Ambre Gris by Guillaume Flavigny for Pierre Balmain 2008

Hello Happy Huffers,

Today we look at a fairly new acquisition for me. I went through a 5ml decant in record time so gave myself permission to indulge.

Ambre Gris by Pierre Balmain 2008

AmbreGris FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Myrrhe, benzoin, pink pepper, cinnamon
Heart: Immortelle, tuberose
Base: White musc, benzoin, amber, guaiac wood (tree of life)

Before I started researching Ambre Gris I was under the impression that it was a vintage fragrance from the house of Pierre Balmain. Not so, released in 2008 it sparked a veritable sensation throughout the scentbloggosphere for a few reasons: the last few Balmain frags had been met with surly derision by the perfumista community, this one was only available in a few select locations in Europe, named after that intriguing and hard to source perfumers magic ingredient ambergris from the intestines of one perr cent of sperm whales and because it was rumored to be fabulous. This was before my time on the scentbloggosphere, at this point I was a lone hoarder.

I love the fabulously hefty 100ml bottle with its thick, greyed glass and the golden disco ball on top is perfect to me, though many do not love it. In fact the whole package screams quality to me, even the understated label and box it comes in. I can imagine it fitting well into a mans or wamans wardrobe.

WindsweptBeach fortunephotographyPhoto Stolen FortunePhotography

How does it smell? Having read the other blogs I feel that I have a completely different product because my skin amplifies the salt in a fragrance, even though there is none in the note list. Ambre Gris opens warm and sweet on my skin, like eating Brighton Rock on the pebble beach.  There is a common complaint about Ambre Gris that it has a plastic vibe through the centre of it, which I often find in real life white flowers, it is not here for me sadly because I quite like that note. My experience with the heart are not everlasting daisies and tuberose, at all, unless it’s a small chemical found in both that also smells like the ocean, it feels breezy and windswept to me, and gives me a sense of freedom. Really, the notes list reads like gibberish compared to what I smell. The dry down is pretty and here I do get a salty amber and a little smoke. In the heat of Sydney summer Ambre Gris is giving me about 4-5 hours of discernible fragrance but I bought it so cheaply that I am very happy to reapply. I like it as my morning scent for some reason.

Ambre Gris works as a super base during its dry down adding a lovely heft to every perfume I have layered over the top for an afternoon or evening refresh, including: Sandflowers, Geranium Pour Monsieur, Bombay Bling, Coco and Songes (And many others)

BeachHorses meteotimesPhoto Stolen meteotimes

Further reading PerfumeSmellingThings and TheNonBlonde

FragranceNet has 50ml around $32
MyPerfumeSamples starts at $2/ml but the $7/5ml is EXCELLENT value

Have you tried Balmain’s Ambre Gris? Was it love or hate? Were you one of the frenzy buyers in 2008/9?

Until tomorrow,

Portia xx

13 comments on “Ambre Gris by Guillaume Flavigny for Pierre Balmain 2008

  1. brie says:

    This sounds like I fantastic base and I LOVE the price!

  2. susan says:

    I adore this perfume! I hate immortelle so I’m surprised to see that in the notes, didn’t realize there was any there. I think it’s very salty and sexy glamour on me as well. I should get a decant someday.

  3. Tara says:

    I love the bottle, and yes I was one of the frenzy buyers in 2008. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the scent at that time… need to sniff it again, as my tastes have evolved significantly since then.

  4. This is one of the few I’ve “reviewed” (for lack of a better word….). For a short time I loved it–but I never seem to wear it. I get more sandalwood than amber (in any sense of the word)– and I find the spice a bit too sweet. I’ll always love the disco ball presentation though.

  5. Tora says:

    How serendipitous that on the day you posted this, I received my “swap” of Ambre Gris. I traded it for a bottle of Le Labo Labdanum 18 that was not in my favorites any more. I was concerned when I reviewed it (Ambre Gris) at Luckyscent and Fragrantica and it clearly had a more feminine vibe than I ever wear. I am a Patchouli, Incense, Leather, Amber, Oriental lover. I was worried that I made a bad trade. Then I read YOUR review while sipping my coffee this morning, and I saw a glimmer of hope!! Today my big hefty bottle of Balmain with the disco ball top arrived. After my bath, and bravely before my first client, I sprayed twice on my left antecubital fossa. (crook of my elbow) and I did NOT hate it. In fact, as I gave my first massage the warmth of my arm sent a pleasant and familiar message to my nose. I thought…hmmm this is not bad, in fact, it is a little bit lovely. I hate to admit it, but I did draw my elbow to my nose, mid massage, and I smiled, and I was secretly thinking…yay!! I may have found my Spring Scent. Admittedly, one of my very favorite notes in all the world of perfume, is Ambergris and it’s plant like cousin Labdanum. The mere promise of any Ambergris at all had me anticipating. So now, long into the evening, a couple of glasses of wine on board, I still am smitten with this salty, sweet, come hither perfume. Thank you Portia, for opening my mind to the possibilities. I look forward to your next missive.

  6. Undina says:

    I’ve smelled Ambre Gris on paper but I wasn’t tempted to try it on skin. I might one day though that bottle doesn’t appeal to me at all. Still, I’m glad you found somethingyou really like – for each of us it’s an ultimate goal, isn’t it?

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