Thanks for the info! It's great to know just a bit more about one of my favorite products.
Mandrake said:Thanks ClubmanRob, very interesting. Specially the part about the Euro version, is there out there any direct comparison American vs European AV?
What he didn't realize when he wrote that is that the US Aqua Velva contains most of the same ingredients, they just aren't individually listed. Mainly the Euro AV (or the "new" Aqua Velva as it was called here in America) smells like a weak AV knock off, almost like 4711. It's pretty mild and has a slight citrus edge that differentiates it from the original. I love the bottles, though. I remember my dad using those same bottles when I was a kid. If you want to get a taste for what it smelled like, get a bottle of 4711 aftershave. Or mix Ice Sport with Ice Blue, it's about the same thing.The composition of the European Aqua Velva is also more complex: it contains Citrol, Citronellol, Coumarin, Evernia Furfuracea, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellol, Limonene and Linalool, all ingredients that are absent from the American Aqua Velva.
In practice, the European Aqua Velva has a more subtle and more complex scent. It is still unmistakably Aqua Velva, but, at the same time, it is clearly not identical to the American product.
Thanks for that history lesson Rob! If there's anything I love most about traditional wet shaving, it's the history.
They did a Jedi Mind Trick on you.+1
I started to see AV in plastic bottles here in Canada and so I stocked up on it in glass bottles. I then emailed Williams, they responded by denying that they had decided to use plastic and that it will be sold in glass bottles. Well it looks like glass bottles are back.
I'm really bummed that they don't sell this in the GSK company store.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. Aqua Velva contains a bittering agent, denatonium benzoate, to discourage consumption
I'm sure I'm not the only one. All my local stores seemed to sell out of glass right away and they were replaced with plastic.They did a Jedi Mind Trick on you.
You're not the only Canadian who started seeing the plastic bottles. You didn't imagine it. Combe just found it easier to lie to you instead of explaining that they were test marketing the new plastic bottles.
ClubmanRob - you are the best. I knew once your name was mentioned by masonjarjar that I was in for some learnin'... And yes, it was your post about the history of Clubman that made me wonder about the history of AV. Something about knowing the history of a product makes me enjoy using it even more.Gee, I wonder where it all came from... 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.
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.
+1 The history of Clubman was great, as is this. It really makes you appreciate and enjoy using a product more.ClubmanRob - you are the best. I knew once your name was mentioned by masonjarjar that I was in for some learnin'... And yes, it was your post about the history of Clubman that made me wonder about the history of AV. Something about knowing the history of a product makes me enjoy using it even more.
Subjects of the Czar wear Sables in their avatar. The fellas that want to touch their bootys wear pirate hats.Alright, can someone please explain to me the significance of the hats in all the avatars? Last week it was pirate hats, this week it's...whatever those things are. What's the scoop?
Best explanation ever.Subjects of the Czar wear Sables in their avatar. The fellas that want to touch their bootys wear pirate hats.
Nah, those sunglasses are more than spiffy enough.I think ol' Horatio would look spiffy wearing a Sable hat. Whatta you guys think?
Those who submit weakly to another man wear the Sable. Those real men and women who submit to no one wear pirate hats!Alright, can someone please explain to me the significance of the hats in all the avatars? Last week it was pirate hats, this week it's...whatever those things are. What's the scoop?
Point of clarification the Pirates were the first to show their unity and mutual support by donning like head gear. The serfs of the Czardom were merely a weaker knock off. But it's all good. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and we like the Czar and his minions.Subjects of the Czar wear Sables in their avatar. The fellas that want to touch their bootys wear pirate hats.
I think ol' Horatio would look spiffy wearing a Sable hat. Whatta you guys think?
Fixed and fixed. By the power vested in me by Neil and the Ministry of Editing, we will be billing you for this service. Please expect to see the bill in the mail in the next three to five business days.Those who acknowledge the supreme wisdom of the Czar wear the Sable. Those scurvy-ridden, wayward men and women who haven't got a clue among themselves wear pirate hats!
Point of clarification the Pirates were the first to show their unity and mutual love of their booties by donning like head gear. The serfs of the Czardom improved upon the idea. But it's all good, because Sable hats rock! I really wish I was a Cheddarite!
That was almost clever. However, deliberately misquoting someone is a form of slander. Besides, anyone with half a brain knows you can edit when quoting so they would clearly scroll up and see the actual post and then that only serves to further discredit your integrity and that of your fellow servants to the Tsar.Fixed and fixed. By the power vested in me by Neil and the Ministry of Editing, we will be billing you for this service. Please expect to see the bill in the mail in the next three to five business days.
Service with a smilie!