Perfume Review: Ambra Aurea by Profumum Roma

Source: the Mirror newpaper, Mirror.co.uk.

Ambergris found on a beach. Source: the Mirror newpaper, Mirror.co.uk.

One of the most prized, rare, expensive, luxury ingredients in perfumery is ambergris. True ambergris is hard to find nowadays, especially in any large quantity, but it is a scent adds incredible depth and body to a fragrance. It is also nothing like “amber” which usually comes from a combination of plant-based resins and/or synthetics. In contrast, ambergris comes, in an over-simplified nutshell, from whale vomit and has a unique salty, musky, sweet, almost marshy scent.

The Perfume Shrine has a great analysis of the difference between “amber” and ambergris which also helps explain the reason for the rather sweet character of most of the “amber” fragrances on the market. The explanation for the rather unique, special smell of ambergris (sometimes known as grey amber) is as follows:

It’s hard not to fall in love with ambergris … [which] smells, depending on the piece and whom you’re talking to, like musk, violets, fresh-hewn wood, tobacco, dirt, Brazil nut, fern-copse, damp woods, new-mown hay, seaweed in the sun, the wood of old churches, or pretty much any other sweet-but-earthy scent”. [Kemp Chris., Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris]

Source: The Mirror, Mirror.co.uk

Source: The Mirror, Mirror.co.uk

The ingredient is rather sticky and gelatinous like, like a fat lump of grey color at first; while when it dries it becomes harder like a fragile but hard resin. […] [After some years, it] gains a beautiful patina that famously chemist Gunther Ohloff described as “humid, earthy, fecal, marine, algoid, tobacco-like, sandalwood-like, sweet, animal, musky and radiant”. Other people have dscribed it as having the scent of  wood in old churches or Brazil nuts.

[¶] Its greatest attribute is its capacity for rendering a composition rounder, especially in oriental perfumes or in floral compositions where it melds the notes into one and brings out their best qualities. It clings on to fabric too, through repeated washings even, becoming ever sweeter with time. Therefore it is prized for its fixative power: the ability to anchor more volatile notes and make them last. [¶] Most commercial perfumes today use a synthetic substitute, because the real thing is so expensive.

The reason for this long discussion of ambergris — synthetic or natural — is because its aroma is the heart and soul of Ambra Aurea, a luxurious, deep, beautiful, amber eau de parfum from Profumum Roma (sometimes called just “Profumum” or “Profvmvm,” but also written as “Pro Fvmvm” on the company’s website).

The Italian niche house is based in Rome and was founded by four siblings in 1996, but its history goes back to right after the end of WWII. The founders’ artisanal grandparents, Celestino and Lucia Durante, left the tiny Italian village of Sant’ Elena Sannita for Rome where they opened a tiny storefront, which over time grew into a chain of stores, featuring hand-made soaps, fragrances and beauty products. Their grandchildren decided in 1996 to start a line of exclusive fragrances which, as Luckyscent explains, were “crafted to evoke emotions, memories and a sense of their beloved Italy. These rich and layered fragrances are designed to work equally well on men and women, and, amazingly, they really do.”

Ambra AureaI’d heard a lot about Profumum’s fragrances, especially Ambra Aurea which many consider to be one of the best amber perfumes around. And, you know, it’s pretty damn good! Profumum‘s website describes it very simply:

Scent of antique temptations:
scent of pleasure and warmth.

Grey amber, Incense, Myrrh

Ambra Aurea opens on my skin with a stunningly rich aroma that is simultaneously: salty, sweet, sticky, extremely nutty, slightly musky, beautifully golden and honeyed. It radiates smooth warmth, like a bath of salty caramel. It really smells of genuine ambergris, even though Ambra Aurea must surely use a synthetic version given the exorbitant cost of the real thing. But, honestly, wow! The beautiful depth of real ambergris is all here with its musky, salty, almost marshy, gooey, minutely sweaty feel. In fact, there is actually something a little vegetal in the undertones to the perfume that is hard to explain, yet very much feels like the real thing. But, while real ambergris can sometimes be a bit too raw, rough, and untamed, here, the edges are smooth as silk, layered with rich honey, and supplemented by other elements. For example, labdanum. There has to be a large dose of labdanum in the base with its nutty, subtly leathered feel, to go along with all the beautiful smoke from the myrrh that wafts delicately in the background.

Source: Twitter.

