Amethyst by Olivier Durbano has been one of my secret weapon perfumes for several years now. I wear it a lot in the summer, when I want an incense-wood perfume that is not too dry but would not drown me in sugar water, either. I also wear it in cool weather because it's warm enough. And because it's so pretty.
Jewelry designer Olivier Durbano (what is it with jewelers and perfume? Not that I'm complaining) used gemstones as the inspiration for his perfume line. I admit I only love one other of his fragrances, the smoky Black Tourmaline. Amethyst, with its soft and sweet notes is quite the opposite of Black Tourmaline, yet both work on my skin, and both have large dozes of incense. Amethyst is both dry pencil shavings and candied wood. I went to dig out a sample of Lauder's Sensuous for reference, in case someone asks, but there really is no comparison. Sensuous is almost flat next to Durbano's perfume and lacks the incense and touch of smoke. Amethyst is more gender-neutral. It's complex and complicated but still easy to wear. It even works in the most suffocating humidity (though August in NYC makes it burn and evaporate too quickly) and feels quite clean.
The purple candy impression I get from the top notes doesn't last very long. It's replaced by a the familiar peppery note that accompanies incense. The dry-down has an oriental feel: sandalwood, amber and a hint of non-foody vanilla. But this is not a Guerlain. Amethyst is lighter than any of the classics and doesn't have that tonka bean depth, for better and for worse. It has a very modern feel without resorting to minimalism. My (second) decant is nearly empty. I think that means something.
Amethyst by Olivier Durbano ($175, 100ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent.
All images are from olivierdurbano.com. It's amusing to note that purple is really not my favorite color. Looking at Durbano's jewelry, these are the ones I liked best: