Reviews of Hermèssence Ambre Narguilé by Hermès

Although the reviews here are overwhelmingly positive, I remember that Ambre Narguile sparked some controversy among the budding fragrance cognoscenti when it was first released. Which is kind of weird when you think about it, because Angel was over ten years old by that point. Then again, pearls were still being clutched over that one, so I guess our noses still hadn't fully acclimated to the notion of sweet foody notes in perfume.

Anyway, to me Ambre Narguile was always more comforting than controversial and certainly nowhere near as aggressive as Angel. While it can at first seem like a confection—all amber, stewed fruit, and apple pie spice—it also has a kind of gossamer elegance, which I put down to a lovely tobacco note, soft and almost dewy, the leaf still fresh on the stem, not so much burning away in grandpa's pipe.

I’ve had this in my collection since it first came out, and have always reserved it for fall and winter wear—it just seems so specifically OF those times of year to me, evoking a mood as cozy as a pair of kid-gloved fingers wrapped around a hot pumpkin spiced latte, the perfect accompaniment to the mellowing glow of sunlight, the waft of firewood smoke, the tang of desiccating leaves crunched underfoot.

28th December 2022
Ambre Narguilé doesn't get the credit it deserves for jumpstarting the sweet tobacco genre. This acclaimed ode to shisha was released the year before Chergui and a good three years before Tobacco Vanille. It established a template for mingling Middle Eastern opulence with the aesthetics of Western luxury fashion.

Nobody but Ellena can play with such a rich concept and still render it transparent, with warm tobacco and spices suspended like golden vapor. It's a stunning achievement that we can only take for granted because Ellena has made this style his trademark.

There's certainly tobacco and amber in there, but there's also a lot of aromatic spice, which suggests apple pie for some people, but feels more genuinely Middle Eastern to me in texture.

Perhaps Ambre Narguilé remains somewhat overlooked because it eschews opulence for a translucent, friendly shimmer. I must confess that I find it more amiable than revelatory. Still, even now, almost two decades later, it's hard to think of a true peer for Ambre Narguilé, and that is quite an accomplishment.
2nd November 2022

In the same vein as Oajan from Parfums de Marly and 1 Million Prive to a certain extent.
It is an interesting take on the typically fall smoky tobacco amber, in that it is not dark at all. Instead, it is light fruity spicy sweet, all at the same time.

If you don't want to shell out the dosh for this, simply get ZARA Unexpected Fresh Spicy from the Tobacco Collection.
22nd September 2022
Fruity, cinnamon, amber.

Like warm apple pie...
22nd May 2022
Ambre Narguilé is a reference gourmand amber, exploring the honeyed tobacco theme. There are vague fruity notes, very expertly edited, that brighten the composition. There are light spices, mostly cinnamon. There is some reference to an apple pie, but it's important to note that Ambre Narguilé is abstract as one would expect; it doesn't literally smell like a dessert or a shisha. It is very minimally smoky, quite sweet, and there is a chic elegance about it. Definitely somewhat dressy, more smart casual than casual, and excellent in all seasons with good duration and an enjoyable sillage. Ambre Narguilé wears like a comforting shawl in winter, and warmer weather brings out the tobacco and fruity notes.

Among "amber" perfumes Ambre Narguilé is quite unique. I find some similarities in 'personality' with Ambre 114, but the latter doesn't have the overly gourmand notes in the Hermès. Ambre Narguilé has inspired several later compositions, but hasn't been bettered.

There is an exuberant optimism about this perfume, maybe because of the brightness and sweet notes. I think that makes it popular and well-liked. I appreciate more the moodier perfumes, the ones that have a bit of gloom - either apparent, or beneath the surface. I can't wear Ambre Narguilé for too many days in a row.

8th July 2021
I love Oajan so there was a fair chance that I would love this one too. And I do.

Beautifully constructed. Apple pie, cinnamon and tobacco.

A little quiet on my skin which is why I prefer Oajan.

15th December 2020
Absolutely wonderful apple pie with cinnamon and rum. Beautiful creation and extremely gourmand to the point that you can taste it. Strong projection and great longevity as well. There isn't much more to say on it.

22nd June 2018
Card Players (5th version) (ca.1894-1895) by Paul Cezanne -- Musée d'Orsay
6th December 2017
Ambre Narguilé is by far the most talked about perfume from Hermes' higher-end line and is frequently described as an “apple pie in a bottle”. I personally don't fully agree with that popular description. While I can easily get where that comparison comes from, it'd be much more like a raisin (and maybe prunes too) pie to my nose. A warm, almost burnt/lightly smoky one that was taken out of the oven just in time. One with a lot of spices, like an overdose of cinnamon and with honey and a touch of rum.

But at the same time its name “Narguilé”, or “Hookah” in English which is a pipe of eastern origin to smoke tobacco (And some other "stuff"), is aptly chosen as it does have an aura around the spicy dessert of dry but a little damp and even slightly medicinal tobacco. It plays a big factor in the sense that it counterbalances very well the dense amber-y, bakery like part and prevents the scent from being too sweet to me. I'd say it also gives it a classier and more grown-up aspect.

