Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre Precieux

I’m a friend of good amber fragrances (“good” is obviously subjective, but I’ll explain more below). I find many amber scents too sweet and vanillic but I easily have a half dozen ambery fragrances I adore and don’t fall anywhere near the sweet/vanilla spectrum. It strikes me as odd that I’ve never reviewed MPG’s Ambre Precieux (MPG AP) since I find it to be one of the absolute best amber fragrances ever created.

The intriguing part about amber is that it’s not a single note but an accord usually created by a thousand different variations of benzoin, labdanum, styrax, vanilla, opopponax, ambergris, myrrh, various herbs, woods and oriental spices. When I come across uninteresting, flat or super-sweet vanilla type amber scents it just seems cheap, unimaginative and sad to me. These sweet vanilla ambers are the ones I think give the whole genre a bad reputation.

MPG Ambre Precieux, from a quick glance across various blogs and BN, MUA reviews, seems to garner diverse opinions. While most seem to love it, many of the adjectives used to describe it are a little weird to me. Take “powdery” for instance. MGP AP isn’t powdery to me in the least. I suppose powdery is one of those descriptive words that mean entirely different things to whomever uses it. MPG AP might be classified as powdery if your definition of the word is smooth, balanced and silky, like the texture of powder instead of the smell of baby powder. MPG AP’s smoothness is so perfectly balanced that in this regard it reminds me of Amouage Lyric. I don’t mean it smells like Lyric but there’s an ultimate smoothness and perfectly balanced quality in both Lyric and AP.

MPG Ambre Precieux reminds me a bit of Diptyque Eau Lente and Diptyque L’eau Trois mostly due to the herbaceous resins and myrrh. MPG AP isn’t edgy like Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche (which I love but have to be in the mood to wear), instead it purrs softly, but tenaciously, in a contented and satisfied manner. I’d classify MPG AP as a woody-herbaceous amber with just a tiny dollop of sweetness. So often it seems like many perfume aficionados are looking for the next most innovative, unique, edgy or strange juxtaposition of notes when searching for a new fragrance. I find myself, more often, looking for this type of fragrance, one where I find the quality superior and the overall scent isn’t weird but perfectly balanced and smooth. It might be mistaken as simplistic but I have a hunch that this sort of effortless perfection is the most difficult to create.

Notes: lavender, myrhh, amber, tolu balsam, resin, vanilla, nutmeg and peru balsam.


Jeannine 520 said...

I agree 100% - AP is a fantastic amber. I bought a full bottle the moment I smelled it.

Tamara*J said...

So weird! I just bought this last week-end. I adore ambers too and have a hard time finding good ones, mostly because with Alahine it's difficult to beat. ;)I really love the lavender and myrrh in MPG AP,it makes the scent hum on my skin and it lasts forever.It's a snuggler and a comforter.

Zanne said...

Beautifully written, as always :) Informative & Elegant ~~ & this post gives me hope! Last time I went amber-questing, I practically ruined the scent (which I can Adore) for myself with too-sweet-boozy-headache-inducing brews I couldn't use. *Love* L'Occitane's amber & nothing intros me to Fall like this scent, so I'm way intrigued and tucking this name away with high hopes. :)

Abigail said...

Jeannine & Tamara,
So glad you already share the love :0)

Girlfriend, you'll need to remedy this! MPG AP is a >must< especially for someone who is already a friend to amber scents. MPG AP (I'm wearing it again today) is much more herbal/myrrh that most others and that's what I like so much about it.

tarleisio said...

Amber is a group I've been very, very wary of. Blame Ambre Narguile. It nearly killed me. But I'm curious about the MPG. I worship and adore Ambre Sultan, so when you said 'herbal' and 'myrrh', I wonder - how to those two compare? Certainly you could use both of those adjectives to describe AS, so what about the MPG?

Tania said...

I recently got a sample of this, and loved it at first try. Now I'm hankering for a bottle!

I'm a fan of a good amber, too. I like Ambre Sultan, but sometimes it's just too....nice? I don't know exactly, but it's not enough for me. So yesterday I layered it with Vetiver Oriental, and wow! Have you tried that?

queen_cupcake said...

I too have been wary of amber frags, but your review has made me want to try the MPG. I am intrigued by the "herbal/myrrh" aspect and will put this on my "to try" list. Thanks!

Abigail said...


SL Ambre Sultan is a "good" amber in my book but on me it turns into an Indian curry dish. This isn't something I'm looking to wear. The SL I like most in the amber department is Arabie, but this is further away from the typically sweet, cozy, ambers and closer to being a herbaceous scent.

I agree with your assessment of Ambre Narguile. That is sweet apple pie + cider + barely a dash of ambery-ness. Way too sweet and foodie. Must *love* gourmands to enjoy that one.

Aside from the curry issues MPG AP is more mellow than the SL Ambre Sultan.

Lionel Woods said...

Would this be a safe blind buy? I love Ambre Russe and Ambre 114 and also dig Ambre Sultan but the prior two have the edge. I am a male but really do love Amber.

Brian said...

Hi Lionel,

It's such a subjective thing. I too love Ambre Russe. I've smelled the 114 and like it but didn't feel it lasted on me. Both have done a little something to amber that give it a twist. Ambre Precieux has no twists to me but it's a wonderful amber. Of all the ambers I've smelled it smells most like the amber oils and resins I remember from import shops. Which isn't to say it's stonky. It's smooth and rich and smells antiqued somehow but without that kind of musty thing associated with head shops. It also lasts well. It doesn't have the baroque splendor of Russe. It's rich but mellow. And I guess in some way lavender gives it a twist, but it's a subtle, refreshing twist I think. I would say it's worth having, but that's me.