Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Roberto Cavalli- Oro

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.


  1. Oro is one of my all-time favorites. The bottle is terrible (tippy, and too tall to stand upright on shelves), but the juice is divine. If it had been the first (or twentieth) thing I tried when I started looking for something new after years of wearing Opium, I might never have fallen down the rabbit hole.

  2. Can't count the number of times I've seen this and walked right on past it, never feeling any real curiosity about it and certainly not imaging it had been created by Maurice Roucel. But after reading your review and before returning to write this I raced off to another site to purchase a bottle for $17. Can't wait to sniff it - sounds fantastic and what pure joy to find a wonderful new perfume at that price point!
    Thanks for posting about it!

  3. I wonder how is it comparing to other Roucel's like L de Lolita Lempicka and Helmut Lang .. Sounds like they might be cousins .. I'd love to try it
    Any suggestions to where I can buy it online ?
    Thanks for posting this

  4. This is a really great fragrance. I don't have a bottle, but this post inspires me...

  5. Indebted to you for this review, I thought that no one but no one ever liked Roberto Cavallis, but this review reminded me of having this sample and using it up-against all odds-definitely an Italian perfume but a good one.

  6. Many thanks for your enabling! I read your review and blind-bought a bottle. And now I can't stop sniffing my wrist. This one is a gem!

  7. I finally, as your fellow reader above, rushed off to an on-line discounter and got this for $12. I might not get a back up, but I think it's a must-smell at the price point, and I am really enjoying it as it changes and develops. Thank you so much for trying things!

    Bloomington, IN


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