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Aqua Velva History

Finally picked up a bottle of AV last night after reading all of the positive reviews on it. After smelling it in the bottle, I was sure I wouldn't like it, but figured for $4.50, what the heck. Used it this morning and was very impressed by it. After the scent toned down a bit I really found myself liking it more and more.

My question is about the history of AV. There seems to be a lot out there about the history of Pinaud Clubman (one of my all time favorites), but I can't seem to find much on the history of AV.

Anybody know where I can find anything?
 
Don't know about the history but which scent did you buy?
Ice Blue... I was sitting here and noticed the smell was starting to fade, so I just splashed on a little more... :blushing:

The more I wear it the more I like it. A year ago (when I was multi-blading it) I never would have thought I'd like the cheap drugstore brands... This site has change my perspective... I have been enlightened and now love Old Spice, Brut, Clubman, and now AV!
 
From Wikipedia, I was suprised how little I found on the web.

Aqua Velva is a line of men's grooming products, including a widely advertised aftershave originally introduced as an alcohol-based mouthwash for men in 1929 by the JB Williams Company (later acquired by GlaxoSmithKline). As of 2009, it is marketed worldwide by Combe Incorporated. Aqua Velva products include Classic Ice Blue, Ice Sport, and Musk aftershave.

The alcohol content of original Aqua Velva was high enough to actually inspire US sailors in World War II to use it as a substitute for alcoholic beverages.[citation needed] Aqua Velva contains a bittering agent, denatonium benzoate, to discourage consumption
 
From Wikipedia, I was suprised how little I found on the web.

Aqua Velva is a line of men's grooming products, including a widely advertised aftershave originally introduced as an alcohol-based mouthwash for men in 1929 by the JB Williams Company (later acquired by GlaxoSmithKline). As of 2009, it is marketed worldwide by Combe Incorporated. Aqua Velva products include Classic Ice Blue, Ice Sport, and Musk aftershave.

The alcohol content of original Aqua Velva was high enough to actually inspire US sailors in World War II to use it as a substitute for alcoholic beverages.[citation needed] Aqua Velva contains a bittering agent, denatonium benzoate, to discourage consumption
Stop it your making me thirsty just talking about it.:biggrin:

I have to put in that I don't consider it a cheap drug store brand... it's a top quality AS splash that happens to be cheap and is sold in drugstores.
 
From Wikipedia, I was suprised how little I found on the web.

Aqua Velva is a line of men's grooming products, including a widely advertised aftershave originally introduced as an alcohol-based mouthwash for men in 1929 by the JB Williams Company (later acquired by GlaxoSmithKline). As of 2009, it is marketed worldwide by Combe Incorporated. Aqua Velva products include Classic Ice Blue, Ice Sport, and Musk aftershave.

The alcohol content of original Aqua Velva was high enough to actually inspire US sailors in World War II to use it as a substitute for alcoholic beverages.[citation needed] Aqua Velva contains a bittering agent, denatonium benzoate, to discourage consumption
from the makers of Paxil,Wellbutrin and Nicoderm comes an American classic!

the new tag line should be "fights the blues, nic-fits and razor burn"
 
My question is about the history of AV. There seems to be a lot out there about the history of Pinaud Clubman (one of my all time favorites)
Gee, I wonder where it all came from... :biggrin: It's funny, an "official" Clubman site actually has to "borrow" from a humble little B&B exclusive ShaveWiki article that yours truly penned... methinks companies should keep better historical records instead of relying on fans of their products to piece the story together- but I digress. :closedeye


Don't you worry, never fear, ClubmanRob will soon be here..
:001_tt2:

In a nutshell...

Aqua Velva was introduced in 1929 as a mouthwash/hair tonic/aftershave, and a couple of years later it was marketed strictly as an aftershave. The original formula was a brownish/amber colored liquid and from what I can tell, it smells almost exactly like the Ice Blue we have today, give or take a couple of off notes. Williams got the contract to supply the US government with AV during WWII where it found its way into most soldiers Dopp kits. Because it was the only form of alcohol readily available to most of the boys in the trenches, it was pretty popular as a spirit.

