Perfume Review – Roberto Cavalli Eau de Parfum: My Guilty Pleasure

When you’re constantly writing about perfume, when you’re always testing something and have to concentrate on every nuance, every flickering whisper, every change over hours and hours, the end result is that you often turn to something uncomplicated, happy and comforting as your own personal choice. Mine happens to be a bit of a guilty pleasure, a scent that a perfume snob would probably recoil from in horror and disdain. RCI simply don’t care. I’m coming out of the perfume closet with my absolute favorite embarrassing love: Roberto Cavalli Eau de Parfum, the signature scent of the Italian fashion designer, Roberto Cavalli.

Roberto Cavalli Eau de Parfum (hereinafter “Roberto Cavalli”) came out in February 2012. Some months later, I stumbled upon it while browsing in Sephora. I sprayed it, blinked, sprayed more, and deeply inhaled with a faint moan. I went home and couldn’t stop sniffing my arm. A few days later, I went to Ulta and, there it was again, beckoning to me like some orange-blossom siren in a Roberto Cavalli silk dress. I resisted. (Just barely.) I went home, read a number of snotty reviews on it, but couldn’t stop thinking about the scent. A week later, I caved. That night, I positively doused myself in the perfume and announced on Facebook that I smelled so good, I …. Well, never mind what I said. Suffice it to say, it made me feel like a siren and a slithering panther, all in one. And that was before I watched the video!

Roberto Cavalli is classified as floral oriental on Fragrantica, but I think it would be more accurate to call it a fruity-floral Oriental. The Cavalli website describes it as follows:

“A luminous and sexy print” – Roberto Cavalli.

The Roberto Cavalli perfume belongs to the ambery floral family. It is an exuberant and sunny fragrance whose top notes, lit by pink peppers, exude a genuine strength of character. Vibrant and sensual, it exhilarates and mesmerises from the very first contact.

At the heart of the Roberto Cavalli perfume one finds all the majesty of the absolute of orange blossom. It is a colour as much as a scent that reveals an ultra-feminine trail and leaves no-one indifferent.Roberto Cavalli

This sensuality finally wraps itself into the captivating base notes of the tonka beans that leaves an appetizing imprint on the skin… essentially addictive.

Louise Turner, perfumer at Givaudan, created the Roberto Cavalli signature fragrance.

I’ve read some differing notes for the perfume. Fragrantica adds benzoin to the base and says the tonka bean is toasted. Macy’s, for some reason, adds Mirabelle plum in the base. So, the notes — to put it in a clearer form and as compiled — seem to be:

Top: Pink Peppercorn.
Middle: Orange Blossom Absolute
Bottom: Toasted Tonka Bean, Benzoin & Mirabelle Plum.

The only review I could find for Roberto Cavalli from a (primarily) perfume blog came from Angela at Now Smell This. She most definitely did not share my passion for the perfume which she calls Roberto Cavalli “For Her.” (A number of people and websites do call the perfume “For Her,” and I realise it can be quite confusing, but the name on Cavalli’s own website is simply “Roberto Cavalli.”) In a scathing review, she found the opening to be unoriginal but, still, it was okay: it was “juicy, fresh, and warm. This is the first impression that sells a thousand bottles.” And she loved the bottle — which is probably just as well for Roberto Cavalli since he spent a lot of money making a whole video to show it off.

But then came the bad part of her review:

After fifteen minutes comes the deal breaker: a wave of the nauseating, bug-spray woody musk that dominates way too many new releases often positioned as neo-chypres. It’s the one smell in perfume that gives me a headache. The woody musk is hard to describe, but if you’ve smelled it, you’ll know what I mean. It smells synthetic and stifling, like a mohair sweater sprayed with Raid and swathed in hot Saran wrap.

The comments to her post are almost entirely from people who haven’t smelled the perfume and who went on to have fun imagining a thousand different ways that this could have been a better fragrance. That’s perfectly fine. We all do it when reading a negative review. (And, honestly, who wouldn’t with a review like that quoted up above?!!) The thing is, months later, when people had actually smelled the perfume, a number of people wrote about how much they loved it.

