Amazing stuff! I have to admit, the first time I tried this, I wasn't too impressed. The opening howl of civet struck me as foul, and the body of the scent - a warm, animalic amber with salty/marine inflections - did not seem to contain the depth or richness I had subconsciously been hoping for. But in the time between my first and second tests, two things happened to change my opinion.
First off, I began testing some of ASAQ's more animalic ouds and high-end, challenging blends, which put Sweet Blue Amber firmly in perspective. Now testing it again, I could see that the civet-y start was not really that challenging, and that, as a standalone, it developed into a warm, salty, skin-like scent that merged with the smell of my own skin to form this very natural sweet, vaguely sexy scent. Very nice.
Second, I had started, in the meantime, to play around with some of the oils marked as suitable for blending or as fixatives for other scents. In the Arab world, it is common practice to use certain oils as bases or fixatives for other perfume oils, attars, or even in some cases, more traditionally Western spray perfumes. In this manner, I began to experiment with three of the oils in my sample pack that the seller specifically noted as being excellent bases or fixatives - Sweet Blue Amber, the Deer Musk, and the Body Musk Blend. Let me tell you, the results are mind-blowing.
Sweet Blue Amber, like the Deer Musk and the Body Musk, is a material just begging out to be used intelligently and thoughtfully as a base or fixative. It's just a question of mixing and matching (or sometimes deliberately contrasting) certain notes in the base oil with notes in the other scent. With Sweet Blue Amber, I wondered whether it might be possible to breathe new life into either current scents that were missing a warm, skanky, ambery feel that fragrance fans often complain is missing in this day and age (compared to vintage scents which had all the advantages of nitro-musks, real oakmoss, civet, etc.). To test out my theory, I applied Sweet Blue Amber on one wrist and then a drop of modern Shalimar pure parfum on top of that. On my other wrist, I applied a drop of vintage Shalimar pure parfum onto bare skin (no base oil).
Oh my God, you guys. The result was jaw-dropping. I'm not saying that the Sweet Blue Amber made the current Shalimar extrait smell exactly like the vintage, no. But I can say that the version with the current Shalimar extrait layered over Sweet Blue Amber was miles better than the vintage version. If Jacques Guerlain once said that all his perfumes contained something of his mistress' undercarriage in them, then this blend would have made even him blush. It smells utterly carnal, filthy in the best way, the ferocious civet of the Sweet Blue Amber glowing hotly through the smokey vanilla of Shalimar, like tires set on fire at a bacchanal. I found that the Sweet Blue Amber also had the effect of 'fixing' the extrait on my skin so that it lasted a few hours more than the vintage version.
But most importantly, I think that a bottle of Sweet Blue Amber could be a brilliant, DIY solution to fixing modern versions of scents that could do with a dose of old-fashioned animalics, or even adjusting the civet level of some older vintage scents. Sweet Blue Amber turned my current Shalimar extrait from a purring kitty into a howling alley-cat, but equally, it could be used to boost the skanky elements of, for example, vintage Bal a Versailles EDT, which contains less civet/animalics than the EDC. Think of all the bottles of scent in your wardrobe that you could 'fix' with this! The possibilities seem endless to me. As for me, I am utterly convinced, and will be trying to sell off my 5ml bottle of vintage Shalimar extrait forthwith to put aside funds for a tola of Sweet Blue Amber.
I would classify Sweet Blue Amber as a animalic amber. If your points of reference when it comes to these types of compositions are, say, Ambra Nera by Farmacia SS Annunziata, Mazzolari Lui, Monegal's Ambra Di Luna or, LM Parfums Ambre Muscadin, well, this is *completely* another beast. I know the name would suggest a sugary / head-shop kind of thing but, believe me, this is definitely not.
The opening is probably the closest thing to pure civet tincture I've ever smelled. An assault to your senses with that animalic / bad breath type of smell that's typical of high-concentration civet. Admittedly quite challenging but, if you have the patience to hang in there for a bunch of minutes, it completely settles down and opens the doors to a magnificent musky / ambergris base. The overall character of this oil is pretty smooth and comfortable. A close to the skin type of composition which is conceived as a base / fixative (as in layering base) to extend the longevity of your favorite fragrance / blend. As a standalone, it delivers a skin-type of smell with sweet'n'salty facets an that sort of marine vibe which is typical of ambergris. The sweetness is completely devoided of any sugary / edible aspect and serves as a great juxtaposition to the smooth animalic presence.
Now, I'm generally not obsessed with compliments but, as a matter of fact, I got several positive comments on Sweet Blue Amber. Overall a pretty simple blend which does great both layered with your *perfume du jour* or as a stand-alone to provide a subtle yet remarkable animalic-ambery aurea. Delightful.