To get a general sense about how others feel about a given fragrance, I often head over to Fragrantica, which I did to prepare for this review. I was not entirely surprised to find that the social site has added an AI component to its website that summarizes comment-generated pros and cons of a given fragrance. This is a great use of the technology, super for giving readers who don’t have time to explore the often lengthy comment section on certain fragrances.
According to the AI-generated synopsis, the pros of perfumer Christopher Sheldrake’s delicious delight, released first in 1994, are:
it emits a gorgeous golden warmth; is a perfectly done amber; a dense and complex scent; a very artistic expression of amber that is multi-facetted, with a warm vanillic, highly animalic drydown; It has an understated and elegant bottle design with a vintage Palais Royal.
And as for the minus points:
there’s a strong emphasis on herbs and spices; it might be too savory or herbal purse for some people; it’s a challenging scent that requires a confident individual to wear it – may not be suitable for everyone’s taste; it might not be true its name; not in fact a true amber scent; it’s also linear and lacks in variety.
And at the bottom of the page, you can see the note which says:
The pros and cons listed on this page have been generated using the artificial intelligence system, which analyzes product reviews submitted by our members. While we strive to provide accurate and helpful information, we cannot guarantee the complete accuracy or reliability of the AI-generated pros and cons. Please read the full reviews and consider your own needs and preferences before making a purchasing decision.
Hopefully, fragrance lovers already appreciate that assessment of fragrance is already highly subjective by nature, but I appreciate Fragrantica’s transparency.
I believe that Ambre Sultan is truly a beautiful perfume, and the AI-summarized negatives given by the community are not off the mark. It is indeed not something that will appeal to broad audiences. As an intensely spicy and herbal concoction, it’s very limited in scope. And yes, I can agree that the spiciness overkills any amber accord that was intended.
- resins, amber, bay leaf, myrrh, benzoin,
- sandalwood, vanilla, coriander, oregano,
- patchouli, angelica, myrtle
To me, this is the quintessential Serge Lutens recipe. It’s from his Noire collection. It’s dark, resinous, meaty, and exotic. More recent releases in his line are not like that – the L’eau series comes to mind – but this is what I like the brand for. I personally don’t feel this is overly spicy or herbal – it’s the resins in here that really form the heart of this fragrance, and I love that sticky, rich, gooey stuff.
Here’s what Serge himself said of the fragrance:
This fragrance is not an Oriental, but an Arab and a Lutens. That being the case, don’t expect it to fit in. The point of departure was a scented wax, found in a souk and long forgotten in a wooden box. The amber only became sultanesque after I reworked the composition using cistus, an herb that sticks to the fingers like tar, then added an overtone that nobody had ever dreamed of: vanilla.
Ambre Sultan is one of my favourites from the brand, It does well in cool or cold weather, and it seems like not so long ago when this bottle was a lot fuller (I know have only a few ml!). Now that this post is done, I’m going to joyously douse myself with the remaining sprays over the next day or two, while the weather is still cool enough to really enjoy it.