And that love is shared on Fragrantica too, where the comments are overwhelmingly positive. (All the talk about it being “heavenly” and “falling in love” may explain why the perfume is frequently sold out on a number of different sites, as the details at the end of my post will show). On MakeupAlley, the 6 reviews are more mixed. Some find the scent to be very ’80s and dated, while others say that it is a lovely romantic scent that is reminiscent of Amarige but without the latter’s harshness. And a number detect something akin to tuberose, frangipani, sandalwood and/or amber.

I think all those comments are quite astute and correct to an extent — minus the NST bug spray comparison — but I would love Roberto Cavalli no matter what people said. It opens with a huge burst of African orange blossom. It’s massive, immediate, undeniable — and I adore it, especially in conjunction with the pink peppercorn that trails behind it like a handmaiden. There are strong undertones of peach, honeysuckle, tonka bean, musk, and something that smells like fake sandalwood. More subtle is the hint of plum that dances in the background. The orange blossom has, on different occasions, a light soapy aspect that always surprises me whenever it pops up. I shouldn’t like it, or even the occasionally synthetic note, but I do. (Probably because I don’t smell anything that Angela at NST did!)

Plus, the “synthetic” notes aren’t of the variety that I’m used to and normally recoil from. There is none of that extreme burning sensation or tightness in the bridge of my nose which is always a dead giveaway (to me) of synthetics and the precursor to an inevitable headache. This isn’t the same sort of sharply synthetic note that utterly felled me in Frederic Malle‘s Lipstick Rose and made me scrub it off less than two hours in, perfume review be damned. It’s not  even the synthetic note which drove me to whimpering agony in Illuminum‘s White Gardenia Petals, in Montale‘s Aouds, or in my two extremely painful forays into the L’Artisan Parfumeur line. (If nothing else, those examples should show you that synthetics are not limited to mass-market brands!) No, in Roberto Cavalli, it’s something else which I can’t quite pinpoint, but which doesn’t seem very real.

And, yet, I don’t care one whit! There is a cocooning, enveloping warmth to the perfume that takes me to an orchid in a warm Mediterranean climate, like Sicily perhaps, where the air is heavy with the narcotically heady orange blossoms that I adore so much. The orchid is filled with peach trees that lie low to the ground, heavy and overburdened with ripened fruit that beg to be eaten. I take a bite and, as the juice dribbles down my chin, the sweetness is almost as thick as the honey I smell. It’s a swirl of intense orange blossom, peach and honey with spiced amber and musk. Up ahead, I see plums and honeysuckle trees, beckoning. I’m transported there on a wave of ambered sweetness, emanating from warmly toasted, roasted tonka beans, and sensuous musk. Yes, there may be a bug or two hovering amidst the musk, but it is only a microscopic gnat, barely visible in the shimmer of sensuality that hovers above my skin. Plus, it may be just my imagination after having read the NST review.

As time progresses there is a buttery feel to the flowers which envelop me. They are indolic and heady but, on me, never verging on sour, plastic-y, or rotting fruit. (See the Glossary for an explanation of indoles and how indolic scents can turn on some skin.) I can see how some may wonder if there is tuberose or amber in the fragrance; it certainly feels like it sometimes. There is also an exuberant, bouncy, sunny feel to the scent that explains the comparisons to the poor, much maligned, notorious Amarige, a floral powerhouse fragrance which has been pilloried in the court of public opinion. But Roberto Cavalli is much spicier, much warmer and much more ambered, especially in its dry-down. And it’s actually not as heady, powerful or rich as Amarige. I’m not quite sure how Angela at NST found this to be a twist on a modern chypre, as I think it’s pure floral oriental.

My perfume cocoon is huge at first, pulsating its way about two to three feet ahead of me, but its intensity lasts only for the first 30 minutes, before becoming more moderate for another three hours. (On Fragrantica, the sillage is categorized as “moderate,” too.) Around the third hour, Roberto Cavalli becomes much closer to the skin, but the perfume lasts like a silken sheath over my skin. Hours and hours later, my orchid walk is at an end. It was a very long walk — perhaps 9 hours all in all– with the remaining three hours being very simple ones. A quiet path of peach, orange, amber and vanilla benzoin.

