Amarige by Dominique Ropion for Givenchy 1991

Hiya Posse, Dominique Ripon’s 1990s were incredible. All of these still extant fragrances are on his list for that decade: Ralph Lauren Safari Woman, Krazy Krizia, Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant, Gucci Accenti, Givenchy Ysatis and Amarige and Caron Aimez – Moi. Only two fragrances he created from that decade in Fragrantica aren’t around much. Five of the nine are still in production. That seems like an amazing hit rate thirty years later in a world that most fragrances come and go.

My Amarige bottle is a couple of years old, a 30ml that I picked up for almost nothing in a sale.

Amarige by Dominique Ropion for Givenchy 1991

Amarige Givenchy FragranticaFragrantica

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top:  Mandarin, Neroli, Peach, Plum, Rosewood, Violet
Heart: Gardenia, Carnation, Jasmine, Cassia, Mimosa, Orchid, Black locust, Rose, Red berries, Blackcurrant, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang
Base: Amber, Woody notes, Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla, Cedar

The opening is fruity and full of the creamy yellow richness of ylang. It’s surprisingly radiant, but in a different way than the radiant florals of the 21st century. Amarige is more daring, alluring and outrageous. There is a certain amount of screech but it is WAY less than I remember from wearing it a few times when I bought the bottle. The whole scent seems to have deepened and burnished beautifully.

Through the heart mimosa, ylang and white florals combine harmoniously. There is the slightly high pitched whine of berries, cassia and blackcurrant floating effortlessly over the top. This is pretty much exactly the fragrance I remember hugging into whenever I saw my favourite Aunty in the early 1990s. She must have gone through gallons of it. Even the air in her home and car was thick with Amarige.

Amarige Givenchy Freddycat1 Barbie booklet 1991 FlickrFlickr

I think many of our noses have graduated far past this beauty. As the lure of niche has called us and our tastes become more refined something as brazen, high octane and potent can be seen as outdated, IFRA regulation must have changed a bunch of the components and I’m sure the company puts a lot less money into the juice nowadays as well. Still, it has the heart of the fragrance I remember so well and doesn’t skimp on size.

I was reminded of it recently at work when one of my favourite ladies brought out her purse Amarige bottle and spritzed lavishly. She’s been wearing it for so long that it sinks into her skin and becomes what we all know as her. It never seems loud or overwhelming on her and she spray A LOT!

Most of the online discounters have Amarige.

Did you ever wear this fabulous monster? What memories do you have of it?
Portia xx

  • Ingeborg says:

    Well, I had a bottle of Amarige many years ago. I don’t remember it as very loud, but certainly making a scented cloud around the wearer. Amarige was never really me, so I haven’t bought it again. I remember using it in summer for festive occasions, while Joop was for going to parties with other students. Loud perfumes just aren’t accepted in the same way these days, that’s my impression anyway.

    • Yeah Ingeborg,
      I think it’s considered rude to overwhelm nowadays, I kind of get it but miss the engulf of a bear hug with a fully fragrant person. Unless I’m out with the sniffy crew and then it OTT!
      Portia xx

  • Jenbat says:

    Aw, this is a big fave of my mum’s and I love it too, along with the rest on that list. I lump it in with Poison, big brash numbers that are overwhelming, beautiful, direct the course of the day when worn. Thanks for the review!

    • A big fave of your Mum’s Jenbat? Then you must have spent hours cuddled into its fabulousness. Yeah go large or go home frags that ruled our mothers lives, we were so lucky to grow up with those huge numbers.
      Portia xx

  • March says:

    Amarige! I feel like it’s part of a “type” and I love it. As far as loud vintage perfumes go, I’m a sucker for Poison and YSL Paris. Both vintage, of course.

  • Neva says:

    Amarige was always around back then but not in my house. It was a bit too loud for me. I’ve smelled a flanker called Amarige Mariage once and that I liked more. Of all the mentioned perfumes which are all remarkable, I like Safari most. I have never smelled the current version though.
    I was wearing Ysatis when I became pregnant and since I was very sensitive to smells, suddenly it became repulsive and I could never wear it again.

    • Hey Neva,
      Safari is getting a load of nods this week. I need to go and get some on my skin after all these years.
      BUMMEER about the Ysatis. Have you retried it lately?
      Portia xx

      • Neva says:

        No, I’ve never revisited it again. There was too much new stuff to try out. I think Ysatis has been discontinued…

  • Cyndi says:

    I wore Amarige many years ago and was always complemented on it. However, I read the Turin/Sanchez review on it and remember them stating that you should only wear this perfume at home with the windows taped shut! Yikes!

