Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Bora Bora for Men by Liz Claiborne

Total Reviews: 24
Bora Bora for Men must be some third and final chapter in an unholy trilogy of horrifically convoluted and boring masculines that all share the same base components as Curve for Men (1996). What makes this perhaps even more amusing is the fact that everything in the Claiborne line from this era had decent noses behind them: Jean-Claude Delville for the original Curve for Men (1996) and it's unofficial flanker licensed out to Lucky Brand Jeans, Carlos Benaim for Mambo for Men (2001), and the unexpected Olivier Polge (yes, the son of Jacques), teamed up with Pascal Gaurin (who works primarily on drugstore and entry-level designers) on Bora Bora for Men. It's almost like Claiborne just lost all creative drive on the men's side of fragrance after the smash success of Curve, and just wanted to try reproducing that experience over and over. Bora Bora for Men was the "tropical" flavor of the Curve triad in the same way Mambo for Men was "spicy" flavor of Curve, and if we extended this to a 4-piece by including the Lucky You for Him (2000), then that can be the "green" one, but I honestly like that too much to place it in such "distinguished" company. I admire what Bora Bora for Men tries to accomplish here: it's like "Americanized Mall Cuisine" Chinese food, but the masculine fragrance version, with French Polynesia as the target culture being imported here for mass consumption. As such, it contains some pretty unorthodox notes in it's top, so it's definitely evidence of Olivier Polge's future worthiness to become new Chanel master perfumer after his father, but it steps on it's own toes with it's very cheap base that absolutely -needed- to be in line with the Curve line.

Bora Bora for Men opens with a stock parts-bin bergamot and lemon, almost as if we're going to get treated to a third-rate 80's powerhouse knock-off, but adds kiwi into the mix, because Americans associate Kiwi with the island of Bora Bora or maybe just any fruit exotic enough for it's own Starburst flavor could also have done, but the kiwi meshes best. Whether this is a true kiwi note or an aromachemical one implied with technological magic beats me, but it's there, or at least the confectionery version of it is. From there, we get a heart of lavender married to hibiscus, which is rather smart because hibiscus is used as the basis for many beverages south of the border, and anyone who's ever had Agua de Jamaica from a taqueria or the similarly-flavored Jarritos soda pop can attest that it's cranberry-like essence is quite "tropical" in feel. The base is that lovely Claiborne house note that I'll just label "Curve fougère base" here for ease, and it's married to leather, musk, and cedar. It's kinda sad because the transition from top to middle is quite interesting, and had this not been laid on top of a Claiborne self-plagiarizing clone scent, it might have been good. Sadly, once the base warms up, the island vacation is over and we all get to board our return flights to Flankertown and realize that this is just a remix of the same tired old song that the house has been singing since 1996. On the plus side, the finish isn't itchy or irritating like the other two members of this Three Musketeers of Terror (of which Lucky You for Him is the 4th "D'Artagnan" musketeer exempt from sharing the fate of the main lot). I can stomach wearing it, but I still don't like it.

An old friend of mine was nuts for everything Claiborne when I was younger, most young men admittedly were, as the stuff checked off all the focus group boxes, but I was never particularly impressed then, choosing to stick with my Avon of the period (which is worlds away more distinct, trust me). I re-sampled this for the first time in over a decade not expecting much more than my memories had informed me, and I was right, the stuff still is now what it was then: a Snoopy Snowcone flavor of a mega-popular trope at the time. It's not even that Bora Bora for Men is seriously terrible, and is probably the most likeable of all the Claiborne masculine efforts of the time, it's just not anything more than a fragrance for men that see fragrance itself as little more than personal air freshener. If super synthetic and powdery-sweet 90's fougères are your mainstay, then this will sit nicely alongside any other such scent, but even by 2002 there were so many better options, even in this price range, that I couldn't see seriously wearing then, nor more than 15 years later, when the world has changed so much and even Claiborne has made better scents since this. Bora Bora and Mambo both would receive flankers, even if they were sort of unofficial Curve flankers themselves (before the real ones started rolling out), but from what I can tell the apple doesn't fall far from the tree so unless you're collecting Claiborne specifically, this and it's later progeny are better left missed. For those interested in wearing this, I'd say it swings casual/romantic, with office use being a slight stretch, but I'm not in good conscience recommending this for use by anyone, ever. Not much more that can be said, just a super pedestrian masculine with false promises of exotica.
09th April, 2018
Being a huge fan of Claiborne scents, I've always wanted 'Bora Bora' for many years now. If you are a fan of 'Curve' and 'Mambo', you will immediately recognize the drydown of this to be extremely similar.