Few perfumes are so consistently easy, uncomplicated, comforting and “happy” for me to wear. It requires little thought or effort. When I’m worn out by deducing notes in intellectually challenging works of art (like many Serge Lutens fragrances), when I’m tired of thinking about perfume and just want to wear the bloody thing, Roberto Cavalli is often what I reach for. I wouldn’t say that Roberto Cavalli is a scent that demonstrates the highest-quality pure oils or ingredients, but I simply don’t care. It is exuberant, energizing, happy, and lush. I particularly love to wear it at night, after a long day and a hot bath, when I’m comfy in my pajamas and about to vegetate before some television show that I’m too tired to really watch with any focus. And, yet, despite the coziness of such a scenario, Roberto Cavalli always makes me feel deeply sexy. It’s a scent that calls out for the sheerest of silks and satins, and seduction in the boudoir.

It is not, however, a scent for everyone. Those who prefer light, airy, clean or fresh scents should stay far, far away. This is far too rich, indolic and heady for them. For those who love complicated, more nuanced, more high-end luxury scents, this isn’t for you, either. In fact, ideally, you would ALL stay away from Roberto Cavalli, so that I can be the only woman in the world to smell like this. My guilty pleasure. All mine.

Do you have a secret, guilty pleasure perfume? If so, what do you love about it?

Cost: The perfume is available in a variety of different sizes and prices. Roberto Cavalli comes in a 1.0 oz/30 ml bottle that costs $48 or £35.00, but which I’ve only seen available on the Robert Cavalli website, not in stores. It is also available in a 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle that costs $65 or £48.00. Finally, it comes in a 2.5 oz/75 ml bottle that costs $85, but that size may be limited only to the US website and US stores. There is also an accompanying body lotion and shower gel, if you’re interested. The Roberto Cavalli website is a bit tricky to navigate, so I’ve broken it down. The perfume section of the US website for Roberto Cavalli can be found here. The UK version is here. There are also about 40 different countries for which Roberto Cavalli has product information and pricing, and you can find that section of the website here.

Availability & Locations: In the US, the 1.7 oz size is available at Sephora, but it is currently (and very often) sold out on the website! Also sold out is the $22 roller-ball in a 0.2 oz size. It is available on the Saks Fifth AvenueNordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s websites in both larger sizes (1.7 oz and 2.5 oz), along with some special gift box deal at the latter. I don’t know if it is available in all the actual stores, though. A reader just informed me that Nordstrom no longer carries the line in its brick-and-mortar sites, though it is listed on the website. The perfume is also no longer carried by Ulta or, at least, it’s not on its website. However, if all else fails, it seems to be carried on AmazonIn the UK, Roberto Cavalli is available at Debenhams and Harrods. In France, I found Roberto Cavalli listed on the Printemps website, but no indication as to whether that included the perfume along with the clothes. I couldn’t find it on Gallerie Lafayette, but Roberto Cavalli has his own stores in Paris and France which should carry it. In Australia, I found it listed on Adore Beauty where the prices start at AUD$80 for the smallest size (1.0z/30 ml), but all sizes and all accompanying products are completely sold out! For all other countries, you can turn to the Cavalli website.

42 thoughts on “Perfume Review – Roberto Cavalli Eau de Parfum: My Guilty Pleasure

  1. I like a really terrible perfume called Pink Sugar, I may even have reviewed it on Fragrantica under the name jeannieby.I have been too busy to keep that up but I find it a lot of fun.
    I suppose that Pink Sugar is a guilty pleasure,,, in that I am ashamed to write that I like it!
    I do not subject other people to it very often.

    I adore the smell of real sandalwood, as well.

    My old favourites, I think, are long gone–for example, Bigarade by Nina Ricci (not a fan of hers in general however) , Fleurs de Rocaille by Caron and si many others.
    I prefer to write about the ones I love, but I don’t know anything yet about perfume reviewing. I just write about how they make me feel.
    Thank you, jean

    • Some of my favorite perfume blogs write *only* about how the perfume makes them feel. I think that is perhaps one of the most important aspects of reviewing a perfume, because people can always go to Fragrantica if they just want the basic, bottom-line facts! So good for you.

