On Fragrantica.com’s review page for Armaf’s Club de Nuit for Men, there is this recent review:
As others have mentioned this opens with a slightly weird lemon and pine/fern note in place of the pineapple of Aventus. Some have said it reminds them of Pledge, I would say more like a car air freshener. The opening is only about 70% Aventus because of this.
Once the lemon/fern note has evaporated, it does begin to smell closer to Aventus BUT it still has this spicy thing going on that is not found in Aventus. The dry down I would say is about 80% Aventus, and for the price, that’s quite amazing.
If they replaced the lemon note with pineapple and removed the spice, this would almost be a 100% replica and no one would need to buy Aventus again.
For the money this is a quality fragrance, but like wearing a fake Rolex, it’s going to burn at your soul.
My advice; get a split of the real deal.
This reviewer did not explain his point of view, but I think it’s not difficult to discern it. He thinks Aventus is the “real deal” and wants a “clone” that is perhaps 95% or even 99% similar (I don’t think along these lines because I know how much my sensitivities can vary, even from one day to the next, making it difficult to posit such a precise assessment). He also is clearly concerned about the top notes experience. As I’ve said several times in the past, I don’t take any one person’s review all that seriously, unless it’s the only one available (and there’s an apparently good description of the actual smell) and the scent is inexpensive. He says nothing about the drydown, other than it’s supposed to be 80% similar to Aventus, so this doesn’t help much in that context.
I’m more interested in the smell of the scent in question, and in that regard he does say it’s spicier than Aventus, which is fine with me and would likely be an improvement (in terms of my preferences). Knowing that most who have tried this scent have also at least sampled Aventus, I wrote up this review of the Armaf:
I have forgotten exactly what Aventus smells like but this does seem very close, perhaps somewhere between the Lomani “clone” and Aventus (I haven’t tried the others). The Lomani is more smoothed out whereas this one is sharper and seems to have more dimension/complexity. However, it’s not a complex scent overall so for many the Lomani might be fine, if you want to save a few dollars. If someone wants to pay Creed prices that’s fine with me, but I can enjoy this one and don’t need another that’s quite similar, which is the way I usually judge scents when there is a vast price difference (I bought my bottle used so I paid even less than retail for it, making the difference between it and Aventus simply too wide to even consider paying Creed prices).
I could have mentioned the birch note specifically, which is quite noticeable, and has an almost burnt quality, but I just said “sharp” because my previous experience with birch notes has been a bit different, so there may be another aroma chemical at work here. My 98% or so 100 ml bottle of the Armaf cost me well under $20 total; otherwise I would not have purchased it because I have 100 ml of the Lomani and I’m not a big fan of this type of composition. It would be helpful if the reviewer said something like, “if you’re a huge Aventus fan I’m not sure this Armaf is going to get the job done for you, but if not, the only major issue might be the sharp top notes.” I like that first half hour or so, actually, and I’m not a fan of strong pineapple notes (though I don’t dislike them; however, I can’t imagine wearing such a scent on a regular basis, as many seem to do with Aventus).
Moreover, a few weeks before buying the Armaf I purchased a 50 ml bottle of Fresh Pineapple, by Bath and Body Works. The notes for that one (on Fragrantica) are:
Top notes are orange, coconut milk and lemon; middle notes are peony, pineapple, fruits and rose; base notes are sandalwood, vanilla and caramel.
This one is more of a lemon/pineapple blend, but it doesn’t have as much sharpness as the Armaf. The drydown is rather different, though, but it might work for those who like the idea of Aventus except would prefer a sandalwood drydown with more sweetness. In terms of what guys, especially young ones, are wearing these days, I’d certainly classify this 2007 release as “unisex.”
I’ve swapped off quite a few “fresh,” aquatic, “sport,” etc. scents over the years, and though I still have a few, I never seem to wear them. Occasionally I’ll spray one on my ankle so that I can waft it up to my nose every once in a while yet don’t have to deal with it until I want to, and it seems that every time my thought is that it’s too “chemical” and there’s not much, if anything, to make up for it. Sometimes I’ve sprayed these kinds of scents on the back of a coat/jacket (if the sprayer generates a nice mist effect), and I can appreciate the scent that way to some degree, but that’s only for when the weather is cooler. The point is that I think the Aventus type scent is one that attracts the fresh/aquatic/sport scent crowd as well as at least a decent percentage of the niche/aficionado/tobacco/leather/”heavy” scent crowd, so when one reads reviews it’s important to consider this (I often point out that I’m mostly a gourmand, oriental, “heavy” scent fan). Few will disclose their preferences in their reviews, and probably just as few will provide a good explanation about why they assess scents the way they do!
Another interesting example is a blogger’s comparison of Grey Flannel to Bowling Green. His conclusion is that, “Grey Flannel, which is ten years older, is resoundingly superior in quality and composition.” I have vintage (or perhaps “semi-vintage,” in the eyes of some) bottles of both these scents. I have difficulty wearing GF, probably due to the aroma chemicals rendering the violet leaf note. I have always enjoyed wearing BG, even though it is not as unique as GF, and this is another instance of the issue of personal enjoyment versus “artistic appreciation.” I don’t disagree with the blogger’s general impression (other than claims about “quality,” since one would have to have “insider information” and I perceive both – that is, what’s in the bottles I possess – as being at least reasonably good quality), but not everyone is going to spray on a scent and then walk around thinking, “I really find this smell irritating but my appreciation of its artistic elements more than makes up for that!”
I think of BG as a pared down rendition of Parfum d’Homme by Claude Montana (sometimes called “red box” online), with less of a fougere accord in particular (I sampled Red before BG). It’s still rather complex, which goes to show how “busy” the Montana is. But the key point is that I do find myself in the mood, once in a while of course, for that BG, whereas that strong fougere accord in the Montana has led me to hardly ever wear it (over the last several years). In the fine art world, “less is more” is not exactly an unknown sentiment! The blogger has also called BG “cheap,” which is not my impression at all (suggesting, again, that there is a “quality issue”). One thing I really like about it is that the pine note has been sort of tamed to just the right degree, whereas in many other “pine scents,” it’s either too weak or so strong that it’s irritating. I’ve also found that while my preferences have changed a bit, so that I’m more drawn to sweet scents, BG has enough complexity (and a hint of sweetness), so that boredom is preventede. And since BG was released about three years before the Montana, it is a case where the original was not “overtaken” by later variations on this theme (Havana by Aramis was released in 1994), unlike many others!