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Old Spice Dupes

I’ve not smelled the Shulton OS in decades, but use the current OS regularly and find it agreeable.
Modern Old Spice is very agreeable. Wanting to try or preferring the original, genuine article, should never be taken as a knock against the modern stuff. There is absolutely nothing wrong with modern Old Spice. And while it is nowhere, anything close as awesome as Shulton OS, it's base and general scent still smells like Old Spice in a good way for those looking to remember the nostalgia of those, past, long ago days.

But in saying this; still, only Shulton is Shulton.

If I didn't have, or couldn't get vintage Shulton? I would use modern Old Spice and still be perfectly content. But Shulton is still available and I can get it.

It just simply comes down to every man's personal decision on what they want to do. Or not... Doesn't it always? :)

They can spend $20 on 4 ounces of an Artisan's copy? Or they can make an effort to find some vintage Shulton and spend $20 on 6 ounces of the original? There are still some, who will say they have and tried Shulton and don't really care, one way or the other and that's ok. This is what ymmv is all about around here. :)

But if you haven't tried Shulton? You'll never know what you missed? Or didn't miss? It's all up to you.

After WWII, It's probably, singularly responsible, for the existence of the Baby Boomers generation. I know my Grandfather and father used it. And they both had a bunch of babies. Hell, throw a rock at a school playground full of children during recess. You'll probably hit one of mine. ;)

No better recommendation then that.
 

emwolf

Contributor
I really like the Shulton OS, plus the Avon versions are great too. I usually pair OS with either Creed Bois Du Portugal or Guerlain Heritage, both have a great OS Vibe and last a lot longer.
 
The modern old spice was so far different than the original (sickening sweet), that one day I just took 3/4 of a bottle and threw it away.
 

Bhugo

Contributor
Modern Old Spice is very agreeable. Wanting to try or preferring the original, genuine article, should never be taken as a knock against the modern stuff. There is absolutely nothing wrong with modern Old Spice. And while it is nowhere, anything close as awesome as Shulton OS, it's base and general scent still smells like Old Spice in a good way for those looking to remember the nostalgia of those, past, long ago days.

But in saying this; still, only Shulton is Shulton.

If I didn't have, or couldn't get vintage Shulton? I would use modern Old Spice and still be perfectly content. But Shulton is still available and I can get it.

It just simply comes down to every man's personal decision on what they want to do. Or not... Doesn't it always? :)

They can spend $20 on 4 ounces of an Artisan's copy? Or they can make an effort to find some vintage Shulton and spend $20 on 6 ounces of the original? There are still some, who will say they have and tried Shulton and don't really care, one way or the other and that's ok. This is what ymmv is all about around here. :)

But if you haven't tried Shulton? You'll never know what you missed? Or didn't miss? It's all up to you.

After WWII, It's probably, singularly responsible, for the existence of the Baby Boomers generation. I know my Grandfather and father used it. And they both had a bunch of babies. Hell, throw a rock at a school playground full of children during recess. You'll probably hit one of mine. ;)

No better recommendation then that.
This! Nothing beats the original. It’s available.
 
I snagged a lighthouse decanter which was full of what I thought was original OS. Smells more of roses than anything else. I almost can't stand it. The Mrs. doesn't like it either. I even prefer Vijon spice to this.
 
If you want an Old Spice "clone" of sorts, I'd steer clear of Stirling Spice. If you want a decent spicy and powdery aftershave that smells rather more like its own thing, then Stirling Spice is a fairly safe buy. Just know that you're not getting a clone when you buy it.

Paul Sebastian's signature cologne is probably the most intense EDT-strength upgrade to the overall profile of OS. Still cheap and readily available.

ViJon Spice always came across as a creamier, brighter version of OS, with an unfortunate washed-out quality in the drydown that whiffs of plastic. Lots of people think it's a dead-ringer for vintage Shulton OS. I never really got that impression from it.

As for Shulton vs P&G, Shulton is less clove-forward, more nutmeggy/cinnamon and has a pretty bold vanilla powdery drydown, a very simple but pleasant amber that is more than the sum of its parts. P&G amps up the clove and citrus in the top notes, then gets a little duskier and more overtly "masculine" in the mid, with less vanilla (though it's there) and powdery drydown. Between the two I think the P&G is a more durable formula that is definitely more "manly" but the Shulton holds up very well in vintages that date back all the way to the 1960s at least.
 
