Ambre by Esteban Paris is a sparkling easy-to-wear amber perfume. It's not too aggressive, too sweet or too anything, really. The composition feels very well-balanced as it moves between spices, flowers and a vanilla-amber base without ever becoming powdery (making Ambre quite suitable for men). It almost has a light-reflecting quality, like a piece of jewelry worn for an evening soirée.
One day I might want to draw a diagram, some kind of a graphic representation of amber perfumes according to their place on a spectrum- sweetness, powderiness, gender-orientation, complexity... It's becoming a 3-D model the more I think of it (there's only so much distance one can put between herself and her math teaching days). In any case, Esteban's Ambre would probably occupy a spot in the low-to-medium complexity area, with medium values in most other criteria.
This kind of amber, clear and mildly woody/sweet is ideal for beautiful fall days. It's not too cozy or woolly, has absolutely no smokiness but still warm and rich enough to feel perfect for this weather. Ambre is en EDT and light enough not to get in the face of cranky coworkers. When worn indoors or in an area with less olfactory distractions I get to enjoy the nuances a bit more- a light honeyed floral touch that lingers until the dry-down and clings to scarves, jackets and pillows. People who like the idea of amber but shy away from the heavier ones (Ambre Sultan, Amber Absolute) should give this one a try.
Official notes from the company's website:
Top notes: pink peppercorns, nutmeg, rhubarb
Heart notes: patchouli, freesia, hawthorn
Base notes: vanilla, amber, sandalwood
Ambre by Esteban Paris ($95, 50ml EDT) and the rest of the collection (including a very tempting home line. I see some diffusers in my future) are available from estebanparis.com. I haven't seen this brand in stores since the closing of Takashimaya, so I was thrilled to see a fully-operating website.
Photo: Model Joanne McCormick for McCall's Pattern Book winter 1957-1958, myvintagevogue.com