Perfume Review – Dior Ambre Nuit (La Collection Privée)

The sensuous slither of limbs. The expanse of a man’s chest, heated and lightly musky. The slow seduction of a dance that is always completely refined, just hinting at the passion below. The heated languor of the tango is what comes to mind when I wear Ambre Nuit, an incredibly sensuous but highly refined fragrance from Dior‘s prestige line of fragrances called La Collection Privée. (The line is sometimes called La Collection Couturier on places like Fragrantica and Surrender to Chance, but I will go with the name used by Dior itself on its website.) For me, everything about Ambre Nuit calls to mind the Latin tango — from the rhythm of its developing notes, to its mood, to the sensuality that almost borders on the overt but which, ultimately, is too refined and elegant to really cross the line.

La Vida es Un Tango. Movie still or advert. Source: Facebook.

La Vida es Un Tango. Movie still or advert. Source: Facebook.

Ambre Nuit was released in 2009, the creation of François Demarchy, the artistic director and nose for Parfums Dior. Dior categorizes the fragrance as an “amber woody floral,” and provides the following description:

Source: Basenotes.

Source: Basenotes.

A mysterious fragrance, inspired by the baroque atmosphere and balls of the 18th century, which left their marks on Christian Dior. The tale of a Rose seduced by carnal Amber, which together unveil an unexpected profound, intense and elusive scent.

Describing Ambre Nuit as a “rose” fragrance might be little misleading, in my personal opinion. It is most definitely not that on my skin for the majority of its development, nor for many others. In fact, I would say that “rose” is almost the least of things I experienced with this smoky, woody, amber fragrance. Dior’s list of notes include:

Bergamot di Calabria, Turkish Damascus Rose Essence, New Zealand Ambergris, Gaiac Wood, Cedar Wood and Patchouli.

Fragrantica adds pink peppercorns; Ozmoz adds spices and balsam notes; and I would toss in both frankincense and myrrh. The real key, however, is the ambergris which is a whole other olfactory animal than the regular amber used in the majority of perfumery. A very rare, astronomically expensive ingredient, ambergris has a strong, salty-sweet character that is always sensual, often slightly musky, occasionally a little animalic, and usually so creamily rich that it can border on ambered caramel.

"Tango and Cobblestones",  painting by Aldo Luongo. Source: ipaintingsforsale.com

“Tango and Cobblestones”, painting by Aldo Luongo. Source: ipaintingsforsale.com

Ambre Nuit opens on my skin with sweet, refined patchouli, followed by sun-warmed bergamot and pink peppercorns. Unlike the patchouli note in many commercial fragrances, nothing here smells like the sharp, plastic-y, highly synthetic ingredient that is always painfully loaded with purple fruitness. Though the patchouli smells a little grape-y at first, it is a very refined, subtle aroma that is actually a little black in nature. It has a smokiness that would imply incense as a hidden note, something that is borne out later by the rest of Ambre Nuit’s development. From the start, though, something about the patchouli and smoke accord in Ambre Nuit reminds me of Chanel‘s gorgeous, glorious Coromandel from its Exclusifs collection. 

Source: YouTube.com

Source: YouTube.com

The pink peppercorns in Ambre Nuit differ slightly in aroma from that used in commercial, mainstream perfumery. They have a fiery, spicy edge that evokes red, chili or pimento peppers, instead of something wholly fruity in nature. (The excessive, pink peppercorn and patchouli combination in Marc JacobsLola comes to mind when thinking of things that Ambre Nuit does not resemble!) Here, the pepper infuses the subtle, muted rose note, along with the patchouli, turning the flower into something red, rich, and darkened. Yet, the rose is never so syrupy or sweet as to feel jammy and fruited; it’s too smoky and dry for that. 

All the main top notes sit upon a base of beautifully dry, rich, nuanced woods with amber. The accord is smoky from the gaiac; peppered and aromatic from the cedar; and burnished to a soft, rich edge from the ambergris. The latter feels very much like the real stuff with its salty, musky facets. Here, however, the ambergris also has a subtle undertone of something that is simultaneously honeyed and almost boozy. I suspect the combination of the patchouli, peppercorns, and ambergris is responsible for the almost cognac-like, liqueured undercurrents running through Ambre Nuit.