I've been able to pick up two nearly full 6oz Shulton bottles of vintage OS for about 8 bucks a piece and a full bottle of the cologne -- I don't dislike the modern OS scent, but between the modern and vintage, the modern is a lighter, fresher scent that doesn't linger as long. Of the two, I prefer the vintage as it has a more floral, powdery scent that turns more spicy/musky as time goes on and it lingers longer. The cologne is also better and longer lasting--especially nice now that I have to wear a mask all day, so it keeps the scent close, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Pinaud Clubman splash I used this morning has worn off... this makes me want to put a bit of the OS cologne on...
 
If you want an Old Spice "clone" of sorts, I'd steer clear of Stirling Spice. If you want a decent spicy and powdery aftershave that smells rather more like its own thing, then Stirling Spice is a fairly safe buy. Just know that you're not getting a clone when you buy it.

Paul Sebastian's signature cologne is probably the most intense EDT-strength upgrade to the overall profile of OS. Still cheap and readily available.

ViJon Spice always came across as a creamier, brighter version of OS, with an unfortunate washed-out quality in the drydown that whiffs of plastic. Lots of people think it's a dead-ringer for vintage Shulton OS. I never really got that impression from it.

As for Shulton vs P&G, Shulton is less clove-forward, more nutmeggy/cinnamon and has a pretty bold vanilla powdery drydown, a very simple but pleasant amber that is more than the sum of its parts. P&G amps up the clove and citrus in the top notes, then gets a little duskier and more overtly "masculine" in the mid, with less vanilla (though it's there) and powdery drydown. Between the two I think the P&G is a more durable formula that is definitely more "manly" but the Shulton holds up very well in vintages that date back all the way to the 1960s at least.
That's not plastic you're smelling, it's petroleum. Many, cheap dollar store based aftershaves and fragrances synthetic based scents are produced from petrochemicals. The smell in the dry down is petroleum, not plastic.
 
The old spice you can get from india, has a more stronger scent than the stuff we can get in the UK, might be worth having a look on ebay.
 
That's not plastic you're smelling, it's petroleum. Many, cheap dollar store based aftershaves and fragrances synthetic based scents are produced from petrochemicals. The smell in the dry down is petroleum, not plastic.
Well that may be, but the drydown doesn't smell like petrochemicals. It smells like plastic.
 
Plastic is also made with petrochemicals. Petro smells like plastic, plastic smells like petro. Who da' thunk it? :)
Please don't think I'm attacking your point, but I just want to clarify what I'm saying based on what you're telling me. This is all in the spirit of friendliness as it's an interesting topic to mention, and I'm glad you brought it up. I think you're getting the application of petrochemicals mixed up with the formulation of perfumes. You're right that petrochemicals are in perfume, and are used in the making of perfume. Things like hexane (a petrochemical) are used to extract absolutes in natural materials that are often used in more expensive perfumes, and petrochemicals like ethanol - basically just alcohol - are made by ethylene hydration and employed as solvents in perfume formulas. But none of these things smell like plastic. Most of them have no smell at all. They wouldn't effect how the fragrance in a perfume formula smells.

Now, if you're telling me that the bottle itself smells of plastic (i.e. petrochemicals), and that this smell is leeching off into the perfume, then that's entirely feasible. That could very well be the case!
 
Please don't think I'm attacking your point, but I just want to clarify what I'm saying based on what you're telling me. This is all in the spirit of friendliness as it's an interesting topic to mention, and I'm glad you brought it up.

I am glad to read this, because I always want and am willing to learn new stuff and different points of view from others on discussion topics. Though the angry lizard in your avatar did give me some apprehension. :)


I think you're getting the application of petrochemicals mixed up with the formulation of perfumes.
I very well could be. It isn't a far stretch from the realm of possibilities and reality. I've been wrong before, good chance I can be wrong again. I am willing to learn. :)


You're right that petrochemicals are in perfume, and are used in the making of perfume.
Yes they are. Petrochemicals are used in many different products and things.


