There are countless scents that are used as perfume ingredients. From roses to lavender, from cinnamon to vanilla, we can go on for hours. Most people recognize fragrance notes like these: you know in which fragrance family the ingredient belongs (flowers, spices, etc.) and what it smells like. In addition to these well-known notes, there are also many perfume ingredients that are less obvious. You've heard of it, but what it smells like is a mystery. The name doesn't say much and you also do not know exactly where the note comes from. Think of ozonic, bergamot, benzoin... In the series 'Vague Perfume Ingredients' we explain vague perfume ingredients one by one. This time: Amber!
What is Amber?
Amber is a fossil resin from the tree species Pinus succinifera, a prehistoric pine tree. The resin that was secreted by the trees and that petrified over the years is called amber. In prehistoric times, amber was loved by many cultures for its golden color. Amber is soft and therefore easy to work with. It was used to make beads, jewelry or figurines. Some even used it as a means of payment. The color of amber can vary from golden brown to orange, yellow, red, green, brown and white.
Amber as a perfume ingredient
In perfumery, amber is a "fantasy" fragrance note. Amber as a perfume ingredient actually doesn't come from the resin type amber, but is inspired by the golden color and brilliance of this resin. It is actually a base note created from a mix of other balms or resins, such as labdanum, benzoin, vanilla, styrax or fir. The most commonly used combination is vanilla and two resins; labdanum and benzoin. The amber resin itself is therefore not a perfume ingredient. It is a fictional note inspired by amber.
What does Amber smell like?
Amber as a perfume ingredient smells sweet, resinous, intimate and warm. It is a powdery note, sometimes slightly woody and can have a citrus undertone. Amber is a typical fragrance note in the oriental family. It has a rich scent that is very recognizable in a perfume. Because this perfume ingredient has a long-lasting smell, amber is a typical base note in perfumes.