J-Scent Sumo Wrestler Review

  • By: Nathan Cherry
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Japanese niche fragrance brand J-Scent has made a name for itself by offering up scents inspired by Japanese culture. 

Ramune, for example, is an olfactory recreation of the famous Japanese soda of the same name; Hanamizake is based upon the idea of cherry blossom petals in a cup of sake; and Rakugan is inspired by traditional Japanese sugar sweets. 

Sumo Wrestler is one of the most popular fragrances from the brand, and instantly drew my attention. Of course, when you think of sumo wrestlers, perhaps a lovely fragrance isn’t exactly what comes to mind.  

How does this scent homage to sweaty wrestlers stack up? 

Sumo Wrestler by J-Scent is based on the scent of bintsuke-abura, a kind of hair pomade used by sumo wrestlers. Featuring notes of musk, heliotrope, sandalwood, eucalyptus, and anise, Sumo Wrestler is an elegant and versatile fragrance with good performance and high value for money. 

Want to know more? Let’s take a closer look at Sumo Wrestler by J-Scent. 

Fragrance Notes

Orange, eucalyptus, anise, cinnamon, heliotrope, violet, orange flower, labdanum, patchouli, sandalwood, jasmine

(no top, middle, or base notes) 

Scent Description

Sumo Wrestler is based on the scent of bintsuke, a kind of hair wax made from soy that is used to keep the elaborate, gingko-leaf shaped sumo coiffures in place. Evidently, it has a very distinctive, sweet, strong, and apparently incredibly appealing aroma. 

Although I have been to Japan, I unfortunately never had the opportunity to see a sumo match or meet any sumo wrestlers, so I can’t comment on how close to the real deal Sumo Wrestler actually comes. That being said, however, Sumo Wrestler is a very nice fragrance, and I can detect the Japanese influences in it quite clearly. 

Sumo Wrestler does not have the typical pyramidal structure of most fragrances, and so it doesn’t evolve much over time. 

In the opening, you get a burst of florals – particularly, to my nose, violet and a boatload of powdery heliotrope – tempered with a small splash of orange. After the opening barrage, though, the fragrance quickly settles down to its principal scent profile. 

That profile, to me, is dominated by a blend of musk, sandalwood, a combo of violet and heliotrope, and a little twang from anise. As time goes on, the sandalwood emerges more and more as the star of the show, but no single note is ever stealing the spotlight. This is a very well blended fragrance, smooth in an effortless kind of way.

There is a barbershop vibe to the fragrance akin to something like Invasion Barbare by MDCI Parfums or 1725 by Histoire de Parfums, as well as an incense tone that is definitely reminiscent of Japanese temple incense, a callback to sumo’s origins in Shintoism.

However, the fragrance is overall a pretty powdery (even baby/talcum powdery) and sweet affair; the notes combine in such a way to create a musky, powdery vanilla accord. 

If there’s anything I would’ve liked more out of the fragrance, it’s a little bit more sharpness or “kick” from something like the eucalyptus, anise, or citrus, at least in the opening. 

However, from start to finish, this is a smooth, fuzzy kind of experience that is not likely to offend or turn up anyone’s nose, something which is very much in line with Japanese attitudes towards fragrances. Despite its similarity to barbershop fragrances, this is a scent that definitely has a calm, collected, and minimalist Japanese vibe about it that I do enjoy. 

If I were to describe Sumo Wrestler in a few words they’d be: warm, fuzzy, creamy, powdery, smooth, musky, and floral. 


The presentation is pretty minimalist, which is not a problem in my view. 


Sumo Wrestler comes in a very simple white cardboard box with a few decals, the brand logo, and the name of the fragrance in Japanese (力士). 


The bottle, similarly to the box, is pretty barebones. 

It is a simple rectangular glass bottle which feels pretty well constructed. The cap is black metal, and the sprayer is your basic silver-colored atomizer. The sprayer is pretty good, though, giving you a nice distribution with each spray. 

There is a wraparound white paper label with the name of the brand and the scent along with the the notes list and a message from the brand, which reads: 

“Beauty, purity, inner contentment that lies within tranquility. On the other hand the art of simplicity can lead to the fading of characteristic. The search for your destined scent is like looking for a white whale. The serendipity may lie here.” 

Interpret that as you may. 

Overall, the presentation for Sumo Wrestler is quite simple, but well done. No complaints. 


The performance for Sumo Wrestler is average to above-average. 


The longevity for Sumo Wrestler is pretty darn good, more than respectable for this style of fragrance. 

Four to five sprays on my perfume eating skin net me about eight to nine hours of longevity

That’s more than enough for my purposes. This thing lasts me all through the work day; what more can you ask for, am I right? Not every fragrance needs to survive a shower. On fabric, I get even more longevity, at least twelve hours if not more. 

