Rive D’Ambre is yet another Tom Ford retake on cologne. This time, instead of the Italian riviera we take a subtle, but handsome, journey to the orient.
ORNATE. COMPELLING. WARM.
RIVE D’AMBRE IS A GOLDEN-TONED EAU DE COLOGNE WITH A VEIL OF COLONIAL ELEGANCE. PRECIOUS CITRUS FRUITS – A TALISMAN OF GOOD FORTUNE IN ASIA – ARE BEAUTIFULLY ILLUMINATED BY A WARM AND SEDUCTIVE, AMBER BACKGROUND.
Rive D’Ambre is a spicier and more nose tingling version of Portofino. In this fragrance, the amber is bumped up and more upfront; you get a sort of cozy, boozy spiciness with the combination of tarragon, mint and of course, amber.
Rive D’Ambre opens in an expected fashion and bombastically like all colognes- in which a myriad of citruses and herbs blend to form a revitalizing tonic to the nose. What distinguishes this golden toned EdC from the green and blue tinged ones is certainly the amber (the so called ‘default oriental’ note). This amber is sweet, resinous, cozy and warm, but only briefly appears in the opening after you get the citrus medley (or ‘fruit bowl’) of limes, lemon and bergamot- an exquisite set of refreshing light notes.
What is particularly interesting to smell in the heart of the mix is the refined note of charred wood and oak casks- A vibrant aged spirit matured in a smokey encasing that is undoubtedly cognac. With its amber colour and sumptuous aroma- it is the perfect ingredient for a cologne reformation.
As mentioned in my previous review of Neroli Portofino, the amber goes a long way in carrying the longevity of this fragrance. In the dry down of Rive D’Ambre, the citruses tones down and exposes spicy, menthol-like herbs and the beautiful amber- which mind you, delivers as something extraordinarily high quality. At this stage, you are exposed to the sweetness of the tarragon with the flecks of anise naturally coming through; the green mint which is sharp and has a minute following of pepper; and cardamon, intensely sweet and exotic with a ‘chai tea’ note of spice.
Combining the indirect elements of anise, pepper and spice derived from the prior notes mentioned; the early stages of the dry down is unique and distinctive to other colognes on the market. This also corroborates my idea that this is a spicier Neroli Portofino. You receive, in turn, something very impressive, but unfortunately short lived.
The follow through to the previous stage, the true dry down, has now changed from a citrus-spice into a soapy-spice. All of a sudden Rive D’Ambre goes dormant and the soft flecks of amber take center stage (but not a literal center stage, as even the projection goes quiet); this lies very close to the skin. What you receive now isn’t much- but tinges; little whispers of classiness through its linear, non-distorted nature. This fragrance doesn’t scream nor shouts anymore, akin to the opening of pretty much all colognes (this one included)- but shifts from crisp and awakening to soapy and warm. From a wildly exciting opening of eau de cologne to a traditional amber gentleman’s eau de parfum.
This goes quiet- like a gentleman’s understated actions.
Amber here serves as a base- because there is so much more going on- you only pick up the slightest influence from it, a beautiful trail of scent that is very transparent; very Jean-Claude Ellena in style. We compare this to (big surprise) Neroli Portofino again, in which the amber carries the entire fragrance; starting from the dry down.
In the end, Rive D’ Ambre presents all the key ingredients that should blend into something amazing… It only just does that or better put, barely does that. Rather than a vivacious, audacious, bewitching (yadayada) spicy oriental, you get a superlative citrus oriental to start and a common (dare I say it, generic?) amber oriental to end.
Breath from the dormant dragon in the form of golden tinged cologne.
Subjective rating : 3/5
Objective rating: 3/5