Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme: Spicebomb’s sticky, pervasive brother (review)

I’ve been eyeing Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb Extreme since the day I found out it was joining the Dutch fashion house’s fragrance line, but it took me three years to part with my money. After scouring eBay endlessly, I eventually settled on a good deal on Carousell.com: the seller even delivered it for free.

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The original Spicebomb is possibly my favorite men’s fragrance, so my anticipation for this flanker was huge, then further heightened by the various YouTube reviews that more or less praised Spicebomb Extreme.

But unlike the original Spicebomb and its first flanker, Spicebomb Eau Fraiche (since rebranded Spicebomb Fresh,) I’ve never encountered Spicebomb Extreme in retail stores anywhere, including the few airports I’ve travelled to in the last three years. Even its advertising campaign was minimal: merely a picture of the bottle exploding.

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You can only imagine how it felt when I finally held Spicebomb Extreme in my hands. The grenade-shaped bottle, now an opaque black and wrapped in the middle by a caramel strip, preserves the stunning beauty of the original design while amplifying its boldness.

The scent is, after all, also much bolder than the original. Unlike Spicebomb, an eau de toillete, the Extreme flanker is an eau de parfum concentration, and this is one instance where a men’s eau de parfum is truly more powerful than the eau de toilette.

Spicebomb Extreme begins on the skin with an opening familiar to those who know Spicebomb, except Extreme is not as fresh. Gone are the pink pepper, grapefruit and lime notes from the original. Extreme goes right for the gut with vanilla and tobacco.

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As it settles on your skin, Extreme develops into a mostly aromatic, sometimes sweet accord. The DNA of the original Spicebomb remains intact, but because of the introduction of domineering tobacco and vanilla, Extreme smells thick, strong, smoky and slobbery. Depending on the number of sprays, it may borderline on cloying, something I didn’t have to deal with when I use the original.

The fragrance community agrees that Extreme is meant for colder seasons, so it doesn’t help that I live in a tropical climate where every day is summer. Sometimes Extreme comes off sticky and pervasive, although that means it does have sillage worthy of an eau de parfum. The scent also lasts long, so this is a true eau de parfum on par with women’s.

By circumstance of climate, I can’t fully enjoy Spicebomb Extreme, and that aside, I still find Extreme a bit too extreme for my liking. It makes me anxious to fear if I might intoxicate an elevator each time I enter one. I don’t regret buying it, because I’m proud to have all three Spicebomb variants, but it wouldn’t be my go-to for an everyday scent. It lacks the versatility of the original. Spicebomb Extreme is better suited for the occasional nighttime affair.

Rating: 3½/5

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