This seems to be the consensus opinion over at Basenotes.net, and I can understand that assessment, that is, if your expectations were very high. This scent has everything going against it, from the symbol that vehicle has become to the reformulation by EA Fragrances. From what I understand, Riviera Concepts was the original formulator, and in my experience they were quite good (they are no longer in business, apparently taken over by EA). The bottle is well constructed and quite heavy, with an excellent atomizer, however. Nowadays H2 is selling for a pittance, which of course is good for those who like it. The “problem” with these kinds of scents is often that no matter how good they are, few seem to believe the online reviews that point this out !
The bottle I am reviewing is by EA Fragrances, and to be sure, I’m not going to tell you that it’s niche quality in any way, or that it’s unique and compelling, or that it’s the perfect “signature scent” for the budget conscious, though it could serve that function (generally, scents with an oriental base are not considered signature scent fare). It begins sweet, spicy, and fruity (citrus-oriented and not “unisex”). Over time an incense type quality begins to emerge (not the dry, sandalwood type) and the volume decreases a bit but not outrageously. It’s a pleasant blend; you can tell most of the notes are present, but few are obvious. And it doesn’t have any obvious “off” or “synthetic” qualities. In short, there is absolutely nothing “wrong” with it.
Why do so many seem to think that a Hummer scent is going to be niche-like? There are so many “chemical mess” scents out there that do deserve criticism, especially more than a few reformulations, that you would think this one would at least get mild praise. It’s not 1987 any more and you can’t expect a scent like this to knock you on the floor, the way so many of that era could. Of course there are other scents that could fill this role, such as Baryshnikov Sport or Burberry’s Sport Ice for Men, but you might prefer this over the others. Each of these three have their own “pluses and minuses” but I certainly would like to have at least one available to me because I do find myself wanting to wear this kind of scent once in a while.
Note that none of these “smell like Cool Water” (or Acqua di Gio, for that matter) and instead are best thought of as “fresh spicy,” IMO. The drydown of H2 is the least “fresh” of these three (H2, BS, and the Burberry), and in fact could be thought of as a plebeian version of Messe de Minuit by Etro (in other words, to those who think Messe de Minuit smells like a “homeless old man”). And while H2 never becomes too sweet, it also never has that sharp quality one finds in Gucci’s Envy for Men (or the several that smell very similar), probably due to the sharp lavender in Envy and the others like it. So, while I’m certainly not suggesting anyone run out and buy a bottle (and I’d have no regrets swapping off my bottle), I consider it superior to many recent designer scents that are selling at your local department store for much more money.
UPDATE: I was thinking this was similar to something else, but I couldn’t place it because I don’t like the creamy sweet/spicy/citrus thing going on in these kinds of scents. However, a few days later it dawned upon me: Allure Homme. I find that one more cloying that H2 but for those who do like this idea and don’t want to spend the money for AH, they could do a lot worse than H2, and perhaps more importantly, get the kind of olfactory experience they are seeking. Hardcore AH fans, of course, will likely scoff at the idea, but what I have found is that if I don’t wear a certain kind of scent often I can go with the cheaper alternative, so long as it’s not a “chemical mess” or problematic in some major way. In this case I get a “laundry musk” vibe from AH but not from H2, and the strength advantage that goes to AH is actually a disadvantage to me, due to how quickly it feels cloying.