I am always cautious when approaching a perfume that smells like ambroxan before I even open it. However, in this case, I’m glad I did finally get around to spraying the sample that was sent me for review. The initial notes are not at all ambroxan-like, but rather a sweetish, incense-resiny fragrance with just a hint of citrus, vanilla and spice. It’s a gorgeous scent that immediately made me want to apply more, full spray ahead.
I give this perfume high marks on the basis of its top notes alone. As it dries down, the woody and dry vetiver notes come to the fore, which is fine with me. I imagine that I smell hints of patchouli and subtle florals along with everything else, but it’s primarily the woody-herbal-incense smell that speaks to me in all the right ways. This is far and away the best perfume I’ve smelled in a long time.
After about 6 hours the ambroxan finally kicks in, but it’s not too strong, still tempered by the vanilla and woody-resinous notes. 12 hours later, it’s still there. 24 hours and a shower later, a ghost of it is still clinging to my skin. If you want longevity in a perfume that’s pleasant from start to finish, this is it.
The generous spray sample that I have is the “EdT intense”, so I’m not sure if this is a different concentration and/or formula than the 2005 release that I tried once before and found rather bland. Maybe it’s the difference between dabbing from a little Luckyscent vial and spraying liberally from a manufacturer’s sample. Maybe it helped that I had just rubbed raw shea butter on my hands before testing, and there was some sort of synergistic interaction. Maybe it was the cool, muggy weather.
I really don’t feel transported to the North African desert when I wear this, although I can see how it might give the feeling of being in a dry, brushy place where the sun is beating down, releasing aromatic juices and resins from the vegetation. The vanilla note in the base is reminiscent of smelling the trunk of a ponderosa pine, but my overall impression is of some kind of freshly cut, very aromatic wood mixed with the scent of one of the botanical perfumes my mother wore when I was a child. Although it’s strong, it has a naturalistic feel to it that keeps it from being too much at any point.
L’Air du Desert Marocain goes on the short list of perfumes that I could wear any time, any place and thoroughly enjoy.
[Sample kindly provided by Tauer Perfumes/Hypoluxe. Photos from the Tauer Perfumes website and Wikimedia.]