I was playing a little game with myself, trying to check my love/hate ratio of perfumes created by Maurice Roucel. Results were inconclusive, since you can't really pit Iris Silver Mist and Musc Ravageur against DKNY Be Delicious and its flankers. But in the process I took notes of Roucel perfumes that I've yet to try, hoping to find something interesting. And I did, in one of the least expected places: Oro from Roberto Cavalli.
Roberto Cavalli's aesthetics is fully embodied in the name, the bottle, and the advertisement imagery. I haven't quite acquired this taste, and snakes are not my dream pet (that would be a sea lion, thank you very much). But I remembered having a sample stashed somewhere and by some miracle actually managed to find it. By the end of that day I found myself using a discounter's coupon to buy Oro for the princely sum of just under $12. Before starting to type this review I did the same thing to buy a backup bottle, just to be safe. I had to.
Oro has nothing to do with a snake print chiffon dress by Roberto Cavalli. Instead, it's a complex spicy amber (Michael Edwards classifies it as a woody oriental in a classical form. I'm not going to argue), with a touch of a 1990s floriental (though it was released in 2004), a hint of the yummies, and a certain weirdness that I suspect is all Roucel. The opening is almost a gourmand. I think of it as a very very peppery honey, sweet yet biting. Maybe that's the snake in the dunes under the blazing sun. Or perhaps it's the sudden appearance of something I can only describe as a turmeric-laced iris (there's no turmeric listed among the official notes. It's probably just my mind being susceptible to all that yellow). I definitely smell a touch of heady florals that lift the scent up and give it a burst of lightness before heavier notes take over. The piercing element continues to provide a counterbalance to the sap, wood, and thick amber that make the majority of Oro and caress the skin in a very suggestive way.
I have no doubt Oro was meant to be a very sexy perfume, and it is. But maybe not in the overt J-Lo in a Cavalli dress way. Classic ambers are often rich and velvety, warm and inviting. Oro is all that, and it manages to remain interesting and just quirky enough to keep the interest of this blogger who smelled a thousand ambers (and bought an alarming number of them).
Oro by Roberto Cavalli is no longer on the designer's official perfume page, which means its production has been discontinued. However, it's easy to find online from various sources for something between a peanut and a song.