Amber fragrances are extremely popular, and most people are familiar with amber scents, even if they do not realize it. However, in truth, the question of what amber smells like is complicated because it is not a single, easily identifiable fragrance, meaning that while two amber perfumes will share traits, they will also differ. But what does amber smell like as a fragrance?
Amber fragrances can differ in terms of what they smell like because there is no single accepted formula. With that being said, amber scents can usually be characterized as warm, musky, powdery, and sweet. Generally, the notes that make up an amber perfume include vanilla, labdanum, and benzoin.
The best way to think about amber is as a fragrance profile, or fragrance accord, rather than as an easily definable scent. With that being said, amber fragrances can be broadly described as warm, musky, slightly sweet, and powdery. In this article, we explore the amber scent profile in more detail, complete with examples.
The Amber Fragrance Profile
The concept of an amber scent or fragrance has existed for hundreds of years, with the origins of modern amber perfumes often traced back to the 19th century. It has long been perceived to be an exotic scent, but it is important to first establish that there is no single, standardized amber perfume formula.
In general, when people think about amber, they are likely to picture the hardened or fossilized tree resin, which serves as a gemstone and is used within jewelry making. However, while amber fragrances are based on the qualities of this resin, and can evoke similar feelings, amber fragrances are not actually made from amber itself.
Instead, amber is a scent accord, which is primarily made up of vanilla, labdanum and benzoin. These combine to create a warm, powdery, sweet scent, which is often said to have a sensual quality. Some of the other notes that are typical within amber fragrances include patchouli, tonka bean, and balsam.
Understanding the Smell of Amber
One of the reasons why describing an amber smell is more complicated than with many other scents is because the aforementioned lack of a standardized formula means that two amber scents can actually smell quite noticeably different.
To an extent, the same could be said for strawberry perfumes, but most people can easily identify the basic smell of strawberries and the differences here are likely to be based on the accompanying scents or notes.
With amber perfumes, the different components that make up the amber scent itself can also vary significantly. For instance, some amber perfumes will have tonka notes, while others will not. Most will combine vanilla, labdanum and benzoin, but even here, the levels of each of those notes can differ wildly.
The end result can be multiple amber fragrances, which share similar qualities and characteristics, but which do smell distinct from one another. For this reason, it can sometimes be difficult for people to truly put their finger on precisely what amber smells like, even when they are familiar with it on a conceptual level.
Amber as a Base Note in Perfume
One of the best qualities of the amber smell is the fact that it is relatively subtle, and this makes it versatile when it comes to creating perfumes. It is for this reason that amber is often used as a base note and paired with other notes, in order to accentuate their features and really bring out the best in them.
It is common for amber notes to be used as the base for oriental perfumes, which are often described as warm, intense, and exotic. It can also be easily combined with floral, fruity and citrus-type scents.
As a general rule, the base notes of a perfume will be more noticeable the longer the perfume is left on, as the top notes start to dissipate. It it, therefore, common for the amber smell to become easier to identify after the first hour of wearing a perfume that has amber base notes, while the amber smell could be harder to notice initially.
When to Turn to an Amber Scent
Since products that can be described as an amber fragrance will vary so significantly, it is fair to say there are amber scents that can be ideal for just about anyone. Nonetheless, there are some particular occasions where an amber fragrance can be the best choice, and there are specific types of people who may be drawn to this accord.
Most of the time, there is a coziness and warmth to an amber fragrance and this can make it ideal for wearing in the evening, especially during colder months of the year. Yet, because amber can be easily paired with citrus and fruity scents too, those particular fragrances can also be ideal in the spring and summer.
On top of this, the sensuality of amber means that an amber scent can be perfect for date nights or those more intimate moments. In fact, some even go so far as to say that amber perfume has an overtly erotic or seductive quality.
The Best Perfumes That Smell of Amber
In addition to offering more generalized information about what amber smells like as a fragrance, it can be useful to provide some actual real-world examples of fragrances that contain clear amber notes.
Some of the best and most popular amber smelling perfumes on the market today include the following:
Alien is a popular eau de parfum from Thierry Mugler and the product was originally released in 2005. The perfumers working on the product aimed to enhance the amber base notes by including warm, cashmere wood middle notes, and jasmine top notes. The result is a distinctive fragrance, with a rich, sensual quality, which is ideal for all occasions.
The perfume offers good longevity and is recognized for providing solid valid for money too. The smell of amber within the perfume is clear, can be recognized immediately after application, and has plenty of staying power.
Sexy Amber For Women is a fragrance from Michael Kors, which was launched in 2013. The product is a creation from the master perfumer, Harry Fremont, and as the name suggests, the product is marketed as a sexy, sensual amber scent, which is perfect for wearing on date nights, or for any other romantic encounters.
The perfume itself is made from a combination of amber, white flower and cashmere wood notes, resulting in a woody, powdery, white floral scent, with that familiar warmth almost always associated with amber fragrances.
Coco by Chanel For Women is a highly popular eau de parfum spray and one of the best-known examples of a fragrance with a clear and detectable amber scent. The product has been one sale since 1984 and the main person responsible for its creation is the renowned French perfumer, Jacques Polge.
As far as the fragrance itself is concerned, the amber notes are complimented by peach and orange top notes and rose and mimosa middle notes, resulting in a warm, spicy, sweet, floral perfume.
Describing precisely what amber smells like is a challenge because it should be viewed as a fragrance profile or accord, rather than as a single scent.
Nevertheless, it is usually created through a combination of vanilla, labdanum, and benzoin base notes, and can be described more broadly as warm, slightly sweet, musky, and powdery.