If you have been a perfumista for some time, no doubt you have noticed the prevalence of amber fragrances. Amber is a fantasy note since amber resin itself has no inherent smell, rather it is an expression of the emotional, aesthetic impact of the amber color – rich golden hues conveying luxuriousness, warmth, and sensuality. Most often amber is an accord created with a combination of labdanum, vanilla, and other resins.
One of the most exquisite expressions of amber comes from Rania J Parfumeur, a French niche perfume house, called Ambre Loup. The perfumer is Rania Jouaneh and this fragrance debuted in 2012. Notes listed for this composition are spices, cloves, labdanum, vanilla absolute, Peru balsam, guaiac wood, agarwood, and cedarwood.
Loup means wolf in French and the usage of this word really embodies the soul of the fragrance well. This is a spicy amber fragrance with a punch clearly noticed in the opening. Right away your nose is assailed with pungent cloves circled with dense tendrils of smoke, most likely coming from the labdanum and guaiac wood.
The oud is noticeable, but it lends more of a dark woody framework for the heat of the amber accord to burn and smolder in. After recovering from the initial shock, the spices gradually expand and develop upon your olfactory palette. At this stage, I pick up fiery streaks of cinnamon and slightly animalic cumin, although the animalic quality could also be originating from the agarwood. Melded to these spices is a big glowing amalgam of golden resins, thick, almost syrupy in texture, sweetened ever so slightly by a rich, but arid vanilla absolute.
With the presence of vanilla, any fragrance composition runs the risk of entering gourmand territory, but here in Ambre Loup, its presence is deftly handled in a manner that it perfectly complements the labdanum and tempers the piquancy of the spices.
Although not a gourmand fragrance, during the wearing experience I sometimes get hints of chocolatey tones, which could be a result of a mystery accord created through the vanilla, guaiac wood, and oud.
As the layers of Ambre Loup unfold and yet coalesce around each other, it becomes more and more sensual, intoxicating, even sexy. Still that animalic suggestiveness tantalizingly remains in the background into the dry down, almost palpable, wanting to yield to your caresses, yet just out of reach.
Ever so gradually, the fragrance profile gets smoother with more pronounced woody facets, yet that blazing, luminous amber heart dominates even here. At times into the dry down, I get whiffs of something almost reminiscent of rich tobacco.
Although not listed, this could be due to the presence of tonka bean, which when expressed from a more coumarin-centric angle in combination with other notes, can come across as having a tobacco-like vibe. Guaiac wood is known to have smokey facets, so it could be a result of this ingredient as well. In the end, Ambre Loup finishes out as a spicy, redolent vanillic amber sparkling with the remnants of spices and dark woods – still quite alluring and sexy.
The perfume is sold in 50 and 100ml sizes and is in EdP concentration. Longevity is easily all day with 3-4 hours of decent sillage before it becomes a tenacious, cocooning presence on your skin, akin to an extrait in performance. This is the perfect choice for snuggling up with someone on those cold winter nights, or even for making a unique statement at a formal event.
If you’re in the mood for an amber creation with a marked savage sexiness brimming with spicy embers, then you should definitely check out Ambre Loup. In my opinion, it stands at the forefront of what an amber perfume should be, it is one of the best to date I have tried and should be in every perfume lover’s collection.