Ambre Nuit’s nuances in the early stage really show themselves best when a large quantity is applied, but there are dangers with that, as well. I tried the perfume twice, with the first test consisting of one, medium-ish smear, and the second entailing about 2.5 very large ones. With the smaller quantity, it’s harder to detect the full range of the perfume’s layers; Ambre Nuit is so well-blended that it ends up becoming just a single, very smooth, almost abstract, smoky, woody, ambery bouquet after the first thirty to forty minutes. With a larger dose, you can see more of the nuances in the fragrance, but then the pink peppercorns can verge a little on the over-bearing. For me, at least, it was a little sharp, unbalanced, and just tipping towards the screechy category. It wasn’t a problem at all with the smaller dose, so I suspect one has to go the Goldilocks’ route and try for a dose in the middle. Regardless of quantity, in its opening half hour, Ambre Nuit is a beautiful, very potent blend of smoky, liqueured, salty-sweet amber, with dry woods and a quiet touch of delicate roses that have been rendered a little fiery from the peppers and a little sweet from the patchouli.

"Dancers" photograph by Erwin Olaf. Source: KontraPLAN magazine.

“Dancers” photograph by Erwin Olaf. Source: KontraPLAN magazine.

What fascinates me, however, is the patchouli and incense combination in Ambre Nuit. I am convinced that there is incense in the perfume. It is as though Dior decided to do a variation of the note in its divine Mitzah, another smoky, oriental, rose-based perfume, but Dior opted to combine incense with ambergris in lieu of Mitzah’s labdanum. Ambre Nuit has the exact same sort of subtle smokiness in the base. The patchouli is a perfect accompaniment to both elements: it’s a little 1970s, hippie-ish, except it’s so refined in Ambre Nuit that it lacks any skanky, musty, musky, pothead-type of dirtiness. Underlying the smoky, salty, sweet notes is an unexpected honey tone that must come from the ambergris. It has subtle beeswax nuance to it as well, which just adds to the richness and depth of the base.

Thirty minutes into Ambre Nuit’s development, the woody notes start to rise to the surface. Gaiac can sometimes have a slightly tarry, asphalt-like character, while at other times, it can smell like burning leaves. Here, both aspects lurk under the creamy, soft, smooth wood. When combined with the incense notes in Ambre Nuit, it serves to create a wonderfully dry accord that counterbalances any sweetness from the patchouli and offsets any heaviness from the ambergris.

"Tango": Freja Beha Erichsen and Baptiste Giabiconi by Karl Lagerfeld for German Vogue.

“Tango”: Freja Beha Erichsen and Baptiste Giabiconi by Karl Lagerfeld for German Vogue.

There is something extremely sensuous about the combination of notes in Ambre Nuit that consistently make me think of an Argentinian tango between heated dancers in some smoky, dark room — except they are dressed in the most refined, elegant, couture outfits. The ambergris’ special, unique features evoke the warmth of heated, slightly musky skin that has been rendered just the faintest bit salty from sweat. The incense conjures up the smoky, dark feel of those dance rooms, while the gaiac and cedar replicate the incredibly smooth, wooden floors that the dancers glide across. The rose note is nothing more than a mere accessory, as inconsequential as the flower in a dancer’s hair, and hardly a significant part of the scent on my skin, especially as Ambre Nuit continues. All the notes, however, are very smooth and refined, thereby ensuring that Ambre Nuit stays a level above the many, mainstream, commercial scents that have similar elements. I must confess, though, I worry a little about those pink peppercorns which could have been handled with a slightly softer touch. They are the only thing that tarnish Ambre Nuit’s more sophisticated balance.

At the end of the first hour, Ambre Nuit is a gorgeous, smoky ambergris perfume. There is a sweet-salty creaminess which is infused by incense, a light flicker of warm musk, a dash of honey, and a tinge of beeswax — all atop very dry, smoky woods. The patchouli has melted into the ambergris, adding to its rich sweetness. And the rose has completely vanished. As a whole, Ambre Nuit  is a little too potent in its sillage in the early hours to be called “airy,” but it has a very plush feel that is as rich as velvet. And, yet, it is not opaque, heavy, or unctuous in any way.

Ambre Nuit never changes in its core essence, but some of its notes fluctuate in prominence. Around the middle of the second hour, the peppery gaiac wood takes the lead, followed by the ambergris, then the smoke, and trailed much further behind by the patchouli. The end of the third hour, however, sees the patchouli join the smoky woods and ambergris in a three-way tie. The whole thing is sweet, salty, smoky, a little bit musky, and absolutely beautiful. Again, the subtle similarities to Chanel‘s Coromandel raise their head for me. Ambre Nuit is significantly woodier and drier, and lacks the delicate, white cocoa powder, benzoin, and vanilla undertones of Coromandel. Yet, oddly enough, the patchouli in Ambre Nuit has taken on a distinctly chocolate-like nuance at its base, though it’s more akin to a gooey, dark chocolate ganache than the airy, white cocoa powder of Coromandel. Still, the way both fragrances are so infused with smoky incense and patchouli, that they feel like very distant cousins.

