Has Ambre Loup been diluted and reformulated? The answer might be Yes. There are a few reasons why that could be the case, and I’ll go over them in this post.
Ambre Loup was released in 2012 with very different packaging, label text positioning and colour, cap colour, and alcohol percentage than what they are now. Back then, it came in a 50 ml size (and only in a 50 ml size); its black label had “Ambre Loup” written on top with “Rania J.” written below in silver-grey; the silver-grey box had 80% alcohol written on the side panel; and the cap was silver with no engravings or markings on it. Most of the following photos are from old listings on eBay, though the cap and bottle ones are mine:
Now let’s take a look at the current packaging which, I think, was released in 2019. Observe the differences in: box colour, label text positions and colours, and cap colour and engraving. I have been unable to find a photo online of the black box’s side panel showing the alcohol volume percentage but, by many accounts, it now reads as “83% volume.”
Let me add that the packaging changes seem to have occurred at the same time as Rania J. launching a 100 ml version of Ambre Loup. For years, all that was previously available was a 50 ml bottle.
On Fragrantica, as you will see below, several people have noted that current Ambre Loup has an 83% alcohol volume written on the box, not 80%, and I need to explain the meaning of that because it’s significant. The alcohol level relates to the percentage of fragrance oils in the composition. The more alcohol in a scent, the less overall fragrance materials there are. So, for example, a fragrance with 80% alcohol volume has 20% fragrance, putting it at or almost at extrait concentration. In contrast, a fragrance with a higher 83% alcohol volume has a lower level of 17% of actual scent which makes it an eau de parfum, not a parfum.
For the record, Rania J. said as recently as this year that Ambre Loup has not been reformulated. I was informed of that by a Twitter follower who bought a bottle and asked the store if the scent had been changed.
The earliest comment on Fragrantica about alleged Ambre Loup reformulation or differerences was in 2019, followed by two more in 2020:
Pb07 on 09/23/19:
This has been reformulated?
Newer one DOSENT project at all.. Earlier one has great depth but newer ones are not so complex. Earlier it was 80% volume newer ones are 83% volume
If you can get earlier version then it is worth.. Newer are just MEH!
Brigante21 on 03/04/21:
Pb07 is right, it has been reformulated. A friend has a new bottle and I noticed straight away that it was less potent than my bottle. Sure enough new one lists alcohol at 83%, original is 80%.
Now don’t get me wrong, it still smells great but it doesn’t knock your socks off in quite the same way. If you’ve never experienced the original then disregard this review and just enjoy it for what it is
Dingleberries on 12/31/20:
In 2013 I had a bottle and it was wonderful very nuclear performance. I just treated myself to a new bottle purchased from LuckyScent (Batch# 20.0766) and it’s lasting about 1-2 hours on skin IF THAT! it is very weak in performance, sillage & longevity. I’m very upset not even at the fact that I wasted $260 but that this once beautiful fragrance has been destroyed by time! Rania J I’m very disappointed in you I thought we were friends!
Apart from the alleged changes in fragrance concentration, longevity and sillage, it sounds to me as though there might also have been changes in Ambre Loup’s focal point. To be specific, many descriptions now talk about Ambre Loup as a vanilla-heavy fragrance, something which it wasn’t really before. Returning to Fragrantica, note the “monotonous vanilla” in this November 2020 description of Ambre Loup:
Narciso70 on 11/12/20:
For me It is not a special perfume as they say, in fact it has probably been reformulated because it also has a poor persistence and sillage.
The scent opens well: spicy amber but it’s only a moment.
After 10 minutes there remains a too monotonous vanilla on the skin, no amber is not at all special but to see the youtubers it would seem. Nothing animalic…oud? 🙂
Vanilla is, in fact, how and why my investigation into possible changes to Ambre Loup began. Either in late 2021 or early 2022, I strongly recommended Ambre Loup to a dear close friend, the famous beauty blogger Temptalia, when she sought recommendations on the best amber fragrances on the market. She enjoys fragrances with good sillage and longevity in the vein of Tom Ford‘s original version of Amber Absolute, so I shared my 2015 review of Ambre Loup and told her about the fragrance’s dark, sexy, smoky labdanum with its hashish-like spiciness, resinous leatheriness, and quasi-animalic oud muskiness.
