Perfume Directory

Imari (1985)
by Avon

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Imari information

Year of Launch1985
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 35 votes)

People and companies

HouseAvon
PerfumerThomas DiGiacomo

About Imari

Relaunched in 2000

Imari fragrance notes

Reviews of Imari

This is quite a gem of a perfume, although it took me a lifetime to finally understand why. Avon may not get much love in the men's segment, but they never really tried to most of the time outside the huge pushes in the 60's and 2000's, but they always knew how to crank out quality women's perfumes, and Imari (1985) is the perfect example of that. The year is 1985, and Avon cosmetics have long since dwarfed the perfumes in sales. The company slowly transitioned from it's origins as The California Perfume Company into a beauty giant by mid-century, giving Revlon and Arden some trouble because lower operating costs from not having retail distribution or employees meant better perfumes could be sold for less right to the customer through their network of freelance "Avon Ladies". Cosmetics proved more desirable ultimately in this door-to-door format, and by the end of the 1970's shopping malls and suburban sprawl meant everyone's teenage daughter was out sniffing the newest Lauder perfumes, not letting Nana sell her Avon. Avon seemed to realize this, and stylistically stuck to their guns for the perfume audience they already had for women's releases throughout the 80's, meaning Imari smells much older than it really is compared to other perfumes from the era. In a similar fashion as Guerlain, Avon had cultivated something of a traditional house style over the generations, and Imari exemplifies that.

We have an aldehydic chypre of the ilk Avon had been making since time immemorial, with green bits over dry woody bits, a touch of powder, some oakmoss bite, and Avon's patent amber accord, but in decidedly 80's packaging to fool the eye. The opening is fairly academic for a chypre of this type, with aldehydes out front and bitter galbanum providing the green accord set next to dry bergamot. There is just a small speck of something lactonic here, but nowhere on the level of older mid-century chypres. No peach, raspberry, or blackcurrant affects the tone here, and Imari is a purely floral affair as the imagery on the red plastic enclosed spray bottle suggests. Orris and muguet provide a stark white floral soap heart, inflected with a bit of tuberose but not enough to make Imari feel sensual. Ylang-ylang hangs out with a bit of talc powder smell until a very parched cedar and pencil shavings musk mallow aura fill in the spaces. There are touches of vanilla and ambrette seed here too, and that smooth processed Cheez-Whiz amber makes a late showing for skin retention, but if you want a better or more prominent showing of Avon amber, look into one of their orientals. This is green like a 70's chypre, but has white florals like a 50's chypre, with soft-spoken femininity straight out of Avon's earliest days in the Victorian era. Back to the Future for Women in an iconic bottle sure to please fans of the genre, Imari has good performance to boot which belies its labelling as a "cologne spray".

My mother simply loved this stuff and always had it on hand when she dealt with Avon. Imari made her feel gorgeous and now that I have smelled it as an adult I understand why. Truth be told, bitter floral chypres like this are unisex for the most part in an age where houses like Diptyque package tuberose scents like Do Son (2005) as gender neutral, but I still have a feeling the average woman will like this more than the average man. Imari continues in a long line excellent chypres Avon cranked out for decades, joining the ranks of scents like Topaze (1959), Emprise (1976) and Tasha (1979) in this particular variety amongst a larger chypre selection of literally dozens more from the house. This stuff is obviously no Patou or Chanel, and will not suit someone used to fruity florals, fruitchoulis, or the newest wave of floral ambrox mass consumption mall juice, nor will it satisfy the followers of nouveau-riche brands like Lutens or Malle, but somebody who appreciates vintage chypre style without a care of what name adorns the bottle should give Imari a try. This is a perennial best-seller with oodles of flankers and tons of vintage stock in the wild for people suspicious of reformulation, so finding one to try should be very inexpensive. Imari is among the finest examples of its style out there, and although staid for 1985 standards and excruciatingly conservative for the 21st century, it has the kind of effortless balance between airy and powerful you just don't see anymore at any price. Thumbs up.
11th July, 2019
I'm rating vintage Imari. Nothing overtly sweet about this. It's mostly an aldehydic perfume. There is plenty of galbanum, tuberose, orris root, and a touch of ylang. The aldehydes prevail, even to the bottom. I can smell no base notes. It is greenish-airy to my nose - a touch, a tiny touch, of powder. It reminds me of a Chanel, from back in the day. For me, it's a good grab-and-go fragrance.
07th February, 2018
There is nothing I don't like about Imari.

And that's really all I have to say about it.
24th February, 2015
This is a fine example of one of my favorite things: a nearly all-occasion, truly easy-to-wear fragrance. Its lower range is relaxed and soft without any sloppiness, and its upper end has enough quiet shimmer to make it wearable someplace nice on a date. I've worn it with jeans and a an old, much-loved sweater to the women's prison where I occasionally chair recovery meetings; I've worn it with a little black dress and strappy sandals to the symphony. It always gets compliments.
28th October, 2011 (last edited: 04th November, 2011)
I'm not surprised that Imari is a scent from the 80's. Scents back then were intended to be intense, lasting and rich.

The powdery aldehydes are dominant from the very beginning. However, they are not sharp since the spices and resinous, bitter galbanum balance out the chemical-like quality that aldehydes sometimes portray.

I can't say that Imari is particularly unique seeming that there was a huge trend for aldehydes during the 70's and 80's, therefore there are many fragrances that smell similar. However, there is something truly likable about Imari.

It is true that this fragrance is likely to appeal to the more mature woman, although it must be said that as a young woman in my early 20's, this fragrance could be worn easily by anyone of any age, including myself.

Imari isn't very sweet or flowery, to my nose it is mostly musky, clean, warm and powdery. It is one scent that really should be applied in small quantities, seeming that I made a mistake when I first wore it, of spraying way too much and smelling like a harsh overdose of talcum powder.

Unfortunately the lasting power wasn't very impressive for me, lasting no longer than 3 hours, which was a huge disappointment. I only wish that Avon produced more fragrances that last as well as smell good.

30th June, 2011
Imari is it Ambiguous or Androgymous? everyone has there own interpretation of what the mind preceives of what a scent should be, She is neither Girlish nor Womanly, Imari avoids the sweet naivete of candy notes and airy florals She is a deep and worldy Woman who takes no nonsense nor sugar-coateed Sentiment from no one.

The Scent of Imari opens with the note of Aldehydes dry and musty like dust on old leatherbound book forgotten from age then dries with Irises gives off A metallic smell like freshly carved ivory Piano Keys newly played while the thinly covered dust float slavishly in tune to the music under the beams from a Venetian blinds in the Early Morning light,

Imari dries Warm and Spicy due to the presence of Incense descreert enough not to overpower yet definde to make it's presence known, The incense note is also a thinly Disguised metaphore of Dimly lit
street filled with rustic stores of exotic antiques and old Opium Dens
and a Pagoda that silently hides between the house of vices incense burns quietly thoughout the night with the scent of sandalwood add to the nocturnal side of Imari.

The Note of Musk starts the Finishing of Imari very prominate it seemed to drown out the other notes ie
Vanilla amber and ceder But the Sandalwood holds it's own and adds a fiery woodish twist to Imari The Musk IMHO is my favotite note It has a Mannish quality and make the scent a bit Androgymous almost masculine if you left out the Tuberose A Man can wear can wear this, So what is the question Is it Ambigious or Androgymous My Answer whould Be mostly Androgymous it's Blurs the line of Feminine and Masculine,

My Final verdict This is not a scent for young Girls it's a scent for a confident Independent woman who knows what she wants out of life and aware of her Sexuality and know how to use it.
28th May, 2011

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