Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Ambra (2015)

Acqua di Parma's Colonia Ambra © Victor Wong
Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Ambra © Victor Wong

The first time my friend Carolina and I sniffed Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Intensa Oud (2012) we were so impressed that I called it “boyfriend-in-a-bottle”. The second time we were in the same store, Caro suggested, “Let’s smell boyfriend-in-a-bottle again!” The salesperson was so delighted to hear us talk about it – she didn’t have to do anything, we were already sold. However, to our disappointment, it smelled completely different and not as good as we remembered. The only reason we could think of was that the first time we smelled it, the counter was not staffed, and people threw used test strips everywhere, and the strip that we picked up sitting next to the bottle wasn’t really sprayed with Intensa Oud, or it could be, but had already been contaminated with other perfumes. (“The Incredible Shrinking Woman” movie, anyone?) The salesperson saw our faces and knew something was wrong, but wouldn’t let us go so easily; she insisted that she spray some on me. It really was just too strong for me, and I walked out of the store feeling uneasy. A year later, Acqua di Parma released Colonia Leather, which was quite good, but I didn’t need another leather perfume.

Another year had passed, and Colonia Ambra (2015) was released. I had some expectation for their third release because I loved amber scents. I smelled it at the store but didn’t get any amber notes. I asked for a sample and the sales person reluctantly gave me one (probably thinking when will I ever buy a bottle from her). Later I found out that Ambra actually was not an amber scent, but an ambrigris scent (whale vomit – synthetic, of course). One day I sprayed some of that sample on the back of my hand and headed to the supermarket for some grocery. I picked up a bottle of yoghurt drink and started reading the label, and thought, wow this bottle smelled so good… I picked up a can of Spam, wow Spam had never smelled so good. Then I realized I was smelling Ambra on the back of my hand. The boyfriend genie reappeared again, on the back of my hand! (with supermarket music playing in the background.)

Ambra is the “Goldilocks” perfume, finally a brown bottle Colonia that I really like, despite it’s a still an initially loud, synthetic (~in a good way) perfume, but not as pungent as Mr. Luke Atmey Intensa Oud. It really is an aquatic scent, but mostly covered up by some heavy dose of wood notes and a bit of bitter herbal notes and saltiness. Among all the things going on, it has some sweetness that I particularly love smelling on my partner.


Author: Victor Wong

A perfume lover - niche, designer, modern, vintage, I love them all. I am also the owner of Zoologist Perfumes, a small Canadian perfume house. Please visit or for more info!

2 thoughts on “Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Ambra (2015)”

  1. When I first bought AdP Intensa Oud (blind that is), I was thrilled. It was so strange, using a peculiar formulation with synthetic oud. I liked it so much, I bought myself a backup bottle. And then, a year later, I sold that backup bottle because I was going through the rather large 180ml bottle so slowly. Not because I don’t care for it, but because I find it only works well in cooler weather. But then I found Ambra. And just as you noted Victor, it’s kind of like a lighter and less pungent version of the Intensa Oud. When I exhaust my 180ml bottle, I will get Ambra… assuming that it’s still the same fragrance then, some 5~8 years from now! 😉


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