The picture above shows tonka beans, orris root, a jar of labdanum absolute, and lavender blossoms. Photo copyright SonomaScentStudio.com.
When I made Ambre Noir, I wanted a very dark labdanum-rich amber scent with a little leather and rose and very little vanilla. I also wanted woods, moss, and incense. I like the way it turned out, but I want to soften one of the woodsy leathery notes and I may decrease the rose.
Many labdanum fans have loved Ambre Noir as is, but some people have said they’d prefer more of a sweet golden amber note and less labdanum. I would like to keep it fairly dark and resinous, so I may do a separate golden amber and keep noir very dark, or I may just lighten the labdanum aspect a touch.
Each perfumer mixes amber accords to taste, using labdanum as one of the main constituents and adding things like benzoin, peru balsam, vanilla, tonka, patchouli, sandalwood, cedar, frankincense, myrrh, oakmoss, vetiver, ambergris, orris, citrus, and spices. From the dark Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan to the gourmand Hermes Ambre Narguile to the smoky Tom Ford Amber Absolute, each amber scent takes the theme in its own direction.
Ambergris and ambroxan are not the same as an amber accord, though they are often used in amber accords. Ambergris is the interesting substance passed out of a whale’s digestive system that floats around in the ocean or washes up on beaches and if found by someone who recognizes it is sold for a lot of money as a rare perfume ingredient with fixative qualities. Ambroxan is a synthetic ingredient created by a large fragrance aroma chemical company trying to find something that does for perfume what natural ambergris does. Many of these synthetic ambergris components are available (Ambroxan, Ambrox DL, Cetalox, Cetalox Laevo, etc), but Ambroxan is my own favorite so far.
Was another hot day today! I need to make some updates to the website, keep orders flowing out, and make progress on the new scents. Will return to Ambre Noir shortly…