed collection where fragrances are centered around a particular aro-matic note e.g. jasmine, rose or amber. The editions are Voile d'Ambre (2005) followed by Rose Absolue (2006), Iris Noir (2007) and Tendre Jasmin (2008).
~ THE PACKAGING ~
The fragrance is contained in a simple-looking, clear cylindrical bottle that slightly widens at the top. The fragrance itself is light amber in colour which is often an indicator of ambery or oriental fragrances. The cap is a round disk-shaped plastic that matches the minimalistic but rounded and classic 'apothecary' design. Continuing the stripped off design, the outer packaging is a plain white one, I would have probably liked one more with an amber hue, though I understand the plain white packaging is deliberate to keep the collection in line and unified.
~ THE FRAGRANCE ~
Top notes: green mandarin, cardamom
Voile d'Ambre starts out with a fresh but rather spicy and herbal accord that is so short-lived that within a few seconds, I detect the heavier, resinous oriental notes forming that quickly transform the tangy opening into a spicy and resinous one. Apart from a fresh, green and citrusy kick that's floating above my wrist, the top notes are becoming more and more infused with an unmistakeable spicy-smokey and leathery feel mostly due to the oppoponax and myrrh.
Heart notes: oppoponax, frankinsense, myrrh
After about 15 minutes when the top notes have finally faded, the fragrance becomes a light and buttery amber-ish scent. It isn't the classic, heavy amber that's made up of labdanum, vanilla and benzoin, it's more like a light and modern interpretation of it that's composed around spices and woods and that elusive 'smoky' quality that makes modern ambers what they are. Voile d'Ambre is a light and a somewhat spicy resinous accord that isn't two sweetened by vanilla yet is creamy and buttery enough to be feminine. The accords of the heart lasted for about 3 - 4 hours.
Base notes: patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla
The dry down of the fragrance is a subdued and light-handed smokey vanilla scent that has moderate projection (sillage) and is also slightly sweeter than the accord in the middle phase. I must admit, I was slightly disappointed as from previous experience I know that orientals and more specifically amber scents exhibit stronger notes especially the resinous aspects towards the end. However, Voile d'Ambre seems to have already run out of all of its spicy, oriental and resinous ammunition, and all what's left is a soft and polite smoky-woody vanilla. This nice, rounded-up accord was detectable for about 2 hours. but it certainly wasn't a powerhouse amber finish.
~ CONCLUSION ~
For your average eau de toilette from a designer or cosmetic brand that are not a perfume house specialising in designing fragrances as their main activity, Voile d'Ambre is a nice and affordable modern take on the spicy oriental - woody amber theme. It's clean and polite and doesn't try to be groundbreaking or even original, not that it would need to be. However, it has to be added that Yves Rocher does have a wide range of fragrances in their arsenal and unlike designer brands, they are reputed to be using natural raw materials in them.
To sum up, Voile d'Ambre is a nice, clean and cosy amber scent, a rare find amongst popular sugary pops (fruity florals). Unfortunately it won't last all day (only about 6 - 7 hours) so you'll need to top it up halfway through. Another downside I found is that I quickly became bored of it because of its linearity and lack of dimension as it felt like I was wearing an empty, knock-off 'Ilaya', my favourite oriental woody amber scent.
I recommend Voile d'Ambre if you like simple, amber-themed or oriental-woody compositions having a clean-cut, modern vanillic base that isn't too sweet or busy. For a more floral effect, this fragrance is ideal to be teamed with a solifloral scent e.g. rose or jasmine (see Rose Absolue or Tendre Jasmin from the range) to create a more colourful, vibrant and longer lasting experience.
~ PRICE AND AVAILABILITY ~
Retails on the Yves Rocher website http://www.yves-rocher.co.uk/ for £32 / 50ml Eau de Parfum but can be bought on ebay for a lot less. Yves Rocher often do 50% off promotions both online and in shops so that may be a better time to get one.
Thanks for reading.
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