If I were to select the best fruity floral perfume, it would be Cacharel Amor Amor. Of course, the best may be debatable, as is the true fruity-floral character–Amor Amor veers into the oriental family with its notes of vanilla, sandalwood and amber, but it’s such a good example of fun and bubbly that I find it hard to avoid overstatement. Amor Amor is both lighthearted and sophisticated, a simple shift dress made out of shocking pink fabric.
As a fashion brand, Cacharel is often described as French Girl chic–quirky prints and designs, minus the studied elegance of the more venerable couture houses. The perfume collection was designed to match the same spirit, but Amor Amor released in 2003 is its most successful embodiment.
The best part of Amor Amor is its juicy orange top. At first glance, it seems like a typical sweet fruity introduction to the rest of the fragrance, a trope used by many contemporary perfumes, but when you revisit Amor Amor, you notice that the orange not only lasts, it has many nuances. A flash of pepper keeps things sizzling, a candied orange blossom adds sweetness. The cocktail of different citrus notes gives the fruity accord an interesting complexity, and the whole thing glows. Perfumers Dominique Ropion and Laurent Bruyère who created Amor Amor certainly knew what they were doing.
Underneath the orange, Amor Amor is all about sheer jasmine and watery white flowers. The crystalline freshness of a floral heart is unexpected after the zingy opening, and it’s another element that makes Amor Amor interesting. Now imagine the juicy orange and the crisp white petals wrapped in sheer, not overly sweet vanilla. It’s like a blanket thrown over a lamp–the sharpness is muted, and only the soft radiance remains.
If you’re used to niche perfumery with its single ingredient focus, Amor Amor will seem blurry and indistinct. There is also nary a dirty note in sight. Up close, it’s so polished that it’s hard to take apart. Instead, it’s a perfume enjoyed at a distance. Spray it on your scarf and notice how throughout the day, the scent wafts around you. Or leave the scented handkerchief in your purse to get a delicious burst of fragrance as a treat.
Although it’s a good perfume for anyone who likes the combination of fruit, flowers and a dash of vanilla, Amor Amor would also make a terrific introduction for a teen. On par with See by Chloé, it’s elegant but not fussy (and reasonably priced). If you want something in the same style but with more gravitas, then consider Guerlain L’Instant and Chanel Allure.
There are now all sorts of variations on Amor Amor: Forbidden Kiss, Absolu, Tentation, and Amor Amor in a Flash. My favorite is the perfume in a ruby red bottle, which Cacharel calls Classic. You might reasonably wonder how something under 10 years can be a classic, but things move fast in the perfume world.
Cacharel Amor Amor Eau de Toilette includes notes of pink grapefruit, mandarin, blood orange, jasmine sambac, lily-of-the-valley, white musk, sandalwood, vanilla and ambergris. Available in 30ml, 50ml and 100ml bottles.