Absolute Aphrodisiac 
Initio (2015)

Average Rating:  7 User Reviews

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Reviews of Absolute Aphrodisiac by Initio

There are 7 reviews of Absolute Aphrodisiac by Initio.


Synthetic rendition of Indult Tihota. The thumbs down is based on my taste wearing it. I think candy-like gourmands would have to be your ride-or-die to love this.
Jun 3, 2021


Ok, a lot was expected from Initio when they arrived on the scene several years ago and Absolute Aphrodisiac has suffered mediocre reviews after extremely high expectations. I think what we have here is an extraordinarily good amber fragrance that progresses and changes from a gourmand opening through a weightless caramel amber heart that is as great an amber as I've tried and a very complimentary base of musk tinged with castoreum. The castoreum strangely adds the slight gourmand almost edible quality in the opening but blends with the musk/amber for a very dry polish on the warm caramel base. This is a very nice perfume, one of the best, if you love amber scents. Very unique in its class. Rating: 7 of 10.
May 29, 2021


Initio Absolute Aphrodisiac (2015) comes across as a mix of several styles common in the "masstige" segment, aka the mass-produced luxury or prestige designer tier that dwells midway between your rank-and-file designers and the full-blown one-percenter jus that costs the price of a car payment for a 75ml bottle. As such, you get a bit of "luxury" performance here, with some mass-appeal style, and a drop here or there of something different to satisfy the checkbox for being appropriately "niche". Initio itself is basically the sister label of Parfums de Marly, and sits a bit above it in price point, being to PdM as the Les Royales Exclusifs range is to Creed in cost per ml. Similarly, Initio claims full artisinal quality and artistic freedom, but delivered a pretty mixed message upon launch (and a mixed bag) with creations like Absolute Aphrodisiac alongside higher-quality offerings like Blessed Baraka (2015). The gist of Absolute Aphrodisiac is to be the Initio take on the phenomenon of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Masc Ravageur (2000), with bits of the chewy synthetic saffron amber notes swirling around at the time in scents like Aramis Perfume Calligraphy Rose (2013), but made popular in stuff like Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 (2015) which released the same year. Honestly, if it wasn't for much stronger marketing zeitgeist behind the MFK, this one may have won out and went on to become the synth oriental "amberwoods" that everyone copied ad infinitum ad nauseum after BR540 became so successful.

The very fact that this has a much more vanilla and musk lean, combined with the little-known stature of Initio in that first year as yet another luxury-priced brand among many in an increasingly-crowded market, is probably why it was glossed over by the influencers looking to profit in clout returns on finding the next hype train. As they say on Twitter, this ain't it chief, and it probably never was from the start. Calling Absolute Aphrodiac "Musc Baccageur 540" is a bit of a disservice to the scent, so here is the breakdown: Confectionary vanilla and generic white florals burst forth from Absolute Aphrodisiac. I detect something trying to role-play as ylang-ylang in here, with indoles cranked up to the ceiling, and that fatty musky floral riff further beefed up with the aforementioned gummy amber infused with saffron and synthetic bits like cashmeran. It's all very much a Phil Spector "wall of sound" for the nose, echoing off every part of your nose brain and not letting you really process what's going on until the base shows up. There is no heart here, just a bang of musky vanilla synthetic indole mash before the castoreum leather base appears to let you know "hey, we can afford naturals because we're niche", but it falls on deaf ears since it comes across like someone using artisanal parmasan cheese on Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti. Overall, this smells pleasant, if a bit too rich my tastes, and wears all day at about 12+ hours with good sillage, being a vanilla bomb just like Musc Ravageur. I'd call this unisex too, but it is certainly romantically inclined like the name suggests, feeling best in fall through early spring.

I think the gummy saffron amber accord thing was done better in Trudi Loren's hands with Perfume Calligraphy Rose than Alexandra Kosinski. Absolute Aphrodisiac is far from absolute anything and definitely no aphrodisiac, at least not to me. The fragrance is nice if by nice you mean decent for a $50 fragrance or maybe at a stretch, as a $100 designer bought on discount. This is the same sort of feeling I have about most top-heavy Tom Ford Private Collection scents that go ham on a single accord and never let up for 12 hours on that introductory handshake, mistaking power of singular purpose for refinement and luxury. There are plenty of powerhouses new and old (hello from Jacques Bogart and Ted Lapidus) that do what Absolute Aphrodisiac does for a tenth of the price, some of which even have a semblance of civet or castoreum for the animalic musk and/or leather growl that Absolute Aphrodisiac tries to use as its niche calling card. Sorry Initio, no dice on this one, because some of us know better. I feel like outside Blessed Baraka, the best this house has to offer would come in later years anyway, when Initio realized it had to bring more to the table than amped-up "masstige" accords and nuclear performance. Oud for Greatness (2018) and Rehab (2018) are probably the best this ultra-luxe PdM offshoot has to offer, before sliding back into overpriced aromachem territory again with Atomic Rose (2019) the very next year. Absolute Aphrodisiac is really just overpriced olfactory Ambien. Neutral
Feb 8, 2021


This is a bit like Musc Ravageur in that it is primarily a musky vanilla scent, only in AA the clove is replaced with castoreum and a bit of white florals. The end result is something very sweet but also definitely unisex. Others have mentioned there being a strawberry Nesquik scent, and I do get wafts reminiscent of that from time to time as I turn my head, but it's not apparent when you take a whiff up close. Definitely going to give it another wear. Right now it's a like, not a love.
Feb 24, 2020


When I put this on it instantly reminded me of something but I just couldn’t remember what it was. Then it hit me—Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan. In fact they’re very similar, as Ambre Sultan opens with a distinct sort of woody animalic spiciness that lays over the amber and gives the composition its general flavor. That same combination is apparent here as well, but instead of resting over a rich, resinous amber, it lies over a rich, creamy vanilla. It’s a nice fragrance, my third favorite in the line from those I’ve tested so far, with good longevity and just moderate projection. It’s something I could enjoy wearing for sure but for nearly $200 less I can get nearly the same thing in Ambre Sultan. And when it comes down to it, a resinous amber isn’t far off from a dark, creamy vanilla when the rest of the composition smells the same. If you’ve never smelled Sultan, then I’d describe Baraka as this: a vanilla fragrance with a distinct woody quality that has animalic under tones. It’s not a smell that is common among fragrances (other than AS), so it really needs to be smelled to be understood. It’s most likely a result of the castoreum, but still, it requires a sniff for clarification. Final rating, a solid 8/10, give or take half a point depending on how important originality is to you.
Dec 31, 2019


A simple, sweet-vanilla scent from beginning to end. Anyone who likes high-end vanilla scented candles will enjoy this.

Performance is very good with strong projection and all day longevity.
May 29, 2019

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