When Elle recently devoted an article to listing ten particularly snob, i.e., confidential niche perfume brands, they omitted to include Ambre et Diamant Noir by Ambregris. We could muse that this is most assuredly due to the fact that the fragrance does not qualify as snob, but rather as - how shall we put it? - extremely snob.
The perfume lover is always pleased to discover a very confidential perfume, which moreover turns out to be a superb one. Ambre et Diamant Noir (Amber and Black Diamond) is exclusively sold at the Ritz Hotel in Paris and only in a very few other locations internationally. It was created in 2000.
We wished we had discovered the perfume sooner, that is last winter, because it would have ended our quest for a suitable amber scent. Yes, even Ambre Sultan we felt, was not refined enough for us.....
Ambre et Diamant Noir is like an ode sung to ambergris, a luxuriously satisfying perfume dedicated to the rare substance. Its designer describes it as being a "nectar" with a 15 % concentration of essences. It is one of those perfumes that have a slowly unfurling texture, a sort of muted heavy movement of evaporation that bespeaks of high quality.
Sylvie Jessua, the owner and founder of the brand, conceived of the perfume as a total object of art, not just a fragrance. It is a reflection of her combined passions for precious gems, art, and perfumes. In fact, in this case, she designed the flacon for the perfume first and cannot dissociate the contents from its outer appearance, admittedly, the object that gives its very shape to the perfume.
The fragrance opens with a slightly metallic and cold note of ambergris that sweetens rapidly as sweeter amber slowly rushes in. The amber accord is delicate, sweet and rooty due to orris and a little milky-powdery due to the ambergris. The herbs, including lavender, tarragon, and sage, are softly sweet rather than crisp although their presence together with that of the bergamot bring some subtle lift to the composition which otherwise would be made of a much heavier texture. The richness of the scent makes me think of fur nevertheless. The bergamot can be felt for a long time and this brings an appealing hint of lightness to the perfume.The jus develops piscean facets that are characteristic of ambergris, as well as suggestions of feminine odors in the grand classical tradition of French perfumery.
Ambre et Diamant Noir makes me think at first of Zibeline by Weil and then of the vintage Shalimar parfum. The floral notes are perfectly blended offering a seamless quality to the composition rather than are showcased. I sometimes perceive a pale bluish color effect juxtaposing itself on the amber and in this manner perceive the presence of fresher notes. There are also some very discrete perfumy touches that evoke the flowers, but the fragrance remains resolutely centered around a major accord of ambergris.
The perfume becomes more powdery with time and smells a bit raw, yet seductive. A good analogy would be to say that it is like listening to the husky voice of an attractive woman. The animalic and woody richness of the base evokes later for me a perfume like Bal à Versailles. Staying power is excellent. After one night it has become a delicious soft amber skin scent.
The perfume has top notes of bergamot, tarragon, lavender, sage, and neroli. It further develops a heart of jasmine, rose, orris butter, orange blossom, jonquil, and ylang-ylang. The base notes are particularly rich offering depth and texture to the perfume and include notes of coumarin, benzoin, vanilla, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, civet, castoreum, and ambrein.
Ambre et Diamant Noir should be experienced by amber lovers most definitely as well as by those who are nostalgic for the rich classic French perfume compositions. If you think the Guerlain bases have lost some of their punch, you might want to see it recaptured here.The fragrance definitely holds a place in that tradition albeit in a modernized version. It does not smell retro.
The prestige flacon, which is refillable, retails for 190 Euros and the refill for 90 Euros. You can purchase the perfume at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, 15 Place Vendôme, Tel: 01 43 16 30 60, and The Studio Perfumery in London, Tel: 44 207 722 14 18. For more information about the brand you can visit Ambregris.
Added: you can also very conveniently purchase the perfume online or buy a sample at Aus Liebe Zum Duft