Fragrance Families: woody, gourmand, oriental
Characteristics: sensual, warm, sweet
Fragrance Examples: Tauerville Amber Flash, Serge Lutens – Ambre Sultan, Guerlain – Shalimar

Origin and History

Unlike most other raw materials used in the perfume industry, Amber is not an element that can be found in nature, but a combination of several other substances.

A classic in perfumery, Amber was first used to refer to the actual burning of the fossilized resin now used in jewelry making. Back in ancient times, it was customary to burn substances in order to generate scents that served a twofold purpose: to generate a certain atmosphere and to odorize a place.

In Ancient China, people used to burn oil of amber together with nitric acid in order to produce a sort of artificial musky fragrance that was typically used for large festivities.

Modern Production of Amber

Since the burning of the amber resin, even when done effectively, does not produce much scent, these days the amber scent is generated by other means.

The beginnings of artificial amber scents are really interesting since people back then tried to device a technique that would copy the smell of Ambergris and Labdanum.

Since real Ambergris is so rare and many regulations exist surrounding its commercialization, Labdanum alone remained as the main focus of attention.

This is why amber is thought of as a scent in perfumery, rather than a substance.

How Amber is Made

These days, this fragrance can be made in two different ways. Naturally, by means of resins, or else artificially, by following a recipe.

The recipe that produces artificial amber, which is the most popular variant, contains a series of ingredients that are very popular within the perfume industry. Such ingredients include Benzoin, Labdanum, vanilla and cloves in very imprecise measurements.

Leading experts suggest that there is not one exact formula on how to create the exact Amber absolute and many alternatives seem to coexist in the market.

In recent years, most perfumers have been working with a perfume base known as amber essence extract, which is a concentrate used to create other perfume variations with an amber base.

Commercial Amber Blends

The fact that amber is actually a fictional blend of various other ingredients has made it possible for this scent to combine with hundreds of other substances in order to produce numerous other alternatives, as well.

According to perfume specialists, many different types of fragrances fall under the amber category, even when they have all been made with several varieties of substances.

Best depicted as rich or even overwhelming, the amber scent can be found in combinations that include Tonka Bean instead of vanilla. Richer more exotic varieties include sandalwood, incense or spices, such as pepper, cinnamon or cloves.

These oriental overtones work well in wintery fragrances that appeal both to the male as well as the female user.

In general terms, amber is known to be long-lasting –from 24 to 48 hours. Also, perfumes which are amber-based are best described as being enticing, sensuous and even fierce.

In recent years, amber perfumes for men have incorporated a huskier, earthier overtone that blends pleasantly with the natural amber scent.