Source: Twitter.

Ambra Aurea’s stunning, gorgeous, luxurious opening consistently brings two things to mind: caramel and candlelight. The perfume feels exactly like the darkest, goo-iest, richest caramel, the sort which oozes from the middle of an extremely expensive piece of chocolate. If you’ve ever bitten into a Maison du Chocolat, Teuscher or Godiva chocolate, you’ll know what I’m talking about: that thin, but incredibly rich, flow of brown caramel. At the same time, Ambra Aurea feels so golden, it’s like a room lit only by candles. There is a warm glow to the scent in its opening stage which just radiates coziness. I would wear this non-stop and, in truth, I couldn’t stop sniffing my arm. The real clincher for me is the ambergris feel with its salty notes. It’s absolutely nothing like the smell in most “amber” fragrances that one encounters with their labdanum-vanilla-benzoin bases. Ambra Aurea’s note isn’t hugely sweet, but more like salted, earthy, musky, almost wet, humid amber atop layers of deep, dark honey and nutty resins.

Amber SatinThe most fascinating, appealing aspect to the whole thing may be its smoothness. It truly feels like silk or, better yet, satin. There is a heavenly undulating smoothness that flows like a gentle wave in an incredibly sexy, sensuous manner. And, while the perfume is incredibly potent in those early moments, it never feels leaden or resinously thick. It’s not an airy, light scent by any means, but the weight of the perfume is absolutely perfect for such rich notes. It is truly what I had expected Tom Ford‘s Amber Absolute to be like, but which ultimately wasn’t.

Ten minutes in, Ambra Aurea shifts a little. The honey note becomes even richer but also takes on an undertone of beeswax. The musky element and the subtle smokiness also become more prominent, lessening and cutting through some of the feel of caramel-like nuttiness. God, it’s a beautiful amber scent. Unfortunately for me, a lot of that ambergris richness and honey element starts to recede, replaced by a heavy dose of labdanum. While I love labdanum, no-one can say it’s quite as unique, rare or special a note as compared to ambergris. Making it even less attractive to me here is the fact that the note has a strong undertone of “cherry Cola” at the start of the second hour. Personally, I prefer it when labdanum has a more honeyed, nutty, faintly leathery nuance. That said, Ambra Aurea is still very pretty. The labdanum has a light dusting of incense and a creamy amber finish that feels lightly infused with a custardy vanilla. In some odd way, the combination makes me think a little of “Tauerade,” the drydown base to many of Andy Tauer’s perfumes. The difference here is the ambergris note in the background with its musky, salty feel.

For the next ten hours (yes, ten!), Ambra Aurea remains primarily as a labdanum-amber-incense perfume with fluctuating levels of each element. The labdanum eventually loses much of its “Cherry Cola” nuance, the ambergris remains as a light component infused with saltiness and light incense, there are strong elements of beeswax lurking in the background, and the whole thing sits atop a generalized amber base that has a subtle vanillic element to it. By the thirteenth hour (!), Ambra Aurea is nothing more than a vague, generalized, musky ambery perfume with a faint suggestion of smoke and saltiness.

If your eyes are popping open at those longevity numbers on my voracious, perfume-consuming skin, you’re not alone. Ambra Aurea lasted at least 13 hours on my skin! In truth, I think I detected faint remnants of the perfume flickering here and there in small pockets around the 16th hour. It’s mind-boggling to me, especially as I did not apply very much at all. Which brings me to the sillage. Ambra Aurea is not a perfume with the sort of monstrous projection that emanates in tidal waves across a room. For the first thirty minutes, the projection was expansive but, after one hour, it dropped quite a bit to emanate only 2-3 inches above the skin. Yet, within its own little pocket, it is very noticeable and powerful. I think it became a skin scent only about 6.5 hours into its development, but you still didn’t need to inhale at your arm to detect it. I suspect all of these numbers would be massively higher if I not only applied a greater quantity but if I did so via a spray bottle. Aerosolization always adds far greater potency to a perfume than mere dabbing from a vial. And, God, what I would give to spray on a lot of Ambra Aurea for its opening stage! What an amber!

Source: Stock photos.

Source: Stock photos.

