The trend for high-quality, niche perfumes has proven to be more than just a fad, with traditional fragrance houses like Guerlain and fashion houses like Dior starting their own exclusive scent collections. Giorgio Armani is not just a talented couturier, he also started out creating scents that he only shared with his friends and family. So popular were these luxe fragrances that he decided to make them commercially available.
But even then their exclusivity remains. In Singapore, these scents are only sold in Tangs and compared to the fragrances from his other lines like Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani they are priced at a premium because of the precious raw materials used, small batches in which they are created and the gorgeous, well-crafted flaçons. The latest addition to the La Collection — a range that concentrates on a singular, intoxicating raw ingredient — is Ambre Eccentrico.
Categorised as a spicy woody amber scent, this has 'eccentric' accents like cinnamon bark and prunol — a blend of spicy, ripe peaches. And in keeping with the understated elegance of its bottle design, the flaçon is sleek and quietly luxurious. Topping the bottle is a rich, amber-coloured stone that ranges from dark caramel to burnt umber depending on your perspective. We find out more from perfumer Calice Becker on this fragrance creation.
How did you approach the creation of this fragrance?
I developed this fragrance with the idea to create a choir of materials, looking for the harmony between textures. Elegance, simplicity and choice of ingredients were the three guiding principles for the creation of this fragrance: balancing the notes so they sing all together without overpowering one another.
How was ambergris used in the past in the Middle East?
Another type of amber was used in the Middle East: ambergris entered into the composition of mukhallats (Arabian perfume oils). A dry ambery note teamed with oud, saffron, rose, sandalwood and musk. Amber, as it is known in Europe, is made with cistus, vanilla and woods. Cistus is a plant native to the Mediterranean, even though it is now typically associated with oriental fragrances.
How would you describe Ambre Eccentrico?
It is a magical accord, a gorgeous texture, an opulent and distinguished scent, a fragrance like a caress. Ambre Eccentrico is a concentration of dense and noble materials, like a 16th-century artist's palette. You can feel the chiaroscuro atmosphere of the Flemish painters: vanilla and tonka bean are the dark, benzoin and cinnamon convey the amber brown, vetiver is likened to beige for a ray of light... As the finishing touch, prunol brings out the 'eccentric' facet of the amber accord.
In what way is this fragrance an 'Armani/Privé'?
Ambre Eccentrico boasts a concise, exceedingly simple structure made with the finest ingredients. There is sophistication in every detail. The fragrance is woven like a texture around several base notes: here, the accords have become the 'raw materials'.
What fragrance family does it belong to?
Spicy Woody Oriental.
And if it were a piece of music?
Spanish Dance no.5 by Enrique Granados, which I listened to as I worked on this creation. It is played superbly by a brass ensemble with an astonishingly rich, velvety tone.
$340. At Giorgio Armani at Tangs Level 1.