Sometimes transitioning to autumn feels like falling off a cliff. One minute, you’re sleeping with the fan pointed at you. The next, mornings are downright cool, and you’re liberating your wool from the basement. In other words, it’s time to dig out an amber fragrance. Two new amber-friendly fragrances to consider are Shalini Amorem Rose and Aftelier Antique Ambergris.
Shalini Amorem Rose was conceived as “a poem dedicated to the greatest love stories.” Perfumer Maurice Roucel composed the Parfum, and its notes include Bulgarian rose, saffron flowers, Baltic amber and mahogany wood. More than rose, to me Amorem Rose is about amber — amber tempered with rose and saffron.
A halo of neroli crowns Amorem Rose before the fragrance turns decidedly sepia-toned. At first, saffron’s medicinal tint led me to suspect this was another oud fragrance created to woo the Middle Eastern market. When I realized what I was smelling wasn’t oud at all, my nose skipped the saffron and honed in on the amber. Rose became only supporting cast.
Amorem Rose’s amber is bright and barely grounded in wet, neutral wood. A restrained herbal cast lends a tinge of an autumnal garden. The fragrance’s rose is ripe and slightly faded, as if its petals were picked and left to condense an afternoon before being pressed into service. A hint of pique — incense and jasmine? — leavens the composition with a sharp tingle, especially as the fragrance digs into its heart.
Mostly, though, Amorem Rose is rich with gutsy amber, even if rose casts a stained glass light over it. Amorem Rose lasts at least half the day on skin. If you’re not a huge fan of amber but are intrigued by Amorem Rose’s combination of rose and saffron, try L’Artisan Parfumeur Safran Troublant for a vanilla-focused version and Neela Vermeire Créations Mohur for a creamy, spice-inflected take (the Extrait is especially dreamy).
Now for Aftelier Antique Ambergris. This fragrance — sold exclusively in solid form — includes notes of antique ambergris (more than a hundred years old), antique civet, aged cypress absolute and coumarin. Its amber is soft and velvety, with a far-off hint of the ocean.
In brief, Antique Ambergris is a kitten’s paw of a fragrance. I’m not talking about its dose of civet, either, which is gentle enough to go undetected. Cypress adds only the dullest backbone. Antique Ambergris is a breath of honeyed warmth that smells rich and luxurious and distinctly not set to challenge you. Snickerdoodle cookies seem to be baking somewhere nearby. Someone is waxing old wood in the next room. The radiator is set deliciously high.
Antique Ambergris is no diva. In fact, it almost seems to beg for a fragrance to layer over it. If not, Antique Ambergris is happy to provide the warm, soothing bath you might long for when October’s rain sets in.
These fragrances don't come cheap. Shalini Amorem Rose Extrait is $500 for 50 ml and $3,000, if you want it in the limited edition Lalique hirondelle bottle (not shown). An 8 ml spray sample is $150. To buy Amorem Rose, visit Bergdorf Goodman, Aedes, or Indigo Perfumery. Aftelier Antique Ambergris solid is $15 for a 0.25 ml sample and $350 for 8 ml in a sterling silver compact. For information on where to buy it, see Aftelier under Perfume Houses.