Ambra Aurea is intentionally and expressly intended to be an amber soliflore — meaning a perfume centered around one main note — so it is obviously going to be very linear and uncomplicated in nature. I frequently say that “linear” is a bad word only if you hate the scent in question. And I most definitely did not hate Amber Aurea. Nonetheless, I thought the opening phase was significantly better than its subsequent, less interesting, less special change into a predominantly labdanum-based amber. If the opening hour had remained for most of Ambra Aurea’s development, I would be contemplating how to buy a bottle right now. The notes were so sumptuously smooth, so satin-y rich and layered, I was in absolute heaven and I truly thought Ambra Aurea would become my go-to amber, cozy fragrance. I could just see myself after a long day, after a hot bath, spraying on the perfume and curling up for a cozy evening. The beauty of that start, its cocoon-like warmth, and the extent to which it was comforting, soothing, and relaxing… I can’t begin to convey it properly. But, to me, it didn’t remain that way and, while the subsequent development of the perfume was perfectly lovely and pretty, I’m not convinced that it’s special enough for the perfume’s price.

Which brings me to perhaps one of the biggest problems with not only Ambra Aurea, but with Profumum’s fragrances in general: cost. The perfume is only available in a large 3.4 oz/100 ml bottle that costs $240 or €179 (with some European vendors selling it for more). It’s a little steep for a perfume that is a linear soliflore whose second act doesn’t quite match its first one. If Ambra Aurea came in a smaller size, I think it would be much harder to resist but, as it is, I’m still weighing the pros and cons. I’m not the only one having problems with the cost issue. It’s a subject that is frequently and commonly raised when it comes to both Ambra Aurea and Profumum as a whole, though some seem to think it’s wholly justified. On Basenotes (where Ambra Aurea has a 100% positive rating from 8 reviews), I read a very interesting claim by a commentator, “sultan pasha,” who wrote, in part:

After Profumi Del Forte’s Ambra Mediterrana this has to be one of the greatest and most sublime and richest Ambergris driven amber fragrance I’ve ever smelt. A lot a of people complain about the price, but I’ve heard on good authority that Ambra Aurea is stronger than most normal perfume extraits. For the $240 you are getting 100ml of parfum with a staggering concentration of 46% which is higher than most extraits available in the market! So stop complaining and buy a bottle!

I have no idea where he got the 46% concentration number or if it’s true. I’ve found nothing on any site elsewhere to support that fact which, if true, would be utterly astounding and the highest thing I’ve ever seen. I did some investigation, and the only thing I can find to corroborate that number is a French perfume retailer called Soleil d’Or whose online purchase page for Ambra Aurea states: “Perfume very highly concentrated (43%).”

Outside of genuine curiosity at such a high number, I don’t ultimately care about the technicalities and, in truth, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Ambra Aurea’s concentration were that insanely high. It smells like it! As “Sultan pasha” wrote in the rest of his review, this is a perfume where one spray will last overnight, and he’s probably right that it would last over a week on clothing. Ambra Aurea has spectacular longevity and its concentrated dosage certainly may warrant its high price. (On the other hand, that concentration would make a smaller bottle even more practical; a 100 ml of such potent juice may well last a person for the next 80 years!) At the end of the day, however, cost is wholly subjective, so I think people who love rich orientals or ambers with smoke absolutely should try Ambra Aurea — for a sniff at the very least. It’s shamefully under-appreciated and unknown.

There aren’t a lot of in-depth reviews for the perfume out there, probably because it isn’t a very complicated scent at the end of the day, but a few assessments from Basenotes may help you decide, especially in terms of comparisons to other amber fragrances out there like Serge LutensAmbre Sultan:

  • A dark, resinous, warm and sensual amber fragrance, probably one of my favourites because of its deep and obscure character, softened by some saline and rounding facets – surely due to its high percentage of ambergris that gives this fragrance its wonderful identity. As all other Profvmvm fragrances, its quite oily texture add a long-lasting but close-to-skin quality at the same time. Really addictive!
  • Ambra Aurea is a top of the line Amber along with Amber Sultan. However, I am not a fan of the sharp stink factor of really raw Amber. I love the other aspects of both of these, but what they were competing against in my samples was Fiore d’Ambra by Profumum Roma. To me, Fiore d’Ambra is the most heavenly, well balanced, and intoxicating Amber. Ambra Aurea is a little darker, mellower, with a touch of sharp Amber stank, while Fiore d’Ambra is refined enough to take the edge off, introduce a slight spice floral with a mere suggestion of powderiness and let the warm vanilla laced amber soar in majestic opulence. Ambra Aurea by contrast stays more grounded and less high flying. With quality this high between these 3, it really comes down to personal preference. […] In summary, this is one of the best Ambers ever, but it just isn’t as incredible as its sister.
  • First of all, l do not think this is at all similar to Ambre Sultan; the Sultan is much more herbal & medicinal than this one. This fragrance is most similar to Tom Ford’s Amber Absolute, & along with that one, it is one of the very best ambers that l’ve tried. l also find it much more satisfying than its’ sister fragrance, Fiore d’Ambra. This has the “wow” factor for me; a strong, raw, resinous amber that smells like it just dripped out of a pine tree. After 30 minutes it sweetens to a deep, rich, velvety amber that is not at all powdery. The sillage is great & the longevity even better. lf you’re looking for a raw amber fragrance with lots of depth that’s not TOO sweet, this one is definitely worth a try.

