One of our most seductive scents, Amber Noir takes its name from fossilized deposits of resin in trees, turned to glasslike marvels over millions of years, and sometimes found with a pre-historic insect trapped within. In fact it is the resiny scent of frankincense (Benzoin resin) branches, also used in Arabic incense and Russian Orthodox churches, that give the fragrance its earthy mystery. Labdanum, another resin from rose-like shrubs, once combed by shepherds from the beards of goats who fed on the bushes in the Levant, and sweet vanilla pod, bring light floral and sweeter notes. Luxurious and rich like honey, “amber” scents are known for their ayurvedic calming, though I find it more exciting than calming.
Carrying a piece of black amber is thought by some to rid the body of negative energy, and to provide safety an security, but amber – the real thing – is rare and near precious. The Baltic lands have what are thought to be the greatest deposits of amber, often used in various qualities in jewelry and decoration. Surely the most incredible is example was the Amber Room in Prussia’s Charlottenburg Palace, circa 1700, an opulent indulgence for Friedrich I, Prussia’s first king. He later gave it to Peter the Great of Russia in 1716, to seal a strategic alliance. Tsarina Elizabeth had the Amber room again, to the Catherine Palace, in 1755. The palace was ransacked in World War II, and the panels of Danish Amber and jewels have been lost forever since.