Will the real "Old Spice" please stand up

Discussion in 'Aftershaves' started by dcobranchi, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Abstract: Four spice aftershaves (three Old Spice variations and Vijon Spice) were analyzed via headspace-gas chromatography. These aftershaves were compared for similarities across the entire chromatogram. Based on overall similarity, it is concluded that currently produced Shulton Old Spice (a product of India) and vintage Shulton Old Spice are essentially identical. Currently produced P & G Old Spice and Vijon Spice are very similar to each other but differ from the other two.

    Acknowledgments: The author would like to acknowledge John at West Coast Shaving for the donation of the Indian Shulton Old Spice. I would like to also acknowledge B&B member scoopster who donated the vintage Shulton product.

    Introduction: There has been a controversy surrounding the P & G version of Old Spice for some time now. Some users of the Old Spice when it was produced by Shulton in the US believe that the P & G product is different. P & G, it has been claimed, denies any changes in the formulation. Fortunately, Shulton still manufactures Old Spice in India. The author is not aware of any claims that this Shulton product differs in any significant way from how the US Shulton product smelled. Of course, remembering a particular smell from many years ago can be challenging. And so the controversy has remained unresolved. It seems a scientific approach to settle this is required.

    The author recently took delivery of a headspace analyzer. As part of familiarizing myself with the operation and optimization of the instrument, I realized that I needed some samples with lots of components at relatively low concentrations. It seemed that an aftershave (or four) would be an ideal test sample. So after obtaining two samples of Shulton Old Spice and raiding my den for P & G Old Spice and Vijon Spice, I set out to answer the eternal question: Is P & G Old Spice the same as it ever was?

    Experimental: I won't bore you with the experimental details. :bored: If you really want to know how this works, PM me.

    Results: The chromatograms are reproduced below. In all print-outs, Indian Shulton OS is on top, followed by vintage Shulton OS, current P & G OS, and finally the Vijon Spice. Not shown are the regions where the ethanol and propylene glycol (PG) eluted. All four AS have the same amount of alcohol. The three OS samples also all had the same amount of the glycol. The Vijon sample contained roughly one half the amount of PG relative to the other three samples.

    In the first section of the chromatograms, we see the early eluters. These are relatively volatile components and would probably be part of the top notes. As you can see,between 7 and 8 minutes, the two Shulton samples have three small peaks that are almost entirely absent from the P & G and Vijon samples. In addition, the peaks at 8.5 minutes have dramatically different shapes. The P & G and Vijon samples tail badly in this region, whereas the Shulton products do not. These are probably different molecules that happen to co-elute. Likewise at 9 minutes, again the peak shapes are different. This time, the P & G sample stands out by itself.

    Between 10 and 14 minutes we find differences across all four samples. The peak at 11.3 minutes is missing in the vintage OS, but present in the other three. And then at 12.9 and 13.8 minutes, the P & G product is missing peaks present in the other OS samples. Overall, though, it appears that the vintage and current Shulton products are more similar in this region relative to the other two samples.

    Between 14 and 18 minutes we have some high boilers. These, I expect, would probably represent the base notes. In this region, the P & G and Vijon samples have significant peaks that are mostly or wholly absent from the two Shulton samples.

    And finally, between 18 and 20 minutes, the P & G and Vijon samples show a small peak that is absent from the Shulton samples/

    Conclusions: The current Shulton and vintage Shulton products, overall, are very similar. What small differences exist between them may possibly be attributed to the age of the sample or point to a natural variation in components in some essential oil. It is the author's opinion that Shulton is using the same recipe in India that was used to manufacture the vintage sample. The P & G Old Spice appears to be significantly different from the other two Old Spice samples. I believe that there may be some evidence here for a change in recipe sometime between when the vintage Old Spice was produced and the current recipe. Whether that supposed change occurred before or after P & G obtained the product line is impossible to say. Finally, it appears that the Vijon flavors and fragrances chemists have done an admirable job at reproducing the current P & G product.