I haven’t tried Fiore since Ambra Aurea is my very first Profumum fragrance, but Patty at The Perfume Posse has a brief line about it in an Amber round-up. [UPDATE: here’s my Fiore d’Ambra review.] In the sub-category “The Mongol Hordes are Coming” (which is hilarious), she writes:

Profumum has two fairly fierce ambers – Fiore d’Ambre and Ambra Aurea.  You would have to go a long ways to find two ambers from one line that are quite good, and Profumum has done that.  Fiore is warmer.  Aurea is a little sweeter on the open, more honeyed.  If it weren’t for my annoyance with Profumum’s huge price tag with perfumes in such plain bottles, I’d be a huge fan.  I am a huge fan of these two and several of their perfumes, but I get stuck on thinking their price point is just not right.

As you see, we’re back to the price issue, but I agree with her. At a lower price point, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy Ambra Aurea, uncomplicated and simple though it may be. All I can do is to urge the rest of you to try it and see for yourself. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go figure out how to get my hands on a decant of the perfume. It’s that good!

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Ambra Aurea is an Eau de Parfum that only comes in a large 3.4 oz/100 ml bottle which costs $240 or €179. In the U.S.: it is available at Luckyscent and OsswaldNYC. Outside the U.S.: In the UK, Profumum perfumes are sold at Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie in Harrods. Elsewhere, you can find Ambra Aurea at Paris’ Printemps store, Switzerland’s OsswaldPremiere Avenue in France (which also ships worldwide, I believe), Le Parfum et Le Chic (which sells it for €185), Soleil d’Or, and Germany’s Apropos Concept Store. According to the Profumum website, their fragrances are carried in a large number of small stores from Copenhagen to the Netherlands, Poland, France, the rest of Europe, and, of course, Italy. You can use the Profumum Store Locator located on the left of the page linked to above. Samples: Surrender to Chance carries samples of Ambra Aurea starting at $4.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. You can also order from Luckyscent.

67 thoughts on “Perfume Review: Ambra Aurea by Profumum Roma

  1. LOVE the Profumum line! I do prefer Fiore d’ Ambra over Ambra Aurea, and opted for the Fiore d’ Ambra for the full bottle:) Just recently purchased my fourth bottle from the Profumum line, and you and I share the opinion that this line is some of the strongest perfumes you can buy. Can not say enough about this line, and as always, terrific review!!

    • Thank you for your kind words on the review. Now I’m even more intrigued by Fiore d’Ambra than I was before. Do tell what makes you prefer that to the Ambra Aurea, and let me writhe in frustrated envy. 😉 Joking apart, I can’t seem to get a sense of whether the Fiore is smokier than the Ambra or sweeter/warmer. I keep hearing conflicting impressions. I know I definitely need to try the Fiore before I decide which one is going to lure me to temptation, because DAMN, Profumum is one impressive, tempting line if the Ambra is anything to go by!

  2. Lovely review! Based on your opinion I think I would really enjoy smelling this perfume. and what an outstanding longevity you got from the scent. It’s probably because Profvmvum puts up to 40% of fragrant ingredients into their perfumes. When I attended some of the perfume workshop, Stanisława Missala, the creator of Quality Missala perfume boutique was always accenting this fact about this brand.
    So far I only tried Ninfea from this line, will have to explore some more.