Ambre Nuit slowly grows closer to the skin, turning softer and more ambered in focus. Around the end of sixth hour, there is an odd quirk which occurred during both tests: the smoke takes on a soapy, white character that reminds me of myrrh. It only lasts about forty minutes, but it was noticeable enough to make me sit up on both occasions and think that the incense had become very churchy. It quickly fades, leaving Ambre Nuit’s remaining and final notes in the drydown phase as an abstract amber that is simultaneously a little dry, a little sweet from the final flickers of patchouli, and a little musky.

Like all of Dior’s Privée fragrances, Ambre Nuit has excellent longevity on my perfume-consuming skin and generally moderate sillage. Ambre Nuit lasted just under 8.5 hours on me with a single, medium-ish smear, and over 11.75 hours with 2.5 large ones. The sillage is significantly greater than some of the other Dior Privée fragrances, no doubt due to the impact of the patchouli which is always a more projecting ingredient. With the larger dose, Ambre Nuit wafted a good 4 inches above my skin for the first hour, thereafter dropping and becoming slightly less. But it took a whole 8 hours before it became a skin scent. If you work in a conservative office environment, I would suggest not spraying with abandon, especially as aerosolisation can increase a perfume’s potency. (Plus, there is that whole issue of needing to create a delicate balance with the pink peppercorns.)

Ambre Nuit is extremely well-liked, with raves on Fragrantica and elsewhere about its sophisticated, refined, opulent and very versatile nature. Interestingly, for some, like the Candy Perfume Boy, Ambre Nuit is much more of an oriental rose fragrance, calling to mind Le Labo‘s woody Rose 31, only with a slightly powdery undertone to the floral note. He adores it, and calls it “utterly fabulous.” For me, Rose 31 was mostly peppery cedar, with massive amounts of ISO E Super and a very muted rose, while Ambre Nuit had no powder at all — clearly, skin chemistry makes a difference. On Fragrantica, the talk isn’t about the powder, but about differing experiences with the rose. For some, it only appears midway during the perfume’s development, while others find it noticeable as a rich, aromatic rose from the start. There is also quite a bit of talk about the incense in the fragrance, too, with one commentator reaching the same conclusion that I did: both incense and myrrh must be part of Ambre Nuit. Others find the opening of Ambre Nuit to be both bright and significantly more citrus-like in focus than it was for me, with zesty grapefruit and bright bergamot.

Regardless of the variations, almost everyone adores Ambre Nuit and, for some, it is the best of the Dior Privée line. I don’t love Ambre Nuit as much as I adore its sibling — the labdanum-incense beauty that is Mitzah — but then, there aren’t a ton of things I like as much as Mitzah. Still, I definitely think it is worth checking out if you are a fan of easy, accessible amber fragrances. It’s not a revolutionary, edgy, unique amber fragrance; and it’s not a heavily spiced or very unctuous, opaque, fully baroque one, either. But it’s not meant to be any of those things.

Dior’s signature perfume style is to create incredibly smooth, refined, well-blended, generally unisex fragrances that take a slightly typical combination of notes, and raise it to a higher, almost couture-like level through the best ingredients and superior crafting. Dior is intentionally trying to create very accessible fragrances, but it wants them to be the height of refinement, sophistication, and discreet elegance. Ambre Nuit is no exception, though the fragrance is significantly more powerful than its softer, more unobtrusive, but equally elegant, siblings. (With great caution in spraying, Ambre Nuit might be appropriate for some conservative office environments.) For some who seek a more revolutionary, perhaps more unique bent to their amber fragrances, Ambre Nuit will probably be a little safe and little uninteresting. But I doubt they’d argue with its silky smooth nature, or with its luxurious undertones. As an added bonus, Ambre Nuit is almost cheap per ounce, relatively speaking, given the quality and the enormous size that Dior provides for its “small” version. The perfume costs $155 for a whopping 4.25 oz/125 ml — almost a full ounce more than the normal “large” version of most perfumes. (You should see the truly large Dior size at a behemoth 15.2 oz or 450 ml! You could use it as a cudgel or weapon!)   

