Ambra is a companion to Musc 1984 that explores the magic of traditional fixatives. Here, we zoom in on ambergris.
For ages, sandalwood has been the go-to carrier for infusing musk and amber, and so I’m not going to tamper with tradition. What I will do, is make sure you get the finest attar imaginable.
To this end, I infused a selection of vintage sandalwood oils—predominantly, and most notably, all that I had of an extremely limited batch of 42-year-old Mysore Sandalwood (circa 1976) that until now I’ve hardly touched. With such a rarity, I’m sure you can imagine the anxiety involved in deciding how best to use the little you have. But as I now watch the golden yellow drink crushed and ground white Caribbean amber, I’ve got no regrets.
I chose these vintage carriers, not only to honor the infusion as completely one could but specifically because of their olfactory properties. Some santals simply work better than others, even if another might be higher quality. The trick is to balance the perfect pitch of creaminess and buttery white with the amber’s animalic bite. In Ambra 1976, you get unmatched quality, rarity, and compatibility.
The sandalwood couldn’t get any better. Not by itself. So, here’s where the ’exalting’ ambergris comes in. As funky as ambergris can be in raw form, as sticky-as-glue as it gets when crushed, it transforms the santal fusion into the most delectable, velvet smooth olfactory feast you could hope to indulge in.
And that’s it. Vintage sandalwood and Moby Dick’s best kept secret. No more, no less.
Above: Squid beaks embedded in the ambergris.
(To find out more about the exalting fixatives, check out Musc 1984.)
The Ambra 1976 is divine and is exactly what I want a santal fragrance to smell of. In fact it’s what I want to smell of, all the time! It just seems to be getting better as the minutes pass. – Stephen, UK
My initial impressions of Ambra is that it’s a very creamy soothing natural sandalwood smell rounded off by the ambergris. It Reminds me of visits to temples in Kyoto where your mind is calmed as soon as you enter them - the opposite to the feeling you have when you enter a shopping mall (hence I avoid malls)! – Simon, Australia