I never wore Amarige in the 1990s (Givenchy released it in 1992). I didn't have to: you could go into a public building, a friend's home or get on a bus and emerge with your hair and clothes smelling of it. Amarige was so recognizable and obvious that even I, lover of assertive perfumes, couldn't deal with it. Not to mention the fact that it's so very peachy you could feel the juice dribble on your chin.
It took me years to even begin to appreciate Amarige de Givenchy. It's still highly recognizable; women who maintain the old habit of marinating themselves in Amarige should have their noses and sanity examined, but I finally get it. Amarige, a Dominique Ropion creation, is one of the founding fathers of the fruity-floral trends and has just about anything and everything in it. I have a small bottle of the extrait de parfum from some time in the late 1990s, and at first I kept it for reference, but eventually (and probably with the help of its offspring, Amarige Mimosa Harvest 2007, a dear favorite) I came around to enjoying it. Gently.
The opening of Amarige parfum is more tender than other concentrations. It has an almost petal-like softness, even though you can certainly smell some of the things to come. The violet leaf note rises above the yellow and pink flower bouquet making them lighter, even for a brief moment. From then on it's fruit, and a lot of it, over a smooth and creamy vanilla-sandalwood base. The peach is, indeed, very dominant. It's ripe, honeyed (not as much as the Mimosa version, but still pleasant) and has the peach skin velvet quality that I find rather sexy.
Other concentrations of Amarige offer a soaring heart of tuberose and other white flowers that sometimes takes over and not in a good way (just ask Luca Turin, who recommends that Amarige is worn within the confinements of one's home with the windows taped shut). There's very little of that in the parfum, but I admit that even when I'm in the right mood I don't wear Amarige on my neck or anywhere near my face. One drop shared between both wrists is still enough to produce some royal sillage and hold till the end of days, even as the dry-down softens and becomes more musky.
Notes (from Jan Moran): mandarin, neroli, violet leaves, rosewood, gardenia, red fruit, ylang-ylang, acacia farnesiana, mimosa, musk, vanilla, tonka bean, woods, ambergris.
The extrait de parfum version was discontinued years ago (why?), but Amarige is still widely available in an EDT for around $50, wherever Givenchy perfumes are sold, including Sephora.
Image: 1992 Amarige de Givenchy ad via couleurparfum.com.