Hermes launched its newest flanker to Eau de Merveilles without a lot of fluff or fanfare, and that seems appropriate. Maybe more than any of the other flankers, each of which has been well done in its own way, L’Ambre des Merveilles has what helped make Eau de Merveilles a success in the first place: presence.
L’Ambre (created by Jean-Claude Ellena) opens with some recognizable Eau des Merveilles elements: bittersweet, salty orange mixed with pepper, woods, and a dense and foamy wash of ambergris (which is not a listed note, by the way). But in L’Ambre, the saltiness and the woods are not as stark and synthetic as they were in the original (an effect I loved, but this is something different and equally good). In L’Ambre, the salty quality goes velvety, with lots of vanilla and a very sheer amber. Don’t call it cozy, though! L’Ambre is a suggestive skin scent. This is the fragrance Jennifer Aniston should have been wearing in the moodier, sexier advertisements for her perfume.
I appreciated the original Eau de Merveilles for expressing sensuality in a synthetic framework; no frills, no food, no flowers. It’s the perfume I was wearing when I met my husband. So I treasure L’Ambre as a way to re-experience what I liked about Eau de Merveilles, while taking the idea further and in a direction that appeals to me more now.
There is just one little thing I would change about L’Ambre: I wish it was a little more diffusive. It is distinct and original, but people have to be awfully close to you to appreciate it, and they have to be awfully close within the first few hours of application, because it’s even softer after that. For an eau de parfum concentration, this is disappointing. I wish Ellena would pump up the volume just a little bit. L’Ambre isn’t Hermessence-level quiet, but it’s not what I think it could be. On the other hand, at the very reasonable Hermes prices, I don’t have a problem applying, reapplying, and reapplying again.
Image courtesy CelebrityPhotos.SheKnows.com.