Ambergris, the precious sperm whale excretion that’s aged for years by the ocean, is the purest essence of the sea. It’s an unusual material in perfumery because although it derives from an animal and retains a distinctly animalic character, it also smells mineral, earthy, ozonic, and foresty. In fact, one could say that the scent of ambergris is a microcosm of nature’s bounty in full.
Ambergris is something of a shapeshifter in perfumery, though ? it’s suggestible. In Musc Ambre Gris, the perfumer has nudged the natural ambergris towards a saltier, woodsier interpretation than some of the sweeter, more amber-focused compositions in the genre. What’s striking about this fragrance is that it smells completely organic, as if it were ripped from nature and not made in a lab. It encompasses all the wind-chafed aromas of a desolate beach in winter, ranging from desiccated driftwood, crushed seashells, and minerals to the inky bitterness of marine lichen. Musc Ambre Gris smells vivid and wild, its smoky tangle of sea grasses (vetiver), yerba mate, and sharp black musk with its creosote-like tang all pulling together to emphasize the raspy, masculine-leaning character of the scent. In the far drydown, earthy patchouli and white truffle add a fungal depth that accentuates the salt-flat brininess of the ambergris. A perfume of scorched earth, Musc Ambre Gris has the brooding intensity of a young Brando- not to mention the undeniable seductiveness.