While I think there are some amazing perfumes being produced, the brands I categorize as the Grand Maisons are not where I currently find them. These brands have entered an era of safety first. In most of the cases there are perfumers who I admire seemingly working while wrapped up in cotton. I can only conjecture that the extremely large enterprises that back these brands must prize profits over artistry. The latest example of this is Guerlain Ambre Eternel.
Amber Eternel is the second release within the Les Absolus D’Orient collection following up last year’s Santal Royal. When I reviewed that I considered it akin to “perfume by numbers”. Ambre Eternel seems less cynically constructed. Except there are moments where I was hoping for more. Wishing perfumer Thierry Wasser would get off the straight and narrow, leaving convention behind. I think that time has not arrived early in 2016.
Ambre Eternel is a nice piece of two versions of the title note. The familiar ambergris in the top accord with the warmer slightly spicy amber accord in the base. The ingredients used are nice. The effect is nice. Overall the perfume is nice. I’ve used nice five times in this paragraph but that’s what playing it safe gets you.
If there was anything I was hopeful for it was when I saw in the note list the top accord consisted of ambergris, cinnamon, and coriander. I was hoping for M. Wasser to maybe use the heat of cinnamon on top of the salty aspect of ambergris tinted green with coriander. Within seconds of putting this on I am instead greeted with a nice ambergris only slightly altered by the presence of faint tendrils of cinnamon and coriander. If everything had been pitched at something approaching equality of presence this could have been really great, instead of nice. The “perfume by numbers” approach is back with a crushingly pedestrian fruity floral heart; orange blossom and plum the most recognizable. The more traditional amber base note found in Orientals thankfully sweeps that away. But again M. Wasser uses very tame applications of a leather accord and woods. I really would have liked more leather. It still would have been safe but not quit so mannered; and nice.
Ambre Eternel has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Ambre Eternel is like that friend of a much more interesting friend. You see where they are connected but this person is just not as interesting. In the end Ambre Eternel is just nice. I leave it up to you whether you think that is good enough.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample I received from Guerlain.