The result is a fragrance that is right at the crossroad between being a gourmand and a spicy oriental. And being from Hermes, it's made with great ingredients as usual.

It's easy to me to recognize its appeal and wearable originality. At first I liked it, now it's a strong love. In conclusion, it's totally deserving of the love it gets.
11th November 2017
Spicy, burnt-sugary sweet amber. Thought I was getting some boozy aspects as well, but I think that's the tobacco now.

I kept thinking cinnamon while wearing but that must just be the spices and maybe the honey by association.

Projection is good and longevity is excellent, lasts all day and seems to be quite linear from start to finish.
7th September 2017
Very nice apple pie scent. it is great for fall and the colder months. It is inspired by hookah smoke, and when you get the mindset to smell the hookah then you really can appreciate the artistic touch behind this scent. JCE is a living legend and some will only realize this years from now. I was between this and buying Poivre in Paris. The ladies at Hermes kept telling me how "sexy" it smells on a man so I decided to get it, to be the ultimate reminder of my trip to Paris!
25th April 2017
I decided to buy a full bottle just after spraying it once.

The opening is fruity and spicy. The amber and honey arrive very fast, followed by tobacco, cinnamon and apple. Every note is distinguishable, and mix up together beautifully. An addictive favorite. Try it.
13th April 2017
The opening serves the amber striaght up fromtnon my skin, a warm amber, laced with flavoured tobacco. This tobacco is soft and fruity, as if indeed stemming from the vapour of a water pipe. For a change, here the name describes the fragrance accurately.

Soon the drydown grows more complex: fruity tones, mainly gently spiced fried apple, mix with a honeyed almond, and cinnamon is added in too. The tobacco grows weaker with time.

Towards the base the fruity components grow weaker, as does the amber, and what remains is the almond-cinnamon gourmand side, still rich and lovely, and gradually waning.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a great longevity of twelve hours.

This autumnal delight starts off emphasising the title notes, but with time morphs into a delicious gourmand too. Nothing extraordinary, but not without original twists, performing very well and based on good workmanship. 3.5/5.
9th January 2017
a sweet, transparent, spicy gourmand.

ambre narguile is an amazing fragrance. i get honey, cinnamon, booze, gentle smokiness, tobacco and vanilla. it does remind me of warm apple pies. the smell is warm and transparent. never too thick or harsh even though it has honey. one of my all time favorites. gets compliments and performs very well.

10th November 2016
Literally all I smell in this is an ambergris-like note. I don't smell the floral amber which is the officially listed note. It's quite similar to Orange Star by Tauer. If you subtracted all of the citrus notes from Orange Star, you'd have Ambre Narguile.

This one will easily last 10 hours and is very linear. The one and only downside to this one is price. $200+ is absolutely ridiculous and since this one isn't popular, it'll be very rare to find a discounted one.
8th July 2016
This gets a neutral from me, as it seems to be of reasonable quality but without distinction, and truthfully, too much fruit for my taste.

I was reminded of a specific desert had at Christmas, but cannot recall the name. The desert is well-loved and tasty, but I would not enjoy wearing and smelling it for many hours.

Glad I finally had opportunity to get my sniffer on this "classic," though!
9th April 2016
I like this scent. It has good longevity, moderate sillage... Sllightly richer of the Hermessence fragrances I have tried (Vetiver Tonka, Santal Massoia, Amber Narguile). A soft gentle gourmand IMO.

My wife upon smelling this fragrance on my wrist described it as a bit fruity, and said that it instantly reminded her of the smell of a strawberry shortcake doll she had as a child, that she would squeeze its belly and it would puff out air (a kiss) in her face. So, take that for what it is.

I find this fragrance slightly more feminine than masculine, but certainly not unwearable by a man. A beautiful scent.
8th April 2015
The opening of Ambre Narguile is all about thick, balmy honeyed resins and Oriental notes of tonka and spices, bringing in a feel of dandified powderiness à la Jaipur Homme, just blending it with the golden, boozy and sweet warmth of the rhum-cinnamon accord. Musky notes on the base. No amber to me, but it does have a warm smoky feel which may remind that smell. And... well, that's it. Quite a simple scent, basically a gourmand-powdery-spicy galore, much linear and fairly heavy, which to be really honest becomes quite soon a bit boring to me. It smells “quality” for sure – and I mean good quality, not “interstellar quality” - and both tonka-powder fans and resins-gourmand fans will probably like this, still I feel something is just missing here. It's... nice. And nothing more than that. Too “simply” nice, too generic for that incredibly expensive price. Think of any Oriental powdery-spicy scent, that will be likely a good alternative to this. A really decent “hippie bourgeois” fragrance which may easily fit Les Néréides or Boucheron range and similar brands (which I deeply respect; but they cost a fraction of this).

16th March 2015
Surely one of my least favorites in the Hermessence's range. This is basically a cinnamon-driven sweet gourmand with boozy facets. No amber, no smoke.