    Attached Files:

  2. This is awesome. Well-done! Too bad my wife dislikes OS.
  3. Wow!
  4. Dude -- scholarly journal article formatting, Jack bows before you! Many many thanks for doing the testing.

    A question for the group: is vintage OS available anywhere? I live in the U.S. and would be referring to the stuff the old man splashed on his cheeks when I was a tadpole: the '50s.
  5. Awesome... awesome. Definitley going to order some Indian Old Spice!! Kudos!
  6. Based on my results, you'd be doing fine buying the Indian from WCS. If you have to have old OS in the glass bottle, you might get lucky on eBay.
  7. I bow before you science guys! I guess we can say... MYTH BUSTED!

    I love nerdish technology!

  8. Hats off to you dcobranchi...for you time and effort
  9. Glad to reaffirm confidence in my olfactory system. And even more glad I can drive to Patel Bros Grocery to lay my hands on the Indian stuff without shipping costs!
  10. Not to throw a fly in the ointment but how do you know the vintage was not a decant of the Indian or some mix. Was it a sealed bottle? Also if it was Shulton was it from the era before or after American Cyanamid bought them out in the 70's.

    I have used Old Spice since the 70's and personally I think the stuff from India has to much of a bay rum whiff to it and is missing the floral tops
  11. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    I have a bottle each of Shulton OS Cologne and Burley. Unopened, from a gift set that I retrieved from my fathers bathroom cabinet. I asked him when this was from. He said I should remember it, as I gave it to him, in 1965 ! If needed, I would be more then happy to donate some of the juice!!!!
  12. How do we know you're not a P&G rep? :001_tt2:
    I'll trust scoopster's vintage sample. He's a moderator, after all.
  13. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    This is exactly what I needed to know, and it is good to see some science to back it up.

    I have a half bottle of the vintage that I have been saving because I can't get any more. After reading this I now have some Indian in the mail, so we'll see if my nose agrees with your machine.

  14. scoopster

    scoopster Moderator Emeritus

    dundak, You're not being a fly in the ointment. This is science. Findings must be questioned and corroborated.

    Brian, That's totally aweseome. I sent Daryl a sample. It was from a mint package I got off the bay but the plastic had been opened so it may have been tampered with and that was a concern of mine. I have several more OS buys from different sellers and I was going to send one along. If you've got unopened goods that's a sure deal.

    But hang onto every drop of that Burley - very highly sought after juice!
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  15. scoopster

    scoopster Moderator Emeritus

    Just a quick thought: This is the wet shaver's version of a classic myth-busters episode. :thumbup1:
  16. You ought to celebrate by wearing some vintage OS tomorrow. Scoopster gave me way more than I needed for the analysis. He made me promise to use the excess. A promise I will gladly keep.
  17. Niles

    Niles Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    Nice work, Daryl!
  18. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    My fathers memory is probably a bit faulty, must have been 67,68, or 69
  19. This is CLASSIC shavegeekery! My hat's off to you Daryl, you menth-head you!!
  20. OK I give up it's me.. Dieter Rams.

    On a more serious note I don't doubt the person donating the sample I have just known a few sellers on EBay that make a fortune selling counterfeit vintage items.

    Any cologne is going to suffer do to degradation of volatiles over a 20 year time period even if the cap is left on. It could be possible that a 20 year old volatile product stored in a non controlled environment has the exact same comp and concentrations, even the alcohol, as a product just off the line.

    I have used Old Spice for going on 40 years and never liked the scent of the Indian version or the Dollar store version.

    It seems that no one was throwing conspiracies out there when American Cyanamid bought Shulton in the 70's, but with the internet P&G has become the new Illuminati. Maybe our forefathers didn't care that much and just rolled with the punches better.

    From working in the industry, no not P&G, all formulations are refined and changed over time to decrease cost, increase shelf life etc. This includes P&G, American Cyanamid and, yes, even Shulton.

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