Things like hexane (a petrochemical) are used to extract absolutes in natural materials that are often used in more expensive perfumes, and petrochemicals like ethanol - basically just alcohol - are made by ethylene hydration and employed as solvents in perfume formulas.
I very much agree. :)

But none of these things smell like plastic. Most of them have no smell at all. They wouldn't effect how the fragrance in a perfume formula smells.
I would respectfully disagree.

Maybe we are attempting to discuss two different things here? When I first posted, I said, "the plastic you smell in the dry down is petroleum."

I never said, the petrol smell you are smelling in the dry down, would effect or change how the perfume formula in a perfume smells?" As you are saying in the bolded above.

I'm pretty sure, all I said, " is the base of cheaper dollar store aftershaves, are made with petroleum and this is what is smelled in the dry down. I said nothing about changing it's perfume scent. That is something all together.

But I will and do, stand by what I said, which is, "the plastic smell you are smelling in the dry down is petrochemicals." I agree with you, that all aftershaves, expensive and cheap, can and are made with synthetic "Petrochemicals." I also agree with you, that the plastic bottles of aftershaves, which also are made from Petrochemicals could and can give the aftershave a plastic, skunky smell due to off gassing.

However, this won't explain, why I can recant my Pinaud into glass and the plastic smell eventually goes away, but I have also recanted Vi-Jon Spice into glass, and that faint "petroleum" smell to me, is always there.

Since you sound familiar with petrochemicals in aftershaves and perfumes, because you just mentioned ethanol is made by Ethylene Hydration, I am happy to explore this further in our discussion. I'm sure you are aware, The term ‘petrochemical’ can be very misleading, as all "petrochemicals" are not the same.

Petrochemicals are increasingly being derived from sources other than oil. Such as coal and biomass for instance? Another example is methanol. Methanol is commonly produced from oil and natural gas in the US and Europe. But in China? It's derived from coal and crude oil. Another is ethene. Which is derived from oil and gas. In the US, Europe and other places like Brazil, produce what is called "Consumer Petrochemicals which is the Ethylene used in most of our soaps, detergents, aftershaves, etc? Many of the more expensive products, are processed from Biomass. (corn, sugar cane, etc.)

There aren't just differing sources available, but there is also different ways in processing petrochemicals. Some of those ways are much more expensive and some others cheaper to process. There is the process of producing ethylene from crude oil, (Naphtha) or gas. (Ethane) for examples.

While the more expensive perfumers, who can and will spend lots of money to get only the finest processed synthetic aldehydes for their formulas, Cheaper dollar store aftershaves, like Vi-Jon? Not so much. Is Vi-Jon made in China? I dunno? If it is, what is their source of petrochemicals and what is their processes in deriving it?

I have no desire to debate synthetic fragrances vs. natural essential oils or the benefits or cons of either. Many U.S. and European perfumers can and do, spend LOTS of money processing synthetic aldehydes in which can imitate many natural fragrances. However, even though many of these modern perfumers, are now starting to bend to ever increasing consumer demand for natural ingredients, most of the more expensive perfumers, still blend quite a few natural essential oils in with their synthetic fragrances.

When it comes to what is called "Consumer Petrochemicals?" Soaps, detergents, perfumes, aftershaves? Ethylene's from Biomass, corn, sugar cane and other biomass, is usually preferred by the more expensive perfumers. One might not smell petroleum in the dry down? And usually, the price of the finished product they are selling reflects this.

Vinegar is a perfect example. 80% of vinegar brands use petrochemicals derived from oil or gas in their vinegar processing. I don't know about anyone else, But I can taste it and smell it in cheaper apple cider vinegar brands. Maybe I just have sensitive taste buds or a very refined palate? :) All of this is just my opinion of course, because there isn't anything more YYMV then individual scent perceptions.

I know when I open a plastic bottle of Pinaud Clubman and it smells skunky or like plastic? I know I can decant it into a glass bottle and in a few days, it won't be there anymore. I relegate that experience to off gassing. But I also know, I have done the same with Vi-Jon Spice and have let it set for weeks in glass, but if and when I used it, yes, I could smell the spice scent just fine. Nothing was wrong with the fragrance. But I can also smell the faint scent of petroleum in the dry down.