      I love the smell of real sandalwood, too. It’s one of my favorite notes. It’s such a shame that it’s become so rare in its real form in perfumes nowadays. The synthetics or the Australian “sandalwood” really cannot compare. 🙁

      Pink Sugar is a lot of people’s guilty pleasure from what I’ve read. My theory is — if something makes you feel utterly joyous — Rock it! Whatever it is! 😀

  2. Now this was a great review because you let it go with the passion at any price and unashamed love for this perfume. You didn’t over-analyze it, you just fell into it and enjoyed the moment and took us with you on a wonderful journey though that lush garden in Sicily. When you let go and dive into the emotion you really can fly Wendy to the Neverland of perfume.
    This is my favorite review so far.
    I have been eyeing and circling this perfume for a few months. I really want to smell it for myself and see if it is something I might like to wear. You know me and “Women’s” perfume. Wear what you love not what “They” say you should love, that’s my mantra these days.
    And yes the bottle is a gorgeous work of glass art. As for being a guilty pleasure …enough of that. No guilt just love it and wear it and fly that Roberto Cavalli flag with pride.

    As for my tacky love it would have to be Red for Men by Giorgio of Beverly Hills. It smells like the redwood forest Madeline and Scotty strolled though in “Vertigo”. From the 80’s it is not loud at all but rather sophisticated and lovely.

    • I think Red for Men is very sophisticated, complex and masculine. And I bought a bottle for my father just a few years ago, so I’m not just saying it either! If I recall correctly, isn’t that the one that supposedly has over 626 ingredients? Mind-boggling, if true! Honestly, I don’t think I could even NAME 200 ingredients, let alone 626! On my father, it’s a very spicy, herbal, woody, citrusy scent that always reflect diff. layers each time I smell it.

      Thank you for the sweet words about my review. I think I would definitely write more passionately and less analytically if I loved more perfumes. But few actually sweep me away. Far, far too few – which, given how many I smell a week, says something. It’s hard to summon up the enthusiasm sometimes, truth be told. Plus, I try to be fair and give all sides even for things I am not crazy about; it’s really hard sometimes to shake the lawyer mind and legal pro/con approach. But I promise to inject more emotion in my reviews and be a little less like I’m approaching one of my old cases. *grin*

      I hope you get the chance to try Roberto Cavalli. I actually wondered if you’d like this given your love for Mitsouko and its peach seductiveness, though that’s obviously in a whole other class and league!!

      • Oh wow that is great that you like Red and you gave it to your Papa! Yee Haw! Homerun! Yes I am going to Saphora tomorrow early to see if I can find Roberto Cavalli
        …(send me an email I lost yours! )

  3. Wow! It sounds like right up my alley. I’ll definitely test it out the next time I encounter it. My guilty pleasure is Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion. I’ve been wearing it for the last month and a half. It’s very retro and over the top but I love it especially when it dries down to those gorgeous deep and strong notes.

    • I don’t think I’ve smelled Passion in years and YEARS! All I remember is a very opulent scent but nothing more, so I went and looked it up. Holy smokes! It sounds fabulous! Now I have become utterly obsessed with giving it a whiff. Is your version vintage? Has it changed? It must have with all that oakmoss and civet, but I bet it’s still lovely. Incense and leather, galbanum and artemesia…. mmmm! I looked up what Luca Turin said about it and he called it a “foghorn” (lol!) and “Z-17 in drag.” That’s it. The sum total of his review. And I don’t have the faintest clue what on earth that means. What’s Z-17??! Whatever, I don’t care. I don’t agree with His Majesty most of the time and Passion’s notes sound extremely intriguing. Next time I’m at Macy’s, I’m going hunting for this one to smell!

      • Oh I forgot and Little Red reminded me. I have a bottle of Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion for Men… it smells really spicy and exotic. But I hate the bottle!

      • I don’t think it’s vintage. I bought a 3-pc gift set from an online etailer less than ten years ago. It’s not sold at any department stores anymore. You’d have better luck at the drug store. I’ve never smelled Z-17 either so I don’t know what that comparison is supposed to mean. But yes, it’s definitely a powerful scent. I had to reduce the amount sprayed from ten spritzes to six in order not to gas out everyone at work. If you don’t find it anywhere locally you can test it out, I can send a decant from my bottle. It’s rather huge at 75 mL so I have quite a bit to spare. Let me know.