Not once did I mention “vanilla” because vanilla is simply not something that comes to mind when I think of my beloved fragrance. Not once, not ever. Yes, there definitely is vanilla in the fragrance, but it is hardly a significant feature. It’s simply one of the tertiary things in the base.
So imagine my confusion and surprise at hearing that, on Temptalia, Ambre Loup was primarily a smoky vanilla fragrance with terribly weak sillage and terrible longevity. Though I can no longer recall the exact numbers she shared with me, I think Ambre Loup lasted only 4 or 5 hours on her. Ambre Loup! The fragrance that lasted so long on me in 2015 that it initially turned me off of the scent until the bouquet’s addictive magic made me fall wildly in love. I couldn’t fathom what I was hearing from my friend, so I suggested that she re-test with double the quantity. The result was the same. So she tested it on her husband and, while it was a darker scent on him with a sliver of resinous leatheriness, it still had loads of vanilla right from the start amidst the labdanum amber.
These scent profiles were so inapposite to my own experiences that she looked into the matter further; and it was she who alerted me to the Fragrantica comments regarding Ambre Loup’s poor performance and the alcohol volume change.
Then, roughly two weeks ago, someone commenting here put Les Indémodables Vanille Havane in the same category as Ambre Loup or equated them as similar. I blinked. I couldn’t understand how a vanilla tobacco fragrance could compare.
I tested Vanille Havana the other day. I can see why someone might find a few note parallels to Ambre Loup, particularly in terms of the resinous amber and smokiness. That said, my 2015 (?) bottle of Ambre Loup is ultimately so different in character, essence, central driving note focuses, and drydowns that I became even more convinced that something had happened to Ambre Loup.
Now, suddenly, other comments that people have made to me about Ambre Loup since 2020 are also making sense. Different Twitter followers have told me that: Ambre Loup has given them a headache; Ambre Loup didn’t last long on them; Ambre Loup had low sillage on them; and Ambre Loup had no perceptible or real oud.
Let me talk about the headache issue, because that was one more thing that made me suspicious about a possible Ambre Loup reformulation. As most of you know, I have an intense and very physical response to woody-amber or smoky aromachemicals. They give me a migraine at the very least. I would not and could not wear Ambre Loup if it had strong woody-amber synths. So when someone who says that they have far less sensitivity to aromachemicals than I tells me, circa 2020 or 2021, that Ambre Loup gave them a migraine, I did a double-take.
So what is the significance or point of all this? Does it change whether Ambre Loup is an enjoyable scent?
No, I’m not saying that the fragrance is now “bad.” I haven’t tried it to know.
But I think it’s important to alert you to the possibility that the Ambre Loup that I raved about – for years as one of my top personal favourites, that I put on one of my Best Of annual lists, and that was once compared by both me and others to Areej Le Doré‘s superb, limited-edition Russian Oud, an resinous, somewhat animalic, musky, oud-amber which has little in common with vanilla-centric fragrance like Vanille Havane – that Ambre Loup may no longer exist in terms of focal point, note emphasis, sillage, longevity, and/or concentration strength. I mean, my god, Ambre Loup is not meant to be a vanilla-amber or even a vanilla-heavy scent!
Again, Rania J. claims that she hasn’t changed Ambre Loup. In light of that, everything here is mere speculation, though the 80% vs 83% alcohol difference raised my eyebrows sharply. How can a fragrance with less fragrance oils and more alcohol possibly be identical to one with different numbers?
If you want to try Ambre Loup with the dark, addictive, dense, powerful, musky oud, smoky, leathery, and heavily spiced labdanum magic that stole my heart, then I’d suggest looking for bottles with a silver cap, a label that reads “Ambre Loup” written in white at the top, and a silver box that has an 80% alcohol volume number.