Maybe my nose has that capability, because it doesn't smell like plastic to me. It smells like petroleum to me. But as always, ymmv. :)
 
There aren't just differing sources available, but there is also different ways in processing petrochemicals. Some of those ways are much more expensive and some others cheaper to process. There is the process of producing ethylene from crude oil, (Naphtha) or gas. (Ethane) for examples.

While the more expensive perfumers, who can and will spend lots of money to get only the finest processed synthetic aldehydes for their formulas, Cheaper dollar store aftershaves, like Vi-Jon? Not so much. Is Vi-Jon made in China? I dunno? If it is, what is their source of petrochemicals and what is their processes in deriving it?
But I also know, I have done the same with Vi-Jon Spice and have let it set for weeks in glass, but if and when I used it, yes, I could smell the spice scent just fine. Nothing was wrong with the fragrance. But I can also smell the faint scent of petroleum in the dry down.

Maybe my nose has that capability, because it doesn't smell like plastic to me. It smells like petroleum to me.
Alright I confess I'm confused. To bypass further confusion, on my point, I think I agree that we're talking across purposes here, and I think what I'm addressing is more of a cheap off-gassing (fragrance leech) of the plastic bottle that the fragrance in the aftershave itself never really shakes, while you're referring more to a chemical composition of the aftershave itself. You're saying you smell petroleum. I'm saying I smell plastic (I don't smell petroleum at all). Where I'm confused though with what you've said is you're directing me to an aromatic source that doesn't correlate with the chemistry I'm aware of. This is interesting to me because you can help me learn something here, but hear me out.

The only relatable petrochemical-induced petroleum aromatics used commercially as fragrance formula ingredients that I'm aware of are acetylenic esters, (acetylene itself is a byproduct of hydrocarbon cracking in ethylene production). But acetylenic esters aren't really in use anymore. When they were, they had a strange floral/gasoline quality that was exploited in a lot of old-school masculines of the '80s and '90s. They are still used in greatly reduced levels now. CK Man is a good example of the degree to which you can smell it nowadays. Dior's Fahrenheit is where it was before restrictions.

But Vi-Jon is nowhere near those levels of perfumery. Your mentioning aldehydes confuses me a little. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that the aldehydes used in Vi-Jon are possibly cheap, Chinese made, which may imbue the scent with a faint petroleum smell? Or are you just mentioning the aldehydes in passing while adding that if we don't know where the aldehydes come from, we don't know where the potential petrochemicals in the formula come from either?

Aldehydes aren't petrochemicals, the aldehydes in perfumery are derived naturally from plants, clary sage being the primary culprit. Bear in mind, the petrochemicals used in perfumery aren't in the same wheelhouse as the oil and natural-gas chemicals you mentioned (methanol, etc.). Those that can contribute to the actual smell of a fragrance are toluene, some xylenes, and benzene. You wouldn't use toluene in perfume because it's toxic and damages skin, although it does have a distinct smell. Use it to strip glue or paint instead.

Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is usually used in derivative forms in perfumery. An example, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde, otherwise known as Vanillin, is a derivative of benzene. As you might imagine, this doesn't smell like petroleum. Phenol (benzene with one hydrogen atom swapped with a hydroxyl radical) is the vinegar culprit I believe, used in aspirin as a precursor, i.e. the phenolic hydroxyl group of salicylic acid. Ever smell old aspirin from the bottle? Vinegar.

If you're getting any petro from vinegar itself, umm, switch to a better vinegar? :001_smile

As for xylenes, these are found in musks. Nitro musks were the biggest examples, and those are now severely restricted/banned globally to varying degrees, depending on where you are. Musk xylene, musk ketone, musk ambrette, etc. None of these are used in Vi-Jon. If they are, then perhaps regulatory bodies should be notified!

Is it possible the alcohol has a faint petroleum smell? Again, I don't think so. The alcohol is also a petrochemical. No relation to the smell of petroleum.

As you said, YMMV and you definitely have a very astute nose. It's impressive that you can detect petroleum essences at the root of more complex organic/inorganic aroma profiles. This isn't something I've ever gotten into before, but I can now that we're talking about it!
 
