In the recent years we have witnessed some of the older perfume houses being reinstated in the modern era of perfumery. Once widely known around the globe and worn by most influential, renowned and iconic names of past times, some brands somehow lost their glow for a while. But there’s nothing lost for them as present times and future are open to welcome them back and allow to regain their past glory. Remastering old formula is even more challenging though…
One of the brands with a longer history is Volnay. Established in 1919 (96 years ago!) by Rene Duval. This maison de parfum has built a solid position in the perfume market of 20th century. Nowadays great-grandchildren of Rene and Germaine Madeline Duval: Muriel & Olivier Madeline are the ones who run the company and continue the heritage of their family. So far there were 5 fragrances in the line and this past March they have presented a new creation – Ambre de Siam.
Composition of this perfume bases on the original formula first created in 1920 (later there have been some editions of it in 1922 and 1925). Of course it had to be adjusted to the current regulatory documents. On my skin Ambre de Siam starts with a tart and gentle aroma of bergamot rind that is almost immediately followed by the freshly vibrant smell of ginger. Apart of being a carrier of fresh accord, ginger also introduces a mild spicy aroma that instantly warms up on the skin. I think this was a well-thought idea for the top notes of this new “old” Volnay fragrance. Why? Because it remains warm for the rest of time you will be able to smell it on your skin.
Shortly after I detect a lovely and balmy aroma that is build around amber. For some time it’s fiery warm, hot like a cracking fireplace. But after a few minutes it settles and becomes a very pleasant balsamic structure that has a sensual feeling to it. It’s like someone dear to you was holding you in their arms, where you feel safe. The feeling of safety helps you to feel relaxed and at the same time you can smell that person and some sort of sexual tension builds up.
This is how I see Ambre de Siam from Volnay. As a soft, delicate perfume that has a power of seduction. This encouraging smell of amber gains another dimension when benzoin joins the composition. It’s slightly more balsamic than amber was, it also feels a tad more smoky, kind of gooey. This impressions lasts for around 10-15 minutes and then benzoin reveals more sweet side that smells a bit of vanilla and caramel, but these two notes are not officially mentioned as part of the composition. Even though I smell what I smell, could be just an impression of different notes.
3 hours into fragrance development and Ambre de Siam reveals another ingredients that are considered as those responsible for building a feeling of sensuality. We have here a very nice saffron accord. It’s warmth and spiciness introduce an element of serenity and reassurance. Later on it is possible to smell the woody notes of cashmeran and sandalwood. To continue the comforting aura of this warm and tasty fragrance, both of the notes have been presented in substantial, yet soft way that has a lot of creamy and smooth molecules attached to it, so the overall impression is quite milky. I have to admit that new Volnay perfume is very crowd-pleasing scent.
In the drydown of Volnay Ambre de Siam you’ll find a reasonable dose of patchouli. I say reasonable because it’s strong enough to smell the earthy vibe from it but it’s not overly strong to cover the gorgeous smell of amber, resins, saffron and woods. There’s also plenty of white musk that brings powdery finish to the composition. It feels very appropriate to end this perfume this way, to go from fresh spices, through resins, warm notes and to complete the story with a powdery vibe.
Such a warm and cuddly perfume as Ambre de Siam might not be a perfect choice to wear right now, when every day it becomes warmer but it will serve right when autumn kicks in. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when I found out that this perfume will premiere officially in September, that’s when you can start looking for it in perfumeries. New Volnay perfume is made in eau de parfum concentration and it’s a work of perfumer Amelie Bourgeois. It will come in brand’s signature 100ml bottle. My tests have proven longevity of around 8 hours, sillage is more intimate here.