        • I suspect it probably is a vintage formulation. Since perfumes began to change in 2008, in preparation for the 2010 IFRA rules, and then after that, something with so much oakmoss and other curtailed ingredients which you bought more than 4 years ago is probably very different than it is now. But I will definitely hunt it down. And if I can’t find it, I promise to let you know! Thank you very much for the sweet offer, S! BTW, a big LOL at the “in o rder not to gas out everyone at work.” 😀

  4. No need to be ashamed of a scent you love! No, it may not be technically made of all the finest ingredients, but no matter – if it smells good on you, wear it with pride!

  5. I applaud you! If you love a fragrance, who cares what anyone else thinks. All that counts is how it makes you feel when you wear it. Bravo too for creating a lemming for Roberto Cavalli! Never before have I been overcome with the desire to march out in the freezing wet snow of New York at past midnight to go to the 24-hr Sephora in Times Square. Or maybe it’s not open 24/7, but it’s open pretty darn late. Common-sense took over, but believe me, the next time I pass one I am going to try this one on my skin!

    • A “lemming”? My very first official LEMMING!!!! *does a happy jig* I’m so thrilled, you have no idea. Not just that I actually and officially created a lemming in someone at last, but that it is for this perfume. But a big LOL at the thought of you going to Sephora in Times Square, late, late at night, and trudging through the freezing wet snow! Ha. You have no idea how much you’ve made my day, BaconBiscuit! 😀

      • So I actually did drag my butt to a Sephora on my way home to find that they don’t carry Roberto Cavalli in stores anymore! Or at least not at any NYC stores. Boo!!!!

        Am headed to Macy’s tomorrow. Look at this lemming you made! 🙂

        • Hahaha! I’m so utterly thrilled and happy! I really don’t mean to be laughing at your travails, but I’ve never actually created a lemming before! Is this what blogger delerium feels like?! 😀

          But, dammit, Sephora doesn’t carry it in their stores?! I’ll have to update my blog again, since someone told me that Nordstrom has stopped carrying Cavalli perfume as well in their brick-and-mortar sites, despite having it online. If Macy’s doesn’t have it, then I don’t know what’s going on!

  6. If we didn’t have guilty pleasures, especially the ones that seem to completely bypass our rational minds “We really ought not!” directly to “OMG! ♥♥♥” well…the world would indeed be very boring. 😉

    And now once again, you’ve made me very curious.At least this time you’ve chosen one that is somewhat easier to track down. 😉

    • Ah, you and Alahine. I actually had a huge whiff of the bottle this morning and thought of you. How funny that this one would be the next perfume to intrigue you. Truth be told, I’m glad. I think it’s such a sexy, happy scent! If you try it, you’ll have to let me know what you think. Are Roberto Cavalli fragrances easy to find in the Netherlands?

      • They aren’t that hard to find, as I can see a high street chain is offering the perfume in their webshop. Just like any other big name, they are all over the place.

        Will do!

        • I guess I just don’t think of Roberto Cavalli as a big name, since I would never wear any of the clothes that I’ve seen from him and since I don’t know anyone who does. *grin*

  7. Last night, I hunted down my one sample of this and it is today’s SOTD. It is supremely wearable on me except at the very beginning when I smelled something akin to coconut (okay, it is not like ::: shudder ::: LOTV, but it is one of my “try to avoid” scents). Anyway, I stopped by Nordstrom today and horrors, they no longer carry the line in-store but a half-full tester was on hand so the SA made me 3 spray vials. It is still available online and it can still be transferred to your local Nordstrom from other stores.

    Guilty pleasures: I have decided that anything that is not a necessity is a guilty pleasure. I can really drive myself crazy with the thought that were it not for x that I bought for $x, I could have made a cash donation to benefit [name any charity].

    Blog Reviews: I do find quite a bit of piling on and yours truly may be guilty sometimes; however, I am one who usually keeps an open mind and if the write-up / notes are interesting enough, I make a mental note to try it at some point. I would NEVER be embarrassed liking/loving something that a perfumista hates and vice versa – really, they are just opinions. The world is more interesting with opposing views (that do not lead to war and human suffering).

    • Hajusuuri, you never cease to amaze me and to make me feel grateful that my words can have some influence, no matter how small. The fact that my post led you to dig through your samples to uncover a vial of this not only impressed me but made me really happy. And you seem to have liked it too! Well, minus that opening on you. A big LOL at your shudders over anything even *faintly* reminiscent of the traumatic Andy Tauer. (You have made me utterly determined to smell it now, btw.)

