Stephane Humbert Lucas 777 O Hira Eau de Parfum (SHL 777 O Hira for short!) is one of those scents that ends up being a must-try for those fascinated by amber accords. It is prohibitively expensive for most fragrance lovers, but as someone who was exploring the depths and grandeur of all things amber, I absolutely had to take the journey through this labdanum-centered scent that was everything I anticipated: rich, dark, and very nearly intoxicating in its singular intensity.
The note is listed simply as “fossilized amber,” but the brand said O Hira was designed to “express [the] primitive and noble odour” that layers “amber, leather and woody notes, headed by a superb pyrogenic Styrax” that give the “impressions of earth, salpetre, amber, and cinnamon” with a core “based on Tonka been, Torrefied vanilla, and musk.”
The opening was absolutely heady combination of smoky, honeyed booze that became muskier after a few minutes. There was a faint tickling of cinnamon spice but so subtle that it seemed effortlessly blended with the rest of the fragrance. After 15 minutes, O Hira became smokier and leathery with underpinnings of spiced woodiness. The leather retreated to a noticeable degree and was replaced by smoky, spiced labdanum that was a little animalic.
It is a soliflore, meaning that it was centered around a singular note, so the progression is more linear, and my experience was that the scent shifted in and out of being spicier, woodier, and sweeter but was always rich and heady. At times, it was more animalic in its underlying muskiness, other times it was smoky and leathery with less woodiness, and sometimes everything appeared but blended superbly together to create something spiced, smoked, woody, and musky with a deeper, more resinous sweetness. The drydown felt like pure amber: rich and resinous, like a chewy toffee but darker, still a little earthy, smoky, and spiced.
For testing, I used two sprays from a 2ml glass vial, which were applied to the underside and topside of my wrist area on my left arm. I used an unscented moisturizer prior to applying the scent as this is also my swatching arm (aka, incredibly parched at any given moment) as I found scent did not hold well here otherwise. It was long-lasting (over eight hours and was still detectable as a skin-scent) with moderate sillage and projection for the first hour but only hovered above my skin by a few inches for next two hours before becoming a skin-scent after three hours of wear (though still quite rich and intense when smelled up close).
Subjectively, it drew me in and kept me tucked in its labdanum embrace. Given that I have purchased many Tom Ford fragrances in the past, which can sometimes approach $375 for 50ml (cringe!), O Hira is still a stretch but if it was a scent I’d wear routinely, possibly something I could justify. That being said, as someone who often finds it difficult to commit to any one scent (thank goodness perfume lasts much longer than makeup!), it’s not on my list of future purchases because of its price, which has grown long and I’ve hardly made it through all the samples I have on my desk!