Stop! You’re Making Me Hungry – Hermés Ambre Narguilé Perfume Review

Ambre Narguilè

There is one thing I love more than perfume and that is food, especially that of the baked/cake variety. It stands to reason then, that one of my favourite perfume types is the gourmand. Food smells in perfume can sometimes be abstract or representative but the best gourmands are those that present food in a completely literal way. Ambre Narguilé is one of these gourmands.

Ambre Narguilé is an unexpected gourmand.

The Notes

Honey, Ginger, Amber and Incense [2]

How Does it Smell?

“Amber honey with swirls of smoke from the East. Savory, sensual, enveloping.

Amber, the Western expression of Eastern fragrances, has a warm, enveloping, almost carnal smell. I wanted to imbue this idea of amber with the memory of the East I love where tobacco – blended with the smells of fruit, honey and spices – is smoked in narguilés or water pipes, and where swirls of smoke diffuse a sweet sense of intoxication.”

Jean Claude Ellena [2]

The first, and most important thing I should mention is that Ambre Narguilé really isn’t anamber-centric fragrance, it is most definitely a gourmand.

Secondly, I have no experience with Narguilé (shisha/hookah) so I cannot comment on the similarities between the fragrance and the water pipe but there is nothing smoky about Ambré Narguile, it is a smooth gourmand scent with a touch of amber.

To me it smells like a fruit pastry dusted with cinnamon and served with a hot cup of Vanilla Chai. Sounds delicious doesn’t it?

Ambre Narguilé opens with a cloud of cinnamon and ginger – a combination of sweet and sharp. The spices are followed by ripe purple fruit, it has the dusty spiced plum of Féminité du Bois but without the sharpness of the cedar wood.

The blend of vanilla, amber and marzipan gives Ambre Narguilé a yeasty, bready vibe that is startlingly reminiscent of pastry. It is absolutely delicious and as this aspect of the fragrance intensifies the more I find myself craving tasty baked things.

It is a fairly linear fragrance and the honey doesn’t really come through until the dry down, where it blends seamlessly with the vanilla. Just like the rest of the scent the dry down is almost edible and by this point in the development this blogger is finding himself feeling rather hungry.

Ambre Narguilé is, unsurprisingly, better suited as a winter scent and wearing it in summer definitely feels a little strange. That said, it never becomes cloying or too much, it shares that pale, water coloured effect of most Jean Claude Ellena scents, just not in such an extreme way.


Ambre Narguilé is available in 100ml Eau de Toilette and can be purchased with a leather case (£345) or without (£140). In the UK it can be purchased in Harrods or online at Hermés.


This review is based on a sample provided by a very generous member of the Basenotes Forum.



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