    • HA! Yeah, I remember reading that Cyndi and being appalled. They were so harsh sometimes, unnecessarily I thought.
      It’s still for sale and selling so Amarige must be doing something right.
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    btw – those Barbies are terrifyingly fabulous!!! xoxoxo

    • Oh yes, aren’t they though! When I saw that picture I jumped on it immediately. It really felt like most of us who remember Amarige would have KILLED to have our Barbies high styled so ferociously.
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    Looking at the notes, you’d think Amarige would’ve me ME! But something was never quite right between us. YSL Paris was my BWF – and I probably gassed out more than one bus/subway car, what with the body lotion/powder/edp combo, all done in copious quantities! lol! Hair gelled and spiked to within an inch of its life, the Maud Frizon shoes and Jimmy Gamba suits…oh! Those were the DAYS, bay-bee! Good times.


    • Hey Musette,
      That so interesting that you wear Paris as a BWF, when Mum wore it I always smelled the roses and what I know know as violet but read back then as a dewy coolness on the roses.
      What a freaking beautiful scent it was too. Paris smelt like it should have been for the nice girls but put it in a room with Opium, Poison and Samsara and Paris was the victor EVERY TIME!
      Something about it cut the rest to shreds and left them harmlessly pinned against the wall.
      Good memories,
      Portia xx

      • Musette says:

        well, to be honest, I consider ALL big florals to be BWFs! LOL! You know I am skittery AF when it comes to notes and I have what the Good Lord gave the Perfumed Lizard: a rusty ass and a ramblin’ mind! (gosh, that brought my dad right back! )

  • DinaC says:

    One of my high school girlfriends has worn Amarige as her signature scent forever. It smells great on her. Another gal wears Ysatis as hers when she bothers to put scent on. And I’m partial to Safari, though I don’t do the signature scent thing. Big scents don’t frighten us since we’re all theatre kids and all about the drama. 😉

    • WOW! I’d love to be in your wake when you three wander down the street DinaC,
      I bet they swoon behind you all.
      Safari seems to be the 1980s Dominique Ropion perfumista choice.
      Portia xx

  • hczerwiec says:

    I’m with Queen Cupcake — I have a small decant of Amarige and have a love/hate relationship with it, but I’ve loved Safari since the late-’80s.

    • Hi there HCZERWIEC,
      Another vote for Safari. Good choice.
      I think the love/hate relationship is part of what makes the old white floral screamers so interesting. Some days they fit and others they are so out of place.
      Portia xx

  • Roseyposeyleo says:

    I agree with you. Maybe it’s my older self, but I’ve yet to find a perfume, ie Creed, that you can still smell a few hours later. What’s going on. When I mention this to the Nordstrom perfume people they look at me as if I’m deranged! Just an complaining old lady. I refuse to put down $200 – $300 for something that leaves me in 3 hours. Is it me? Any suggestions.

    • Hey Roseyposeyleo,
      There are some stellar performers in the niche and indie arena. Tauer perfumes, Montale, Mancera, some of the Guerlains, Miller et Bertaux, Neela Vermeire, Maison Francis Kurkdjain and more that I can’t think of immediately. Try these houses.
      Portia xx

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    I never truly gave Amarige or Ysatis a fair trial–they didn’t seem to be “me”. Safari, however, is a staple in my vintage collection that I will always love. It really works on my skin, and I’ve had many compliments on it. Ropion certainly created some great, long-lasting classics!

    • Portia says:

      Hey there Queen Cupcake,
      Safari IS lovely.
      Those big old white floral screamers aren’t for everyone, it would be a dull old world if we all smelled the same.
      Portia xx

  • shiva-woman says:

    I have a bottle of Amarige that I like but doesn’t get much wear. However Kenzo Elephant Jungle L’Elephant absolutely does. This later scent was incredibly provocative, forward, and still is just heavenly! A real bang for the buck– and far more Thai and Indian than offerings like Malabar, B Bling, or la Douceur de Siam, not that those are bad, but I think L’Elephant is a basic foundational scent.
    And Ysatis. OMG. Love. I do not EVER wear to “the office.” This one I save for….cycling, laugh if you will. On a hot day, with many miles ahead and wearing those circulation-cutting bike shorts, this is the SOTD. Nothing stands up to heat, sweat, road and long miles like Ysatis. And the trail! Wow. I have two bottles of ” vintage” Ysatis. The more recent versions are not the big shoulder-pads, frosted hair originals.
    I do more frequently tap my niche ‘fumes, but these are classics. Amarige is really quite good– and all stand up, and don’t ghost.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Shiva-Woman,
      So interesting that L’Elephant is your go-to. Somehow it doesn’t gel for me and though I’ve bought it in vintage and the modern my skin sent it less than lovely in both cases and I moved them on to happier homes.
      HA HA I can imagine the other cyclists looking and sniffing as you swoosh by smelling like a million dollars.
      Portia xxx