Navitus Parfums (2020)

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About Arcanum by Navitus Parfums

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Navitus Parfums
Fragrance House
Jorge Lee

Reviews of Arcanum by Navitus Parfums

There are 1 reviews of Arcanum by Navitus Parfums.

Arcanum by Navitus Parfums (2020) is the one fragrance of the initial 6 I tried from this line (including Lautus, Oud Imperium, Oud Luxuria, Opulentas, and Intimus) that I almost instantly didn't like, while the other six had respectably complex transitions that either lead me to love, hate, or indifference in time. I guess if nothing else positive can be said about the corporate-backed Middle Eastern luxury niche upstart label that uses YouTube influencers as creative directors, it's that they at least understand their audience, giving their fragrances development over the course of the wear for better or worse. Arcanum also changes over the course of its wear, I just think it doesn't change my mind about whether I like it or not like the others I've sampled in this initial lot of 6. If and when I sample the others, I expect similar jawbreaker layers in the top, heart, and base phases, just maybe no chewable strawberry center like an everlasting Gobstopper. Anyway, the point of Arcanum seems to be as the romantic evening wear trope of the lot, whereas others veered into blending Middle Eastern styles with classic Western perfumery genres like the fougère but with oud added, using modern aromachemical tricks to lower the cost. It's ultimately the blatant and harsh aromachemical bases that do most of these in for me (even the ones I like), but that isn't the case with why I dislike Arcanum.

For starters, this comes across sweet and thick, with coconut and spice in a rounded clubber-style opening. I can hang with clubbers and own stuff like Paco Rabanne 1 Million (2008) or Versace Eros (2013), but they also don't try to hide what they are and do what they're made to exceptionally well, whereas this just toys with being a clubber like a cat toying with a cloth mouse on a string. Most of the Navitus line sheparded by Steven from Redolessence does this, so either he's an endless flirt, or just asked the perfumers to smash to many different ideas into each fragrance. The heart claims oud, but I don't get anything but woody scratch, which can be synthetic guaiac wood at best. Frankincense tears are also mentioned, but again nope; same with labdanum, zilch. What I do get is something fruity sweet and floral accompanying the coconut, which may be what Navitus lists as osmanthus, which usually is a flower with a strong apricot impression. This fruity floral note eventually rests on a powdery scratchy wood base which feels like more "woody-amber" nonsense like norlimabnol, or overdosed ambrocenide like you see in mens designers, aka taking the cheap way out to make projection and longevity. Vanilla and tonka keep things sweet but the scratch shines through too much. Wear time is all day as this is an extrait, and projection lasts longer than some other Navitus scents I've tried, but calms down in a few hours. Where you'd use this is up to you, because I can't stand it.

Arcanum indeed pulls a magic trick of making you think of something tropical fruity and fun before pulling a rabbit out of its hat and turning your clubber into a boring sweetened modern woody amber fragrance you could get from any number of Dolce & Gabbana or Giorgio Armani flankers out there. The $140 for 50ml asking price might seem a steal for something with extrait de parfum longevity, but you have to really love the mishmash of values on display here to appreciate this for 12+ hours straight. I just can't, I'm sorry. Like with Oud Luxuria (2019), the heavy overdose of woody amber scratch destroys all tolerance I have for the perfume, and unlike Oud Luxuria, I don't like the development on the way to that scratch, so it just goes from bad to worse for me. Some may compare this overdosed aromachemical trick to what Parfums de Marly does, but at least they have some competent blending. Jorge Lee of Nishane fame either phoned this completely in, or was underpaid for his work and didn't really care past a certain point, because Arcanum feels barely put together from ideas that had no ideas they were being combined before they were. Some of what Navitus does with Steven from Redolessence is pretty novel and wearable, even if ultimately not spectacular, but this is just not one of those perfumes. Thumbs down.
Nov 29, 2020

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