Balmain Ambre Gris

I don’t hate ambergris despite how often I make fun of it. I just find a lot of ingredients (or former ingredients seeing as many of them are now synthetics for very good reasons) to be amusing. Who thought up extracting musk to make fragrances? And how did they come to that conclusion anyway? Similarly, the story of the first chunks of ambergris discovery must have been simultaneously awesome and hilarious at the same time.

Er, anyway, Balmain’s Ambre Gris captures the essence of the note and it did it a little too well. wnqwqf45

In Bottle: Sweet with a musky, spicy, woodsy base that goes into the back of my throat and gets caught there. I get golden, warm and cinnamon in this but it’s definitely not gourmand. I don’t want to eat this at all. The musk is distinctly telling me not to and I’m going to oblige. It just smells fascinating.

Applied: Sweet, spicy and powerful. Ambre Gris packs a big punch as it throws itself in all directs around application spot. This stuff is potent and you do not need a whole lot of it to project yourself. The musks in this fragrance and the sweetness are trying really hard to convince me that this is what real-life ambergris sitting on a beach smells like. There is a very, very minor saltiness to this but I had to work for that one. Ambre Gris is golden, warm, and a bit racy. It’ll also last, and last, and last, and just when you’ve outlasted it, you’ll get a whiff or two and think again.

Extra: Ambergris comes from whales. More specifically, it’s a regurgitated waxy, greyish lump of substance mostly used in perfumery after appropriate aging. Most ambergris in fragrances these days are synthetic, in that they’ve had various compounds mixed together to simulate real ambergris due to a wide barrage of ethical, legal, rarity and expense issues.

Design: Presented in a grey tinted glass bottle, Ambre Gris is topped with a golden, ball-like cap. The cap reminds me of a golden inverse golf ball. I’m fairly indifferent from the look of the fragrance itself. It’s easy, functional, the golf ball cap is a pleasant element.

Fragrance Family: Oriental

Notes: Pink pepper, cinnamon, tuberose,i mmortelle, myrrh, smokey woods , benzoin, white musk, ambergris.

Interesting how I couldn’t pick up on the tuberose but now that I know it’s in there, I did get that slick, slightly floral up-your-nose-and-around-the-corner tuberose kick. Or I could just be making it all up.

Reviewed in This Post: Ambre Gris, 2009, Sample vial.

Beyond Love By Kilian

Green seems to be the color of the day when it comes to Beyond Love. It’s a gentle, high-pitched tuberose fragrance that, if skimmed, seems like a relatively simplistic blend of green tuberose and light balancing florals. But a closer inspection yields a fragrance with a bit more depth and charge.Beyond Love

In Bottle: Green, clean, and floral fragrance. It’s got that special slick bite that tuberose has to my nose with a definitively green aura of fragrance that makes me think of green and white flowers, bitter leaves and rain. There’s something a little musky hiding in the backdrop and what I think is the fabled ambergris rearing its whale upchuck head to sweeten and add complex appeal to Beyond Love’s so far pretty green tuberose petals.

Applied: Instant payoff on the tuberose part as an entire bouquet of them blooms upon application with this bitter green note that sticks around for a few minutes before dissolving into the ambergris induced sweetness. I’ve lost any coconut that may have been present in the bottle and all I get now is tuberose with a gentle breeze of jasmine here and there. This is a bit of an interesting experience as the tuberose in Beyond Love is trying to convince me it’s a new, science fiction born tuberose that’s a cut above the rest and if misunderstood will go on a rampage to devour its enemies before it dies at the end of the day.

Extra: By Kilian is a fragrance collection by the grandson of the founder of LVMH (Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton), Kilian Hennessy. LVMH being famous for its luxury items.

Design: As I don’t actually have a bottle I can’t personally give details on the feel of the design. I will say, however, that no expense was spared to make sure By Kilian’s packaging was top notch. For what you pay for it (approx. $220USD for 50ml of Beyond Love) the money has to go somewhere into the packaging. I see dark covered boxes, carved designs on the sides of bottles, travel holders that look more intricate than any travel holder has the right to be. These things have a look that tries its best to make you feel like the $220 you dropped was not in vain.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Coconut, tuberose, jasmine, ambergris, musk.

Despite all this, Beyond Love faded in a record two hours on my skin. The shortest wear time of any fragrance I’ve ever tried. But then I also only had a sample tube and that may have had something to do with it. Still, for how much it costs, I am leery to pick up a full size bottle unless I know I’ll get $220 worth of longevity. Again, this could be the fault of the sample vial I have and it may very well have excellent lasting power in a bottle.

Reviewed in This Post: Beyond Love, 2009, Sample Tube.