Initial blast is kiwi, ginger, fruit and what seems to be a tea note. Right as I sprayed this my girlfriend immediately complimented me and said 'wow that smells wonderful'. So it definitely did its job there.

It projects really well and a bit of a spicy musk undertone begins to develop as it dries down. I would like to call it the 'Claiborne' musk note, and those familiar with the brand will know what I am talking about. This comes out about an hour after spraying, and smells fantastic.

It is clean without being 'sport' or 'fresh' scented, and masculine without being dirty or dusty. The 'Curve' and 'Mambo' musk scent comes out and projects really well.

Most of if not all of the kiwi and fruity hibiscus notes fade away about an hour in and this is where this fragrance shines. It is a ginger and spice blend layered in musk and amber that is simply amazing and grabs compliments easily.

With a liberal application of a dozen sprays (neck, shoulders, wrists and chest), I am getting 7-10+ hours of longevity, with about 24-36+ hours on clothes and fabrics.

Projection is really good for the first five to six hours, and sillage is solid without being offensive or cloying. After five or six hours, it stays closer to the skin but lingers for another couple hours or so and smells very natural. This stuff lasts longer than most new fragrances that cost three times as much.

For an Eau de Cologne concentration, Claiborne always makes fragrances that perform better than most EDT's, and 'Bora Bora' is no exception. It performs and projects quite well, even in warm weather and humid climates. And for the price, you really can't go wrong here. It's great for spring and summer days, nights out on the town, date nights and safe for office environments and professional events.

I really love this scent, and if you're a fan of 'Curve', 'Mambo', 'Claiborne Sport' and others like it, you will undoubtedly enjoy 'Bora Bora'. For the price it commands, you could easily blind buy this and enjoy it. Definitely recommended.
18th June, 2017
Being a big fan and follower of Liz Claiborne for many years, I really wanted to like this scent.

It starts out interesting, but then it began to give me a bit of a headache. (I see the ginger and fig notes in the fragrance triangle that I tend to be on the fence about as it is.) On the whole, Bora Bora seems like a boring scrubber to me. :^(
10th March, 2017
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Bought blind at Marshalls when first becoming interested in fragrances. I figured it was by Liz Claiborne and Curve was okay, so how could I go wrong. Well, even though it was a full sized bottle for very little money, you can go very wrong indeed. I find it simply boring both those around me, wife and son, find it far too much fougere goodness for their liking. Took it camping on hot summer days in the Sierra. I soon found myself banned from the cabin when applying. It was that bad. Apparently the synthetic figs didn't appeal.
07th January, 2015
Bora Bora by Liz Claiborne smells great and is a "steal of a deal"...


Bora Bora is a clean and fresh fragrance with a mild spice undertone. While definitely unique, it is comparable or a between Diesel (Fuel for Life) and Versace Pour Homme.


My reviews generally consider the following areas: price/value, appeal/smell, "wow factor" (compliments), longevity, uniqueness, best time of year worn or occasion, and easy on the nose (and bottle on the eyes).


The real beauty of Bora Bora is the price/value. For the money, it cannot be passed-up to add to your collection. Secondary to the price, is the "Wow Factor". My cologne collected has extended to the point where I wear Bora Bora about twice a year. Each time it is worn, I receive at least one compliment from the opposite sex. That is huge in "my book". Bora Bora also scores well with longevity. I am especially fond of applying a moderate amount of any fragrance in the morning prior to the work day and it lasting the day without needing a reapplication.


If you are into defining an occasion to wear B/B, I would think it works well for any season, time of day, or event. After the initial application, the essence smoothes out to an easygoing fragrance without being overbearing.


I give Bora Bora 4.6 years out of 5 stars. It is under-rated in the cologne arena, a great value, and I definitely recommend adding to your collection.



29th January, 2013
Swanky Show all reviews
United States
Boring Boring would be a better name.
30th June, 2012
The scent is very sweet, and like all other sweet scents, skin chemistry is a crucial of whether it is a good or bad scent.

It smells like something that would be great for a teenager. Adults will probably want something more sophisticated, but shouldn't rule it out until they've tried it.

Its very low price (1/3 of most colognes) is also a strong point.

If you are a serious collector, you may want to include this in your collection as you may like all different kinds of fragrances, however at the same time, serious collectors are probably familiar with other colognes that do what this one tries to do, but better.

