Ambre Sultan 
Serge Lutens (1993)

Average Rating:  164 User Reviews

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Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

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About Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

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Serge Lutens
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Ambre Sultan is a shared scent launched in 1993 by Serge Lutens

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Reviews of Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

There are 164 reviews of Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens.

Some days I find this generic and boring. Other days I appreciate the resins that counterbalance the amber. Usually, the top notes capture people's attention, but I feel like the drydown is where this one shines. The sweetness is finely balanced despite being simple and linear. The balsamic and woody qualities tames the amber so it only becomes semi-gourmand.

Not sure I'd wear this in the summers, but cooler evenings might be fine. This is ideal for spring and fall, and add an extra spray for the winter. I don't think I will get a full-bottle of this, because I have plenty of other decent vanilla/amber fragrances that give off very similar vibes.

This to me will always be the paragon of ambers.

In 2008, I wandered into Barney's in Copley Square Boston and discovered the wide world of high-end and niche fragrance (before I believe "niche" was even really a descriptor) and was struck by their Serge Lutens counter and its display of understated, elegant and somewhat austere bottles. I was really immediately drawn in by the dense and complex scents, otherworldly and enchanting to me at the time. The saleswoman offered me samples of three: Chergui, Arabie, and Ambre Sultan. I was smitten with all three and went on my way, using these small atomizers sparingly so as to relish them. Shortly thereafter, I flirted with fragrance buying, having purchased a handful of others in the next year or two (a couple of which were somewhat regrettable decisions in retrospect: Bond No. 9 Coney Island, yikes). However, curiously enough, I never bought a full bottle of any Serge Lutens. My collection only grew to about may 10 or so bottles at one point and I then started to direct my attention elsewhere.

Fast forward about seven years later, and the art of perfume making caught my attention after purchasing a few bottles of essential oil to diffuse. I continued pretty consistently but have never taken to another level, due to fear and anxiety of the sheer dedication and amount of money that must be invested to start a fragrance line and a small business in general (I am feeling more and more confident as of late, stay tuned). This has led, however, to much deeper appreciation for fragrance and scent, studying hundreds of natural materials and aromachems, learning from mentors in the fragrance community, collecting and educating myself through fragrance composition books, studying the history of perfume, and then came 2020.

2020, the year of horror, disbelief, anger, tragedy, and sadness in multitudes: I will leave it at that. What would preoccupy me during all this difficult stuff? Somehow, 2020 was also the year that out of nowhere, I decided, why not buy a few full bottles of some fragrances that I love and appreciate (a few he says, a FEW). I caught the full bottle bug, as it were, and I am just now trying to reign it in—and it hasn't even been a full calendar year!

I finally purchased bottles of Chergui, Arabie, and Ambre Sultan, twelve or so years later (and I didn't stop there as far as Serge Lutens is concerned, no doubt). So I sit here, with it sprayed on the interior on my forearm, and I periodically sniff through each stage of its development and big love is still there. That opening is rapturous bliss, warm, sweet and resinous, then in the dry down, the oregano, bay leaf, angelica, and myrtle, these are what sing on my skin in the most wonderfully peculiar manner; ahhhh...this is what got me hooked, this left field of herbal melange with animalic undertones. Then it dries in time to a dry myrrh and somber, dusty labdanum, with an outline of benzoin and vanilla; mythical, even transcendental to my nose.

What I've learned in my full bottle journey this year is sometimes you go back "home" to what initiated that spark, what ignites that passion, drives one's desire and is a reminder of what is essential, These are indulgences of what are sensory and sensual, after all. Will I continue to acquire more? Yes, but one most slow down and eventually stop somewhere—it has already surpassed what could be considered practical or even dare I say healthy (I've been a voracious collector at heart since I was single-digit aged). I do think, however, that if I had to stop here, I'd be happy that I finally have a bottle of my Ambre Sultan.

To me, this is all about amber, incense and patchouli, some spices there (notably nutmeg). Beautiful stuff, not for every day wear, for special occasions in cooler climate. Great sillage, but takes a few minutes to start. The opening notes are hard to detect, but it's certainly resinous. It isn't until about 10 minutes, I notice the star which is amber. It does smell oddly a little bit like crayons, but that's sometimes the case with ambers. There's a type of honey and vanilla accord keeping it a little sweet as well.

I'm a resin lover, a fan of coriander, an angelica glorifier, an admirer of woods and a patchouli supporter..

Ambre Sultan, in two weeks time, became a very loyal companion. Of course I never forgot my other friends, but this scent gives me the warmth when I need it, a uniqueness of character which pleases me and it stays with me for over 12 hours.

There's always an edge in perfume which Serge likes to cross, which is very interesting; in Ambre Sultan the edge has become its subject.
I find that even more interesting.

A good, straight forward amber. Slight essence of brown sugar, syrup-soaked wood. Honey undertones. Big dollop of vanilla. It is on par with Ambre 114 by Histoires de Parfums.

Slight peppery note in time... Something lightly herbal or green appears. It reminds me of vetiver or cypress, this last impression. Overall - grand and worthy of praise!

I can only assume there was something wrong with the samples I tried (branded boxed samples, not decants, btw) because I see no other reviewer mentioning the horrendous performance I got from this fragrance - weak spicy maple syrup and then completely gone in 15 minutes.

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