    • How good to know that the crazily high percentages aren’t unsubstantiated talk! Up to 40% or the 43-46% mentioned elsewhere is simply insane — in the best way possible. How impressive. Now I definitely need to try more from the line. As for Ambra Aurea and you, I don’t know. You really kinda hate labdanum, Lucas! Okay, so it’s not animalic, dirty or leathery here, but I’m still dubious, especially given the subtle “cherry cola” nuance that lasts for so long.

      • Those numbers are totally true, they’re not just the imagination of some people. Actually it explains why some of Profvmvum scents have such an intensive colo.
        You’re probably right about me and labdanum. We’re not friends.

  3. Add another lemming to the list. Wow, you made this sound good. Thirteen hours is impressive. As far as the price, its for 100mls. That is $120 for 50mls which is in the ballpark of a lot of perfumes. I suppose if you didn’t want that much it’s a problem but if you had someone to split with its not that terrible. And if it’s that good, surely there’s some swap value to it. And at $10 for a 1ml sample, well, that’s not cost effective at all. See how my brain works when I try to justify these things to myself. And that folks is how poodle has gotten herself into many, many blind buy situations.

    • Poodle, Poodle, Poodle….. you would lead a nun into temptation! LOL. 😉 The thing is, I’m still not convinced about the big stage of the perfume where the labdanum was more at the forefront. Somehow, in my mind, $120 is a lot easier to justify when I have some hesitation about a certain part of the perfume than $240. Plus, I’d need to find someone who loved Ambra Aurea enough to agree to a split. The added problem is that I’m now totally intent on trying the Fioré version of amber from Profumum, especially after Debbie (another commentator here) whose tastes are very similar to mine preferred that one to the Ambra Aurea.

      I have to say, the longevity is truly crazy. I’m sure that if I’d gone with the spraying method and used one good spray that it would have lasted in full for 16 hours AT LEAST. You know, when applying the perfume, a random drop flew from the dabber onto my other arm. One microscopic drop — and it radiated smell for at least two hours. I couldn’t believe it! Also, and you’ll get a kick out of this, Ambra Aurea seems to be the Hairy German’s favorite perfume thus far. He wouldn’t leave me alone, and kept coming over to sniff my arm or try to lick it. I’ve never quite seen him like that. If giant German Shepherds could purr, he would have purred over this perfume.

    • “And that folks is how poodle has gotten herself into many, many blind buy situations. ”

      You’re not alone, Poodle!

      Also…I keep asking myself – surely, you can’t finish 100 mLs, can you? Then I go and buy several 10 -20 mL decants, 30 mL bottles (hey, how smart was the perfume line to offer THIS size) and 50 mL bottles (because it’s not 100 mLs) and by the time I’m done, I have over 200 freaking mLs and then I’m back to who can finish 100 mLs…let alone 200 (I am looking at you Atelier Cologne) and then the cycle starts all over again!

    • Poodle, my brain works the same way! I’m usually more tempted by the larger bottles because the per ml price of samples is outrageously high (that’s not to say I don’t buy samples – I do!) and the smaller bottles are usually also surreptitiously higher on a per ml basis as well than the more reasonably sized bottles. I know the reality is that it’s not really a better deal if I can’t use it, but I always think of the per ml price rather than the cost of a full bottle.

  4. Oh yes, about the Profumum Amber Aurea…I could have sworn I saw it at Henri Bendel’s but did not try i…I’ll have to stop in again to see for myself. They do have a decent collection in-store; the online store has perhaps only 5% of what is available in store. Anyway, this sounds like a must try for me, dear Kafka but maybe a little worrisome due to its longevity on YOUR perfume-consuming skin. I’m a sprayer and not a dabber so I may need to do a half-sprtiz.

  5. Wow, thirteen hours!! That’s impressive, I don’t think I’ve ever had scent last that long. Beautiful review! To me Ambra Aurea seem like it would be the perfect perfume to wrap yourself in after a very long day.. Like a buttery soft cashmere blanket:)

  6. You just created the biggest, fattest, furriest lemming ever. A lemming so big, it ate all the other lemmings! For breakfast.

    I actually moaned reading this! Amber/Ambergris + incense is pretty much the fragrant baseball bat to my kneecaps. If it is love, I’ll split this with you!

    • HURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so glad this woefully, shamefully under-appreciated line is getting some interest. As for splitting, let me first try Ambra’s sister, the Fiore/Fiori, and then I’ll let you know. The Fiore receives as much love as the Ambra Aurea, with people arguing over the relative merits of which one is better. Both of them frequently get mentioned as “THE richest, best amber” ever. The notes for Fiore (written as Fiori on Fragrantica) are apparently Amber, Opium (??) and Spices: http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Profumum-Roma/Fiori-d-Ambra-3885.html Some people say the Fiore is smokier, others say it’s the Ambra Aurea which has more smoke and incense. Some people say the Fiore is spicier and like Opium, the perfume. I can’t figure out if the “amber” in Fiore is ambergris, since it’s not listed on Fragrantica as “grey amber,” but I tell you, I’m kinda obsessed with trying it. I just know that, once I try it, I’m going to want ONE of them! So, yes, we should do a split of something!

        • That would be perfect. A 3 or 4 way split would be just the right amount of this for me while I try to figure out if Ambra Aurea calls my name or her sister, the Fiori/Fiore. So get thee to Bendel’s and start sniffing to see if you like it! LOL.

        • Absolutely! I just read in the Luca Turin book that he hated the sibling amber, Fiore Ambra, and gave it one star. Which pretty much guarantees that I will adore it….. 😉 LOL. I need StC or the Perfumed Court to do another sale soon so I can order it. (I’m expecting some new goodies this week, so I can’t really justify it otherwise.)

          • Oh those Turin – Sanchez reviews! Always entertaining. Can’t say that I always agree, but that is part of the fun.

            Will try to hunt down and sniff them out over here. Someone has to have them . . .

  7. Your review so yummy so good is a perfect ending to my Sunday evening. I think I will dream well tonight. Oh and I want this luscious stuff you describe so beautifully.

  8. Pingback: Perfume Review – Fiore d’Ambra by Profumum: Opium Amber | Kafkaesque

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  10. I sampled Ambra Aurea and Fiore d’Ambra a few days ago for the first time. Alas, the Fiore fell victim to my sweetness-amplifying skin (it smelled like rancid caramel ganache, yuck), but the Ambra Aurea… ahhhh, it’s a gem!

    Deep, rich, a touch smoky, and above all else – smoooooth (exactly as you described it in your lovely review). On me there’s a touch of snuffed candle wax along with the smokiness. For me, Ambra creates a trance-like state of luxurious animal comfort – imagine working hard outside on a gorgeous brisk fall afternoon then wrapping up in your favorite blankets and stretching out on a comfortable old couch in front of a log fire that’s burned down to embers in a wood-paneled room lit by a few beeswax candles that have almost sputtered out.

    And that incredibly high percentage of fragrance ingredients creates amazing sillage and tenacity. I seemed to have gotten a bit more sillage than you did, but because Ambra is so smooth and balanced – never harsh, bitter, or cloying – it doesn’t have that “attack sillage” effect [stares at Amarige and Poison].

    Think I’ll start saving for the FB now; this’ll probably be my go-to fragrance this fall.

    • What an absolutely perfect description of Ambra Aurea, Stina! Simply beautiful! (And I had to laugh at the “Attack Sillage” effect, with a glare at Amarige and Poison — two of the legendary greats in the nuclear-tipped missile category!) Thank you so, so much for sharing it. I know your experience will be invaluable to others who may be curious about the scent. *hugs*

      Isn’t Ambra Aurea’s smoothness something amazing? So damn rich! And what was the duration on you? My skin consumes perfume like crazy and, yet, I had insane longevity from just a tiny bit, so I can only imagine how it was on someone with more normal skin!

      BTW, have you thought of doing your own perfume blog? You give a great sense of how a perfume feels, and the feeling is half the work!

      • I’d say that Ambra Aurea has the best longevity of any perfume I’ve tried thus far (I’d describe myself an advanced beginner in terms of perfume as a hobby).

        My best guess is that Ambra lasts around 18 to 20 hours (or more) on me in some form – that is, no matter when I put it on the previous day, by the time I take my shower the next morning there’s at least a trace of it still detectable on my skin.

        That’s with dabbing from a sample vial; who knows what the spray format would do!

        And thank you for the compliment – I’m honored that you feel my thoughts about perfume might be worthy of their own blog. I might actually do that at some point, but right now I’m enjoying honing my ability to detect specific notes and on experiencing a whole range of different perfumes. And on reading other people’s reactions to/experiences with fragrances (like your Serge Lutens week – so much fun!).