For me, what distinguishes Ambre Nuit from some other ambers on the market is the glorious sensuality of its rare ambergris. When combined with the incense, the smoky, sweet-salty result is damn sexy. Watch the video below, listen to the music and how it undulates in different tempos, and see the lithe, swaying, connected bodies move. That’s Ambre Nuit for me.

 

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Ambre Nuit is an eau de parfum that is available exclusively at Dior boutiques, at Dior online, and a few select, high-end department stores. Dior Privé perfumes come in two sizes: the 4.25 fl oz/125 ml costs $155, while the 8.5 fl oz/250 ml costs $230. (There is a third option which is so enormous, I can’t imagine anyone buying it.) In the U.S.: Ambre Nuit found at Dior’s NYC boutique, and at the main Las Vegas store [call (702) 369-6072]. If you’re really interested, however, what I would do is to call this number instead — (702) 734-1102 — and ask for Karina Lake, the Dior Beauty Stylist at the Las Vegas store. She is an amazingly sweet lady who will also give you a free 5 ml mini bottle of the Dior perfume of your choice, along with 3-4 small 1 ml dab vial sample bottles, to go with your purchase. Even better, you will get free shipping and pay no tax! Tell her Kafka sent you. Elsewhere, New York’s Bergdorf Goodman and San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus also carry the Dior Privée line collection of perfumes.
Outside of the US: you can use the Points of Sale page on the Dior website to find a location for a Dior store near you. You can also navigate the Dior website’s International section to buy the perfume online. The problem is that the site is not very straight-forward. If you go to this page, look at the very far right to the bottom where it will say, in black, “International Version” and click on that. You should see options for Europe, Asia-Oceana, and South America. Within Europe, there are different sub-sites divided by country. The one closest to you should have the perfume available for sale.
Samples: If you want to give Ambre Nuit a sniff, samples are available at Surrender to Chance where prices start at $3.00 for a 1 ml vial. If you’re interested in trying the whole Privée line (minus the new Gris Montaigne), Surrender to Chance sells all 13 fragrances in a sampler set for $35.99.

61 thoughts on “Perfume Review – Dior Ambre Nuit (La Collection Privée)

  1. I like this perfume but for me it’s more about rose than amber. If I ever go for the next FB from Dior’s private line, it will be Ambre Nuit.

  2. I have bottles of both Ambre Nuit and Coromandel. I completely agree with your assessment in this lovely and very sensual tango of words and emotions. A lovely review for a magnificent perfume.

      • Yes I do get that flash back and it is tempting me to put them both on at the same time! The only thing that is stopping me is the fear that if I did it might punch a hole through the space time continuum. So if you wake up tomorrow and it is yesterday you will know that I did it.

        • I say, GO FOR IT! Live on the wild side, and “go where no man has gone before”…. 😉 😛

          You know, cheri, I have become so obsessed with Coromandel over the last week, you have no idea. It was always my favorite Exclusif, but wearing it in the heat and humidity last week just made it BLOOOOOOOOOOOOM like mad and ratcheted up my love to a whole new degree. I have concluded that I must get not only a bottle but a BIG bottle of it, because I want to spray it on my sheets every night before going to bed. Seriously. I want to be cocooned by Coromandel every night! God, what a perfume!

          • Wait, Coromandel is *better* in the heat?! Sweet Christ, this could be a game changer. I’ve been neglecting my bottle given the heat. Now I may need to douse my sheets with it before bed. That would make for sweet dreams indeed, and the bottle is certainly large enough that I could be so indulgent!

          • OHMYGOD, Coromandel in the humidity is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like, seriously, swoon-worthy. It brings out the depths of the fragrance and the incense, patchouli, sweeter undertones. So much smokier, sweeter and deeper. You know how much I loved Coromandel from the start, but this was a whole new Coromandel. I was with my childhood friend, catching up on life, having a pretty damn serious conversation at times, and yet, I found myself getting totally distracted by the Coromandel that was wafting up from my clothes and skin.

            Coromandel in the humidity = a MUST try!!!!!

          • Sounds absolutely amazing! I always saw it as a warm coat of a fragrance for cool weather, but I’m SO glad to hear it’s not oppressive in the heat. Can’t wait to wear it once again. Coromandel is probably in my top 5 of all time at this point, perhaps top 3.

  3. Well, you got me to dig out my sample with this review. So far, so good! Also, I found my Vetiver sample which was just sitting with the rest of them. I must be insane, because I looked through my Dior samples a billion times and never saw it! Is it crazy that Ambre Nuit so far is reminding me a tiny bit of Mohur?

