Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens

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His Ambre sultan, “Arab and not Oriental”, to quote its creator, marked the grand opening. Iconoclastic and dreamy, it is outside of the norms. Lutens positions himself through his perfume: “You would smell a perfume, it was a soup. You either smelled the sexy woman or the woman who keeps records. For men, it was Zorro’s arsenal. With Ambre sultan, I wanted to take Adams and Eves out of the marketing.” A new genesis of humanity, incarnated by its own bewitching wake, where antiquity and sensuality come together and enhance one another.

 Classic amber enriches itself with powdered vanilla notes of benzoin from tiny trees of Siam. Rockrose brings a sensual warmth to the table. Coriander, oregano, and myrtle wrap themselves around a note of patchouli and sandalwood. So many ingredients fit together so perfectly, ringing out like a masterful, odoriferous symphony. But sophistication is second nature, a simple immanence, for Serge Lutens. If he sought to do any one thing, it would certainly be express himself. According to him, Ambre sultan unites “thick tarmac, austere, mysterious rockrose that makes the fingers stick together, and welcoming tarmac, the comforting vanilla, also adhesive, that my memory retained.” The perfume reflects a certain dichotomy, a sensible human and personal ambivalence, rightly perceived by this man with an extreme finesse. A striking emotion hits us, issued from the strength of a tale and a personal myth. Travel is romanticized, spontaneity perfected, and emotion testified by this princely fragrance.

 This is how, luxurious and intimate at the same time, Ambre sultan is reigning over Paris’ Palais-Royal. The boutique is singular and preserves everything; a beautiful wrought-iron staircase rises from the center of the mysterious room. With its sumptuous 19th-century decor, it is dressed up with marble and marquetry. Fleeting and ephemeral jewels, perfumes of the moment, are soberly, uncapriciously displayed. They are contained in flasks composed of clear and crystalline lines. The magic of Serge Lutens’ senses is at work, this Baudelaire-esque alchemist that transforms sentiments and memories into olfactory sensations, and vice versa.

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