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10 Exquisite Perfumes Made With Amber, the Chameleon of the Fragrance World

<p>Harrods / Scent Split / Krigler / Getty Images / InStyle</p>

Harrods / Scent Split / Krigler / Getty Images / InStyle

Although amber is often a note that’s listed in the finale of a fragrance’s olfactory profile, do not underestimate its importance in the formulation for several scent-specific reasons. “Amber is the rockstar of the perfume world, in my opinion,” says Alana Shlenker, founder of Maya Fragrances. “What really makes amber a must-know is its versatility—it blends seamlessly with floral, woody or spicy notes, making it the social chameleon of the perfume world that adds a touch of sophistication.”

According to MarieAnna Ferdinand, EVP of fragrance development at Tru Fragrance & Beauty, “versatility is what makes amber very exciting in perfumery,” she says. “I love how multi-faceted amber can be in a fragrance—it can range from dark and sexy to warm and comforting depending on how it is used and what other ingredients it is paired with.”

The vibe amber imparts on a fragrance and the effect it elicits as it envelopes the skin are typically considered somewhat sweet, creamy, warm and comforting, and that has a lot to do with what it’s made from. You may be surprised to know that when amber is laced into fragrances, it’s not related to the amber you think of with fine jewelry or gems.

“Amber, in the perfumery sense, is somewhat of an enigma,” explains Jonnie Swarbrick, creative director at Fragrance Du Bois. “It's not derived from the amber gemstone but is a crafted accord that conjures a warm, resinous, somewhat sweet, and earthy aroma—and this blend typically involves labdanum, benzoin, and vanilla, among other elements. This results in a scent that's rich and comforting with remarkable depth and a velvety texture that embodies warmth and luxury in a bottle.”

Below, learn about 10 cult-favorite amber perfumes that fragrance lovers can't get enough of.

Le Monde Gourmand Crème Vanille Eau de Parfum

<p>Gourmand Beauty</p>

Gourmand Beauty

“This fragrance is a cult favorite for a reason—it is addictive with an elevated vanilla amber signature,” says Ferdinand. “Whenever I wear this fragrance, I receive so many compliments.” At first the creamy apricot top notes plus jasmine mid notes lure you in, but then the brown sugar and amber bottom notes leave you truly hooked.

Gourmand Ambre Vanille Hair & Body Mist

<p>Urban Outfitters</p>

Urban Outfitters

A distinct blend of notes that include bergamot as well as vanilla bourbon and, of course, amber, alongside musk and sandalwood is the definition of warmth and comfort. “We know mists are having a moment and Ambre Vanille needs to be added to your fragrance wardrobe,” says Ferdinand. “The amber in this unique fragrance is sweet but balanced by the boozy bourbon notes.”

Ex Nihilo Blue Talisman Eau de Parfum

<p>Ex Nihilo</p>

Ex Nihilo

This luxurious blend includes bright, zesty notes of bergamot, ginger, and mandarin, but musk and amber are also present at the base. “I am a huge fan of the Ex Nihilo brand, and this fragrance is no exception,” says Ferdinand. “It reads as a modern classic with fresh ginger notes on top that give way to the warm amber woody dry down—the result is a unisex fragrance that both my husband and I enjoy wearing.”

Krigler Emeraude Noire 77 Parfum

<p>Krigler </p>

Krigler

“My mother created this unique fragrance inspired by the intriguing, mysterious story of a lost ring by a Russian princess losing her heirloom ring from the Imperial Russian era called l’Emeraude Noire, embellished with a rare black emerald, in the Paris metro,” says Ben Krigler, perfumer and founder of Krigler Fragrances. “This perfume blends top notes of nutmeg, pepper, and bergamot; has a heart of patchouli and an amber mix; and a base of vanilla.” As for why amber is such an important note in perfume: “Amber’s warmth and subtle sweetness evoke a sense of comfort and indulgence—it’s warm, sensual, exotic, musky, soft, slightly sweet and slightly spicy,” he explains.

Fragrance Du Bois Amber Intense

<p>Harrod's</p>

Harrod's

Although the fragrance starts with spicy top notes of cinnamon and tangerine, it opens up to jasmine and neroli, followed by amber and natural oud. “When we crafted Amber Intense, we aimed to encapsulate the very soul of amber,” explains Swarbrick. “It’s all about that luxurious, enveloping warmth that draws you in, and for me, it’s the essence of what amber can achieve in a fragrance—it’s not just a scent; it’s an experience.” Swarbrick shares that this particular amber scent is a “symphony of ingredients that, when combined, mimic the alluring aroma of natural ambergris or the golden glow of fossilized amber resin, which gives Amber Intense a distinctive, deep and embracing warmth.”

Christian Dior Bois D’Argent

<p>Christian Dior</p>

Christian Dior

This unisex scent is a mix of Iris absolute with patchouli that develops into base notes of amber, vanilla, and honey. “I love the contrast between the vanilla, the ambroix, and the spicy and elegant incense effect—I get a warm and cold feeling when I smell it,” says Bérénice Watteau, a perfumer at the New York-based fragrance house DSM-Firmenich. “It has a unique sillage, so much so that I first smelled it on a random person in the street, and I had to stop her to ask her what she was wearing as a fragrance.”

Le Labo Vanille 44

<p>Scent Split</p>

Scent Split

Don’t be fooled: this is not a plain vanilla fragrance. The overall effect is a subtle amber scent with hints of incense and woody notes, along with the distinct vanilla bourbon. “Vanille 44 is a very chic and elegant amber fragrance where the vanilla is associated with woody notes and olibanum, also known as frankincense, which gives a lot of mystery to this perfume,” explains Alexandra Monet, a perfumer at the New York-based fragrance house DSM-Firmenich.

Clean Reserve H2Eau Amber Cashmere

<p>Clean Beauty</p>

Clean Beauty

This unique blend portrays both warmth and elegance with neroli and florals followed by bottom hints of what gives its name: amber, vanilla, and musk. “My goal with this fragrance was to immerse the consumer in the essence of Norwegian Fjords, capturing the crisp purity of birch water blended with crisp mountain air,” says Catherine Selig, a perfumer at the fragrance house Takasago.

Maya No. 1 Perfume Oil

<p>Maya Fragrances</p>

Maya Fragrances

Consider this your tropical amber-based vacation-in-a-bottle with a top note of coconut water, followed by sandalwood and a blend of vanilla orchid, white musk, and amber.“This fragrance is a great choice for amber lovers because it has a very warm and inviting scent profile,” says Shlenker. “The coconut water, warm musk, and amber draw you in and envelop you in its warmth.”

Ellis Brooklyn Vanilla Milk Eau de Parfum

<p>Sephora</p>

Sephora

This fragrance is so dreamy because of its simplistic sophistication with notes of bourbon vanilla bean extract, frangipani, a creamy milk accord as well as rich amyris, a type of sandalwood that belongs to the amber woody olfactory family. “This amber vanilla combination is a classic sweet, warm gourmand,” says Watteau. “I love the creamy aspect of the vanilla—it’s simple, textured, direct and super addictive.”

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