Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Mambo for Men by Liz Claiborne

Total Reviews: 47
Mambo seemed to be released at a time when everything Liz Claiborne made for men smelled like Curve (1996), regardless of whether or not it was a Curve flanker. Lucky You for Men (2000) was a licensee scent that was effectively "greener Curve" (and thus better), and Mambo was "spicier Curve", which is a really crass summation of the stuff, but so close to the truth it hurts. The itchy facet of Curve which bothered me so much was also present here, and exacerbated worse by the synthetics and spices on display, making this a big "no-can-do" for me. The problem with Mambo is it obstinately tries to maintain that "90's clean" but head into a full-bodied, more complex direction that orientals or gourmands were starting to take by the early 2000's, and it's a compromise that maybe could have worked (Burberry for Men did it pretty well in 1996), but was gone about in all the wrong fashions by nose Carlos Benaim; certainly not his best work. Laurent Hainaut appears to havd made no other fragrances bottle designs according to basenotes information, and it has me wondering why, because Mambo does get served up in a cool bottle, which was the reason 20-year-old me picked up the thing. Ultimately this went to a best friend who ended up falling in love with this, Curve, and the follow-up Bora Bora (2002), which I was loathe to try after striking out so much with Claiborne.

Mambo has the usual 90's/early 2000's hyperbole exotica notes so I won't list them, as some sound like attempts to put lace on a pig (such as saying lavandin in place of lavender), but what you get here is a very barbershop Curve-like opening that doesn't need describing a second time here. The middle notes are where the spices live, with clove, cinnamon, and cumin joined by geranium, rose, orange blossom and muguet. The cumin here is the only ingredient with a sense of purpose, adding that tell-tale sweatiness that denotes this as "sexier" than it's Curve patriarch, but it's too buried in business anyway. The base is all synthetic sandalwood, patchouli, musk, and fir basalm, the latter of which is too green and throws all the other floral/spicy/vanillic ingredients off course. This was almost a good scent if you took away the itchy chemical top and confused heart/base notes. Remove the florals, remove the green, and bam; this could have been a decent oriental cheapie. As it stands, it's the Toys "R" Us kid of oriental hybrid fougères (ironic that Toys "R" Us goes defunct as I write this), meaning it doesn't want to grow up into a solid masculine, but rather keep meandering with musings, inspirations, and ideas, but never commit to a direction. It's not a very good mambo dancer with two left feet.

This might be okay for the guy that wants to color just barely outside the fresh fougère lines, or the kind of person who just occasionally bumps up from the mild salsa to the medium for a rare bit of pleasure outside the comfort zone, but I've never been that guy to be honest. Even if this thing didn't cause a rapid-fire sneeze fit that lasts all day, I still don't know if I'd be able to handle it's confused and mediocre blending of synthetics and mid-tier elements rebranded as luxury ingredients. This is the fully-loaded entry-level Hyundai of oriental/fougère hybrids. It's certainly no Boucheron Pour Homme (1991) or Dior Fahrenheit (1988), and isn't even on the level of an Avon in terms of risque note interplay. It's blending bites in all the ways it shouldn't, and fails to impress in all the ways it needed to for it to be anything more than a "spicy Curve". I remember seeing this on the clearance counter at the perfume section of Sears (which says a lot), next to other Claiborne men's staples, and it was the only product placement with not a single box touched. I really don't think I need to say any more than that.
17th March, 2018
Very synthetic. Extremely spicy and harsh. IMO this is not worth the money even at its current price. Avoid.
30th November, 2016
After dry down it smells something like artificial coconut. Not a masculine fragrance IMO.
27th August, 2016
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Smells like Mont Blanc's Individuel.
17th October, 2015
Huge complement getter. I wear many colognes and this is the only one that draws curiosity from both men and women. They love it. I am very comfortable with this scent and it has become a signature of mine over the years. One or two sprays max for the office or gym as it can get strong. It's fruity yet woody, spicy and musky.
23rd August, 2015
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The opening is quite nice, a bergamot-lemon-Verbena mix that very soon has a woody-floral note added to it. A bit of patchouli and a very light musk is added too. That sounds complicated and as such could be very nice, but there is surprisingly little development in it and it is very artificial. Initially silage and projection are good, but after the first hour it is close to my skin. Decent overall longevity of about three hours. Overall a neutral score, but if one would take into consideration its
keen pricing, a thumbs up would be justified.
19th November, 2012
Seeing as how this juice is about $10/ounce, its pretty darn good. Mambo reminds me of TdH because of the orange/amber/musk notes in it; sure, Mambo is spicier and doesn't have as much orange zest, but it reminds me of it just the same.

Mambo opens with some lime and spice and a hint of verbena, and is a punch in the nose initially, but settles down. It becomes a musky wood on the dry down with a ( cinnamon, cumin, and maybe coriander (but that last might be the lime fooling me.)

All-in-all, a great frag to wear on warm evenings (or to feel warm) after the initial blast if you are strapped. Thumbs up for value, maybe a neutral if it was twice the price.
30th October, 2012
I doused myself with this over a few days and could not detect any scent whatsoever - it was like smelling pure alcohol.

This has me stumped - on me it's a non-scent.
04th September, 2012
For the price range, I think it is excellent. Middle notes are very prominent. This fragrance really shines when it's been on for about half an hour. I use this only at night as it is quite heavy for the day. Good longevity. Get lot's of compliments on it.
15th May, 2012
This has been a long favored cologne of mine. It has a great, long lasting scent. No disappointments here at all. It was more expensive a few years back, but now is quite the bargain.
30th March, 2012
I don't know why so many thumbs down. This is a very nice scent. Its a woodsy / spicy scent and I would like to see it last a bit longer. But I love the scent and despite some of these other ratings, It does actually get compliments.
23rd March, 2012
I wore this when I was younger, as it was my night-time, warm weather scent. Mambo also worked for me in the cold, if you wanted to "smell" warmer. Took a test of it after many years and found its not that bad. I don't hate it, but it is not really my cup of tea anymore, as I've gone from nightclubs to local bars or dives. I still appreciate the warmth, spiciness and masculinity of it, but it is slightly too sweet and jumbled for me now. I think of nightclubs in Miami when I smell this (probably because I wore it then). The olfactory equivalent to the young man's "going out shirt" (black button up). Of course I've replaced my G.O.S. with a jacket, and so too this cologne. Still not bad for what it is, not a shameful option for a hot weather/nightclub scent.
29th February, 2012
A sadly misnamed scent. Mambo is one of the strongest and most disctinctive rhythms in Afro-Caribbean music, but this scent barely makes it past bland --- much more Muzak than Mambo. It's pleasantly citrusy with a touch of green, mellowing into an indistinct ambery background. The whole composition fades rather quickly, leaving only an indistinct memory of a rather generic warm citrusy glow. Pleasant enough, but highly forgettable.
07th May, 2011
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Anup Show all reviews
United States
Fresh and citrusy with a deep masculine undertone. Sweet, slightly spicy, tangy and deep.

Doesn't last as long as i would have liked, but overall i would recommend this to anyone.

