what is ambrette: (noun) am·brette (m-brt)

what is ambrette: (noun) am·brette (m-brt)

By Danielle DesRosiers

The soft and delicate scent of Le Labo Ambrette 9 can best be described as the smell of a newly born babies head; for many, it is the scent of tenderness; soft and sweet yet slightly woody. Le Labo does indeed market this fragrance to mothers and their babes—you can spritz the babe’s linens if you’re not interested in perfuming the wee one. In fact, the scent relies on the character of ambrette, in combination with citrus and fruit notes, to define itself. Ambrette is also a key component in many other popular fragrances.

The ambrette seed comes from the hibiscus flower; the delicate yellow bloom has a purplish centre from which the seeds are extracted. The most common use of these seeds is a plant-based substitute for animal musk; and fyi, the seeds deliver an oriental musky, floral, fruitiness.

Ambrette seeds originated in India, where they were once used to flavor coffee, similar to how cardamom seeds are used. They are currently cultivated in India and many parts of Asia.

Perfumes containing ambrette are said to calm the mind, but its essential oil is also purported to be an aphrodisiac. It has also been used in aromatherapy as an aid for anxiety, depression and fatigue; for cramps, muscular aches and poor circulation.

Rich musky ambrette is used in myriad fragrances: Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One , Escada Especially Escada, Tom Ford White Patchouli, Comme des Garcons Green, Chanel No.18, and of course Le Labo Ambrette 9.

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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.