      I wonder if your initial impression is a reaction to indoles. Roberto Cavalli is a very indolic scent and that can translate to a very buttery feel to the flowers sometimes. People have commented that it felt as though there were tuberose, frangipani, tiare or some other very buttery flower in there — and all those things can be evocative of coconut sometimes. Since a number of those flowers are OFTEN used in coconut concoctions, it may be a mental association and link that your mind makes when smelling a very buttery floral? That might be it. Regardless of cause, how utterly fascinating that you got an impression of coconut. I *LOVE* reading how people interpret the same scent; I find it endlessly intriguing. 😀

      Good to know that Nordstrom’s no longer carries the line in-store. I shall have to update the post, so thank you for that extremely helpful bit of information. But how cool is it that the sales assistant made you up three big spray vials of this?! I know you call yourself a “slow tester” and have to give things a few tries, so please let me know if it goes beyond being “supremely wearable” (a big YAY at that, btw!) and starts being something you really love! A big massive hug to you, especially for your open-mindness towards all scents, but most of all for actually trying Roberto Cavalli! *hugs*

  8. There wouldn’t be so many different fragrances out there if there weren’t people who loved them. So go on girl and spritz your Robert Cavalli to your heart’s desire!

  9. I just remembered that I stumbled upon Roberto Cavalli fragrance before Christmas at TJ Maxx for an extremely low price. I really liked the bottle but for some reason didn’t have the chance to sniff it out. I will absolutely try it out next time I see it!
    As for a guilty pleasure of mine it has to be Yves Saint Laurent Nu that I love dearly(the EDP concentration). I believe it wasn’t a popular one so they had to discontinue it.

    • How sad that they discontinued your favorite guilty pleasure. What made Nu EDP hold you in such thrall? The incense and spice, or the more woody aspects? (I’m trying to pinpoint your perfume profile in full. LOL) 😉 I can’t recall the scent well but I recall that I found it utterly lovely. You know, YSL used to be one of my top & favorite lines for perfumes, way, way back when. I swear, I hold the deepest grudge against L’Oreal for how they’ve destroyed the entire YSL brand of perfumes. They either discontinued a large number of them, or just gutted and changed them entirely. And that’s wholly separate from what they’ve done to my beloved Opium. *glare* There is no way that is all IFRA’s fault.

      If you try the Roberto Cavalli, you will have to let me know what you think of it. 🙂

      • I will absolutely let you know my impression of Roberto Cavalli. I 100% with you that L’Oreal destroyed such and amazing house as YSL. It became so uninspiring and blah that I gave up on the new editions to YSL line(e.g. L’Homme Libre).
        What I like about Nu is the combination of incense and spices. Very warming especially on the cold snowy night here in Philadelphia.

  10. Dear Kafka…oh how your readers wuv you so (hee). I interrupt my super busy day to let you know, in case you didn’t… from Saks: (I’m tempted)
    Receive a deluxe sample of Roberto Cavalli Eau de Parfum (0.17 oz.)* with a $65 Roberto Cavalli fragrance purchase. Use code RCAVALL3 at checkout.

    • Ha! You’re so sweet to think of my, Hajusuuri! 😀 Have you gotten a chance to try it yourself? Perhaps when you go to Macy’s to sniff the Adam Levine fragrance, you can track this one down too.

  11. Wow, for some reason, I was quite surprised for your blog to come up when I googled this one… I have a mini of this that I very much enjoy, but don’t seem to hear mention of it anywhere, which is exactly why I was looking it up. I’m really glad it doesn’t smell like bubblegum to me as some people describe it on Fragrantica, that would be a bit disturbing…

    Scent Twins strike again!

    • Good lord, really??!!! Roberto Cavalli as well?!! I’m going to have to ask my mother if she gave birth to twins and separated us at birth! LOL. Do you know, they’ve apparently discontinued this one? They’ve replaced it with something similar but one sales assistant that I spoke to said that the new one has different notes and isn’t exactly the same. Such a shame. It’s such a cozy, relaxing, easy, wearable scent.

      • Oh no! That is a terrible shame…. reformulations and discontinuations make me saaaadddd! I mean, I realize it’s probably a flooded market, but why do they so consistently seem to choose the WRONG ones to change or discontinue? I still don’t understand why they needed to water Opium down like they did… is it really all IFRA, or is it trying to make it something more palatable for the modern person? If it’s the latter, screw modern ~sulks~ – If it’s IFRA, well, I probably don’t need to start in on them this early in the day.

