Mambo for Men fragrance notes

  • Head

    • turkish origanum, lavandin, verbena, lime, bergamot
  • Heart

    • cedarwood, cinnamon leaf, orange flower, muguet, geranium, brazil bois de rose and cumin
  • Base

    • fir balsam, patchouli, sandalwood, and musk

Latest Reviews of Mambo for Men

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If the words like "synthetic", "cheap", and "generic" didn't exist, some people had nothing more to say about a perfume. Although there is enough time to virtue of creating populist stories. And It’s one of the basic elements here to attract attention. It means writing about everything except perfume! Perfume is a sensory exploration, sometimes triggering emotions, memories or even bad times. If you can't appreciate or are not open to a range of scents from different era's, you don't appreciate perfume.

Mambo is nice nothing more nothing less. A woody aromatic fragrance with earthy and citrus accords. The transition from the opening to the dry-down is relatively linear, the citrusy opening notes continue into the dry-down enhanced by the various notes included in this fragrance. Once Mambo has reached it's full dry down, it can be summarized as a moderate projection, slightly sweet, and woody fragrance with soft floral accords.

The fragrance feels aromatic, casual, clean, cool, diurnal, energizing, fresh, masculine but not for much, playful, relaxing, sparkly, slightly sweet, and pleasant. So...this smells synthetic?? Well, no, because it is...and so is Creed Aventus... And the $2000 bottle of the niche perfume brand which only sells three and a half bottles a year!
3rd August 2022
I have to keep this simple as this fragrance impresses me less and less each time I wear it. Curve never made an impression on me to begin with and Mambo isn't an improvement at all. It dries down into some sort of synthetic 'blah' fairly quickly and the opening is synthetic and pathetic. No matter how many notes they attribute to this, good luck picking anything 'organic' out of this blob. Thumbs Down.
14th November 2020

This is an underrated gem.

The Liz Claiborne DNA is in this one. If you've ever tried Curve, Lucky You, or Bora Bora, you'll recognize something similar in Mambo for Men. So it's got something fresh/sweet going on at first.

As soon as the dry down starts it reminds me a bit of the 1980s. I can't put my finger on it, but it just has some retro vibe in there, and yet it doesn't smell like the usual suspects of the powerhouse decade. I've seen it compared to Drakkar Noir and Gillette Cool Wave. I personally don't see that exactly, but it does feel like it could be one of their peers. I get a note of pencil shavings somewhere in there that provides a nice balance to the sweeter elements at play.

This smells good. Sometimes it feels like a throwback scent, other times it smells like a modern unisex fragrance. For me, this is a top 10 fragrance.
5th July 2020
Mambo for Men by Liz Claiborne (2001) is a lovely, spicy, and smooth little cheapo number that rides on the coattails of Curve for Men by Liz Claiborne (1996) as all men's fragrances from the house did after its release; and perhaps to a greater extent also riding on the coattails of Jean-Claude Delville's sweet and musky mass-appeal DNA, which invariably became "eau de shopping mall" once a number of boutique brands like Lucky Brand Jeans, PacSun, and Abercrombie & Fitch all jumped on it. In the case of Lucky Brand Jeans, they came straight to the source and contracted Liz Claiborne to make them a fragrance which ended up being perfumed by Delville himself, while the others more or less did their own variations on a theme. After 2 such retreads of his own work, Delville wouldn't do any more "Curve-alikes" for Claiborne, whether or not by choice or happenstance, but Claiborne wasn't done milking the successful formula. This is where Mambo for Men comes into the picture, part of a his/hers pair of fragrances launched in 2001, and perfumed by none other than Carlos "bringer of Polo" Benaim. Now before you get your nickers all in a twist, Benaim can only deliver based on the provided budget and brief as evidenced by his many contributions to the Calvin Klein range over the years, so another Quorum by Antonio Puig (1982) this is not. However, what Benaim seemed to have been instructed to do is deliver a richer, spicier, more-traditional fougère fragrance with the Curve for Men underpinnings, which may or may not actually fit the Latin-inspired theming of the fragrance packaging itself. Fans of spiced barbershop fougères like Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent (1988) or Pasha de Cartier (1992) can consider this the Claiborne entry into the genre, built a bit for cost of course.

