My New Ambergris

I’ve been at a loss to describe Ambergris, my latest eau de parfum. One of my perfume friends could only exclaim, “This stuff is weird!” So, Kate has gotten on me for a more thorough description.

The opening has the classic aroma of isopropyl alcohol, which is like saying Romanée Conti opens like wine. This is special isopropyl alcohol, beautified, rendered elegant and sparkling. Even perfumers, who think of ambergris as a base note, forget that it also has this incredible delicate top note. 

Within 30 seconds, this note passes and we enter an aquatic, air-like phase. There’s the ocean and a smell of ozone, like just after a lightning storm. 

The background resonates with various sea plants, which leaves it full of complexity and reminiscent of the sea—spray, sand, and the aroma of water itself.

After about an hour, while some of the ozone remains, we move into a primordial kind of impression that's rather indescribable, but resonant and grave. It’s dark and alluring; it brings complexity and intrigue. 

Over the hours, as these various marine aromas fade, there emerges the smell of pure, natural ambergris. The ambergris, having outlasted everything else in the perfume, leaves behind a beasty smell, between hair and bear: beasty, maybe, but impossible to resist. 

While I set out to make a perfume that amplified ambergris’s natural aroma, I soon realized I was laboring against an inherent contradiction—how does one take a delicate melody, in a minor key, and amplify it into something big and stentorian? 

I’ve included a lot of ambergris and other natural and aromatic compounds to bring into focus many of the facets that typify the authentic product. 

The perfume presents natural ambergris, but also the idea of ambergris, what we expect of it, be it the sea, the salty air, or the decomposing vegetation on the shore. 

Soon, people will react to it. What will they smell? What will they say?