Too much is never enough… Amarige by Givenchy The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

Spring seemingly having been suspended they decided to arrange an early summer of their own.

No expense would be spared, no discretion exercised, no refinement or restraint respected.

This was to be no place for good taste.

The women of the Womens’ Institute determined that their arrangement would be the most dazzling display this dreary state had ever seen.

Flexing floricultural muscles and credit cards they assembled a mass of stems and blooms the like of which had never been known: tuberoses, roses, orchids and orange blossom; gardenia, carnation, jasmine and mimose.

They worked for four days solid fuelled by gin and plum juice, mandarin martinis, peach nectar and Nembutal.

Until the moment came, the day of the great unveiling…

When ‘it’ appeared from underneath its own tarpaulin, the people were amazed, they gawped and gasped and when the women of the Womens’ Institute asked ‘How do you like it?’ no one knew exactly what to say.

It was “very large” one whispered, another added “quite unique” a third piped up ‘well, it’s unforgettable’.

But The women of the Women’s Institute were enraptured of their creation, their breasts puffed up with pride for they loved their floral installation.

It mattered not one jot to them how much or by whom it was decried.

And there it stood it seemed for weeks on end, its presence showing no sign of abating, the elephant in every room, a petal strewn monument to summer and sophistication gone wanting.

When finally it departed, after much boo and hiss, well even the staunchest critics had to admit that really nothing was amiss.

It was, after all, when all was said and done, really just a ginormous bit of fun.


Amarige is an explosion in a flower shop.

It is an over the top floral cocktail in which the bartender perfumer has thrown everything in the shaker, whirled it around his head with gay abandon and has apparently no idea and less care as to what will come out later.

The result is as lethal as a Long Island Ice Tea, as silly and Sex on the Beach and as downright camp as a Pina Colada.

And yet, for all that, Amarige is an adorable floral avalanche of an aroma.

This is scent as sung by Dolly Parton “P.E.R.F.U.M.E.”.

Indeed Ms Parton is the perfect metaphor for this heaving bosom of a perfume.

Like her it is seemingly sewn together out of the off colour off cuts of a thousand other stars, but in reality it is a skilful, clever, utterly unforgettable confection that has and will stand the test of time.

And as for notes? It has more than Dolly’s 2,500 tune-strong song book.

Is there a big flower that isn’t bountifully represented here?

Yes, everyone will point to the tuberose, but on closer examination there is gardenia, mimosa, ylang ylang, orchid and rose just as a start.

Then like every cocktail there are the mixers.

Here juice is very much to the fore, with the plum of the opening pairing off with violet to produce an accord that almost reads as juniper. Peach and cassis are just behind delivering a distinct overflowing fruitiness that threatens to but cannot succeed in overthrowing the flowers from their throne.

Oh and then there is the silage, let’s just say the volume’s turned up loud on this one.

Of course, people hate Amarige, sometimes one feels one ought to hate Amarige, so intense is the loathing set aside for it.

It is the kind of scent that folks are asked not to wear at work for fear of offending colleagues.

I feel ‘folks’ should just realise it’s all a bit of self effacing fun.

The problem I can’t help feeling, the real reason why this fragrance gets such offensively bad reviews is that it’s simply not fashionable.

Once last time I’ll let the inimitable Ms Dolly Parton do the talking for the scent:

“I’m not trying to be fashionable. Never was!”


So, the big money question, can a man wear Amarige?

Probably. In the kind of bars where they play big-haired country music and knock back brightly coloured cocktails.

The Dandy would like to assure readers that he is aware that the splendid song “D.I.V.O.R.C.E.” was originally an hit single for the wonderful Ms Tammy Wynette; however, he feels that there are times when only Dolly will do.

With thanks to the Harper Valley PTA.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy

The Perfumed Dandy


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21 responses to “Too much is never enough… Amarige by Givenchy The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. LIlybelle

    I love this review! The kind of bar that plays big hair country music and knocks back colorful cocktails…L.O.L.! I think I’d have a blast with this one. I *think* I woud. In reality, this one sounds like one that would wear me, becoming a torturer that I’d have to finally scrub off. I’ve read the vintage is best. I’m still going to try this because somehow I never have.

    • Why thank you Lily.
      Amarige is certainly a scent that provokes a very profound reaction in practically everyone it touches – so I will be fascinated to what you make of this rhinestone cowgirl!
      Your comment that it might end up wearing you is possibly quite the most accurate description of popping on Amarige that The Dandy has heard to date.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Cairo Rose

    My sister-in-law used to almost bathe in this fragrance years ago. Her clothes and closet were permeated. She gifted me with a lovely bottle back over 10 years ago and I have it still, though rarely worn as I still feel it is HER scent even though she has moved on to wear other fragrances. Her youngest daughter has now grown into a young woman and has rediscovered this classic Every time she wears it I sniff and say…Ohhh you smell like Suzy!…Not a bad scent, just one that can never truly be my own.

    • Dearest Rose
      How funny that you should say that, The Dandy has a theory that this is a scent that once adopted by a person becomes not only their signature, but their personal possession.
      I have a very grand neighbour who seems to bathe in Amarige too and in my mind the perfume is indelibly associated with her.
      Perhaps that is why, though I actually find it adorable, I’m not sure I would be able to wear it, at least not that often.
      Thank you as always for your amusing and invaluable comments.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. ladyjicky

    When The Puppy came to Sydney , Australia it was so popular or Pupular!!
    I do love Dolly in a short wig!!!
    Was never a Amarige girl 😦

    • Lady Jicky, ma’am
      Isn’t the puppy just spectacular, and I can think of no artist that fits the sheer cheek and exuberance of Amarige better than Jeff Koons.
      I totally understand your caution regarding the perfume itself it’s and all or nothing sort of a thing…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. You know I have a little bottle of Amarige and I love it. It is a tiny mini but looks just like the big girl bottle. But boy what is inside is not tiny. And I love that too. Oh…and I love your R.E.V.I.E.W.

  5. Dear Mr Dandy
    I adore this fragrance but haven’t worn it for years. i have been longing to add it to the collection for a long time but I have been sidetracked by so many new temptations in between. I love your review and I am so relieved to read that someone else loves this too. Like you, I feel it’s under-adored and needs more love. “Sometimes only Dolly will do”.. I have those moments too!

    Your friend

    • Dear Iscent
      I am so pleased that Amarige has other admirers – indeed she must as I hear she sells steadily enough – there is an unbridled and frankly chaotic extravagance about it I find irresistible. So fear not, you are not alone!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. “Amarige is an explosion in a flower shop”… The kind of pyrotechnics that I love! Have I made this startling confession before? Well then, I’ll repeat myself. I only have one bottle of perfume in my possession at the moment and it’s a Tubéreuse extravaganza, yes, that one… This sounds right up my alley and now I will add it to my dressing table 🙂

  7. Utterly brilliant. This review is almost too good to be true: the moment the dog was unveiled had me practically gasping on the Japanese platform

  8. Pingback: Of peacocks, palaces and pagodas… Incredible Kew Gardens The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Day Out: Part I | The Perfumed Dandy.

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