Genre: Woody Oriental
This starts out harsh, herbal, and camphoraceous. Liniment? Bengay? No, Tiger Balm, dummy! The opening is medicinal enough to make me ask “Why in heaven’s name would anybody want to smell like this?” Once the top notes clear off the scent’s appeal is much more obvious, but the structure is also far more conventional. Within ten minutes Spirit of the Tiger has deepened and sweetened into a warm, spiced incense blend that even borders on the gourmand.
The drydown reveals a pleasantly rich spicy/ambery oriental foundation that is very nicely balanced, though not terribly original or exciting. It’s as if Spirit of the Tiger is trying to make up for its shocking entrance with an apologetically polite development. The result is an olfactory non-sequitur that’s probably too challenging at the outset for traditionalists and too tame in the end for thrill seekers.
Spirit of the Tame Tiger
Smoky wood, camphorous mint, and some spice. The resemblance to Tiger Balm is apparent but Esprit du Tigre is softer, smoother, and altogether more wearable. However, it's not something that I would necessarily wear too often. It's a very distinct scent and kind of an oddball at that. At the same time, it's not exactly exciting either. Something about it is kind of flat and boring, and in the end it resembles a freshener you might keep inside expensive shoes more than something you would wear on your skin. I find that Piper Nigrum (a fragrance with which it is often associated) is much more lively and interesting. While it vibrates with vitality and rich, full notes, Esprit du Tigre seems milquetoast in comparison. I usually enjoy the restraint exercised in Heeley's fragrances, but I think Esprit du Tigre could benefit from a little more flare. It's not a bad scent at all, and it's pleasant enough, but come on already...let that tiger out of its cage!
Pros: Pleasant, Well-composed, Easy to wear
Cons: A little on the boring side, Too restrained
As soon as I've inhaled a vial of Esprit du Tigre I thought: medicinal agarwood and aromatic spices. I don't think oudh is present but undoubtedly the juice is a medicinal and spicy bomb which smells anyway cool and slightly aromatic (because of a starring initial chord of peppermint and camphor) further than tasty of cinnamon and finally virile due a consistent dose of vetiver. This is a masculine to me and is an almost sporty or anyway dynamic kind of juice. Going on with the development the medicinal effect produced by the link of spices and camphor fades a bit and leaves the stage to a peppery and spicy fresh elegant vetiver. An interesting fragrance but nothing else.
18th April, 2012 (last edited: 08th June, 2014)
Highly camphoraceous and medicinal....smells exactly like, well, Tiger Balm, but when it comes to Tiger Balm there's nothing like the real thing or...Piper Nigrum.
Several times over the years, on a whim, I have applied Tiger Balm on the back of my hand just because I enjoy the camphoraceous, medicinal scent. I like the accords in Spirit of the Tiger just as much, and it’s not as aggressive to the nose as Tiger Balm is the first hour after it is applied. Still, it is interesting how similar they smell. Spirit of the Tiger is more refined than Tiger Balm, and not as medicinal, which is entirely to be expected. SotT is camphoraceous and minty and, especially, clovey. It is thoroughly enjoyable. No need to describe this fragrance any further. If anyone wants to know what it smells like, just get a jar of Tiger Balm. Of course, this recommendation can be turned in on itself: no need to buy a $150 bottle of Spirit of the Tiger, for less than one-twentieth the cost, just get the real thing — it lasts as long and has the additional healing benefits, too.
Originally submitted 14 October 2007
Tiger Balm it is, if only for the first five minutes of development. After that initial time has passed, the camphor-laden top notes warm and grow into a lovely, clove-y woodsy fragrance that stays very close to the skin. Still, this one doesn't develop much more beyond the "clove-y woodsiness" already mentioned.
A noble effort, but hardly worth a hundred bucks a bottle.