Tom Ford’s Amber Spritz


How could I resist something that the nice young lady at the fragrance counter described as a roller-coaster? It was one of Tom Ford’s new Private Blends, from the Atelier d’Orient series that has held me rapt since its release last month. Initial reviews said the two to watch (err, sniff) were the ‘Plum Japonais’ and the ‘Rive d’Ambre’, so when the Rive was described as a roller-coaster, I strapped myself in and sprayed away. She said to give it twenty minutes, but I was sold after one.

Tom Ford’s Private Blends tend to vacillate between very heavy (Italian Cypress, Tuscan Leather, Amber Absolute) to very floral (Champaca Absolute, Black Orchid, Santal Blush, Neroli Portofino), and though they’re technically uni-sex, they usually fall distinctively into a traditionally masculine or feminine vibe. Rive d’Ambre comes somewhere between the two, a brilliant merging of the best of both worlds, and it is, at least currently, my favorite TF Private Blend. So much so that I bought a bottle myself when last in Boston (usually I wait until Christmas or a birthday and rely on the kindness of Andy or family to deliver). This time around I simply couldn’t wait, and took advantage of the tax-free weekend for a pre-birthday splurge.

It’s the perfect fragrance for the tricky transition from summer into fall. Light enough to lift the hot days in store, but heady enough to withstand the morning chill, Rive d’Ambre works on every level. Opening with a bright fruity splash shot through with notes of citrus and bergamot (two of my faves), it soon ripens into a rich amber hue, redolent of sunsets and early evening ablutions in preparation of a night out. There is just the slightest sense of smokiness to it, a trademark in some of Ford’s darker work, that balances out the lighter aspects. It’s not heavy enough to stick around forever, which is nice on the hotter days that September and October still afford.

Far more than a song or a taste, one of the strongest memory-triggers is said to be fragrance. It will be interesting to one day see what Rive d’Ambre recalls of this pocket of time ~ what adventures it brings to mind, what emotions it releases, what memories are being created at the moment I write this. It is, I think, a very special time.

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