Versilia Vintage – Ambra Mediterranea or VVAM as I will call it from now on, opens with a beautiful rich, sweet, slightly powdery amber – similar to my beloved L’Eau D’Ambre Extreme by L’Artisan Parfumeur, only here there are some exquisite notes piled on top: some bright, juicy orange and a delicate air of green herbs that instantly tumble into a waft of deep smoke, rising from the base.
Within literally a minute, what started as extremely pretty and bright, becomes something with a dark heart – a burnt, smoky trail, a deep contrast to the glowing amber. A shard of cedar hits you straight between the eyes, and paired with the black smoke, creates a harsh masculine edge to this otherwise classical amber. The best way I can describe this is: L’Eau D’Ambre Extreme, meets a dash of Lonestar Memories, with an added dose of harsh Lutens’ cedar.
A de-sweetened vanilla adds a slight, but much-needed creaminess to the composition, but doesn’t completely smooth out the many jagged edges. I think there’s a waft of frankincense in there too, a sharp tangy dose of it that creates a slightly dusty atmosphere and an almost ghostly incense. Ghostly because it is only just detectable – its presence is there but the surrounding notes completely overwhelm it.
Some patchouli begins to creep in at the end, working wonderfully with the amber to create a green, musty partner.
The thing is – I don’t like it at all. It seems just like I said – two different fragrances combined. But, here it doesn’t seem to work as well as Lush’s accident – Breath Of God, but it instead never blends (for me at least) into a seamless amber fragrance, and I find the composition extremely uncomfortable. The bitterness of the smoke and woods is so intense and sharp, that it cuts straight through the lovely amber and creates this sickening intensity of both extreme sweetness and bitter smoke. It almost seems to curdle into a lumpy bowl of unappetizing accords and I want nothing more than to wash it off. It started with so much promise…
As boring as it sounds (and if you have any idea of my tastes you’ll know generally I’m not boring), I think I prefer my amber with simplicity. It is such a wonderful accord (labdanum, vanilla, benzoin) that is complicated and beautiful in its own right. Now don’t get me wrong, I love complimentary pairing notes, but the amber accord is so dominating, that I think if making a soliflore, it really does work best when it is the leading player. An example of an oustanding amber with numerous complimentary partner accords is Tauer’s classic L’Air Du Desert Marocain. Everything there works in exquisite harmony to create something outstandingly beautiful. Here in VVAM, I find the creation ugly as sin.
Worth trying though for amber lovers, do try and not be put off by my negativity, I can thoroughly appreciate the idea and can see how people would enjoy this. I have heard many claim it to be “The Best Amber” and such, but for me, it is a clumsy, unnecessary combination of accords that doesn’t work as intended.
Profumi Del Forte Versilia Vintage Ambra Mediterranea 100ml EDP – $240 luckyscent