Yes, it's a crowdpleaser. So what? If you like the genre, Nu_Be Hydrogen plays definitely in the same league and it's a cheaper alternative.

26th October 2014
Ambre Narguile is one of those scents that circumvents the thinking part of your brain and goes straight for the dopamine receptors in your central nervous system responsible for the registering of pleasure. Do I think it's high art? No. It's a gourmand and I don't believe that straight-up gourmands can ever be in the same artistic category as chypres - it's both a question of a missing abstraction and the too-obvious pandering to our primal instinct for food and comfort. It reminds me of a scene in Friends when a psychologist who is dating Phoebe starts to analyze her friends (because he hates them), and points out that the giant coffee mugs they're always drinking from are merely replacements for their mommy's boobies. "You might as well just stick a nipple onto those things," he snarls at them.

Well, stick a nipple onto the bottle of Ambre Narguile, because if it's not the most comforting thing in the world outside of your mom's boobs, then I don't know what is. It works on an almost subliminal level, like those supermarket stores that pump a synthesized smell of freshly baked bread through the air ducts because they know that nothing stimulates the subliminal desire to shop for food than the smell of a freshly baked loaf. Ambre Narguile works on the same level. It cleverly suggests the shape of all manner of delicious things - rum, raisin bread, the yellow custard you get in real Danish pastry (the type you buy on Stroget near the Illum department store - it's been eight years and I can never forget), hot tea, baked apples, woody cinnamon sticks, and vanilla tobacco leaves in your uncle's pipe - without posting a flashing billboard over your head. It's a fragrance that trusts you are adult enough to get all the food references without having to spell it out for you S.L.O.W.L.Y., like you're the village idiot, and thus neatly avoids the clumsiness and overly literal approach of most others in the gourmand category.

Above all, it's Ellena! Which means that the heavy, potentially stodgy food notes are treated with the typical Ellena lightness of touch. I don't normally like his style, with all that washed out, transparent woodiness, but here his approach makes sense. His deftness at infusing perfumes with light and air works particularly well here, and ensures that you don't stagger away, full and nauseated. Ambre Narguile is both light and rich, making for a damn near perfect balance in a gourmand scent.

Amber - what amber? No matter. Ambre Narguile occupies, for me, vaguely the same territory as Musc Ravageur and Tobacco Vanille, two other scents that could also be called up before the 'truth in advertising' standard board for serious infractions. Both of those advertise one material in their name (musk and tobacco) and then feed you with practically a whole cupboard's worth of delicious edible things instead - vanilla, cinnamon, lavender, custard, and cream. I don't object too terribly to this old switcheroo, to be honest, because I am your typical shopper in those supermarkets with the bread smells pumping through the vents, mentally intending to buy the plastic bin bags I went in there to get in the first place and ending up in the Cadbury's chocolate aisle instead. I smell something as delicious as Ambre Narguile and my thinking self absconds to some other room, leaving all of my base pleasure receptors in charge of the ship. Just slip that nipple in my mouth and I am done.
11th September 2014
I feel like a big Apfelstrudel LOL, although I smell tobacco leaves too (not in the listed notes)
This one is going directly to my wife's wardrobe, no doubt about it.
I can't give it my thumbs up since I think it is not for me, although it smells wonderful in my wife. So a neutral seems appropriate.
7th September 2014
Genre: Oriental

Ambre Narguilé was something of a disappointment for me. At first it's honey, spice, and raisins, all of which somehow remind me of khyphi. Must be the raisins. The scent is very oriental. Very sweet. Very gourmand. Very Arabie. But with fruit on top.

Amber is not the dominant note, as it is in Ambre Précieux and Ambre Sultan, which are my two "benchmark" scents among modern ambers. As Ambre Narguilé ages cinnamon that's present in the top notes strengthens. Soon I'm smelling middle eastern pastry, or maybe Christmas potpourri. At any rate, Ambre Narguilé is about food, not sex, and there's very little that's lascivious about it. This will probably please those who find the deeper amber fragrances too overtly suggestive. The sweet, spicy accord at Ambre Narguilé 's heart reminds me of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's Cimabue, but that scent is a touch drier and quite a bit more complex.

Ambre Narguilé remains pretty linear once it settles down. Eventually it dries down to cinnamon and vanilla, with very little amber to be found. I suspect this fragrance will appeal more to lovers of cinnamon than to fans of amber. Meanwhile, there are plenty of outstanding sweet spicy oriental fragrances like Ambre Narguile out there: I've already mentioned Arabie and Cimabue, plus Rousse, L'Air du Desert Marocain, Eau Noire, Eau get the drift. And guess what? They're all cheaper!
15th June 2014
Well this is going to be a easy review. Sweet honey and lots of cinnamon with this beautiful gourmand fragrance.

But to sum it up: Sweet apple pie!.....lovely.
5th June 2014
My, My, My this is apple pie in a bottle. Right now I have a sample but this is such a delight. I could wear this everyday and not get tired of that smell. Its very relaxing. Hermes definitely has a hit with this one. This is a classic.
13th May 2014