Raaqi joined my wardrobe last April 2019, together with Kenzy, always produced by Swiss Arabian. I remember looking for some Middle East perfume, such as Tasmeem by Rasasi and Rawaa by Al Haramain, and by chance, I came across these two captivating jewels. The emerald green bottle and the olfactory notes of Raaqi immediately attracted my attention, and I opted for a blind purchase since these perfumes are only available online. By the way, Raaqi (را َقي) means class, stylish, elegant, and refined according to Egyptian Arabic dictionary. To be the truth, I knew the Swiss Arabian brand already, and I own Casablanca since November 2017.
Raaqi is a modern fougère sans oakmoss, and opens very citric and sweet, with a combination of solar, fresh, creamy, citrusy, summery lemon reminiscent of English Lemon Curd, spicy ginger, mint leaves, and aromatic lavender zing. The ginger and lemon form a sharp and butch combination that lingers for quite some time. Lovely lavender is ever so slightly less pronounced, but it backs up the other scents well. Right off the bat, it might smell like Paco Rabanne's Invictus and mimic that bubble gum sort of smell, though, the more it develops, the more it deviates from it. All opening notes contribute equally creating a scent that feels fresh and versatile.
The opening can be very harsh at first if you are not used to that intensity of tonka bean and lemon, but in a while, it starts to settle a bit more and starts smelling relatively green and kind of spicy as well. The fragrance becomes warmer a lot softer. The mid notes begin to come up, adding some spicy, green, fruity, and floral accords. I get a healthy and appealing whiff of apple after the initial opening of lemon calms down. The juniper and cardamom rise and make themselves known. I start to get a lot of cardamoms, the warmth of that note is an exciting play, off of the rest of the aromatically fresh ingredients, in this cologne. The impressive choice here is the cade, or juniper, which provides a curl of smoke interspersed with the sweet spices. Just as the cardamom and ginger were about to lose my attention, the cade appears and brings it right back. Those spices carry the mint and ginger to the end with them. The further you get away from the opening, the less it smells like Invictus, and Raaqi becomes its own thing.
The last part of the wear does get quite dry, and woody, and the scent heats up at this point. The tonka bean adds a sweet and aromatic accord that boosts all notes. At this final stage, I can detect very subtle signs of cardamom and vetiver, and plenty of sweetness from the tonka beans. The vetiver blends with the original mint, but it's a waxy kind, not smoky or grassy. The apple combines well with the initial citrus notes, and the woody and cardamom create a stage that supports the fragrance. They bring everything back down to earth with subtlety. I get a lot of creamy lemon in the first hour and mostly tonka in the dry down.
The truth is, I'm pleasantly surprised by the aroma. While it does have the fruit notes as the main draw, Raaqi remains entirely masculine and doesn't stray into the unisex or women's category. Sure, it has its sweetness, but nothing crazy. I think that it is bolstered by the woody and plant notes that play the background and keep the overall composition in check.
Projection wise, I didn't find Raaqi to be all that loud or heavy. It's towards the right side of things, at the start. But, not much more than moderate, after that. It is also essential to note that this easily lasts all day on my skin, practically, until I take a shower, or the morning after if I rock it at evening as I did yesterday, it does not stop working. I doubt there is another perfume in this price range, with such powerful projection and durability. I believe it is more of a daily Spring scent that can work in the Fall, and it can be attractive enough for summer nights out, either.
Raaqi can be summarized as a sweet, mild projecting, fruity apple and lemon, spicy ginger and cardamom fragrance with soft woody and floral tones. The scent feels casual, comforting, semi-gourmand, inviting, masculine, modern, luxurious, sugary, warm, and very pleasant. I tried it, and I found it very pleasant, even it's a reasonably simple scent. With that said, fans of sweetish summer or sporty cologne will enjoy this one! I'd say if you've tried Invictus and hated it, stay away from Raaqi. At last, while it is the next closest thing to the Azzaro Wanted, Raaqi is a standalone product and not a replica in any way.
This review was based on a 100ml 3/4 fl.oz bottle I own.