Ambra di Venezia by Montgomery Taylor

Year: 1998

Notes: bergamot, lime, mandarin, mango, French narcissus, jasmine, sandalwood

Comment: Eau de Parfum review
While learning about the art of glass making, in Venice, Montgomery Taylor was inspired to compose Ambra di Venezia after viewing "a canopy of amber skies". With the assistance of perfumer Rayda Vega, the two worked together to create a fragrance to encapsulate that very sunset, along with Montgomery's other memories of his time in Venice.

Released in 1998, one is unsure as to how many times it has been reformulated, as what greets one's nose is anything but an amber scent. Instead, what one initially discerns is a somewhat artificial citrus blast, followed by a touch of mango and some white florals. The opening is off-putting, at first, with its lemon detergent assault and saccharine-like sweetness, but this quickly settles to allow the white florals to fully emerge. Although not listed, there's also a creamy vanillic aspect to the composition that possesses a hint of coconut, thus lending an additional tropical subtlety to the proceedings.

Sadly, by the time it reaches the heart, it becomes thin, soapy and hollow. Personally, it's at this point where a strong ambery or resinous presence could have compensated for the slightly unpleasant opening. Resting on a bed of sandalwood, the drydown is a mellow creamy woodiness, with faint floral flourishes. One can also detect cedar-like nuances, during its final moments on the skin.

Ultimately, the name is a complete misnomer and anyone expecting a fully-fledged amber offering will be sorely disappointed. And while there are the odd pleasant moments, one is unable to mentally set aside the abrasive citrus introduction. Based on all the above, as well as its soft and underwhelming performance on the skin, one is unable to proclaim Ambra di Venezia as an underrated and obscure gem.