Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang
Amber Ylang Ylang is the second in the Private Collection series (the first one being Tuberose Gardenia and the third - Jasmine White Moss).
Although the first one was very true to the name and smelled like a big tuberose gardenia bouquet; the name in this number is a little misleading. It’s really more about amber than ylang ylang; and if anything – it would have been more accurate to call it either “Amber Heliotrope” or “Amber Incense”, or many other things that are much more apparent to the nose in this perfume.
Amber Ylang Ylang begins with a hit of citrus (which is hardly surprising; I can say with almost 100% confidence that almost any perfume on the planet has some citrus to being with). I’m smelling mandarin, though the website is listing bergamot. There is also a woodsy-powdery-sheerness that I would attribute to either rosewood or linalool (practically the same thing). But very quickly something floral creeps in, and it’s not ylang ylang. It’s the powdery, sweet, candied butter scent of heliotrope – vanilic yet with a hint of bitter almond or cherry pie to it. It smells deliciously addictive. There is also a certain floracly to it, but it’s not from any particular flower – I suspect it is actually from styrax – it has that lilac-and-glue-like quality without any petals anyone could point their fingers or count. The only hint or suggestions towards ylang ylang is perhaps the tiniest hint of methyl anthranilate and salicilates. If it’s there, it is so subtle that I keep asking myself - why bother naming it this way?
Then a powdery incense note weaves through the perfume with grace and refinement – a muted nag champa kind of smoking sweetness, making it easily appeal to the hippie crowds that could probably not afford even the lower end, gem-less eau de parfum bottle; and amber. Loads of amber resin just like what you’d find in Banyen Books (the 4th avenue shop of new age books and incense – good-quality and cheap-smelling, all side by side), with glorious resinous benzoin, coumarin, and a smidgeon of patchouli and labdanum. At long last (some 9 hours or more later), as the perfume dries down completely, you’ll find there is more than just a basic dosage of musk at its base. Amber Ylang Ylang could easily be called Amber Musk and give you a much better idea of what to expect. It’s a warm and cuddly kind of musk – not the “white musk” you find in most everything that comes out nowadays; but a more powdery, somewhat old-fashioned musk, reminiscent of the musk ketone of yesteryear.
Amber Ylang Ylang is not exactly boring or linear, but you’ll find very little surprises along the way. If you’re an amber lover, incense lover, musk lover or all three together – all the better for it. The price is a bit steep, and I suspect goes mainly to cover the costs of the gemstones embedded on the bottle's cap. It's not particularly original - it's just a cuddly ambery floriental, nothing ground breaking - but it sure smells good.