        We certainly do seem to have nearly identical scent preferences… to the point of oddness, but it certainly does make for excellent fragrance conversations!

  12. Before my fb of Cavalli arrived, I started to worry that it would be a girly flowerbomb, but it most definitely wasn’t. The opening orange blossoms weren’t overwhelming & I think the “fake” sandalwood toned down any sweetness & added a nice creaminess to the flowers & the base.

    This is easily a unisex perfume. I prefer this one over Black Orchid because the Black Orchid is a little sweet on my skin. Cavalli isn’t at all. Now, the sillage dropped on my skin fairly soon, as in your experience, but it is very tenacious & not at all a powerhouse.

    Thanks for the recommendation. I might spray this over a base of Anubis, the George/Anubis combo was terrific.!

    • I’m so glad to hear that it worked out for you, Ed! Great news about the unisex feel and the balanced sweetness. I had to chuckle at your fear that it would be a “girly flowerbomb.” Heh. Those lingering fears about florals being too feminine at play there. 😉

      Did Black Orchid really turn sweet on you? (If so, stay far, far away from the Velvet one. LOL!) How fruity were the Cavalli fragrance’s orange blossoms, and did you get a very ambered feel as a whole? Interesting that you found it to be tenacious but without powerhouse sillage, because a friend thought the exact opposite. Initially great projection, but her skin ate up the scent extremely quickly, to the point that she felt she had to apply a LOT of it. I’m glad it lasts better on you than on her.

      In terms of additional layering suggestions, perhaps the Cavalli would work well with Hard Leather, given the mutual woodiness in the base?

      • Haha about my girly flowerbomb fears, but I guess I was afraid that the Cavalli would be all flower & no warm, ambery base. I actually got an ambered feel. The orange blossoms were slightly indolic, but definitely not fruity.

        I gave it a couple more big sprays after 2 hours because the sillage dropped considerably, but the scent was still strong enough for me to smell it on myself. I wonder if it’s the tonka that gives it a creamy, cool feeling (topped w/ orange blossom)?

        Will try the Hard Leather/Cavalli.

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  14. I can’t believe I’ve stumbled across someone who loves Cavalli as much as I! My Husband brought me this perfume home probably 4 years or so ago and I fell in love with it – so much so that it is now my sole go to scent. I stumbled upon your blog searching for any threads where people have found similar fragrances in a bid to try find a new perfume. So – have you got any suggestions for something similar that I could get? I fear I have become slightly nose blind to the smell, so need to change it up and use it less often!

    • Hi there,

      Yes, I have come across something similar, funnily enough just a few weeks ago. It’s hardly identical but it’s very much in the same vein. It’s called Epidor by Lubin, a new 2017 release. Please know that it’s sweeter than Cavalli, has a different type of fruit note, and it’s more expensive but I thought it was surprisingly pretty and nice. *SIGNIFICANTLY* better quality, smoother, and more luxurious than the Cavalli. Although it’s too sweet for my personal tastes, it made me think of the Cavalli quite a bit when I tested it.

      I’ve provided a link below to a shop that sells it, Luckyscent, where you can also purchase a sample to test first, which is something that I always strongly recommend for all fragrances. We’re all different, have different skin, and different scent perceptions, so testing first is the best route, particularly when it comes to niche fragrances with their higher prices:

      I hope that helps. If you try it, let me know what you think.

  15. Pingback: Lubin, Amouage, Roja Dove & Byredo - Kafkaesque

  16. Just found this review and I’ve ordered a sample from eBay. I just want something pretty and easy to wear and I love the smell of orange blossom. I know it’s now become “vintage” buts lots out there on eBay. Thank you Kafka for again providing inspiration. Will post my opinion in a few days. No-one may ever read this but I don’t care:-)))

    • You’re welcome, my dear. I have to say that my feeling about this fragrance have changed a bit over time. I can no longer wear it because of how synthetic the woods are in the base. A smoother, less synthetic variation on the same themes presented here is Luban’s new Epidor. No egregiously sharp, thin, fake cedar or sandalwood in the base of that one. And the white florals are very pretty.

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