    • Well, dry, smoky roses, so perhaps that’s what you’re going on. 🙂 I didn’t get as much rose as you may be getting, and there is much more incense and patchouli in Ambre Nuit than I recall in Mohur which had more true spices, sandalwood and oud on my skin. It all comes down to skin chemistry, I suppose. 🙂

      • I’m thinking that must be the case – the first thing I said when I smelled this was “Roses!” Chemistry must be the culprit! I really like it, but I don’t see the comparison to Coromandel just yet (and you know how obsessed I am with Coromandel…lol). Still, it holds up on its own – regardless of whether or not I find similar themes. It really is a nice one!

        • I think the citrus, peppercorn and patchouli aspects of the start are much more dominant than the incense but, later, when it becomes significantly more prominent, you may see why I thought of Coromandel. It’s not just the incense though. It’s the patchouli as well. But, as I said, distant cousins with patchouli-incense being mixed here with ambergris instead of the sandalwood and white cocoa of Coromandel. Let me know if the incense ever grows for you or if Ambre Nuit remains more rosy in nature. 🙂

          • I’m wearing this again and am really loving it more and more. It still reminds me of the lovely Mohur though. And still no comparison to Coromandel for me. I think I may have fallen in love with this one, surprisingly!

          • The rose seems to come out a lot on you then, but not the patchouli. 🙂 I’m glad you love it, no matter how the notes may differ on each of our skins, because it really is a lovely fragrance! Are you tempted by a bottle, Kevin?

          • Terrifingly, I *am* tempted. LOL. At least the price is more reasonable, though, even if it comes in a giant vat. LOL. Unfortunately, I’m running out of space on my dresser! I will hold until I hear scary news of this being discontinued or something. Or I may see if someone does a split and perhaps I can get a large amount and keep the bottle (I don’t know why, but I love having the actual bottle as opposed to the decant atomizers, and it’s a big reason I’m not huge on buying decants, even though that’s often more economically viable).

  4. This sounds amazing! I’m currently hunting for my Ultimate Amber (or Two), and Ambre Nuit is going straight to the must-sample list.

    I received samples of Profumum Ambra Aurea and Fiore d’Ambra from lucky recently. Fiore fell victim to my sweetness-amplifying skin (it smelled like rancid caramel ganache, yuck) but Ambra Aurea was a gem – deep and rich and a touch smoky, with sillage to die for! It’s definitely on my FBW short list.

    And I adore Coromandel, so all the more reason to try Ambre Nuit.

    • Awww, I’m thrilled you loved Ambra Aurea!!! THRILLED!!! That’s my baby and I should soon be getting my hands on 30 ml/1 oz of it! 😀 I liked the Fiore d’Ambra, but not half as much. It’s the ambergris that makes Ambra Aurea special, and you have that with Ambre Nuit, too. That said, I must caution that it’s a totally different quantity and feel. Ambra Aurea is hardcore ambergris and very little *but* that. It’s opaque, thick, rich, dense, and concentrated. Dior’s Ambre Nuit is almost airy and light in comparison! Plus, on a number of skins, as noted in the review, it’s much more of a rose scent. It’s almost as if there is a split (60-40, I would say) between those who get more amber, and those who get rose.

      The only thing is — and forgive me if I’m mixing you up with someone else — aren’t you the one who struggles with pink peppercorns and patchouli? I suspect I’m confusing you with someone else, so please excuse my forgetfulness, but if it is you, I wonder how you’d take pink peppercorns here? Hm. The only way is to try and see, I guess. LOL.

      • Nope, I’m good with pink peppercorns/patchouli (as long as it isn’t cheap nasty head shop patchouli). Guerlinade is my kryptonite.

        So that’s what hardcore ambergris smells like! Now I want to find a sperm whale and make it throw up (in a totally painless, ethical, and sustainable way, of course). Can’t have too much of that ambergris.

        Ambre Nuit sounds great either way – I haven’t yet found a rose fragrance I’m truly in love with, so that would work too.

        • I choked on my coffee at the “Now I want to find a sperm whale and make it throw up.” Laughed and laughed! And then, laughed some more at the additional part in the parentheses. You truly have the best sense of humour, my dear!!!!

    • BTW, if you get the chance, it may be extremely useful for other readers who stumble across the Ambra Aurea review if you share your thoughts there, too. No pressure and if it’s a hassle, I totally understand. It’s just so few people seem to write or talk about their impressions of the scent (unlike almost all other amber fragrances out there), that the more comments, the more it may help others.

  5. This is the only one from the line that I have no memory of sniffing this, which makes me wonder if I did. I definitely should as I am curious to see how I like it compared to Mitzah. Thank you for the wonderful review, dear Kafka!

