The reaction between cadmium and 2-(5-chloro-2-pyridylazo)-5-dimethylaminophenol (5-Cl DMPAP) in aqueous alcohol media at pH 8.8-10.7 results in an intense violet colour which is stable for at least 8 hr. The composition is 2:1 reagent:metal and the formation constant (5.29 +/- 0.01) x 10(18). Beer's law is obeyed up to 1.34 ppm of cadmium at 550 nm. The optimal concentration range (Ringbom) is between 0.16 and 0.72 ppm. The apparent molar absorptivity at 550 nm is (1.20 +/- 0.01) x 10(5) l.mole(-1). cm(-1), making the sensitivity one of the highest known. The interference due to copper(III), iron(III), cobalt(II), nickel(II), gold(III), zinc(II) and manganese(II) can be suppressed.