Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ambre Précieux

What's this?  Old-school amber?  I say this because for the first hour of wearing Ambre Précieux, it has an old fashioned powdery aftershave smell similar to Skin Bracer by Mennen.  Don't think I'm criticizing this fragrance, because I'm not.  I like Skin Bracer.  In fact, I find this to be the most interesting and unique facet of Ambre Précieux.  It doesn't smell cheap, but rather adds a welcome complexity to the fragrance, which is something I don't often smell in amber-dominant perfumes.

After the first hour, the sweet, brown-hued amber takes over, and it is a rich, creamy, luxurious amber.  By this point, Ambre Précieux becomes less complex and basically linear, but this fragrance was meant for amber lovers after all, and it certainly delivers the goods in that department.  If you want amber, this is probably the most direct, straightforward and classic rendition of that note I've ever come across.  You will be enveloped in a cloud of amber for many hours, and if that's your thing, this will undoubtedly satisfy.

Unfortunately for me, I don't like amber-dominant fragrances.  I can sometimes tolerate it when it's used sparingly as a background supporting note, but for me most amber is both boring and nauseatingly sweet; the only things worse in my book are vanilla fragrances.  I wore Ambre Précieux three times before writing this review, and each time I had to scrub it off after about three hours, but not because it's a bad scent.  It's because of my dislike of sweet fragrances.  Ambre Précieux has a caramellic smell later on in its development that many people will like, but which makes my stomach roil.

Having said that, however, I felt I had to try wearing Ambre Précieux because I've heard great things about it and I've liked all of the fragrances I've tried by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier.  It lives up to all of its hype, even though I don't happen to like it.  If I liked amber, I would probably be giving this an even higher rating. 

If you've read my review of By Kilian's Back To Black, you're probably wondering how I can trash that fragrance yet write a good review for Ambre Précieux, since the two are quite similar .  The difference between the two is balance.  Back to Black merely smells to me like a tidal wave of vanilla and amber, flattening any other notes that it might contain.  Ambre Précieux , by contrast, is expertly crafted, and even though I don't like it, the amber it contains manages to share space with the lavender and spicy notes extremely well.  It's the difference between a carefully crafted composition (Ambre Précieux) and a pretentious mess (Back to Black).

I could never wear this, but its quality simply cannot be ignored.  If you're looking for just one amber fragrance to add to your collection, Ambre Précieux would make a great choice.  It's a definitive amber scent, and they don't get any more classic than this.

MY RATING:  8/10

Fragrance House:  Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier


  1. I find amber too hard to wear. It is OK in the base of perfumes but upfront it ranges from depressing to oppressive. Ambre Precieux is the only solid amber I enjoy wearing. The sweetness somehow gives a new direction. Perhaps it's not new, perhaps it's just old-school, but compared to modern ambers it is just novel to me.

  2. I agree that Ambre Precieux is less sweet than most ambers I've tried. But for my tastes, that's not saying much. It's still WAY too sweet for me to wear. It's a quality scent though.

    Though I don't like sweet fragrances, ironically one of my favorite fragrances ever (Top Ten, even) is A*Men by Mugler! It may be the sweetest fragrance for men ever, yet I love the stuff. I think it's the way the patchouli is presented is what wins me over.