  6. Oh, this makes me want to try this one again! I am a huge fan of Mitzah as well, and always thought that this one should be named something besides “Ambre…” because I always think of Mitzah as the amber of the line but, I think you are right – it is the ambregris in Ambre Nuit that really gives it the name. And thanks to Stina for reminding me to try the two Profumo Roma ambers when I am at Osswald in NY this summer!

    • See, for me, Mitzah is all about the labdanum, while Ambre Nuit is all about the ambergris. One’s darker, richer, and headier, but the other is sweeter and muskier, with that very special edge that is real ambergris and not the usual, commercial amber.

      You SERIOUSLY have to try the Profumum Roma’s when you’re in Osswald this summer. I will haunt you if you don’t! *grin* 😉 Ambra Aurea is really gorgeous, and I think will be much more to your tastes than the more feminine, easy, approachable, sweet, powdery Fiore d’Ambra.

  7. Lovely review Kafka, I would probably really love this perfume, I could almost smell it from your review. I love incense, and I like amber so this would definitely be a winner for me, although I´m pretty annoyed that this line just like the Chanel Les Exclusifs line is so inaccessible, it should be easy to get this from any Dior counter, or at least easy to order it from there. I was particularly interested in the fact that this perfume is inspired in the dances and the times of the 18th century, one of my favorite time periods in history so now I´m really curious to smell it, I guess I would love it if it transmits the opulence of that time. I find the price of the “small” bottle ok, even though I would have preferred a 100ml instead of a 125 one just so that the price could be slightly lower, but that wouldn´t stop me if I loved this.

    • Vicky, I have a general sense of the country you live in, based on the times you post and some blog hit stats, and there is a Dior store in the capital city. I don’t know where in the country you live, but if you live elsewhere, you could always call Dior and ask them to send you samples. I’ve read of people who have done that with Hermès’ exclusif line of perfumes and Hermès sent it to them. You can tell Dior that you’re really interested in the perfumes but have no access to samples or bottles to sniff it, but you’d like to test it out before you buy. (They won’t know if you would or would not buy, but tell them that.) There is a good chance Dior may mail you a few samples. You can try with Chanel too, but I don’t know if they would be so accommadating. But why don’t you give that a try?

  8. I’m the one with the pink peppercorn issues. I actually tried this one, because I saw a list of notes that included the p.p. but not the patchouli. It was not suffocating at all, though prudence led me to apply it sparingly. My problem with it was that it reminded me of my father’s Old Spice. (Don’t kill me! Remember I’m a newbie!) Not that there’s anything wrong with Old Spice, but I don’t wish to smell like my father.

    • Ah, that’s right! My apologies, Laurel, I knew there was *someone* with pink peppercorn issues but couldn’t recall who it was precisely. And I’d never criticize anyone for their views on a scent — newbie or otherwise! You must have gotten a lot of citrus in Ambre Nuit to think of Old Spice!! I have fond memories of Old Spice but I can completely understand not wanting to smell of it or of one’s father. I’m just glad the pink peppercorns didn’t suffocate you in that dreaded blanket. 😀

      • It was very warm and spicy on me, really nice, but leaning just masculine enough to remind me of my father and his Old Spice. Without that association, it might not seem masculine at all.

  9. It just hit me what Amber Nuit reminds me of. Noel Au Balcon by ELdO. The bergamot and rose of AN is swapped out for tangerine and orange blossom, but there are still a lot of other similarities (except the cost). AN seems to hang on to the floral a bit longer where NAB turns all spicy towards the end. Anyway, those are my two cents or should I say “scents”. 🙂 Sorry.

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  14. Kafka, thank you for recommending Ambre Nuit as one I may enjoy! I just ordered a full bottle from Dior, a few hours into my sample test. This is unusual for me, as I’ve been vacillating for two months over my samples of Ambre Russe and Ambre Narguile, two ambers I enjoy immensely but still have not decided on. Ambre Nuit stands out as a fragrance perfectly suited to me and my lifestyle. I love how the scent sinks into my skin, lightly radiating its subtle beauty. While usually amber comes across to me as snuggly cashmere, the overall feel of this one is silky and elegant.

