We have been extraordinarily lucky with the weather this month: it has been unseasonably warm up until today. Today, it is cold. I am not ready for cold, but it does give me an excuse to reach for one of my favorite winter fragrances: Ambra del Nepal by the Italian apothecary line i Profumi di Firenze. The notes are amber, cardamom and vanilla.
Ambra del Nepal is probably the only amber fragrance I really adore. The amber smells pale rather than dark, but at the same time, it is deep, rich and resinous, with a whisper of dry incense smoke. It is sweet, but the smoke and a generous dash of cardamom temper the sweetness so that it never feels heavy or cloying, even as the vanilla intensifies on the dry down. It is one of very few ambers that doesn't turn sour on my skin after an hour.
Ambra del Nepal is often compared to Luctor et Emergo by People of the Labyrinths, and while they smell nothing alike to me other than the smoky-incense note, they do share a common soothing, contemplative aura. They also share an elusive, somewhat addictive quality (what is that?) that makes me walk around with my arm glued to my nose when I wear them. I am pretty much over the embarrassment of getting caught smelling myself in public, luckily.
I am actually not sure what the concentration is, but regardless, I would love to have a more intense version. The lasting power is fine when sprayed (and it does need to be sprayed, not dabbed), but the good part — the smoke swirling over the dusty cardamom — largely disappears after a couple hours. Ah well, it is good enough that it is worth reapplying.
For shopping information, see the listing for i Profumi di Firenze under Perfume Houses.
Your review makes me want to re-visit A del N, because the first couple of times I tried I thought it was very lovely but sort of -to use a very scientific term- “meh”. My favorite amber is definitely Ambre Narguile and now Ambre Russe as well (though I hate to admit it, with its vodka note and all LOL).
I *think* the iPdF scents are all EDPs, at least my Talco Delicato is, am I wrong?
Glad you reviewed this one, R – AdN utterly stunned me when I first got a sample. I don't think I could begin to analyse this with your skill, AdN just makes me melt with pleasure! 'Smoke swirling over dusty cardamom' is a perfect description. I ended up ordering it from lusciouscargo (the alternative was faxing Florence in pidgin Italian!), and I watch the bottle anxiously as it goes down. Truly addictive. My one gripe would be with the sprayer, which is stiff, and dispenses only industrial-strength blasts (I spray, then frantically rub all my limbs together like a cricket!). N
Great description of this one!
Ambra de Nepal is an amber scent that I like from the initial burst, usually I have to wait for ambers to dry down and relax before I truly enjoy them. (But usually they are worth the wait, especially the SMN amber which is overpowering, to me, at first.)
I've been very pleased with the di Firenze fragrances in general, Iris is a beauty.
M, AdN is considerably less foody & rich than Ambre Narguile, which is probably why I like it better. It may be an EdP — then they need to make a parfum!
N, it is really a lovely scent, and wish I could figure out what was so addictive about it.
You are right, the sprayer is perfect for decanting, but would prefer a lighter mist for actually applying to the body.
C, I love the top notes the best…although other ambers frequently get washed off after they dry down and relax. Amber has a nasty tendency to turn sour on my skin.
I think this is a lovely, softened take on amber, excellent for layering, and replaces the metallic edge that many ambers have with a vanillic smoothness. The topnotes are not particularly interesting, “meh” would certainly describe them, but the drydown is lovely. I've been thinking of buying a decant myself, in my unending search for the perfect amber to layer with lavender.
Amber & I are just not on a friendly basis. I tried a sample of POTL, with very high hopes I might add but it was just…well, not nice. It's my own chemistry.
Now to my point: I'm finding myself really turned off by perfume which contain vanilla. It seems like it's “in” almost everything these days. So sad.
I'll pass on this one.
This is one I really liked but then I tried Ormonde Jayne Ormonde. Bye bye AdN. Ormonde does what amber perfs do but SO MUCH better and more complexly.
T, layered with lavender — oh no! We do have radically different taste.
True enough on the vanilla, but that has been going on for so long that I don't see it as a new trend really, although the trend does seem to be towards very very sweet vanilla. But if you didn't like POTL, not sure you would like this either!
L, it is to my shame that I prefer the Ambra, I guess! Ormonde is just too heavy for me
I know, it sounds crazy! But I have a little bottle of Yves Rocher Pur Désir de Lavande that I use sort of like a palate cleanser if I've been wearing a lot of complicated, deep/sweet scents. One time I sprayed it on after an evening of Ambre Sultan and it was the greatest combination ever. But it doesn't work with the beginning of Ambre Sultan, only the far drydown. So I've been fussing, trying to find the right amber for the combo ever since.
Jo Malone has an Amber & Lavender scent, but it is totally 100% not like what I'm after.
The shop in Florence near the Uffizi has this and a number (20?) of other iPdF scents in small bottles of “fragranza concentrata” which are denser (and in my opinion better) than the conventional versions. I have not seen them anywhere in the US or online. And they're maybe 10 euros each. Am still kicking myself for not buying several more of them.
Robin – the back of my box says “Eau de Parfum.” How funny it is to me to read it is a winter choice for you! It's one of my favorite summer scents, as it's take on amber makes it smell rather fresh on me in the hotter weather. I think what I like best about it is that it has such strong vanilla on me, but without even a suggestion of it being a gourmand fragrance.
That sounds perfect, I wish they would import those to the US!
Thanks K, that is why I should keep boxes! Agree that it is fresh, and not gourmand…but still more amber than I can take in the heat
I received a small decant of Ambra del Nepal earlier this afternoon and as soon as I was done with my bath I applied. Loved it from application right thru drydown. It's sweet and vanilla with an amber background. Not too sweet tho. The only thing I would love to see improved is the strength. It is very weak and needs re-applying as stated by Robin. But it's going to be a lovely spring scent for me.
You know, it must be an Eau de Toilette? It really doesn't last long enough….but it is still one of my favorites from this line, and you're right: sweet, but not too sweet.
Oh, this sounds lovely. I have become a huge fan of Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens, and so far havn’t found an Amber to quite match it. But I guess I’ll be getting a sample of this soon……….
Oh, this is a MUCH simpler scent than AS…more “Italian style”, if that helps.
Ah, I see – yes, that does help. I have tried the two ambers from L’Artisan and didn’t like them. I think a more straightforward amber is too sweet and sticky for me – it must be the spices in Sultan that give it a skanky edge that appeals to me. I found a 15ml decant of Ambre Sultan on Ebay and snapped it up, very reasonable price too.
I recently purchased a sample of this and it is absolutely one of the best colognes I have smelled in a long time. It says it’s for women but I say it’s unisex. Absolutely love it. If you can try it out, make sure it’s on the top of your list!!!
Would agree, a man could easily wear it.