Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire is the kind of fragrance that can distract me form my perpetual angst over perfumes of yore, their reformulations and the raising price of vintage bottles. It has everything I love and nothing I don't, it's rich and strong in a way rarely smelled these days and is all about spice, leather and ambery goodness.
I'd suggest one avoids spraying Ambre Russe in the car, because there can be breathalyzer issues if stopped by police. But once the very boozy top notes run their course, this perfume actually smells imperial and I can see the Russian connection. From the slightly smoky black tea* to the touch of leather, churchy incense and lots and lots of sweet and spicy amber, as dark as old palace rooms.
Ambre Russe is sweet and has a nice dose of non-foody vanilla, but it never becomes cloying. It is perfectly unisex as long as one enjoys wearing other solemn and non-girly ambers (Josef Statkus, Ambre Sultan, Ambre Fetiche, Ambre Precieux or Ambre 114). This is a warm scent, almost smoldering, perfect for fall and winter (though I like it all year round). The fragrance has excellent sillage and tenacity, it draws people, husbands and pets to come closer and sniff. Most of them respond favorably.
Ambre Russe by Parfum d'Empire ($75, 50ml EDP) is available from luckyscent.
Art: Maria Feodorovona, Empress of Russia
*Still in this Russian tea mood, the lovely Jane of Daly Beauty just reviewed another favorite, Russian Caravan Tea by CB I Hate Perfume.