Thursday, November 19, 2009

Prada L'Eau Ambree: fragrance review

L'Eau Ambrée, maestra Miuccia’s latest fragrance, talks with the whispers of a ghost; an ectoplasmic take on the dry woody, patchouli and ~most imporantly~ ambery core of the original Prada fragrance mingled with the saline note of Eau de Merveilles that reproduced the scent of ambergris rather than sweet resinous amber (For more on the differences between amber and ambergris read this article). Ghost-like in its evanescence, gossamer-light, leaving behind but the memory of someone living in a grey-hued photograph that captures its ether.

This new gouache of an oriental is possibly the most skin-scent-like Prada ever issued, even more so than Infusion d'iris. One could even consider it an embryo of the idea of an "oriental" for the next decade and beyond: Will it induce hallucinations of orientalia beneath the gauzy veil to the modern day sylphids who worship at the altar of austere Prada? It remains to be seen. I see it as a step in that direction and the beginning of a new trend in perfumery.
Lovers of diaphanous ambergris creations and those able to smell Isabelle Doyen's L'Antimatière by Les Nez might find something to take them through every eventuality: The fragrance enters the scene in a light-through-the-tunnel vista, all hazy linings, via its refreshing top (which isn't quite as citrusy as purported nor is it rosy, but it's certainly cypress-like and with a micro-facet of white flowers tucked in someplace inside). And then it takes on a little tone of sweet, slightly salty sweat musk, not a tetrapod's raunchy howl, but the smell of seashore in spring and the bodies that lie down on its fluffy texture (cozy musks with no big sweetness have this effect). Yet the refinement of the drydown is so delicate that it could find its way along with your Prada frames and eponymous canvas tote to the office. And surprisingly for such a light scent it lasts too with a lingering trail, which as March put it: "It dries down and fades away but has a habit of popping up again and again, all day long".
According to Prada, 'L’Eau Ambrée is a perfume that ‘imposes itself discreetly with the perfect balance of classic influences and of modernity that is characteristic of Prada fragrances. This eau ‘twines complexity, freshness and harmony’ around a sleek, contemporary amber'.

L'Eau Ambrée, the latest in the Prada amber-based perfumes (amber is in the original Prada, as well as in Prada pour homme) was developed by perfumer Daniela Andrier and was launched this past September, with the expectation to be a permanent mainstay in the line unlike the ephemeron Infusion de Fleurs d'oranger.
Prada’s original bottle has taken a dark mantle here, adorned with a golden plaque instead of the silver of the original.

Prada L'Eau Ambrée is available through major department stores in Eau de Parfum 1oz/30ml, 1.7oz/50ml and 2.7oz/100ml.; Eau de parfum Deluxe refillable atomizer (with spray bulb) 2.7 oz/100ml and 2.7-oz./100ml refill; Body Lotion 6.8 oz./200ml; Bath & Shower Gel 6.8 oz./200ml; Body Cream 6.8 oz./200ml; Powder with powder puff 3.5 oz/100ml.

Notes for Prada L’Eau Ambrée:
Top: Citron, citrus, mandarin from Italy
Heart: Rose, gardenia jasminoides, patchouli
Base: Amber, vanilla, oppoponax

The advertisments are lovingly retro in an almost frieze-reprising way: a cheeky manner of eschewing the sexy-mania of other houses, a deliberate abhoring of seduction that comes from the mind of a true Marxist designer not interested in the man-hunting games of the western tradition, Miuccia Prada.

Michigan Central Station ghost, photo by Nicole Rork via
Acropolis Parthenon Hydrophoroi scene from the East frieze. Clips originally uploaded by gottalovebirds and stylistaonline on youtube


  1. great review- I think this deserves to do very well and become a classic. I tried with trepidation- I do not like the original Prada despite many attempts- in fact it makes me gag! and although I admire Infusion D'Iris it's not for me. When I tried this I was like I'm not going to love you but fine I'll try you.

    I sprayed, I liked but it's the way it grows. It's subtle but it's deep- could it not be utterly devastating on a man as well?

  2. Do you think L’Eau Ambrée could be considered a unisex? You describe austerity, cypress, subtle salty musk - sounds as though it could be. I enjoy wearing L'Antimatière, and how it also makes itself known every now and then during the day. L’Eau Ambrée sounds perfect.

  3. I like much the simple yet classy design of this Prada bottle - the obsidian glass at the bottom, in particular. The campaign is also fun and quirky, making light of Miuccia's fondness for clone-models. Comic even? Not sure I can go that far. :)

    Your descriptions are very interesting and more 'earthy' than one would associate with the austerity of Prada. Far more appealing to me even though I do like previous scents from the house.

    And I like that you evoked the Parthenon frieze. The ancients loved their perfumes and unguents, right enough.

  4. K,

    thanks honey!
    I think it's something of a different spin on how things should develop: it has a prismatic sequence to it, now you see it now you don't, which makes it all the more interesting. I think it should appeal to an intellectual streak in people who want soomething subtle yet with a discreet touch of earthy as well.

  5. M,

    it definitely is! I can see no problem about a man going for it except maube the advertising! :-)
    If you enjoy L'Antimatiere, you have good chances of liking this one too.

  6. TUOS (witty username!),

    thank you!
    The Parthenon frieze was an association I can't help, I'm afraid (being a boring historian and all...)

    The "earthiness" (not carnality) is there in this scent, which is weird compared to the Prada pantheon of themes. Would you say that she is perhaps insinuating of an as yet unrevealed "human" factor in her creations? They seem clinical, all too often, but I always understood they were meant to break with the bourgeoisie ideals (and quelle ironie! it's the bourgeoisie that buys them now)...

    There is a comic element in the advertising, true enough! You worded it perfectly!!

  7. Thanks, PS. I'm a bone fide history/archaeology nerd too.

    It is an interesting question - can Miuccia come down from her ivory tower and play in the dirt? Perhaps not to that extreme. :) I like this move towards more tangible and less arch and intellectual things. The fault with Prada is they can appear too urbane and this translates in the clinical. This new approach gives the brand a freshness and fun.

  8. I've still yet to try this E, and your review has made me put this first on my to-do-list today!

    Lovely review and I can't wait to smell it on my skin.


  9. Diaphanous and lovely jus.

    Thanks for your insights, ma soeur;-)

  10. I read your review but oh was overwelmed by the video !
    Que c'est beau :o ! I love Massive Attack.

  11. What an exceptional review!! Thank you helg, for your witty and sharp discussion and weighing of this new (imho) gem. Upon first trial i found it weak but then i detected the mentioned "veil". It's almost like the scent-version of the veils that the three Graces wear on Botticelli's "Primavera" painting. Just incredibly lovely.
    I just adore Prada's scent creations (maybe except Prada Tendre which of course wasn't bad per se but you don't need it when you already wear NR for her), up to now-lucky me.

  12. N,

    thanks honey! I think this is going to be controversial in that lots of peoplen won't be able to even smell it: It's constructed on synths that some have anosmia to. Still it has something quite alluring about it all, a salty-skin effect which I find myself drawn to.

    PS.I just today managed to send over that promised something :)

  13. I love both L'Eau Ambrée and Eau de Merveilles. Aside from L'Animatiere, what other scents would you recommend?


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