Of course, if you’d like, you can amp up the sprays for an even longer lasting experience. 

Projection & Sillage

The projection and sillage of Sumo Wrestler are also above-average. 

Four to five sprays gives me two to three hours of soft projection and a little bit less than arm’s length sillage

The projection of Sumo Wrestler is not all that powerful, which is fitting with its Japanese origins. Japanese people are not huge fragrance lovers on the whole, and don’t really like to “disturb” (or, in my view, bless) others with their scent. Soft projection and long longevity is preferred, so Sumo Wrestler is right on the money. 

I get consistent whiffs of Sumo Wrestler throughout the day whenever I move, so that tells me that sillage ain’t too bad. 

Overall, it performs pretty well. People won’t be able to smell you from the other side of the room, but they very likely won’t fail to pick it up when they come into close proximity to you. 

Value For Money

I believe that Sumo Wrestler has excellent value for money! 

The fragrance retails for $80 USD for a 1.7 oz (50 ml) bottle of fragrance. That’s $1.60/ml, which is pretty much in line with designer perfume pricing. 

This is a niche fragrance with a niche scent profile that you definitely won’t smell every day.

While the packaging might not be premium, the scent is well-made and high quality. Of course, if you already can’t stomach the thought of dropping $80 on a designer fragrance, you probably won’t agree with me. 

But if you’re like me and appreciate scents that are high quality and out of the ordinary (but still nothing weird), then I think Sumo Wrestler, along with all of the other fragrances in the J-Scent line, offer an excellent value proposition. 

Who Would Like It

This is a pretty much completely inoffensive fragrance (in my opinion), and so I think that almost anyone could find something to like here. 

Of course, people who have an interest in Japanese culture or have been to Japan like myself will probably find this more appealing than others. However, anyone who likes musky, powdery, and floral fragrances or barbershop fragrances will probably enjoy Sumo Wrestler

Because its on the powdery side and not really very fresh or “sexy”, I think this will be appreciated more by older people, say, aged twenty-five and up. 

Despite the fact that its inspired by sumo wrestlers and has a barbershop touch most typically associated with masculine fragrances, the floral nuances and muskiness make this a viable option for both male or female wearers. 

When To Wear It

In my view, Sumo Wrestler works best in spring or fall weather. Windy, cloudy days with temperatures around 45-70 °F (7-21°C) are ideal conditions for wearing it. It feels very much like a “March” kind of fragrance, something to wear when the weather is warming up and the flowers are starting to bloom, but the afternoons and mornings are still grey and cool. Maybe you could wear it out to see the cherry blossoms? 

I think it’s also quite versatile. You will have no problem wearing Sumo Wrestler to work, semi-formal or formal occasions, or to casual hangouts. I wouldn’t recommend it for dates or close encounters, though; it really has next to no sex appeal, but rather feels buttoned up and “safe”. 

Similar Fragrances

A number of other fragrances come to mind when I smell Sumo Wrestler. Although I mentioned Invasion Barbare by MDCI Parfums and 1725 by Histoire des Parfums, these are only vague associations. 

Sumo Wrestler most notably smells like a mix of four other fragrances to my nose: Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur, Le Labo’s Labdanum 18, Chanel’s Boy, and Guerlain’s Shalimar Eau de Parfum. The barbershoppy fougère touch of Boy and musky vanillic touch from Musc Ravageur, Labdanum 18, and Shalimar can all be found in Sumo Wrestler

The great value of Sumo Wrestler is that, excepting Shalimar, it’s a lot cheaper than all of those other fragrances and just as high quality. I myself personally prefer Musc Ravageur and Boy to Sumo Wrestler, but my wallet certainly prefers the latter rather than the former. 

Pros & Cons


  • Appealing floral-musky-powdery scent
  • Good performance
  • Great value for money


  • The powderiness might not be to everyone’s taste
  • Not a particularly mind-blowing fragrance but rather something for daily wear
  • Packaging is pretty barebones

The Final Word

Overall, J-Scent’s Sumo Wrestler is a well-made, high quality, smooth, and versatile fragrance with good performance and great value for money.

For those with an interest in Japanese culture, Sumo Wrestler and really the entire J-Scent line is worth investigating. I myself also really like Ramune, Black Leather, Agarwood, and Paper Soap, and there are quite a few out there I haven’t tried yet. 

However, on a personal note, Sumo Wrestler doesn’t really excite me all that much, and I’m more in love with the idea of the scent than I am with the actual scent. I kind of have to convince myself to wear it more often. Whenever I do, I do enjoy the experience, but unfortunately it doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression. I will stick with Musc Ravageur myself, a far bolder and more daring piece of work which is more in line with my own tastes. 

Nevertheless, Sumo Wrestler is a very well done fragrance that has a lot to offer.

★★★☆☆ 3.5 stars out of 5