For a longer article on amber perfume, hop on over to Perfume Posse to read the comprehensive amber perfume guide.
Amber perfume is incredibly common today and a very popular choice for perfume. Amber begins life as tree sap that is slowly fossilized. It turns all brown and yellow, and it's gorgeous as jewlery! China in its long-ago ancient times burned amber for festivities. People that like to screw around with things found out at some point that if you burned amber just right, it would produce an oil of amber. If you combined that oil of amber with nitric acid, you would get a faux musk.
Natural amber is not used in modern perfumery. The actual material doesn't have that much smell or a smell that can be extracted. An "amber" note is really just the idea of what amber is or vaguely smells like. The combination of ambergris and labdanum would bring about a much more ambery smell than real amber. Now that ambergris is so hard to get, there are chemical or other natural substitutes that are used to approximate that warm ambery smell like copal and benzoin. Vanilla and spices are often added to augment the smell or move it in one direction or the other. So if someone is telling you a yarn about their perfume is authentic amber resin, they're really pulling your leg. Amber as a singular note in perfume isn't one thing; it is a type, an amber blend or accord.
Amber is used a lot in oriental perfumes; it provides that warm base that usually waves the "oriental" flag at you. There are a large number of amber perfumes, from vintage perfume to mainstream perfume to niche perfume. Finding the right one depends on what you are looking for. Do you like your amber rough, very resinous? Do you want it modulated and tame? The ambers in this category are amber-centric, they do not just include amber as a note. We also have some great amber sample sets so you can try a variety of amber perfumes depending on where you are in discovering amber perfume.