Seasons: All around

Age Group: Under 25

Blind Buy: It's relatively safe. If you don't like it, it won't be because it is offensive, but maybe because it's not distinct enough or because you are used to higher quality ingredients.

Everyone won't like this, but I do.

6/10
04th February, 2012 (last edited: 11th April, 2013)
lupin Show all reviews
United States
Not good. Not good at all.

Starts out smelling pretty interesting, but just as soon as I'm able to make sense of what I'm smelling... it turns to plastic. Just a terrible,cheap, soapy, artificial, and incredibly pungent stink that hangs around for a good long time.

28th November, 2011
Bora bora is the kind of scent that is nice to wear at morning, an hot summer morning, while roaming by an air conditioned car for the streets of Caracas or Salvador de Bahia. This is an exotic fruity ozonic bit airy and a touch green with the depth of tasty fruits of kiwi, quince and delicious fig and with a final gingery, woodsy and bit airy dry down. A floral note of hybiscus provides a touch of tropical exoticism and sophistication. The final wake is fresh, fruity, boise and powdery. A very pleasant easy scent for an easy life.
11th July, 2011 (last edited: 06th September, 2012)
Very nice and I am surprised at all the negative ratings. I suppose it goes to show our diverse tastes! Bora Bora is fruity with a little ginger underneath, then evolves into a gingery, powdery drydown. Quality is excellent! Great sillage and all-day longevity. It is certainly bottle-worthy, especially at the $15 price from Marshalls. Gotta give Bora Bora an enthusiastic Thumbs Up.
13th March, 2010
I accidentally tried the men's cologne and was enchanted by the top notes, however, when they say this is a fougere, they aren't kidding. It actually reminded me of a citrus/ aquatic type of scent until the middle and drydown.

If you like sillage and lasting power, this is the cologne for you.
08th March, 2010
bora bora is a boring spicy woodsy scent like everything else except less appealing and the notes do not quite mix

i smell it "needing" something and i would have to mix this with something to make it good
24th September, 2009
Very fresh somewhat soapy scent, great lasting power. I wear it when I know Im going to be active and I feel this is when it truly turns into a unique manly scent on my skin that the ladies love
23rd April, 2009
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Well, I don't see any link of this crap to the beautiful island of Bora Bora. Not at all. It really smells worse than your generic str8/mustang cologne. The bottle is really nice, but the juice screams loud : "CHEAP! VERY CHEAP! GENERIC! OLD MAN AFTER-SHAVE!". Not exotic at all. If you're looking for something exotic, try Escada, they're great: Sentiment( great smell, but not very lasting), Sunset Heat, Moon Sparkle.
28th March, 2009
lex Show all reviews
United States
been years but i remember back then that i never wore it wore outside the house,didnt like it.seems like it was a rush scent.
15th March, 2009
I just got this as a gift from a friend who thought I would like it. Well, where as it smells like a rainforest and I the hibiscus in it is rather pleasant, the sinus headache that ensues is not pleasant all.

Avoid like the plague if you have allergies.
13th September, 2008
Kind of bland and "cheap" (relatively speaking). Watery spice. Like Mambo without the heavy spice and amber. I can see why some might like this.
11th July, 2008
This fragrance is great especially the base notes. It has great staying power and charisma. If you want to smell interesting use it.
02nd November, 2007
Here in the tropic it smells very good (the best choice for summer) it reminds me the rainforest of my country, full fougere (I mean very masculine so) bamboo, grass…no overpower but with good long-lasting, womens loves it ´cause smell “Macho”
03rd January, 2007
flee Show all reviews
United States
Tried a few years ago and it didn't get my attention not one bit. Smells so basic.
28th May, 2006
Bland, generic scent that only seems appropriate for a young boy wanting to smell like something.
12th August, 2005
I really *want* to like this. But though it starts out interesting, it then gives me a bit of a headache and seems quite boring. :( (Pity, for I can get a *large* bottle of this at the local Ross store. :-/ )
24th October, 2004
This one I hated at first sniff. Every time I've worn it since my opinion of it went up some. It's heavy on the figs, and quite fruity. I'm to the point now that I like it, but don't know that I'd give it a thumbs up yet. Wish it had more of that Claiborne musk base that most of them seem to have. Doesn't evolve much after being applied.
23rd December, 2002
Seems bora boring to me. I felt it was similar to Curve yet not as good. Not offensive, but I wouldn't buy it. Like most Claiborne scents every other guy will buy it and you'll smell Bora Bora on subways, in restuarants, in grocery stores, way too often
12th August, 2002