To discourage this behavior, Uncle Sam pressured Williams into mixing the formula into something a little less desirable as a drink, so Williams added a bittering agent and changed the color to something similar to the Blue we have now. Rumors that the new batch was poisonous were spread in order to discourage drinking by our armed forces.

In the mid 50's Williams tired of manufacturing two different blends of AV- one for civilians and one for soldiers- so it was decided that they would trim their production to the "blue" AV. Instead of explaining this to the consumers of the day, (cue Don Draper) it was decided that a new ad campaign triumphing the Ice Blue as a new product would make more sense. So, in '55 or '56 the Ice Blue was in and the Brown was out. Soon AV was available in all types of different flavors, including Sport and Musk which are still manufactured today.

It's stayed pretty remarkably true to its roots for the most part. In the late eighties, amid slagging sales, Williams decided to stop making the original formula Ice Blue and to try marketing their Euro blend (which was cheaper to make) and it damn near put them into bankruptcy. The Original came back with a warm welcome.

Not much to add, except for that embarrassing lapse in judgment earlier this year where they were considering putting Aqua Velva in plastic bottles, until we here at B&B flooded their offices with complaints and hate mail. I think that's a moment in AV history that Williams/Combe would rather forget, though. :frown2:
 
Here is a bottle I picked up at an antique shop. I believe it is post WWII judging from some ads I've seen.





This ad is from Life Magazine in 1948


 
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I too was convinced AV was not for me until I became a member here. I've used half a big bottle since March, and it is quickly becoming a favorite. It just plain works, and works very well.
 
OK, I'm confused. I though Ice Blue was a 'special' version, ie not the 'original scent'.

So maybe that's why I always see Ice Blue, but can never find 'original/regular'...
 
Thanks guys!


that'd be a great addition to the AV wiki entry
If anyone is willing to upload the thing, you have my permission. I long since stopped trying to contribute to the Shave Wiki because it rejects everything I submit for some reason.
 
In a nutshell...

Aqua Velva was introduced in 1929 as a mouthwash/hair tonic/aftershave, and a couple of years later it was marketed strictly as an aftershave. The original formula was a brownish/amber colored liquid and from what I can tell, it smells almost exactly like the Ice Blue we have today, give or take a couple of off notes. Williams got the contract to supply the US government with AV during WWII where it found its way into most soldiers Dopp kits. Because it was the only form of alcohol readily available to most of the boys in the trenches, it was pretty popular as a spirit.

To discourage this behavior, Uncle Sam pressured Williams into mixing the formula into something a little less desirable as a drink, so Williams added a bittering agent and changed the color to something similar to the Blue we have now. Rumors that the new batch was poisonous were spread in order to discourage drinking by our armed forces.

In the mid 50's Williams tired of manufacturing two different blends of AV- one for civilians and one for soldiers- so it was decided that they would trim their production to the "blue" AV. Instead of explaining this to the consumers of the day, (cue Don Draper) it was decided that a new ad campaign triumphing the Ice Blue as a new product would make more sense. So, in '55 or '56 the Ice Blue was in and the Brown was out. Soon AV was available in all types of different flavors, including Sport and Musk which are still manufactured today.

It's stayed pretty remarkably true to its roots for the most part. In the late eighties, amid slagging sales, Williams decided to stop making the original formula Ice Blue and to try marketing their Euro blend (which was cheaper to make) and it damn near put them into bankruptcy. The Original came back with a warm welcome.

Not much to add, except for that embarrassing lapse in judgment earlier this year where they were considering putting Aqua Velva in plastic bottles, until we here at B&B flooded their offices with complaints and hate mail. I think that's a moment in AV history that Williams/Combe would rather forget, though. :frown2:
Thanks for that history lesson Rob! If there's anything I love most about traditional wet shaving, it's the history. :thumbup1:
 
Thanks ClubmanRob, very interesting. Specially the part about the Euro version, is there out there any direct comparison American vs European AV?
 
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