a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
AMBRE GRIS – 2008 – ♀
Classification: Oriental Woody
Top: Pink Berries, Sage
Heart: Tuberose, Frangipani, Myrrh Essence, Incense
Base: Grey Amber Infusion, Benzoin, Tonka Beans, Cedarwood
Perfumer: Guillaume Flavigny
Price: $110 for 75ml bottle
Since its launch in 2008, perfume enthusiasts express many conflicting opinions of Ambre Gris by Balmain. Whether you are discussing this fragrances’ gender categorization or just simply general likes and dislikes, the pendulum seems to swing both directions. Balmain markets Ambre Gris as a tribute of sorts to grey amber, otherwise known as ambergris. Is this a true evaluation of what this fragrance has in mind? Perhaps not.
Ambre Gris’ opening is sweet and herbal, and is fringed with a peppery demeanor. Like a moth to a flame, you’re attracted to what lies within Ambre Gris. This fragrance is compelling and sparks your curiosity immediately. The heart is energized by a slightly nutty floral, commonly known as frangipani, with undercurrents of tuberose. The frangipani flower is from the genius Plumeria and acquires its common name from a sixteenth-century Italian family of nobles who invented a plumeria-scented perfume. Frangipani, or Plumeria, is nocturnal and projects its fragrant perfume in hopes of attracting sphinx moths to pollinate the soft white flowers. Interestingly enough, this pretty little beauty also has a dark side. It can be found in Malayan cemeteries to ward off the folklore vampire Pontianak. Plumeria takes center stage in the subject of funerals and death in many other Indonesian cultures. Ambre Gris is somewhat of a moody, brooding, shadowy fragrance. While the heart does have insignificant traces of mystic myrrh and incense, its most powerful speaker is a twin team of night–owls frangipani and tuberose. The base is slightly woody with the luxurious earthy quality of ambergris, or grey amber infusion in this case. A resinous element is flavored with vanilla nuances. Finally, cedar wood adds a bit of etherial airiness, making the dry-down of Ambre Gris comfortable and warm.
Ambre Gris has captured the interest of both men and women alike. It is not pompous, but well-behaved with a bit of attitude. Just as the tuberose and frangipani flowers save their most promising show for the nighttime, Ambre Gris is a gem for cool fall evenings.