    I experience Ambre Nuit as primarily an amber with a soft, barely-there bloom of dark, velvety rose and a dash of peppery spice and patchouli.* There is a hint of bergamot at the opening that soon disappears. I never smell any grapefruit and do not find Ambre Nuit to be citrusy at all, thank goodness. Smoky cedar shows up early and then fades away after a couple of hours, leaving behind a trace of smoke. By then, its all about silky and slightly salty amber (I gather this is the ambergris you speak of, which I definitely recognize from Ambra Aurea) with a dusting of soft patchouli and maybe only a memory of dark rose. I think there may be something else in the blend that I’m smelling but cannot identify or perhaps I’m simply not yet familiar with the subtleties of patchouli. I do wish there were a bit more rose, especially in the dry down, but otherwise it’s perfect for me.

    *I’m now able to identify patchouli after my experience with Oriza L. Legrand Horizons. The patchouli there was searing to my nostrils and, I swear, also to my skin. I must be very sensitive to patchouli. It was awful; I had to remove it. I worried about the patchouli being too strong in Ambre Nuit, but everything is so well blended and elegant, it does not bother me at all.

    • First, my apologies for the delay in replying, dear Dottie. It’s been a rather hectic 2 weeks. Second, a big HURRAH for Ambre Nuit!! My word, ordering a full bottle mid-test and when the other amber fragrances you’ve liked have been the subject of hesitation for months… that says something. I’m so happy for you!!! The “slightly salty amber” is definitely ambergris, as opposed to the labdanum amber that so many other fragrances have. And, yes, it is a key part of Ambre Aurea, too. (How do you feel about that one after a few days of testing?)

      With regard to Patchouli, I winced a little for you at what you went through with Horizon. Oh dear. Horizon is definitely hardcore patchouli but I had thought the booziness may appeal to you given that you like boozy fragrances. I think you are definitely sensitive to *soliflores* which feature patchouli in hardcore abundance. Ambre Nuit has it, too, imo, but only to a small degree. So, now we know: a touch of spicy patchouli is fine for you, but anything more is too much.

      BTW, I was glad to hear that the rose in Ambre Nuit is extremely muffled or muted on you because that is how it is on me, too, but a few people find Ambre Nuit to be a very rose-y fragrance. I think it is an ambergris-scentric one first and foremost, with the rose hardly being a key feature, but skin chemistry makes all the difference. One thing that is characteristic of the entire Privée line, though, is how beautifully and perfectly they are all blended, as well as how elegantly discreet they are on the skin in terms of projection. They last, but they’re not in your face. I just wish you could have tried the now discontinued Mitzah which I think was one of the biggest gems of the Dior line and a big cult favorite. I will never understand Dior’s choice to discontinue it, and neither do others.

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  16. Dearest patient Kafka,
    This is MY amber. Finally. Finally finally. I get no rose, in it – or barely a whiff that seems to soften the whole. It’s all warmth, and glide and soft pepper and a sweetness that isn’t golden or syrupy…rather…a languorous, non-musky skin sweetness. I see a haze of warmth…it is…amber coloured! Or rather, the colour of my skin after several days of being by the ocean. Finally my own amber! My mother in law is in Paris for 48 more hours, I have messaged her in the hopes that she’ll be able to grab me a bottle on her way back…otherwise my grandmother-in law arrives in August and she still loves to sashay into fancy stores.
    Thank you!
    ps – I will go back and try Ambre Aurea again. Compare contrast with this. I liked it but found it heavy. But have a sense my taste for ambers has shifted in this past months; exploration.

    • Aha, I knew it. I think the Dior Privée style is one that suits you well, from the airy weight to the soft/softer projection, while never sacrificing longevity. It’s rather a hallmark signature aesthetic for the line, and so their handling of ambergris seemed like it would be your thing. Shame you don’t get a ton of rose; I don’t either, for that matter, as the review makes clear, but I’m not a rose lover, while you are. Still, at least, you’ve finally found your amber!

      You can get Ambre Nuit in the US, but you may save some money with the Euro as it currently is if one of your in-laws buys it in Paris. I hope your mother-in-law gets the message and has time to go. For what it’s worth, if she’s flying back via CDG Terminal…. hm… Terminal 2F (F? E? I think it was the F one??), she can find the Dior Privée line at Duty Free! So, you’ll save the VAT as well. Terminal F’s perfume Duty Free is very large, has Serge Lutens (though only the export line, not the bell jars), and also has some other higher-end perfume lines. They will definitely have Ambre Nuit there. So, perhaps you can message her that?

        • Ps. I wore it to work today. Four people commented that I smelt great with my customary dabs to each inner elbow. It is now 12.75 hours and a bath later. I can still smell it easily in the crooks of my arm!!!! My mother in law is picking me up a bottle tomorrow. Hurray!

