A tale of two Pradas. Both heavy. Both rich. Unlike lighter fare that we have come to expect lately, these two Pradas – one old and one new – are heavy, heavy, heavy. And great, great, great. Primrose sent me a tiny sample of one, and two big samples of the other. If you’re looking at things like Infusion d’Iris and Luna Rossa to characterize the house, then the lug-soled behemoths that Primrose sent me would both definitely march in under the radar. But if you remember that Prada doesn’t just make styrofoam orange sneakers and a gazillion variations of ephemeral, pointy-toed women’s shoes, then the similarity of style to heavier Prada fare – bold and just slightly unconventional – makes a kind of characteristic Prada statement.
I’ve been sniffing Prada Cuir Ambre Parfum for days – mostly because the sample immediately broke when I opened it. Vide infra. I had to soak it up quickly, so I used the one thing that was right there – the handle of the blotter. I literally soaked the paper in the parfum, which dried into it quite nicely. It is probably the most heavily scented blotter I have ever had in my possession.
Prada Cuir Ambre Parfum is a serious leather, but not THAT serious. It’s actually hard for me to describe that, other than to say that the disaster of a broken sample vial turned out not to be a big disaster. It wasn’t much more than a minor annoyance – the same sad loss as a small spill of Roja Dove’s Diaghilev. Like that one, the sorrow of losing some great fragrance, but also the joy of fate making me turn a great fragrance into a parfum d’ambience.
My reference for a strong and excellent leather parfum is Chanel’s Cuir de Russie. There are striking similarities, to me, between the Prada and the Chanel. The overall feel if very much the same – a kind of powerful yet feminine vibe that comes from amping up both florals and leather until you have something that just smells rich. The main difference here is that the aldehydic, no.5-like quality of CdR is replaced here by a very prominent metallic accord, which may be a sort of “bruised” iris or a facet of heliotrope. Whatever it is, it kind of ruins things for me. I’ve been smelling this all week, and while the totality is pleasant, it’s just not my bag. The metallic note is fascinating, and may be the hook that makes this thing irresistible to somebody else, but it’s a deal-breaker for me.
This stuff is fairly hard to get – and that explains why I’ve never even heard of it. But there are some great reviews out there, including one by Primrose herself. Here you go!
Primrose (Basenotes) – http://www.basenotes.net/ID26123512.html
Parfumo (no reviews yet) – http://www.parfumo.net/Perfumes/Prada/No3_Cuir_Ambre
Primrose also sent me two samples of Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense, not knowing that I already had a bottle. No problem – I love the stuff. This is glorious fragrance, for which I can thank Indie_Guy over at Basenotes for pushing me over the fence on the buy.
I was never too thrilled with the original Amber Pour Homme. A soapy little mess – nice, but not essential – the bottle was always the best part for me. I almost fell one time, when a pure-metal flacon sitting in Sephora nearly captured my heart. But really, that’s just like buying a boot for the buckles – not very wise. So I abstained, and managed to stay that way. My greatest respect for Amber Pour Homme came when SculptureOfSoul (also over at Basenotes) produced a wonderful set of graphics, describing the olfactory relationships of the various current Prada fragrances with regard to aspects such as iris and amber. Fascinating, but it probably made me want to get Infusion d’Homme, as opposed to Amber Pour Homme.
But as part of the wave of “Intense” and “Extreme” men’s fragrances that hit us in 2011-2013, Amber Pour Homme Intense is probably one of the very best examples.
This scent is rich, complex, and non-redundant in the market. It’s an oriental, but it’s not just another oriental. Where everybody else seems to have abandoned the gravitas of the old orientals, this one does not – not one bit. It really seems novel compared to what’s out there, and to anything in recent memory. Best of all, this scent seems to target all the people who didn’t like the original. I almost bought this at first sniff in Sephora. It was only by virtue of a fair amount of resistance, that I held off for a few weeks before taking one home.
The scent is very distinctive. One of my coworkers wears this fragrance occasionally, and it smells dynamite on him. I sometimes hesitate to wear it myself, because I want to let my coworkers have their own 5-star signature scents, and if they have to poach a bunch of great scents from my well-cheated wardrobe to do it, then power to them. I can defer to any of hundreds of other great scents.
I love the way Prada puts the star naturals right on the front of the flacon. Brilliant. IFRA can force us to put a bunch of sexless chemicals on the box, but Prada has the BLZ to put the very best and most “diverse” naturals right on the bottle.
In English: Italian Bergamot, Resin of Myrrh of Somalia, Indonesian Leaves of Patchouli, Vanilla “Surabsolue” of Madagascar.
Clearly it’s all there. The overall complexity of the composition seems to indicate that there are plenty of naturals in the mix, and both myrrh and patchouli seem to stand out. Yet it’s easy to love, and I suspect that the vanilla has a lot to do with that.
Persistence is good – this lasts all day or all night, depending on what you need. Concentration is excellent – you don’t need to douse yourself in the stuff to get decent sillage. The base keeps going forever and holds its form. A little booziness is lost, but not all of it, and the sweetness stays with it admirably.
Most of all, the fragrance smells a deep reddish purple, as advertised, and as supported by the bottle glass. There are not many deep reddish purple fragrances out there. I’m not exactly sure what makes a fragrance smell that color, but don’t worry. When you smell this, you will realize how wonderfully different it really is.
I hope that Prada never takes this one out of the lineup, but if they ever do, I advise all readers to please buy a bottle. This fragrance needs to stay out there, and to stay loved.
It’s a keeper.