Wear at night time, or in the fall for an even more sensual experience.
15th April, 2011 (last edited: 16th April, 2011)
Tony T Show all reviews
United States
yes it is synthetic but also different. in the same club as magnetism imo.a bit heavy so it's great for colder weather!!!
05th January, 2011
Eugene Levy sporting chest hair, gold chains and a track suit. Faux-machismo that's so over-the-top synthetic it's laughable, and at higher doses, intolerable. This isn't 'bang for the buck,' it's a ten-megaton chemical bomb.
11th December, 2010
Horrible, potential is there as it is with many in the Claiborne House, but this is as synthetic as it comes. The only way I can describe Mambo is that it smells like somebody spilled peach soda on a circuit board..the board fried..it was liquefied in a blender, then concocted with 12 other unneeded ingredients and BAM..We have Mambo!
28th February, 2010
nothing to offer cheap cologne and SMELLS CHEAP to my nose i definately do not reccomend it......its a shock that they had this at the mens wearhouse and didnt have anything like armani, gaultier, gucci, laurent, versace and other high end stuff
18th January, 2010
MikeB Show all reviews
United States
I have had a small bottle for three years now. It barely lasts longer than an hour on me and smells inoffensive but lacks anythithing special about it. The only person i know who wears it is a 50 year old marine missing half his teeth. So i guess if you are 50 and a marine and do not care how you smell then this is perfect for you. I can't say much about a fragrance as poor as this.
22nd November, 2009
dw1243 Show all reviews
United States
the summer edition-mambo mix is a great spicy fruity scent great longevity too a must have
22nd May, 2009
okay this might be the wine talking but this stuff just plain sucks... I'm not even going to give it the benefit of describing the scent pyramid because so many before me have said enough... I totally understand "value" fragrances and some people might have an extremely small budget for cologne, but when you can pick up Carven Homme for twenty bucks or a mulititude of others for a bit more I can't see the point in shelling out an hours worth of work for something this disastrous. I have two toddlers that I have just suffered through potty training, and to be honest I would rather clean up an "accident" than ever try this again... Yuck!!!
26th April, 2009
lex Show all reviews
United States
tru. notes dancing around.all doing a different dance to a different tune.smell chemicals,alcohol
15th March, 2009
bbBD Show all reviews
United States
This is the perfect fragrance for those guys who drive limos, then stand around in the hall of your employer's workplace sleeping or being cranky. Also, Mambo is for you If you're an short, older gentlemen who likes to visit strip clubs and who thinks that you receive attention from the girls because of your sparkly personality instead of your influential boss. Make sure you think you're funny before slapping on enough to create a 7-foot bubble of Mambo around you, and don't forget to stock at least 10 boxes in your fridge so you can douse yourself in this juice every day for the remaining few years of your life.

Thumbs up for Ronnie - thumbs down for everyone else (thus a neutral rating)
03rd November, 2008
Mambo for Men is a confused concoction, with watery, sweet and woody notes bumping into each other. I think the worst part of it is that I get an unpleasant burnt smell that begins soon after the opening lasts for a good while. The basenotes are pleasant woods and musk; not especially remarkable, but pleasant... still not worth waiting for.
09th August, 2008
Bigsly Show all reviews
United States
SirSlarty talks about a lot of different notes dancing around, and I'd say that is a good way to describe Mambo. I like it! Also, there's nothing unpleasant going on here, and I don't get a "synthetic" vibe from it either. It is a bit musky, so you don't want to overspray with this one, especially in warm weather. I can spray once and I'm set for several hours, at least. A good "cheapo" that's nice if you like a lot of variety, as I do.
09th July, 2008
I don't know what's going on with this. It's got everything but there's nothing. Spicy, sweet, synthetic, watery,... it dances in a messy confusion of notes.
24th April, 2008
Mambo is a nice fragrance. When I first smelled it I fell in love with it. Altho not one of the fragrances I normally wear.. But it is seductive & its great. It can be overpowering at first but the dry down is much MUCH better! I ended up giving my bottle to my little cousins bcause for some reason I just got tired of it. So I will give it a neutral rating!
12th April, 2008
Disgusting. So glad I only bought the 1oz thing from -walmart-. It's trying so hard to be Black from Kenneth Cole but it fails miserably. As with most Liz Claiborne fragrances, I couldn't get into this one try as I may.
11th April, 2008
Everytime I am around someone they always say "You smell so good. What are you wearing?" A must have if you love to smell sexy and seductive. You won't be upset with this.
22nd December, 2007
One of the most underrated scents that is out there. I could care less about what "the ladies" think when I am picking out a scent as I do it for me and only me. But, for all of the men out there who does care what "the ladies" think (by the way, that phrase is annoying), then, this is your fragrance. It has a comforting, musk-like smell to it. Not bad!
08th December, 2007