Scent note: Amber

Published March 11, 2022

Does the scent of amber actually exist?

And are we talking about the gemstone amber? The short answer is no. But amber exists as both a scent note and accord nonetheless, at Sniph and at other perfumers. So let us explain the details behind this mystical scent note.

Natural amber, as a gemstone, takes millions of years to form and is a fossilized resin from trees with a fiery orange colour. This type of amber has very little smell unless burned and then smells pinne-like. The word amber (within the scent world) comes from the french “ambre” relating to ambergris, a waxy substance from the sperm whale which has previously been used in perfumes and smells musk, sweet and earthy. We no longer use natural ambergris often, but instead create it synthetically.

Amber is mostly found as a scent accord and is then an exact mix of benzoine/styrax, vanilla and labdanum. Benzoine is a resin from the styrax tree with a stronger sweet scent, reminiscent of vanilla but with more balsamic, spicy almost burnt nuance. Labdanum is a gum produced by the Cistus Ladaniferus tree but also comes in the form of an oil from the same tree. Labdanum smells heavier, caramelized and balsamic.

Ambergris as a scent note is sometimes created synthetically and is then called ambroxan. Ambroxan has increased in popularity the past years and has a warm woody, spicy and leathery scent. It leaves a softly sweet, creamy and musk impression – almost animalic.

Amber as a gemstone is never used as a scent note but its intense mystical force has inspired many perfumes. Amongst these are Amber EdP by Giardino Benessere where the warm and inviting properties from the amber gemstone inspired the scent notes, through the accord amber.

Did we miss anything? Let us know!

Explore some of our amber scents



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