The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Sunday Shopping Surprise

I love a good shopping surprise.  Even better when it’s right in your home town.  Yesterday, after doing my yard chores, me and my hubby went toddling off to Old Town Alexandria to do some window shopping and to get some unneeded gelato.  If you have never been to Old Town Alexandria, it’s right outside Washington DC and it’s cute, quaint, very historic (think George Washington lived here).  If you ever come to DC, you have to visit.

In any case, there is a store, Patrick’s Designs which I enjoy going into to look at all of the beautiful decorative items that I can’t afford.  They have furnishings, barware, tabletop, gifts, etc. that are very unique.  This is where I purchased my first Dr. Vranjes diffuser (I have been a faithful purchaser since).  I have noted that in the past, they have had a couple of niche perfumes in the shop, but they have recently expanded and added some more.  Some of the lines include: Juliet has a Gun, Montale, Costume National (I had never heard of this line before), Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, Fragonard, Manuel Canovas, Miller et Bertaux and others.  The owner said that they will be adding other lines in the near future (goody!).  Of course, it’s my job as a hometown boy to support local business I had to make sure that I bought something.  But first lets discuss what I didn’t buy and why:

  1. Miller et Bertaux’s Om:  I don’t know why, but the darker the juice, the more I am attracted to a fragrance.  Om is a deep amber-colored incense and vanilla scent.  Wonderfully spicy, rich and peppery…beautiful on paper and initially on me, then straight to a metallic sharpness that I wanted to scrub off.  Very disheartening.
  2. Fragonard’s Billet Doux:  OK, the scent itself is a light and pretty powdery carnation which is pleasant but maybe not so special.  It’s much more feminine than I would normally like… but look at the bottle!!!  It’s like a princess jewel.  Is it OK to buy perfume just for the bottle?  I may have to go back and try this again, the price wasn’t bad… but I really just want the bottle!

“I want to go to there” – Liz Lemon

OK, good sense prevailed and I ended up purchasing what others rave about for good reason, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s Ambre Precieux.

WHAT I SMELL:  Golden warm amber and vanilla.  Slightly spicy, smoky and buttery creaminess.  At times, it seems lightly soapy.  I find that this fragrance doesn’t morph as you wear it, but for an Eau de Toilette, Ambre Precieux has incredible depth, sillage and I find incredibly long-lasting.  I usually find that most ambers are better suited for the fall and winter.  Surprisingly, because of the vanilla sweetness (not too sweet mind you), this works just fine in the heat of summer.  Beautiful.

From the Maître Parfumeur et Gantier website:

All the splendour of the Orient is bottled in this perfume in which the much coveted amber unfolds its sensual and unique scent for us.
Accompanied by precious woods, balms and spices, Ambre Précieux is a true Eastern symphony.

Ambre Precieux Notes:  Top notes are myrrh and lavender; middle notes are nutmeg and vanilla; base notes are amber, tolu balsam and peru balsam.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  As I was sitting at my desk at work today I was trying to pinpoint what this scent smelled like to me.  As strange as this may sound, it reminds me of the late 70s and 80s and a doctor that I used to go to.  So what does that mean??!  This doctor was very tailored in his white smock, had impeccable grooming and was very much a gentleman.  To me, Ambre Precieux is understated elegance.  It’s the kind of fragrance that would linger comfortably on your favorite weekend tweed jacket as well as your tux.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE AMBRE PRECIEUX:  warm, refined, sophisticated

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AMBRE PRECIEUX: Bois de Jasmin, I Smell Therefore I Am, Pour Monsieur

BOTTOM LINE:  I don’t know if this will ever replace my love for Serge Luten’s Ambre Sultan.  But to me Ambre Sultan is a fall/winter fragrance.  So in the meantime, Ambre Precieux is going to satisfy my amber fix until the leaves start falling.

  • Bone Rating: 5 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent: Oriental
  • Nose:  Jean-Francois Laporte
  • Classification: Unisex – leans masculine
  • Expense: Approximately $100 – $120 for 100ml EdT


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Ambre Topkapi by Parfums MDCI

Clean fresh and sparkling are the first adjectives that I would use to describe Ambre Topkapi as it is applied initially.  As nice as that sounds, it’s really not all that special or interesting.  It’s really hard to pinpoint the notes as there are so many in this composition, but I can detect the citrus notes in the opening and I might detect a little bit of pineapple, but I’m not sure if that’s just power of suggestion in reading the notes!

After that initial blast of freshness (and I’m only talking for a minute), the scent moves into a nice light warm spice.  Again, it’s not all that special, just nice.  Finally, the scent completes it’s drydown leaving a sweeter, but still light, vanilla powdery amber.  Again, nice, but nothing special.

As you can see, my enthusiasm is bare, if at all.  So to be fair to Ambre Topkapi maybe the Luckyscent description may give a bit of a more inspired tonality to the scent:

The top notes are the perfumer’s nod to the classic masculine scents: the beginning of Ambre Topkapi is brightened by bergamot, spiced up by ginger and have a cool, herbal undertone of basil, thyme and lavender. The heart notes, with their combination of luxurious leather and soft, sweet sandalwood, add depth, warmth and what we can only described as a very “expensive” feel to the blend. In the base, vanilla and amber ornament the scent beautifully, bringing to it a wonderfully exotic feel, making it evocative of faraway lands, luxurious palaces, and Eastern splendor. 

I found the longevity on Ambre Topkapi rather weak as is the sillage.  The coolest thing about this fragrance is the fact that you can get it with the beautiful classical bust for the bottle. However, at an additional $150 is it really worth it?  For the cost associated with this fragrance, I expect a lot more.  I want to feel inspired to write something from an excited voice, not a forced hand!

Ambre Topkapi Notes:

Bergamot, grapefruit, pineapple, melon, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg ginger, basil, thyme, lavender, oak moss, vetiver, sandalwood, rosewood, leather, Darjeeling tea, amber, musk, vanilla, jasmine and violet

  • Bone Rating: 2.5 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent: Woody Spicy
  • Classification: Masculine
  • Expense:  $250 for 60ml EDP with bust, $375 with bust


3 Comments

Querelle – Parfumerie Generale Private Collection

The opening of Querelle is really lovely and very understated.  So understated that I almost felt like I had to bathe in the scent to get it to stick to my skin.  Funny, it’s not until this is worn for a while that the scent actually comes to the surface.  But let’s get back to the opening… Querelle opens with a mild citrus and black pepper spice.  This would be considered a vetiver scent, but a vetiver without screaming “I am green!”.  The citrus disappears quickly and you are left with a dryness which pushes out a mild incense.  The incense, pepper and a bit of amber keep this fragrance in a place where few others go.  What I mean is that at times it feels like a remote and distant scent, but at other times, it swirls around up to your nostrils with an engaging warmth.  And every time you lift your wrists, you’ll note that you smell something a bit different.  I really like fragrances that take you on a journey.  Querelle is a different scent for me and I’m surprised that it falls into my lane of liking it.  This scent feels masculine to me, but it is considered unisex.  It hugs close to the skin, but had great longevity.  I will be visiting this scent again!

Querelle Notes:  citrus, Iranian black caraway, myrrh, cinnamon, Haitian vetiver, incense, oakmoss, ambergris

  • Bone Rating: 3.5 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent: Spicy Oriental
  • Classification: Unisex, but leans masculine
  • Expense: $100 for 50ml EDP