Perfume Directory

Mambo for Men (2001)
by Liz Claiborne


Mambo for Men information

Year of Launch2001
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 118 votes)

People and companies

HouseLiz Claiborne
PerfumerCarlos Benaim
PackagingRaison Pure
PackagingLaurent Hainaut
Parent CompanyRevlon Inc > Elizabeth Arden Inc
Parent Company at launchClaiborne Cosmetics

About Mambo for Men

Mambo for Men is a masculine fragrance by Liz Claiborne. The scent was launched in 2001 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Carlos Benaim. The bottle was designed by Laurent Hainaut and Raison Pure

Reviews of Mambo for Men

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.
05th July, 2020
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 I perceived in the 90's (but not now) was also present here, and exacerbated worse by the synthetics and spices on display, making this a big "no-can-do" for me at the time. 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 have 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 went defunct as I wrote 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 doesn't cause a rapid-fire sneeze fit that lasts all day anymore, 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. Thumbs Down
17th March, 2018 (last edited: 28th February, 2020)
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 (last edited: 30th August, 2019)
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

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