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What the * is Amber?

Countless notes are used as perfume ingredients. From roses to lavender, from cinnamon to vanilla, and so on and so forth. Fragrance notes such as these are familiar to most: you know what scent family the ingredient belongs to (flowers, spices, etc.) and what it smells like. In addition to these familiar notes, many perfume ingredients are less well known. You have heard of them, but what they smell like is a mystery. Think ozonic, bergamot, benzoin, musk... In the series 'Obscure perfume ingredients', we highlight one obscure perfume ingredient each time. This time: Amber.

What is Amber?

Amber is a fossil resin from the Pinus Succinifera tree, a prehistoric conifer. The resin secreted by the trees and petrified over the years is called Amber. Back in prehistoric times, Amber was loved by many cultures for its golden colour. Amber is soft and easy to work with. It was used to make beads, jewellery or figurines. Some even used it as currency. Its colour can vary from golden brown to orange, yellow, red, green, brown and white


Amber as a perfume ingredient

In perfumery, it is a "fantasy" fragrance note. Amber as a perfume ingredient does not come from the resin amber. Instead, it is simply inspired by the golden colour and sparkle of the resin. It is actually a base note created from a mix of balsams or resins, such as labdanum, benzoin, vanilla, styrax or fir. The most common combination is vanilla and two resins, labdanum and benzoin. The resin amber itself is not an ingredient of perfume. It is a fictional note inspired by the resin.

What does Amber smell like?

As a perfume ingredient, it smells sweet, resinous, intimate and warm. It is a powdery note, sometimes slightly woody and can have a citrus undertone. Amber is a standard 'oriental' note. It is a rich, full-bodied scent that is very recognisable in a perfume. Because this perfuming ingredient lasts for a long time, it is typically a base note in perfumes.

Perfumes with Amber


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Olympea IntensePaco Rabanne