Black Amber – Agonist

Black Amber

Black Amber opens with a slightly boozy, syrupy accord of anise,  a surprisingly light resinous accord (labdanum dominated) and a trail of tobacco smoke. A salty, marine kind of note comes in within a couple of minutes, it feels slightly out-of-place but adds this bizarre sideline to the amber which I didn’t expect… it’s both savoury, and sweet, adding a cool herbal greenery and driftwood vibe atop a sweet, resinous incense/amber heart. The cool quality is almost mentholated, like a touch of eucalyptus or mint, but it vanishes quickly as the warm, dry woods and resins underneath heat up.

The incense starts to dominate up top – a spicy incense that smells more like that of middle Eastern perfumery than church-y incense. The salty note seems to morph into a musky ambergris – the tobacco is slightly sticky, with a fruity, raisin-like accent (blergh!), the labdanum becomes more “amber-y” as the vanilla in the base begins to sweeten the entire fragrance.

From here on, Black Amber remains relatively linear. A musky, tobacco-tinted amber, with a spicy incense heart, a drydown of dry woods (cedar and sandalwood) and a touch of patchouli and vetiver. It’s surprisingly light, translucent, and once the top notes have vanished, pretty simplistic. Do I like it? No I pretty much can’t stand it, and I’m not too sure why. The opening starts with promise, then goes completely gross. There’s a small phase after about 5 minutes where it literally turns my stomach, a reaction I have only experienced with a few fragrances (Mona Di Orio’s Vanille and Byredo’s Seven Veils). The drydown is completely boring to me – a watered down, slightly “fresher” version of La Via Del Profumo’s far superior Mecca Balsam. There’s much better out there in this category so, not worth a sniff :)

Black Amber 50ml EDP Agonist – 125 Euros

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11 thoughts on “Black Amber – Agonist

  1. lucasai says:

    sounds like a lottery for me. Might be nice or night be a disaster.

  2. Sometimes that happens. Every once in a while I will try a fragrance that starts off lovely, and then turns into a scrubber.

    • Yup! I think I’d have fell asleep before I reached the sink though – snoozefest of a perfume towards the end haha. But yeh, there’s just a 5 minute moment of hideousness wedged in this perfume, I guess that’s the most interesting bit :(

  3. Another one that was sniffed in NY… of course I was attracted to it, it’s amber! But ouch, it was like a brick against my nostrils. No thank you.

  4. Miss Woolf says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, this is gross at the start and just blah towards the end (which thankfully arrives quite soon on me). I very nearly ruined an evening a few weeks back by stupidly and spontaneously covering myself with this juice before meeting friends for dinner. I felt so uncomfortable all night, and very nearly threw the awful little sample away when I got back to my room.

    All in all I’m hugely disappointed with the Agonist line. I’m Swedish and really wanted to find at least one scent to love but unfortunately it’s antagonist all the way for me :(. The Infidels was a very unpleasant medicinal, antiseptic experience for me, and definitely not in a good way. I really look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

    (Love Mona’s Vanille btw ;-))

    • Ah I’m relieved to see someone else have an adverse reaction to it – seems like this one is a bit of a bust ey!
      Oh man that sucks I hate that when you feel so uncomfortable in something you’re wearing, especially when there’s no time to wash it off D:
      I really like Arctic Jade (nearly bought a bottle in Berlin) and Vanilla Marble (although that’s a little too simplistic for me). So there are some nice things in there. I’ll try get my hands on The Infidels, I do like a bit of medicinal and antiseptic, not sure I need anything else like that in my collection though :P
      Lucky you like Mona’s Vanille! I want to love something in her lineup but I just haven’t found a single one :(
      Thanks for getting in touch and sharing your thoughts Miss Woolf :D x

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