Never heard of ambrette seed? Chances are you've never smelt it either! Well, probably not the real thing, at least.
Ambrette seed is one of the most expensive natural extracts available to the perfumer, currently selling at AU$17,300 per kg! You will find ambrette seed as a note in some commercial perfumes, such as Dior Homme Intense, Beauty by Calvin Klein and Le Labo Ambrette 9, but because of the cost almost all synthetic perfumes will use a synthetic substitute such as ambrettolide, which is substantially cheaper at just AU$600 per kg.
So let's just do a quick price comparison in realistic terms:
- Real 100% natural ambrette seed extract AU$17.30 per ml (or around 58 cents per drop)
Synthetic ambrettolide $0.60 per ml (or around 2 cents per drop).
Big difference in price, right?! So you can see why bigger perfume companies won't touch the real stuff, or you might be paying twenty times more for your favourite fragrance!But that's the beauty of natural perfume companies. We love using the real stuff. We aren't interested in the synthetic alternatives no matter what the price difference because what we want to showcase is nature at its finest.
What is ambrette?
Ambrette is a seed derived from a type of hibiscus flower, Abelmoschus moschatus or Hibiscus abelmoschus (pictured below), a beautiful large yellow flower with a deep purple centre.
image borrowed from tambela.com
The seed is processed by either steam distillation, carbon dioxide or solvent extraction, producing an extract that is distinctive and musky with undertones that are waxy, almost like human skin, sweet, nutty, slightly floral (like a deep ylang ylang absolute) and salty all at once. Ambrette seed is rich and complex and completely irreplaceable in a natural perfume.
The strength of ambrette seed cannot be understated - its flavour can be detected in a blend at just one part per ten million and it's aroma can be detected throughout the entire drydown of a perfume!
Ambrette can be incorporated into many types of perfumes, but is mainly used in perfumes where a 'skin' note is required.
ONE SEED perfumes that contain ambrette
The ONE SEED range uses ambrette seed in the following perfumes:
The nostalgia of youthful summer nights spent in swimming pools and the patter of bare feet on soft emerald grass. Familiar comforts of warm milk, coconut and vanilla.
Notes: coriander, coconut, vanilla, roasted basmati rice, oakmoss, ambrette seed, sea salt
Freshly cut grass, new season pink grapefruit plucked from the orchard with its leaves still attached. Exhilaration and possibility. A soft rose heart cut with spiced peppercorns and sandalwood. A transportive fragrance gifting us a state of peace.
Notes: pink grapefruit, rosewood, magnolia, rose, peppercorn, Australian sandalwood, ambrette seed, grass
Violet-infused blonde woods with a peppered mimosa heart. A walk through the damp woods at daybreak, full of promise, the light catching on violets in the brush
Notes: blonde woods, bergamot, violets, Virginian cedarwood, mimosa, Australia sandalwood.