L’Eau Ambrée is the latest in Prada’s series of amber-based perfumes (see Prada Eau de Parfum, Prada Intense, Prada Eau Tendre and Prada Amber Pour Homme). It’s supposed to “modernize traditional amber” and to have a “…graceful presence, empowering but never demanding”. If that sounds sort of like L’Eau Ambrée is meant to do for amber what Prada’s Infusion d’Iris did for iris, that’s exactly how it turns out, in fact, for the first few seconds on skin, it smells vaguely like Infusion d’Iris — enough so that the first time I tried it, I was confused for a moment and had to check the bottle to be sure I’d sprayed the right fragrance.
As it dries down, L’Eau Ambrée settles into something rather different, although the feel is so close to Infusion d’Iris that I have to wonder why they didn’t call it Infusion d’Amber. It’s like a very transparent take on the dry woody amber-patchouli from the original Prada fragrance crossed with a bit of the creamy men’s soap from Prada Amber Pour Homme (with, I would swear, a drop or two of Infusion d’Iris, thrown in for good measure). The floral notes are subdued and it’s more dry than sweet. It’s darkish and warm, but it’s so light that you could wear it anywhere, anytime, and there’s nothing overtly feminine about it.
The sillage is minimal — I find it quieter than the already-quiet Infusion d’Iris, and not quite so tenacious, although it does do much better sprayed than dabbed. The first time I tried it I thought it was perhaps too quiet, but its aura of subdued elegance has grown on me since then. I’m not so enthralled — yet — that I’ll pay full price for it (especially since I just caved on the Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris) but it’s going on my “buy” list, where it can hang around with Prada Amber Pour Homme, which has been languishing there for a few years. Maybe one day I’ll get lucky and find both at a fabulous price: a tiny drop of Amber Pour Homme, sprayed liberally with L’Eau Ambrée, is a lovely combination.
Prada L’Eau Ambrée was developed by perfumer Daniela Andrier, and the notes include citron, rose de mai, gardenia, patchouli, vanilla, opononax. It is available in 30, 50 ($76) and 80 ($104) ml Eau de Parfum, and in an 80 ml refillable atomizer ($117; refill with funnel $78). Matching body products are also available.