The word “Amber,” tells little of how such a perfume will smell. Sometimes spelled “ambra,” the word means one of three things: ambergris; an accord based on labdanum (which many say smells like ambergris; I fail to see the connection) and various balsams. In W.A. Poucher’s 1925 edition of Perfumes, Cosmetics & Soaps, he includes labdanum, vanillin, musk (ketone), oakmoss, benzoin Siam, tolu balsam, civet, jasmine absolute, rose otto, clary sage oil, patchouli, and frankincense.
BPC’s amber is different. It is made from fossilized amber, the kind worn for jewelry. The golden material (not the expensive orbs, but the trimmings), while being distilled, oxidizes and becomes acrid and deeply aromatic. Because it has animal facets, it draws me (and others) right in.
I made my first accord by combining the burnt amber with tobacco (dark tobacco, like for French cigarettes) and vanilla, an expensive CO2 from Madagascar.
A week later, I took a vial with me to a lunch date with a French couple. Near the end of our lunch, I brought it out. As I had hoped, they caught on to its many animal notes, and went rather wild. They cancelled their afternoon plans and went back to their hotel.
Because I wanted a fragrance that was deep and rich, I added powerful ingredients to balance the acridity of the amber and the backbone made with that original accord. Patchouli, combined with woody elements (sandalwood, kephalis, and oud) and castoreum fleshed it out and underlined its animal character.
The perfume is powerful and persistent and, as it fades over 12 hours or so, it changes and shimmers as each element comes into focus.
At the end of the drydown, there remains a subtle and hard-to-resist erotic note.
To quote a close female friend: “If I ran into a guy who smelled like that, I’d wrap my thighs around him so fast…”