What is am·ber? (noun) ˈam-bər

What is am·ber? (noun) ˈam-bər

By Ashley Kowalewski

Amber is a golden-hued and translucent material formed from fossilized tree resin. And it doesn’t smell. What gives then when so many fragrances list amber as a main ingredient?

Back in the 19th century, perfumers were inspired by amber’s luminous glow. In heating it, they were rewarded with a faintly scented oil that was both sweet and warm in character. To replicate that oil, the scent scientists started mixing; they synthesized the olfactory essence of the petrified material using vanilla, labdanum and benzoin.

Today, amber is celebrated in countless perfumes, from Jean-Claude Ellena’s L’Ambre des Merveilles for Hermès to Thierry Mugler’s Alien. It is particularly popular in Oriental spritzes.



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Ash is a writer and editor based in Toronto. She loves testing out all the latest beauty products and is currently working her way through a 27-fragrance rotation and has more pink lipsticks, neon Post-its and daily cups of coffee than the average human. When she’s not wading through the beauty aisles of her local Shoppers, you can catch her at a yoga class or watching endless hours of Netflix.