How to decide upon a “cheapo” blind buy.

Sometimes a blind buy sort of calls out to you, which (for me) has recently been the case with Lomani’s AB Spirit. This is a low-priced scent that apparently was meant to smell at least somewhat like Creed’s Windsor. The notes for it (from are:

Top notes are bergamot and lemon; middle notes are rose, iris and eucalyptus; base notes are cedar, sandalwood, musk and moss.

Moreover, some have pointed to this possible connection directly, and the reviews seem to be quite positive overall. Why wouldn’t I blind buy it? One reviewer of Windsor, who has sampled a large number of scents, had this to say about it (on Fragrantica):

Arguably one of Creed’s worst fragrances (in competition against Himalaya and Love in White), Windsor (new) is Vick’s Vapo-Rub on top, and an unremarkable and marginally unpleasant rosy cedar on the bottom. A hint of butyric fruit ester, probably pineapple, is the only point of interest, but it’s too subtle to dwell on. Pointless, surprisingly synthetic, and egregiously overpriced.

First of all, I dislike menthol or eucalyptus type notes – these smell nice but have an irritating quality over time. Then we have the rosy cedar, perhaps with a bit of iris, though not likely the “good stuff” at this retail price point. I’ve tried others like this (rosy/woody), including Cabaret (the “feminine”) but don’t find this combination to be compelling. Moreover, if Windsor has a fruit note, as the reviewer mentions, that doesn’t mean much to me as well (regardless of whether the Lomani does too), because I generally dislike fruit notes unless these are subtle.

For full disclosure, I own Lomani’s Intense Black, which some say is similar to Royal Oud by Creed, but I don’t like this scent (haven’t tried the Creed). On the other hand, I do like AB Spirit Silver, which is at least somewhat like Avents for some period of time. One can also try to conjure up a sense of what the scent will smell like, though this is problematic because notes listings (and often reviews) usually don’t mention predominant aroma chemicals, if any. Another issue for me is the sweetness, especially in the context of texture. For example, there is a kind of “cheap” amber or labdanum (I’ve seen it listed both ways), which isn’t “bad,” but too common – if I know that a scent possesses this, I generally have little interest in it (I already own a few of these). It’s not always listed as a note, though, and reviewers often don’t mention it.

Sweetness can be a positive or negative, depending upon the composition, which brings me to a “cheapo” blind buy that I did make. The scent in question is Cuba Prestige. The reviews are quite uniform on this one, that is, it’s similar to A*Men. Already possessing A*Men and a couple flankers, along with Rebelle (sort of like A*Men with strawberry but without mint and tar), I wouldn’t have purchased it if the price wasn’t really low (and I used it to get a free shipping deal as well). I’m very glad I bought it, because while it is similar to A*Men, it’s a smooth and mellow take, meaning that if I don’t want the full A*Men blast, I can reach for this instead (it seems to have a mild tar note but little or no mint). The longevity is very good but the projection is significantly lighter. I would also consider swapping my A*Men and flankers if the right deal came along.

Obviously, if you buy a “cheapo” and don’t like it, you can use it for gift purpose or just give it to charity, but unless you really hate it, you might want to keep it in case you come around to enjoying it, which has happened to me more than a few times, so I tend to keep these. Eventually, this can put you in “hoarder” territory, or at least lead to concerns about this possibility! I still might acquire AB Spirit, especially if it in a swap or if it was part of a lot. But at this point, I’m mostly curious about it – I don’t think I will like it, or like it enough to feel that buying it was a good idea. And that is what is holding me back on it, unlike Cuba Prestige – I like the idea of having several “variations on a theme” in this case, and since it might allow me to swap off the more expensive yet similar ones, I get some added flexibility for sales (if prices rise sharply for “vintage” A*Men, for instance) or swaps.

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