          • Hurray indeed! Your perfect amber, and a full bottle. Wonderful news.

  17. Price update: Unfortuntely the prices quoted on your 2013 post are no longer true. They’ve pretty much doubled! I couldn’t let me mother in law buy a 125ml bottle for 300euros (450euros for the larger one). 🙁
    In Lebanon now and was surprised to see the Dior collection privee at the ABC store exclusive in Dbayeh. 300USD and 460USD for both sizes. Which, with the current conversion rate and tax return at the airport is less than the European cost right now. The other bottles in the line all cost the same except for 1947 cost a tad more. FYI if you’d like to update your details section for this post.
    Going to swing by Penhaligon ‘s perfumes next week in Scotland 🙂

    • No, I’m sorry, I can’t update pricing on old posts, or I’d be doing nothing else all day. Prices are always those for the dates quoted or the date of the review, and most people realise there will be changes or increases, particularly years after the date of a post.

  18. AN stood out for me at the Dior boutique on the sixth floor at Harrods. It got my right forearm, while ROJA got my left and Diaghilev got my chest. And then onto a grand (and loud) dinner at Buddha Bar. So the AN had lots of competition. I give you this info for context.

    On a card sample AN’s citrus notes were great. The lifted the amber and salted-up the ambergris note. But on my skin the citrus was essentially nonexistent – in fact it was essentially a linear warm, boozy, caramel haze. Over a meal it verged on annoyingly sweet and I had to role down my shirt sleeve to mute the volume.

    But I kept feeling the need to sneak a sniff, and towards the end of the evening I was back to rolled up sleeves. I must admit I ended up liking it, even among the massive sensory chaos and aroma competition. I’m worried that my skin amplifies sweet boozy notes and sucks dry the lifting notes. I want to get more patch from it. I got ZERO rose (which is fine, I don’t need another rose).

    I’m going to grab a bottle of this and play around. Something tells me there is a place for it in my life. Not around food however.

    As always, thank you for being such an awesome resource!

    • Did you only try it that one time with all the swirl of smells, sound, and food going on? If so, I think you definitely need to give it a solo testing. I’ll be interested to see how much rose you detect, and if other nuances come out to play on your skin. Let me know how it goes after a few in-depth tests.

  19. Tried this at a Dior department store after a friend of mine was gushing about how good it is.

    I have to say, this indeed smells decadent. But funnily, unlike my friend’s gushing about the rose aspect, I get nothing but ambergris. VERY GOOD ambergris. It’s the same kind of ambergris I get from Guerlain’s Encens Mythique and Roja Dove Luxe Haute: salty, sweet and incense-like (the only three ways I can describe a note that I otherwise can never put my finger on).

    Just one question: are there any other ambergris-based fragrances you can think of to recommend?

    P.S. I notice that this post is 3 years old already. I can’t help but to make a comment because it’s a coincidence how the ambergris also stands out prominently on your skin 😉

    • Ambra Aurea!!! It’s an extrait from Profumum Roma that is primarily and mostly ambergris with some labdanum and a subtle, quiet streak of smokiness. The ambergris is beautifully salty, marshy, musk, and deep. It’s a very chewy, dense scent with enormous richness and I think it’s the gold standard for ambergris fragrances. Profumum’s Fiore d’Ambre is similar, but slightly smokier, a bit powdery, subtly floral and, to me, less rich. But it’s a really lovely scent, too, and you should definitely try them both. Ambra Aurea, though… superb!

      • Haha! My friend and I both read your Ambra Aurea review (and follow your blog), and I got a sample decanter of it for him from Osswald since ambergris is his favourite note while mine’s leather. He says it’s has “sweetness; rich, ambery and incense-y”, and now feels bad wearing it because he only has a sample amount 😀

        • He clearly needs a full bottle then…. 😉 Have you tried Ambra Nera from Farmacia SS Annunziata? I don’t know where you’re located but, if you’re in NY, Osswald has it. It’s not as dense, chewy, rich, or strong in sillage, but it’s also not a soliflore and has a lot of complex nuances because it also has patchouli, woods, smoke, and tobacco/leathery nuances. I would definitely give that one a try since you like darker fragrances.

          • I’m based in Singapore btw 😉 but I LOVE to go to NYC again (or head to Europe for the first time). Haven’t tried Farmacia SS Annunziata but I’ll check it For Test on my Fragrantica profile for reference–

            “–it also has patchouli, woods, smoke, and tobacco/leathery nuances. I would definitely give that one a try since you like darker fragrances.”

            OKAY I’M SOLD

            Thanks!

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