One of the great headache inducers of all time, a mimosa-tuberose-jasmine-cedar of toothaching proportion, Givenchy’s Amarige was also the inspiration for one of my favourite ever perfume reviews :

Everything that needs to be said about this most extroverted of florals is mentioned here: and like the Dandy, despite all the well deserved piss-taking and mirth, I also have a spot of affection for this fragrance’s sheer gregariousness (and it has just occurred to me: good lord there was a parfum/extrait strength of Amarige as well – what on earth must it have been like? Has anyone here ever tried it?

Are you personally totally averse to this unsubtle, monstrous Minerva, or do you, like me, sometimes find it to be retroactively cheering?

the parfum, which I have never experienced: : :: for those who don’t know Amarige, even the eau de toilette smells as eye-searing as the packaging

Picking up a stray bottle of this a few years ago just for the hell of it — Amarige really does smell like the beginning of the nineties – totally inescapable for a while — I found myself spraying on a little yesterday on my left wrist for a day of doing nothing but pottering at home and sitting on the tropical balcony and listening avidly to Kate Bush’s Never For Ever. Though unsuitable, it was suitable: my skin immediately bringing out the cedar in the base: buoyant and brash (good for these delicate times), perfect for housework — and I might have to do it again.

My biggest association with this most blaring of Givenchy perfumes though, is definitely with my friend Karen, who I know wore it for a long time as a teenager when trapped in a bad relationship with a smothering northern boyfriend (Amarige is an anagram of Mariage), but one day just finally decided that she had had enough. While stuck in a pub with him blathering and boasting away to his mates in some corner, glancing at her sometimes with a proprietary eye, she found herself drawn into a conversation with a wise and much older lady who, when hearing of her predicament, gave her the strongest advice that she could – from personal experience; then, when the moment was right (she had become her lookout and secretly ordered a taxi for K), told her to just do it, just leave —- and she did, leaving her stilettos behind on the floor; running, exhilaratedly barefoot through the snow.


Filed under Flowers

19 responses to “AMARIGE by GIVENCHY (1991)

  1. gunmetal24

    Go Karen!!! I hate proprietary eyes urghh.

  2. matty1649

    Well done,Karen. Hope you’ve had a very happy life X

  3. I adored Amarige and plan to buy a bottle as mine has long gone. I also adored The Perfumed Dandy’s reviews, notably Youth Dew, Obsession and Midnight Poison. I wish he still wrote them! I love the story of your friend escaping barefoot in the snow. Wouldn’t that make a great perfume ad at Christmas?

  4. So happy that your friend Karen escaped from such a toxic environment, barefoot!!!! In the snow!!!!! Like the ending to a film noir.
    I absolutely love Amarige!! It really works so well on my skin, and is very cheerful and sparkly. I know it has loads of detractors, but it is not a bad scent at all. I feel over application could be a cause of all the distaste. It just needs a touch, especially in the extrait version.

  5. Great post, dear Neil. Was just wearing this one last week. Potent is an understatement. Would love to smell the extrait.

  6. Hanamini

    Such strong associations for me from such a strong scent—my glamorous German friend in Tokyo, in the middle of a thrilling affair with someone who whisked her off to even further-flung places on a whim, indeed in the mid-90s. I tried it for myself but it was just too heady and overwhelming, and I wasn’t that person, and I never wanted anything in a red box (especially not with lime green or yellow on it too); but now I’m interested to try the extrait, if it’s a bit subtler, or to see if my chemistry has changed…My friend is now settled in middle Germany with a different man. I must check if she’s still wearing it. I’m certainly still wearing some of my favourites from that time.

  7. emmawoolf

    Haha. How can I not forget this? 1993, Cambridge. Sara Marani wore it and we must have talked about it enough for me to decide it was a good idea to buy a bottle for my 22nd birthday. The horror. I am also not that person. But yes – it was fun. Like lots of things back then!

  8. Phyllis Chiappini

    Amarige is my favorite perfume..I get so many complements from others when I wear it..

    I love it!

    Thank you!

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