There is an awful lot to like about Mambo for Men, if you can get past the fact that Curve for Men is lurking in the shadowy recesses of the scent. The opening is going to be the harshest part, and the part that really gives away the fact you're wearing a Claiborne fragrance to begin with, oozing with barely-finessed synthetic bombast. Perhaps it can't be avoided, because you're not going to get convincing lime, verbena, or rosewood even in synthetic form for a cheap price, so whatever IFF is using here is bottom-barrel. Luckily, Benaim is not a dumb-dumb, and knows what people pay for is the dry down and not the opening, especially with fragrances like Mambo for Men that get bought blind because they're too inexpensive to be put out for testing. Need I remind anyone that by 2001 Claiborne fragrances were barely hitting department stores anymore, after the brand decided to take a more democratized almost old-school chemist/drugstore brand distribution path over prestige and higher margins, meaning most things not made for boutique chains like Candies or the aforementioned Lucky Brand Jeans were highly optimized for cost in ways Curve for Men (with its snazzy tin can) wasn't. Going into the heart, we see cinnamon, lavender, geranium, clove, muguet, neroli, rose, and a bit of caraway all merge into a spicy shave foam aroma. This is by far the "money spent" on Mambo for Men, as the base is pretty much pure Curve for Men with sheer musks, evernyl, tonka, synthetic sandalwood, amber, sweetness, and soap. The odd increase in a noticeable patchouli riff combined with a bit of balsam fir are the only discernible differences over Curve's dry down. Much like Lucky You for Men (2000), these changes make for an improved scent over the OG Curve for Men, but not a vast departure in style.

Who's gonna wear Mambo for Men? Well, I don't know. Ronnie the Limo Driver on the Howard Stern Show seems to swear by this stuff, saying it can "turn any man into a Don Juan" in his own words. I don't know about you, but I'm not arguing with Ronnie "Scores Man" Mund, that's for sure. In all seriousness though, this seems built most for guys that found themselves just a bit too mature to pull off the sweetness off Curve for Men, and likely wanted something a bit more traditionally-masculine to reflect their tastes. Whether or not this is a go-getter like Curve depends upon who you ask (outside Ronnie of course), but from my experience, Mambo is the stripped -down bargain basement outlet take on Safari for Men by Ralph Lauren (1992), and perhaps even a cheapo alternative to something like the later Rive Gauche pour Homme by Yves Saint Laurent (2003). Mambo for Men wouldn't be the spiciest nor most mature take on the Curve DNA, as that distinction belongs to Spark for Men by Liz Claiborne (2003) and Realities for Men by Liz Claiborne (2004), the latter two and sadly only discontinued entries from the canon, mostly because EA Fragrances elected not to carry them over when they bought Claiborne Cosmetics. Before you go chasing unicorns though, remember, they both still smell like iterations of Curve just as Mambo for Men does, since they all share that "Delville DNA" in some way. In conclusion, there's a lot to like about a cheap but satisfying spiced fougère, even if it has a few trace elements of that early 2000's "mall smell" in its bones, Mambo for Men is proof positive that a talented perfumer can make something from almost nothing, although I can't say the odd and gimmicky bottle really does what's inside any favors. Not the best, but better than most of the rest. Thumbs up
17th March 2018
A very underrated fragrance in my book that I personally like and can wear daily.

Mambo for Men I would call the adult version of Curve. It has that exact same barbershop foundation that smells like Cool Wave by Gillette that's also in Curve. I feel Mambo should have came out first because it smells way more stylish and mature. Curve just smells like a pineapple/cactus/sun-tan lotion abomination to me.

Aside from the Cool Wave aftershave base, this scent is smoothly green and leafy. A slightly spicy mix of cinnamon and anise rolling off that green. Musk and sandalwood floating in the background. This is very fresh and not pushed into being a dirty or dry scent. Some may find that lacking depth I say it's trying to be a balanced fragrance.

If someone forced me to live on an island for 6 months with only the choice of this or Eternity for Men...I'd take Mambo without hesitation. It may be under $20 and I criticize some of Claiborne's scents also...but I do like Mambo for Men!
10th November 2017
Very synthetic. Extremely spicy and harsh. IMO this is not worth the money even at its current price. Avoid.
30th November 2016
Show all 51 Reviews of Mambo for Men by Liz Claiborne