Contrary to popular belief, amber is a ‘fantasy’ perfumery note. It consists of a soiree of ingredients (natural and synthetic) such as vanilla, patchouli, labdanum, styrax, benzoin and a few more.
Natural by Nature
True natural Amber takes millions of years to form. That’s a long time! It’s not sap from any old tree but rather soft and sticky fossilised tree resin, you know the stuff that you see insects kept in! It has a stunning fiery yellow, red or orange colour that draws you in, in the most mesmerising way. The resin has very little scent unless burned when it then gives off a pine-like aroma.
The term ‘Amber’ comes from the arabic ‘Ambar’ or french ‘Ambre’ relating to Ambergris, a waxy substance found in the intestines of the sperm whale! We no longer use ambergris in perfumery for obvious reasons, but it has inspired a very special synthetic ingredient ‘Ambroxan’ which we’ll talk about a bit later on…
If you’re looking for a more accepted and natural amber, labdanum absolute is a plant based resin that carries ambery notes and is more commonly used in perfumery.
Benzoin resin is another ingredient that recreates an amber aroma with yummy smokey balsamic notes.