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Herod and its Clones


New member
Feb 3, 2011
In a recent decant swap, I received a 3 ml sample of Parfums de Marly Herod, a much-touted tobacco scent, from a well-respected fellow fragster who thought I would like it. I had enjoyed some tobacco scents, including Davidoff Run Wild (though I didn't enjoy Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille), so I tried it with some anticipation. The good news is that my fragrance-loving co-worker walked up to me and said "Is that a tobacco scent? It smells really good." The bad news is that it didn't smell as good to me. Yes, the tobacco portion is done well, and the sweetness level and vanilla is nicely balanced, but there is a musty, kind of sweaty fruit smell that combines with what I remember as the Polaroid film developer chemical bite. My feeling is that this is from some component combining poorly with the cedar, incense and vetiver (two notes that I usually love dearly). To say that I was disappointed was an understatement.

Still, the good reaction from my co-worker made me want to try some clones of this, for those somewhat rare occasions when I want to wear things to please others (and therefore don't want to pay a lot for the fragrance). My search led me to two contenders: Maison Alhambra Hercules and Armaf Radical (sometimes referred to as Radical Brown). I searched the web and YouTube for reviews comparing the three and found ... nothing. Herod vs. Radical, Herod vs. Hercules, but not all three. That meant that I had to do it. Here goes.

For this experiment, I rounded up my fragrance-loving co-worker and another staffer who has a keen nose. We started with three test strips, smelling them at 20, 40 and 60 minutes. They both felt that AR and Herod were very close (one thought I was trying to play a trick, and thought they were the same fragrance). One preferred AR, the other preferred Herod. When they blind-tested me, the AR was the lightest, most aromatic (lavender plus), and leaned more towards amber than vanilla. MAH was darker, had a dark (non-citrus) fruit element, and the vanilla was quite prominent (though well-balanced with the tobacco and fruit). I instantly picked out the Herod from the Polaroid chemical smell and just couldn't get past that. But these reactions were just "on paper", so on to skin.

I numbered three 5ml sprayers 1, 2 and 3 (going in alphabetical order by house name). Sprayed on skin in three different areas. I checked in with my co-workers at 30 minutes, 2 hours and 6 hours. We all agreed that AR, while in the same general style of Herod, was not really close enough to be considered a one-to-one clone. Maybe 65 - 70%. It is lighter, fresher, and more versatile, which could allow it to be worn up to, say, 75 degrees F. The lavender, amber and tobacco play nicely together, and two of us got a light cherry blossom note. For about 30 minutes of the heart, there was a hint of what I can only describe as the smell of a neutral sunscreen that has been on warm skin in the sun for a few hours. Perhaps abstract, but I can't describe it any other way. A combination of comforting but a bit off-putting. And that was only with nose to skin, not in the air. (All of these smelled better in the air than nose to skin, by the way). The MAH started out close to the strip, but in the drydown veered away from the others by developing an incense/wood tone, with a whisper of smoke and a hint of cinnamon/"middle eastern" smell. Quite a bit darker than the AR, to the extent that this will work better in the cooler months. But very nice. And Herod? Musty fruit, Polaroid weirdness, with some cinnamon and middle eastern vibes, confirming that this is closer to Hercules than Radical.

In conclusion, Co-worker 1 rated them definitively in the order of AR, MAH and Herod. Co-worker 2 put Herod just above MAH, and thought that AR was too different to compare it to the others. For me, I would give the slight edge to AR, because I am a sucker for aromatic lavender and amber, but MAH is a close second with the biggest change from top to base and that lovely incense/woody note in the base. Herod was a distant third. What do these conclusions mean to you? Possibly nothing. Maybe what i smell as mustiness would be considered to be the best part of Herod by another. I am not pushing anything, and I certainly want to stay away from the "clones vs. niche" discussion; but for my money, you would be well rewarded for having Radical and Hercules in your fragrance wardrobe. Cheers.

d r e

Well-known member
Dec 24, 2018
If you wanna do another round of testing you can throw in Essential Parfums Divine Vanille


Dec 21, 2019
I didn't know Davidoff Run Wild is considered a tobacco scent.
it smells like a cheaper version of Invictus Aqua 2018 or Azzaro Wanted Edt.
Anyway, for me, I gotta have a real one even if I get a clone.
otherwise, my mind will always be wanting to have a real one.


Well-known member
May 22, 2023
I have one Tobacco scent and that is Tobacco Toscano by Santa Maria Novello. I should also have Acqua di Cuba by SMN and Atam Xamam by Villoresi but I don’t. Know them both well but don’t currently have them. All three are fabulous.

I find most tobacco scents just scream body wash or air freshener because of the over use of vanilla and other spices.

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