I smelled ambre blends on the tennis court next to me and blown it in the wind. I discovered it in the backdraft of a biker on the Cultural Trail. I noticed that it came from a male colleague. I sensed the distinctive scent that perfumes the air in boutiques and salons all over the city. And it’s not just me Once, an unkempt young man stepped into an elevator with me and said, “Oh my god, who’s wearing Ambre?” On the company’s testimonials page, fans tell about someone tracing their scent at a soccer game and a stranger sniffing their neck.
Ambre has been holding people for more than 15 years. I call it the unofficial scent of Indianapolis and “are you wearing ambre?” our motto of the 21st century. The men and women who use it recognize the smell immediately and often ask who is near them. But despite its ubiquity, it’s almost impossible to describe. The next thing I get is warm, deep, luxurious, sensual, golden (if that’s even possible). It’s sold across the country, but the die-hard followers are in Indianapolis, where it originated and is still made.
And boy are some of these fans insane.
At the beginning of this year, the company replaced the characteristic roll-on bottle with a pump. The new vial is also bigger and slimmer. It still comes in a sturdy brown parchment tube (which I keep my bottle in until it’s empty), but I didn’t even recognize it on the shelf at Two Chicks District Co. I was so concerned about the lack of the role. On a bottle that has been around since 2004, I started opening the cabinet drawers and shamelessly rummaging through the inventory – gauche behavior, but where was my ambre? I didn’t even inspect the thin tube. What was it, a spritz? No thanks. I only buy the roll-on. An employee brought the harrowing news – Ambre replaced it, she said. As soon as the anesthesia wore off, I reluctantly paid for the pump.
The roll-on was part of the roll call in the early Ambre days. You didn’t see a roll-on perfume back then and it made so much sense. It was travel-friendly and replaced the flat perfume samples I tore out of magazines and wrapped up. You could put the vial in a purse or pocket – not what I’ve ever done, but I liked that I could. No spraying the air and no walking through the mist. The roll-on seemed as smart as the scent was sexy and I loved it.
But neither of us knew that the roll-on was faulty. The metal ball picks up other products on our skin and can contaminate the high quality oil that we pay dearly for. Founder Ambre Crockett noticed it when she met one of her regulars – a man who had his role with him. He showed her that the oil was foggy and was starting to calcify. She knew there was something else in the oil. It found he would regularly apply a Johnson & Johnson body lotion before rolling on Ambre, and the rollerball picked up those chemicals. The same thing can happen with a tan, soap, or other non-premium product. “It really compromises the integrity of the oil,” says Crockett. “A lot of people wear lotions before applying the scent. If it’s Ambre [cream], great. “If not, it could stain our sacred potion.
Another problem with the roll-on was that people often used too much or too little. The industry calls this application “a controlled leak,” says Crockett, and after all they wanted something better. The new bottle has been specially designed to deliver the perfect amount for one application. One pump a day should make a bottle for three months – and if you use the stronger fragrances Solace, Ahnu, and Unmasque, you might be able to get by on half a pump.
The pump has another important function: it helps carry Ambre properly. All this time, we should rub the oil to heat it, which will release its full aroma. That’s why I smell it on the tennis court and with my colleague in the office gym – sweating increases the smell. Rubbing the oil in your palms does the same thing with friction. So take a moment to mourn the beloved roll-on and put the last few drops on your wrists. With the pump, you’ll want to switch to Crockett’s Ambre’ing Method: squeeze your palms once, rub your hands together, wipe the length of your inner forearms, then rub your neck and finally get something between yours Breasts (the warmest place on your body, says Crockett). She wipes the rest of her jeans.
Crockett says you might notice that the scent is now smelling stronger and that the logo is printed right on the vial, which looks slimmer than the old sticker label. She knows fans will miss the scooter style and has heard from shop owners that some buyers have had the same reaction as me. Let me encourage these fans to try the pump out and put your final Ambre roll-on bottle in your nostalgic drawer with your metallic iPod Mini.
Ambre Blends pure essential oils ($ 48 for a 10 ml bottle) are sold in numerous Indianapolis locations.