A Spicy Implosion – Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Perfume Review

Spicebomb Ad

You could cut glass with that jawline…

Viktor & Rolf have a chequered perfumed past. Their debut fragrance Flowerbomb is a good concept disappointingly executed, their second feminine Eau Mega is dull and their first masculine Antidote is an abomination. They appear to follow a high-fashion approach to their packaging but have yet to show any substance within their fragrant compositions.

Although I haven’t been particularly overwhelmed with their past offerings I am always intrigued to see what Viktor & Rolf are up to, if not simply for the visual aspect of things but also in the vain hope that maybe, just maybe they will hit the ball out of the park. Their latest fragrance Spicebomb ever-so-nearly achieves that much-needed home run.

Spicebomb is Viktor & Rolf’s second masculine and follows the absolutely atrocious behemoth-lavender of Antidote. It has been created as a male counterpart to Flowerbomb and is billed as “a cocktail of virility, crafted with refinement” [1] that “finds the perfect balance between strength and elegance, intensity and subtlety.” Where Flowerbomb was all loud and proud with her sickly sweet explosion of flowers and candy floss, Spicebomb is quiet, warm, cosy and handsome.

Spicebomb

Spicebomb is more of an implosion than an explosion

The Notes

Top: Bergamot and Grapefruit
Heart: Pimento – Jamaica Pepper, Elemi, Pepper and Saffron
Base: Vetiver, Leather, Tobacco and Oriental Notes

How Does it Smell?

Spicebomb was a big surprise for me, firstly because the “bomb” in its name is a complete misnomer and it’s fair to say that it is more of an implosion than an explosion of spice, and secondly because it is rather well done, if not a little on the unadventurous side of things, but we can’t have it all now, can we?

The spiciness that the name suggests is most prominent in the opening, where spiky pepper and sweet cinnamon intertwine in a double-helix fashion, bouncing off and playing with each other’s warm, aromatic facets. There’s also a touch of something fruity lurking in the background that does a good job of intensifying the sweeter facets. But the overall impression is of warm spices with dabs of sweetness.

After its initial liveliness, Spicebomb takes a detour down the amber route, drawing inspiration from fragrances such as the warm fruit pastry vibe of Hermès’ Ambre Narguilé and the sweet apple pie of Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million. In fact, Spicebomb feels like a more smoothed-out and intelligent version of the latter. Unusual touches of elemi and saffron stop Spicebomb from becoming a true amber, but at the same time they give it an quirky edge that is sadly short-lived.

As Spicebomb heads in to the dry down a strong, metallic vetiver becomes quite prominent and is blended with smoky leather, sweet tobacco and cosy vanilla. The whole thing is warm, soft, cuddly and ever-so-easy to enjoy. Whatever spice there was in the beginning has all but disappeared, leaving only the faintest whiff of cinnamon to contend with all that vanilla and warmth.

Spicebomb is 10 times better than I thought it would be and I would go as far as saying that it is the most enjoyable and well-made designer masculine of this year so far (not counting Jean Paul Gaultier’s Kokorico which was also technically launched this year but reviewed by me last year) but, and I know you saw a “but” coming somewhere, there seems to be a real discord between the concept of Spicebomb and the actual product.

Spicebomb is an incredibly soft fragrance with little oomph (and for once I’m not going to ask for more, it works well the way it is) and doesn’t resemble an explosion in any way, shape or form. That said, its a solid effort and definitely the best from Viktor & Rolf so far. Thumbs up from me!

Spicebomb Flacon

Spicebomb’s flacon, like Flowerbomb’s takes inspiration from a grenade

The Bottle

Like Viktor & Rolf’s flagship feminine “Flowerbomb”, Spicebomb’s flacon takes its inspiration from a grenade, except this time it is presented in a more utilitarian and realistic fashion than its pretty-in-pink female counterpart.

As handsome and striking as this grenade bottle is, I can’t help but agree with Victoria of Bois de Jasmin, that the bottle is a bit too close to the real thing to be considered tasteful.

That may sound odd, but if you take away the pink jewel-like quality of Flowerbomb’s bottle the irony/joke seem to be lost, leaving a more serious and frighteningly accurate representation of such a destructive weapon.

Availability

Spicebomb is available in 50ml and 90ml Eau de Toilette with prices ranging from £45-£60. An aftershave balm (£30 for 100ml) is also available.

