Cacharel returns to men’s fragrance after a nearly seven year hiatus with the masculine counterpart to 2003’s Amor Amor, aptly entitled Amor pour Homme. The bottle has changed from red to blue and one of the Amors has been dropped, but the real story is the composition. With notes of bergamot, aromatic tea, mandarin, rose, cardamom, palisander wood, benzoin and tonka bean, Amor Pour Homme, created by Sophie Labbe and Pierre Wargnye, bears little resemblance to its feminine predecessor.
First, a word about Cacharel. Overall, I love their collection of women’s fragrances (though I found Promesse a phenomenal bore) but am saddened by the marked lack of men’s scents. Cacharel’s first men’s fragrance, Pour L’Homme, is an odd combination of nutmeg and ylang tempered by floral and herbal notes. I know it has a loyal following, but this scent never worked for me. Then the surprisingly impressive Nemo arrived, an oriental symphony of incense and vanilla that smelled more like it should have been the male counterpart to Fendi’s Theorema than Cacharel’s Noa. I felt that the design house had made some real progress there. And now there is Amor Pour Homme…and I feel we’ve moved backwards again.
It’s not that Amor is awful. It isn’t, really. It’s just about as far from my tastes as a fragrance gets. In fact, I had to wonder if what I was smelling was indeed the real thing and not a mistake….so what does it smell like? The 1980s. It reminds me of all the heavy, woody, masculine scents that I’d happily relegated to my scented memory, thrilled to never have to smell them again. You know the kind: heavy, rubbery, dark, pine trees and alcohol. I was hoping for an intense gourmand re-mix of the women’s scent, the sweetness tempered by something a little sultry and spicy. Sadly, Cacharel forgot the sweetness. Actually, I think they forgot about amour altogether when they dropped the other Amor from the name.
Amor Pour Homme is a reference to all of the incense-tea-wood scents of the last 5 years or so, with nods to everything from Gucci pour Homme to the Comme des Garcons Incense series. The focus of the composition is the palisander wood, dark and almost smoky, which is given a lift by tea, rose and cardamom notes, none of which ever play a major role. With almost no development, and average longevity and sillage, there’s very little that’s new here, and after you smell it, I’m sure you’ll be searching for the name of the magic 80s scent that Amor will undoubtedly remind you of. If Amor Amor is the proverbial enchanted fruit, then Amor pour Homme is the gnarled wooden branch on which it grows.
Cacharel Amor pour Homme is currently available for purchase at strawberrynet.