5/21/17

Hot Spice (Arion Perfume & Beauty Inc.)



I did not expect to be writing this review, namely because I bought this fragrance at Dollar Tree for a whopping fifty cents an ounce. That's right - I bought a 2.5 oz cologne for $1. This is what people call a "dollar store scent." It is a dollar store scent. Why did I buy a dollar store scent? What could possess me to waste a dollar on an acrid, alcohol-scented piece of crap?

Well, for starters, I bought it based on how it smelled when I snuck a spray in the store. The plain grey box says, "compare to Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf." I figured it would smell briefly like something in Spicebomb's ball park, perhaps for fifteen seconds, and then vanish into thin air. But it really doesn't smell anything like Spicebomb. What it does smell like is a sweeter version of Indian Old Spice, with a creamier shaving foam drydown. If you "stack" this thing and apply multiple sprays to the same spot, you wind up with a nutmeg-laden gingerbread cookie effect. Go lightly with it and it has a cumin, black pepper, and pink pepper top, which dries into a gentle sugared sandalwood, with that abstract powdery sweetness of Old Spice.

This could easily be considered a replacement for any iteration of Old Spice, and I like it a hell of a lot better than Vi-Jon Spice Scent, which is not bad but definitely overrated in the wetshaver community. Vi-Jon dries into a plasticky synthetic nastiness that ruins the niceness of its top notes, but Hot Spice never loses its subtle spicy sweetness to any overtly synthetic overtones. I do get a little bit of a Joop! Homme or Individuel type of sweetness in the blend, but it isn't overbearing and just complements the spice notes. The ingredients list says it has hydrogenated castor oil in it, and the liquid feels pretty soft on my skin, so I think it's a viable choice as an aftershave, which I will likely use it as in the coming months.

It's made in India, and I guess that explains the blast of skanky cumin accompanying the pepper notes on top. I'm shocked by the quality of this stuff, shocked that it smells complex enough for me to pick out eight different notes (cumin, pink & black pepper, nutmeg, vanilla, sandalwood, orange, and neroli), and completely shocked that it can compete with Old Spice for my affections.

If you live in the United States and have a Dollar Tree in your area, and you're into wetshaving and various "Spice Scent" aftershaves in the Old Spice vein, I suggest you get over there and see if they have a few bottles of Hot Spice. This stuff will make it into your shaving rotation, guaranteed.


8 comments:

  1. I purchased this a few weeks back, not having any idea if it smelled anything like spice bomb. I just found it somewhat interesting in the store. Many of the ones made in India, don't smell too bad, and I would even say at times are pretty close to what they're trying to mimic. The problem is they don't last very long, as you referenced with using as an AS. I keep telling myself I'm not going to buy anymore of these, but I always end up picking up one or 2. The Sauvage clone (Dark Chill) seems to be the longest lasting to me, and The Fahrenheit clone (Hot Waves) is pretty close, at least to my memory. It was close enough to remind me of what Fahrenheit smells like.

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    1. Yeah Hot Spice smells like an expensive aftershave to me, which is ironic because it's cheaper than a bottle of Barbasol or Old Spice. It would go really well with some of my "shave day" orientals, I'm really glad I bought it.

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  2. Welcome to the "super cheapo" club!

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    1. Unless it's a shave club I'm not interested

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  3. That's interesting. I've never seen that brand nor product in India nor Nepal.
    The notes of HS sound very Serge Lutens.
    I think it's ethyl vanillin in Vi-Jon's SS that I find so obnoxious.

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    1. Yeah it's made in India but given a Western branding, so it's probably strictly an export.

      Dunno if it's ethyl vanillin or not, but the last twenty minutes of Vi-Jon smell a little crude. Not bad but not as good as Old Spice.

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  4. I sprayed the One Million knockoff, can't recall what it's called, on my arm after I randomly came across a thread about it on Basenotes. It was sort of reminiscent of the original, mixed with other sweet-masculine scents typical of Sephora. It lasted a while on my skin too. I didn't buy it though. Dollar or not, it would just be a waste of space on my dresser since I'd never end up wearing it, as I don't really care for One Million, Spicebomb, Eros and the like.
    For what it's worth, though, it didn't really smell like it was a dollar scent. It was sort of flat, and smelled like a generic sweet clubbing scent, but it wasn't piercingly harsh, and had a bit going on. Sort of like those Cuba scents, except a bit smoother (the couple of Cuba scents I have do smell good, and really close to the originals, but they're harsh as hell).
    I just wish I could find those bottles of Horizon at Dollar Tree. Every time I go to pick up a couple of housewares or that glycerin soap, I check for it, and never find it. I'm still wondering how the hell all those Basenotesers made those huge Horizon hauls at DT. Assuming they're not lying, anyway

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    1. I actually assume they're telling the truth about Horizon too, but I think Dollar Tree changed their merchandise a bit recently because apparently they also used to have Barbasol products, but I didn't see those there either.

      If its sweetness was dialed back a bit and its powdery sandalwood quality were just a hair stronger I would say this dollar cologne was a mini masterpiece worthy of sitting beside Old Spice. As it stands with its Individuel styled sweet note and subtle woodiness, I'm very impressed, but see why I can't save money and toss the little boat out.

      However this is sitting next to my Gilette Cool Wave and Jovan aftershaves. It's something I look forward to using again soon!

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