Glory Be: Ambra Nera by Farmacia SS. Annunciata
It is no insult to say that Ambra Nera smells as if you had opened a few dozen bottles of other amber scents and arrayed them in front of you: it calls to mind Obsession, Ambre Précieux, Ambre Sultan, Anné Pliska, Voile d'Ambre, Vanille Ambre, and many more besides. And most of those reviews cross-reference other reviews, because ambers have minor differences (they can be sourish, bright, heavy, austere or sugar-sweet), but they all have that same warm, cozy quality that makes them perennially beloved.
If you can believe the official list of notes (you can't, actually), you are smelling cypress, eucalyptus, amber, benzoin, vetiver, vanilla and patchouli. What you actually get straight out of the bottle is warm sweet amber with a slight hot-toast quality (not as bready as Jeux de Peau) and lots of vanilla (from the benzoin): the whole composition eventually turns very powdery, while remaining an amber scent from start to finish. It lasts for many hours and is surprisingly low-key, the kind of warm-skin scent that hangs around you but doesn't project to fill a lot of space. I've been wearing it for three days straight now, and can't find a single fault with it: Ambra Nera is ravishing, quite possibly the perfect amber scent.
But we scent hounds are a fickle lot. Perhaps there are still people who choose a single scent to represent themselves until they die (how? isn't that like listening to a single song for your entire life?), but I, obviously, am not one of them: my tastes change over time, my desires and interests change, and what seemed perfect twenty years ago no longer works. And so it is with ambers. My Holy Grail amber used to be Ambre Précieux, but I found over the years that either it or my perception of it had become cloying, overstated, too-much. Ambra Nera is the perfect replacement.