Friday, October 10, 2014

Test Fest: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan & Byredo Mojave Ghost

Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan Byredo Mojave Ghost

Lately I've been indulging my penchant for fragrances by buying testers. It's the perfect way to try out scents without the commitment or trip to a department store or boutique. I've found it interesting to try a few scents over the same period of time to play them against each other, tease out their different qualities or similarities, and to pick a favorite or even my next full-bottle purchase. 

Byredo Mojave Ghost

This round, I sought out scents from two perfumers that are always popping up on cool girls' wishlists and beauty shelves: Byredo's newly released Mojave Ghost and Serge Lutens' Ambre Sultan. Byredo's Ben Gorham takes an approach to developing scents that's exactingly aesthetic and up-to-the-minute but also rooted in nostalgia and dreams. Serge Lutens is a French photography, beauty and perfume creative known for styling for the likes of Vogue and Richard Avedon (also a hero of Riccardo Tisci), and I was inspired to pick Ambre Sultan after my Q&A with The Cut's Editorial Director, Stella Bugbee, who's also scent obsessed.

Byredo Mojave Ghost

I expected Mojave Ghost to be a musky, desert-y unisex scent based on the name and description, so I was surprised when I was met with the smell of sweet pear with my first spritz. I have to admit it was more feminine than I thought it would be, and it was so different from what I expected that I was put off. But of course with scents, you have to wait and see. When the tropico-floral top notes settled down, what enveloped me was a lighter, more subtle muskiness that said: refined; pulled-together; womanly; expensive; esoteric; bohemian; intoxicating.

Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan Byredo Mojave Ghost

Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan

Ambre Sultan I also expected to be musky, mysterious and unisex, and in this case it turned out to be closer to true. Without the floral aspect of Mojave Ghost, it was a straight-ahead but deep and moody  take on sandalwood. At first I thought it settled into whiffs of grandpa-cologne territory, but more and more it ended up feeling: feminine; powdery; rich; spicy; far-flung; powerful; soft.  

I'm not sure I could choose a favorite between these two as they offer very different and compelling moods. But I have a feeling I'll still be thinking about them both when the testers run out, and then time will tell.

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