        • See, I knew that on normal skin, it would have jaw-dropping longevity. And yeah, can you imagine what spraying it would do??!!! Mind-boggling. But, then, so is the 43% or 46% concentration! Never seen anything like those numbers anywhere.

          As for your future blog, you know, I can’t wait until you decide to do one. With your fantastic sense of humour, I think it would be a huge draw and I know I would be on the edge of my seat to read each review. I’m so, SO glad you stumbled across me, Stina, because I’m really glad I “met” you, so to speak. 🙂

          • Heheh…heh!!
            ‘Sultanpasha’ here…..
            believe it or not I acquired that information when I purchased my bottle of AA from the Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie located on the top floor of Harrods. I was speaking to Benjamin and Haven (two perfumery advisors from Urban Retreat) who mentioned those percentages. Also those that have a personal bottle will notice that the perfume solution is so saturated that after couple of sprays a substantial crystallised amber crust forms arround the spray nozzle. It is the only perfume that I’ve noticed with this peculiar quality and was what drew me to it in Roja Doves emporium. Amongst all the beautiful bottles there, I saw this plain looking rectangular bottle with a deep amber bewitching looking liquid inside it and the spray nozzle which was missing its lid, was totaly caked in this amber coloured salt but on closer inspection I realised that it was the perfume crystalised on exposure to air after the evaporation of the alcohol. I’m an ex-chemist and can very easily recognise a saturated solution and the telltale signs of crystal crust formation as a result of solvent evaporation.
            When I went for the bottle Benjamin looked really embarrased when i first saw AA and quickly tried to wipe it clean and explained he always has this problem with this particular perfume after it’s sprayed couple of times and he then told me it’s concentration to which I reacted by presenting my credit card. 🙂
            I have got to mention I’ve Vanitas and confetto from Profumum Roma aswell and again they are very saturated and are truly the kings amongst perfume longetivity. If I spritz myself with Vanitas once my skin will smell of vanilla and myrrh for the next 48 hours…….this is no exaggeration (Now imagine if sprayed on clothing. ….)

          • Ha, I love it! So, so good to see you, “Sultan Pasha”! I get such a kick out of the people I quote popping up every now and then. How did you find the blog? As for AA, I fell hard for it myself and got a large decant that I wore just a few days ago in fact. It’s such a fabulous fragrance. Thank you for the great story about AA, the Urban Retreat, and how quickly you handed your credit card over! Fantastic.

            Interestingly, a blog commentator who went to the NY perfume store, Osswald, to look up Profumum was told something a little different about the percentages by the manager there. And I think, though I’m not certain, that the Osswald chap (Clement) was actually a former Roja Dove/Haute Parfumerie employee. According to the poster: “Clement explained that the extremely high concentration of this line is not truly 40-46% fragrance. They cheat a little by using the standard EdP concentration of the scent (around 20%) and then another 20% is a musk oil and the rest is the carrier fluid/ alcohol. It is the oil that gives these their viscousness and excellent longevity.”

            Whether or not that’s true, I’ll tell you what I told her: “As for the perfume concentration, it’s not really cheating to have 20% musk oil, if you think about it. Musk is another ingredient, for one thing. But, the main thing is the fact that the perfume’s water/alcohol concentration is still 60% to 54%, when other pure parfum’s water/alcohol carrier levels are at 80% to 78%. That’s the key thing that matters, not what sort of ingredients make up the specific oils in question. (Other pure parfum’s may have an equally high % — proportionally speaking — for their musk or amber bases, too. We don’t know what is in their 20% oil mix.) So, I think it’s totally accurate to say that Profumum Roma has a perfume oil concentration of 43-46%.”

            Anyway, I’ve actually been testing a few more from the line in the last week and will put up a review soon for Santalum and Patchouly. (Maybe Olibanum or Arso, too, if I can squeeze them in.) I haven’t tried Vanitas, though I’ve heard great, great things about it. I don’t have a sample of Confetto either, but I do have one of Dulcis in Fundo. I love Profumum Roma, their richness, and their incredible longevity (which, on my wonky, perfume-consuming skin is quite unusual). I’ve actually become quite determined with spreading the word about them as I think Profumum is a shamefully under-appreciated line that very few people talk about.

            So glad to see another Profumum fan here, Sultan Pasha! And I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your AA/Haute Parfumerie story! I hope to see you around here again. 🙂

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    • I’m so glad that both you and your wife love Ambra Aurea. It’s a fantastic amber. I hope you check out some other fragrances from Profumum Roma, as they have some lovely scents that all feel very rich and deep.

