Animal prints, anyone? From leopard to snake and everything else in between on the prowl, fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has built an instantly recognisable business around flashy exuberance since 1970.
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The brand made its fragrance debut in 2002 and we reckon if ever a house’s aesthetic has worked against it, it’s Roberto Cavalli. Surely, fragrances bearing the name of the designer must have the same flamboyant / loud feel?
If you think perfumes from the Italian fashion brand are more flash than panache, think again. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that Roberto Cavalli fragrances are elegantly glamorous, plus they’re often better priced than other designer brand equivalents.
In fact, Roberto Cavalli must be one of the most under-rated designer brands around. Our selection will tell you why.
Where known, the name of the perfumer is included in brackets after the name of the fragrance.
Our Shortlist For The Best Roberto Cavalli Fragrances
Roberto Cavalli EDP (Louise Turner)
We start our round-up with one of the brand’s most popular scents.
This 2012 release opens with the fresh spiciness of pink pepper.
But it’s the treatment of the white floral, orange blossom, that gets our attention every time we wear this one. Yes, it’s fresh but also wonderfully summery, bright and honeyed.
There’s a whole lot of warm creaminess in the drydown, thanks to a combo of vanilla, tonka bean and benzoin notes.
While sweet, it’s never cloying and always grown-up.
Roberto Cavalli Just Cavalli EDT (Nathalie Lorson & Fabrice Pellegrin)
This lively 2013 release is the result when two top perfumers collaborate on a project.
It begins with the fresh citrus, slightly green tones of neroli.
The star of the scent show is Tahitian tiare flower and here it shines with all its tropical creamy and sweet fruitiness.
The floral sweetness continues into the drydown with a rosewood note.
It’s a streamlined affair with maximum impact.
Roberto Cavalli Nero Assoluto EDP (Louise Turner)
As the striking bottle will tell you, this 2013 flanker presents a more sensual side to the 2012 original.
That vibe is evident from the sweet and musky opening of orchids (FYI: this floral note more often than not is produced synthetically).
The vanilla that follows is rich, deep, powdery and deliciously creamy.
Our favourite part of this scent must be the woody drydown, with the darkness of ebony particularly prominent.
Also look out for the boozy 2018 release Roberto Cavalli La Notte EDP from the same range.
Roberto Cavalli Paradiso EDP (Louise Turner)
The gorgeous bottle isn’t the only thing that’s appealing about Roberto Cavalli Paradiso EDP.
Created by Louise Turner (the Brit produced several of the brand’s standouts), this 2015 release is all about the sunny citrus of bergamot and mandarin orange in the intro.
And then onto a freshly green treatment of jasmine in the mid-section and the woody aromatics of cypress and pine tree notes in the drydown.
If you want a more aquatic spin on the theme, get your nose on 2016’s Roberto Cavalli Paradiso Azzurro EDP. Roberto Cavalli Gemma di Paradiso EDP (2018) offers a beautiful woody-vanilla combo.
Roberto Cavalli Sumptuous Rose EDP
Many designer brands have gone the more exclusive private collection route in recent years. Roberto Cavalli Gold Collection is a rather good contribution to that genre, with its focus on the best ingredients and craftsmanship.
Part of the launch collection from 2016, Sumptuous Rose features the queen of florals from top to bottom.
It starts out with an intriguing contrast of powdery honey and fresh aldehydes.
Notes of vetiver and styrax build on the woodiness of the main attraction, while sandalwood and musk give the drydown creamy sensuality.
The 2022 addition to the line, the oddly named Frantic Rose EDP, has a more Middle Eastern take on the floral theme.
Roberto Cavalli Supreme Sandal EDP
Also part of the launch Gold Collection from 2016, there’s no doubting the quality of this EDP from the first spray.
The powdery sweetness of white honey meets the leathery spiciness of saffron in the intro.
The sweetness is tempered by the smokiness of incense and vetiver, while labdanum brings its customary muskiness to the blend.
In keeping with the oriental profile of the scent, it all builds up to the sandalwood drydown. Its smooth and earthy creaminess is complemented by a large helping of rich vanilla.
If you want another oriental hit from the same collection, Divine Oud EDP (2016) should do the trick.
Roberto Cavalli Florence EDP (Marie Salamagne)
A 2017 release inspired by the designer’s place of birth, Roberto Cavalli Florence EDP is the perfect example of the company’s accessible sophistication.
It opens with the tangy fruitiness of blackcurrant. Mandarin essence adds some Florentine sunshine.
The freshness of orange blossom and grapefruit blossom give way to the earthy patchouli-dominant drydown, with hibiscus seeds accentuating the musky ambience.
Bella sorpresa! (That’s “beautiful surprise” in Italian Googlese.) This EDP is fast becoming one of our favourite patchouli scents.
Roberto Cavalli Florence Blossom EDP (Marie Salamagne)
From the pink bottle to the juice, everything about this 2019 scent is as pretty as can be.
The fresh citrus of bergamot and mandarin mingle with the tangy fruitiness of blackcurrant in the opening.
It’s then the turn of an uplifting bouquet of florals: orange blossom, rose and jasmine.
Earthy notes of patchouli and iris are given a musky infusion via the synthetic Ambroxan, with the creaminess of sandalwood in the background.
Roberto Cavalli Florence Amber EDP (2019), also created by Marie Salamagne, is well worth checking out for its sunny dose of honey.
Roberto Cavalli Paradise Found For Women EDP (Emilie Coppermann)
2020 saw the brand launch a new range, Paradise Found, and we think this release does a commendable job of evoking its inspiration of being in a garden of paradise.
Accordingly, there’s plenty of lush greenery in the form of a palm leaf note, with its vegetal qualities, and support from pink pepper and neroli.
What would a garden be without lots of flowers? A trio of florals – jasmine, frangipani and orange blossom – heightens the heady freshness.
Featuring notes of heliotrope (the synthetic heliotropin) and sandalwood, there’s sensual creaminess in the drydown, while patchouli brings earthy depth to the composition.
Roberto Cavalli Wild Incense EDP (Benoist Lapouza)
We’re normally quite clued up on our perfumers but must admit this is the first time we’ve registered the name Benoist Lapouza. We should know better, as the Frenchman created Kilian Angels’ Share EDP, Atkinsons The Excelsior Bouquet EDT and Lalique Soleil EDP.
Wild Incense is a 2021 addition to the Gold Collection and, boy, is it good!
It opens with the warm spiciness of olibanum (also known as frankincense), with deliciously fruity support from Cognac oil, a date accord and rose.
A black leather accord and guaiac wood take the scent into deeply sensual territory.
Tonka beans and benzoin give the drydown a creamy vanilla-ish vibe, with earthy back-up from vetiver.
The perfumer’s other creation for the range, Roberto Cavalli Velour Saffron EDP (2021), is highly recommended too.
About the Author
Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.