Perfume Review: Spirit of the Tiger by Heeley
Review by Kelley
James Heeley, an Englishman now living in Paris , attended Kings College , London , and almost became a Barrister at Law by the age of 23. Instead of a career in law, he became famous after designing zinc vases for a Parisian florist named Christian Tortu. These startling vases look like steel flashing (roofing material) that is bent into interesting shapes. He now considers himself a designer of interior spaces with his main theme being nature contrasting urbanism. He sells vases, mirrors, chairs, and lighting…and perfume? He has several fragrances on the market including a fig scent and a wonderful leather fragrance simply called Fine Leather (a leather mixed with equal parts violet!).
I decided for this review to try an experiment. Oooh, this is going to be fun. As Spirit of the Tiger was inspired by the famous topical analgesic, Tiger Balm, I applied the fragrance to the back of my left hand and Tiger Balm to the back of the right hand.
The listed notes of Spirit of the Tiger are: Camphor, Mint, Cardamom, and Clove. The list for Tiger Balm is: Camphor, Menthol, Cajuput Oil (also known as Tea Tree Oil), Cassia Oil (a type of cinnamon often called Chinese Cinnamon) and Clove.
After application, they both smell very similar but there are one or two differences. Spirit of the Tiger is exactly that, a ghost compared to the real thing. Wow, the Tiger Balm comes out roaring! There is a burst of camphor and cloves and even cinnamon from both but the Heeley hand is tame in comparison. I smell very little cardamom in the Heeley and I wish there was much more. The other main difference is that the Tiger Balm hand is tingly and has that hot and cold thing going on. I should also point out that the Tiger Balm website warned about getting this near your privates or near your eyes or mucous membranes and also (I found this odd) “Keep out of reach and sight of children”, I don’t know, maybe it causes nightmares if you stare at it?
After the first hour, the Heeley side is pretty calm. It’s mostly cloves with a little cinnamon. The Tiger Balm side is still STRONG with the menthol and camphor still upfront and personal. I can smell a little clove and a little cinnamon beginning to come through.
At two hours there isn’t much difference in either. No development or changes in strength.
After three hours, the Heeley is almost gone and is almost all clove oil. The Tiger Balm hand is also pretty faint with mostly cloves and cinnamon remaining. The Tiger Balm hand is still tingly and slightly red.
At four hours, I smell slight cloves on both hands but just slight. It really is spooky how close these two are in smell and progression. If you like cloves then Spirit of the Tiger is for you. And, I mean, if you like cloves and just cloves. After a little while there isn’t really anything else and I suspect that if you get this on your clothes you will smell like a giant pomander ball for days. I am going to pass on this one since I already have Tiger Balm.
Heeley’s Spirit of the Tiger Eau de Parfum is listed at $85 for 3.4 oz and is available at Luckyscent. Tiger Balm is about $8 for the 1.7 oz jar and is available at most health food stores and pharmacies.
The photos of James Heeley and his work are courtesy of his website: heeleydesign.com and the photo of Spirit of the Tiger is from luckyscent.com. The photo of Tiger Balm is from painreliever.com.