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  22. I bought this after reading your review, Kafka, and it smells exactly as I envisioned. I had to have it! A part of my heart is in India and Nepal, where I have visited many times and put down roots. Ambra Aurea unlocks vibrant memories of wafts of incense at morning worship melding with the promise of chai. One spray of Ambra Aurea on my wrist fills the entire house. I know to apply it an hour before I start work! Currently my signature scent, but Fiore d’Ambra reminds me not put all of my eggs into one basket. (I’ve yet to try FdA.)

    • I apologise for the lateness of my reply, Cerulean, but I’m so glad Ambre Aurea worked out for you! If it brings back incense memories from India/Nepal, you may actually like Fiore d’Ambra even more. The smokiness was even more pronounced there on my skin, so I hope it will be so for you, too. 🙂

      • I will definitely try Fiore d’Ambra, Kafka. Today I am going to try one microdot of AA with a spray of SL’s Chergui. I am a woman on a mission to try to find the closest perfume to this absolutely divine perfume a very confident and mysterious European-Iranian girl used to wear to school back in the 80s. I remember it exactly. She wouldn’t tell a soul what it was. But it was the most exquisite smell in the entire universe. It enveloped her. Was her aura. I know she intentionally put it on her clothes and her leather satchel as well. For years I thought it was a plain musk. And tried every darn musk, including all the oils in hippie shops, and nothing came close. Then I smelt a Fa deodorant on a European friend and lo and behold I was a step closer. Had to have been the rose note(She gave me the bottle of deodorant!) Then I tried an oud attar. (Surely it was an attar.) No, it wasn’t quite an oud, sweeter than an oud. Then I wondered about amber. (Perhaps I was totally off track imagining it was a musk). AA is three steps closer to this elusive perfume. Now I am realising it must have leather in it. So this perfume is leather, musk, amber, possibly rose and possibly sandalwood. I know I must try both Cuir Mauresque and MKK – as samples : ) And FdA. PS It’s a very fun mission.

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  28. This is one of my favourites scents in my journey so far. I actually finished one bottle :O

    However one thing that has always bothered me was that my nose hairs feels singed in the first few minutes. It doesn’t bother my nose much after that although if I take a deep sniff close up to my skin, my nostrils gets a little bit irritated.

    Does anybody one else have the same reaction? maybe it’s some kind of synthetic? Roja Dove Ambers Extrait burns my nose hairs too 🙁

    • Ambra Aurea doesn’t quite do that to me. But I get that same experience with Battito D’Ali which is another offering by the same house. It sometimes makes me sneeze in the first hour of application too. AA was my introduction to Profumum and I have since tried at least 14 of their offerings and now own about 10. PR is my favorite perfume house now and AA probably my favorite from the line (actually it would be a toss up between Acqua e zucchero, AA and Eccelso).

      • I adore Ambra Aurea and own a bottle of it. The initial sprays are so potent they take my breath. No other perfume in my collection does this. I cover my face lightly with a scarf as I apply this so as to not inhale it. After a few seconds it’s fine/divine.

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  31. Just got a 2 ml sample of this today. In reading about it and googling around I noticed various pictures of the bottle. Some had very dark orange/brown perfume, others had much lighter golden perfume. In searching to see if it has been reformulated I have been seeing some mentions that it has, even here on this blog in an entry about an MDCI chypre that was much discussed. Anyone know if this has indeed been reformulated?

    I see all the praise for Ambra Aurea and was so excited to try it. I absolutely adore Amber Loup and just sampled O Hira (wow!), but I have 3 sprays on my hand right now, and while it is nice, I don’t know if what I’m smelling is the same juice that got all the love. My sample is lighter colored. Thanks!

    • It’s been diluted and changed. I’ve been told that repeatedly by hardcore Ambra Aurea owners and lovers over the last two years, and the manager of one of the Profumum retailers agrees. (Ambra Aurea is not the only Profumum scent which had been diluted or changed since its original debut, by the way.) There is some discussion regarding Ambra Aura in the Best Patchoulis discussion thread with one reader sharing how it smells to her and how it is most definitely not “chewy” but light. Your sample sounds similar to what she’s described.

      My apologies, by the way, for the late reply. As I wrote in my last review, I’m taking time off, including from replying to all comments, emails, and messages.

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