I have to give this perfume a 5. I bought this on a whim at the Honolulu airport as we were waiting to fly home. I'm glad I did! I have gotten more compliments on this perfume than any other that I've ever worn! I have to assume that the bottle was fresh--it looked like a busy store. I certainly expect to buy more when this runs out!
UPDATE, PLEASE READ:
It turns out that the bottle I received was old, and only the base notes remained. When fresh, this fragrance is screeching and really unpleasant and definitely a scrubber, although the base notes are still pretty. I'd give a new bottle zero stars, and I've lowered my rating accordingly. I wouldn't recommend buying it. But, since my bottle can't be more than 1 yr old, anyone who winds up with this could leave it with the cap off for a few months and see what happens. The original review follows.
Okay, so why did I give a 5 to a fragrance that has a kitschy name and is clearly marketed to tourists? Heck, it only comes in 3 oz bottles, perfectly sized to fit the TSA's rules! Well, this perfume clearly isn't trying, or claiming, to be the next Chanel No5. And for what it is, it's phenomenal!
According to the official description, this perfume is a "Spontaneous[,] Unique [and] Mischievous combination of the fresh, exotic Hibiscus blossom, infused with sweet fruits, candied almonds, and soothing vanilla and amber. (All the capitalization in the quote was originally there.)
Now, if you're like me, that sounds nauseatingly sweet. But, well, it's not. It's definitely sweet, but not strong or cloying. And, oddly enough, I can't find a hibiscus note in it. (For those unfamiliar with hibiscus, it's sweet and tart, like thoroughly sweetened cranberry juice.) There's nothing identifiable as almonds or vanilla, either.
Instead, there's a well-blended, tropical bouquet of florals, fruits, and a little amber. It's delicious, but neither gourmand nor heady. While I can't identify any specific fruits or flowers, the notes read as very natural. They remind me of the floral notes in Annick Goutal's Petite Cherie. Oddly enough, the amber isn't a base note. This fragrance is heart notes through and through, without a top or base.
Now, if the florals, fruits, and amber were the only notes, this would be just another boring fruity floral (albeit one of the nicer ones). However, this fragrance has a split personality: coexisting with the sweet notes is a very polished patchouli.
Just as the classic summer fragrance is a citrus undercut by herbaceous and green notes, this perfume's tropical bouquet is balanced by an equal level of patchouli. I know a lot of people balk at any mention of patchouli. But this isn't the earthy, dirty patchouli of hippie perfume oils, nor the screeching, sharp patchouli of Angel. No, this patchouli is clean and well behaved.
The fragrance's lasting power is sort of like a perfume oil. It lingers on the skin for a very long time, but the sillage turns subtle after an hour or so. So, unlike other summer fragrances, you won't need to reapply this every two or three hours. And at a list price of $17, with slightly lower prices found online, it won't break the bank. In sum, it's a great, cheap fragrance that's casual, beachy, and appropriate for hot weather, without falling into the cliches of citrus, fig, or coconut.
SAME DAY EDIT:
Okay, this is definitely a dupe of something I've smelled before. I can't remember the name of the original fragrance, but it was definitely more expensive than this. I'll edit this again if I think of the name. But in any event, the Hibiscus perfume is a bargain! continued >>