Disclaimer

Image 1 meltystyle.fr. Image 2 blackmarketmag.wordpress.com. Image cocosteaparty.com. [1] & [2] viktor-rolf.com. Notes via osmoz.com.

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25 thoughts on “A Spicy Implosion – Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Perfume Review

  1. I really enjoyed the way you review this. I have to admit I like Flowerbomb but do agree with you that it could be so much more. It’s like the favourite child you love but can’t help feeling didn’t quite reach its full potential.

  2. An interesting point on the bottle. I hadn’t paused to consider the similarity to a real hand grenade. I can see that the creators would point out the idea of the bottle being a kind of ‘flower in the rifle’ protest against violence, but suddenly I don’t want to refer to this as a ‘frag’.

    As for the fragrance, being a metrosexual kind of bird and unafraid to wear boy stuff, I can see me trying this. Though whether I’d buy a bottle for myself when I have Idole de Lubin, I don’t know. However, I CAN see me buying this for a male chum who’s very much into his scents but insists on only trying ‘boy smells’. (Can’t tell you how proud I was of him when he sent off for a sample of Davidoff’s Zino!)

    • I think that’s what they were going for and I can see it more successfully with Flowerbomb than Spicebomb.

      Spicebomb is really unisex and I can see it working well on you metrosexual birds :D

      Kudos to your mate and his Zino!

  3. Was not a big Flowerbomb fan – too fruity for my taste, but admittedly better than a lot of other fruity-florals out there. This sounds intriguing. I love Ambre Narguile. I’ll have to stalk the counters or Sephora for a sample!

  4. I’m so prepared to dislike almost any mass market offering that whenever it doesn’t happen I feel really surprised. I tried Spicebomb on a couple of occasions and couldn’t believe how much I liked it. I’ll keep testing (I have a couple of samples from a friendly SA) but I suspect that by the time it gets to online discounters I will decide that I want it in my collection – despite the bottle design that I do not particularly fancy.

  5. Actually I’m not that bothered/offended by the hand-grenade bottle. By adding perfume to something like a grenade it negates what the object is for. “Let’s bomb people with perfume” rather than the alternative kinda thing, like a post-hippie “flower-child” kinda message ! It is ultimately much more anti-violence in spirit than otherwise. – At least that is how I see it, (and believe is their intention.)
    Also I just luv the facetted shape of the bottle, and wouldn’t actually immediately read it as “a grenade” until further reflection, or were it not for the “bomb” bit. ~ So I quite like it really.

    Also, on another note, how would you compare it to DSquared2′s Potion ? ~ From the way you’ve described it, it immediately brought it to mind. They seems to share more than a few similarities. Are they at all ??

    • I’m not offended so much, but I just don’t think it’s a thing of beauty and is to realistic to be considered cool or even kitsch. The post-hippie flower child thing is much more present in Flowerbomb than this one.

      As for the comparison with Potion I’d say that they were quite different, Potion is much drier and stronger with the woods. I imagine it would be the kind of thing you liked though.

      • Cool thanx ! ~ I will give it a go then. … Altho’ I already own Potion, for some reason I’ve noticed myself tiring of it. [I think it's headed for eBay]. Perhaps Spicebomb will do it for me more. [Plus, there's always room for another hey ;)]

  6. I really liked it. For a mass market fragrance. It reminded me a lot of Flowerbomb edp, it has phantom longevity and it is really one of those fragrances that make you want to smell it again and again.

  7. Haven’t bought cologne in years. Narrowed 30 down to 5 and this one was in the finalists. The funny thing is I’m obviously not a fragrance wonk as I thought this was a very strong, unique fragrance. (Compared to The One, Bleu, Allure, La Nuit, etc.) Many of these other top fragrances seemed to feminine to me. Seems a bit overpriced. The bottle, while an interesting point to debate, is of no concern to me as it sits in my bathroom, not out for display in living room.

  8. Flowerbomb is one of my least favorite fragrances out there, and when they released Spicebomb I avoided it like the plague. However, as I was running through Sephora the other day, I decided to just bit the bullet and give it a sniff.

    Surprise! I enjoyed it! A LOT. It felt like kind of the thing you would want to smell around the holidays: some sugar, some spice. Very nice :-) Just goes to show how you should never write anything off :-)

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  10. I don’t care if the bottle looks tacky. For me, this stuff is amazing, totally gorgeous. My girlfriend loves it more! A real head turner in my office.

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