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Alright I confess I'm confused. To bypass further confusion, on my point, I think I agree that we're talking across purposes here, and I think what I'm addressing is more of a cheap off-gassing (fragrance leech) of the plastic bottle that the fragrance in the aftershave itself never really shakes, while you're referring more to a chemical composition of the aftershave itself. You're saying you smell petroleum. I'm saying I smell plastic (I don't smell petroleum at all). Where I'm confused though with what you've said is you're directing me to an aromatic source that doesn't correlate with the chemistry I'm aware of. This is interesting to me because you can help me learn something here, but hear me out.
I think we are doing the tomato / tomahto thing... :) You say, you don't smell petroleum at all. you only smell plastic. I'm saying, plastic is a petroleum product. Considering this fact, then one can ascertain, that plastic, has the scent of petroleum. Why? Because petroleum, is by which plastic is made.

So, if we don't attempt to be overly literal in our communication, we know, "aftershave that smells like plastic" Isn't made with plastic? Correct? But we also know, cheap aftershaves are produced from petroleum by products, correct? So in saying this, by you saying, "it smells like plastic" is a misnomer? Why? Because the scent that plastic gives off, is the scent of the petroleum byproduct, by which plastic is made?

So again, I am only using the correct nomenclature as you will, when I say, "Vi-Jon smells like petroleum." Plastic, also "smells like petroleum." And the reason for this is, because Vi-Jon and Plastic, are both made with petroleum byproduct?


The only relatable petrochemical-induced petroleum aromatics used commercially as fragrance formula ingredients that I'm aware of are acetylenic esters, (acetylene itself is a byproduct of hydrocarbon cracking in ethylene production). But acetylenic esters aren't really in use anymore.
That you are aware of, here in the U.S. and Europe? What about China? I know wikipedia says, Vi-Jon Laboratories are headquartered in St.Louis in the suburb of Overland. It also states, they operate five manufacturing and distribution centers in Missouri and Tennessee. But they seem to be inconclusive or at least are being careful, to actually say if their products are produced in China? I have researched multiple threads in multiple forums and other sites, including this one, where people say their products are made in china.


Your mentioning aldehydes confuses me a little. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that the aldehydes used in Vi-Jon are possibly cheap, Chinese made, which may imbue the scent with a faint petroleum smell? Or are you just mentioning the aldehydes in passing while adding that if we don't know where the aldehydes come from, we don't know where the potential petrochemicals in the formula come from either?
I mentioned aldehydes because you presented the debate, that I said petrochemicals will change a fragrance profile, which I didn't say at all. I only said, I can smell petroleum in the dry down.

Aldehydes aren't petrochemicals, the aldehydes in perfumery are derived naturally from plants, clary sage being the primary culprit.
So you don't believe in the synthetic process of aldehydes for perfumery?

Here are a few keynotes and links for you to consider?

3. Synthetic Preparation of Aldehydes and Keytones








Can be some tedious reading thru those links, But also very informative and interesting.


Bear in mind, the petrochemicals used in perfumery aren't in the same wheelhouse as the oil and natural-gas chemicals you mentioned (methanol, etc.). Those that can contribute to the actual smell of a fragrance are toluene, some xylenes, and benzene. You wouldn't use toluene in perfume because it's toxic and damages skin, although it does have a distinct smell. Use it to strip glue or paint instead.
Are you forgetting Phthalates?

Phthalates - are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. They are often called plasticizers. Some phthalates are used as solvents (dissolving agents) for other materials.

Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is usually used in derivative forms in perfumery. An example, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde, otherwise known as Vanillin, is a derivative of benzene. As you might imagine, this doesn't smell like petroleum. Phenol (benzene with one hydrogen atom swapped with a hydroxyl radical) is the vinegar culprit I believe, used in aspirin as a precursor, i.e. the phenolic hydroxyl group of salicylic acid. Ever smell old aspirin from the bottle? Vinegar.
Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon. But Benzene is also a petroleum hydrocarbon?


If you're getting any petro from vinegar itself, umm, switch to a better vinegar? :001_smile
Did you know, the FDA doesn't require manufacturers, to note on their labels,the source for the ethyl alcohol in their vinegars and/or whether petroleum is used as a starter? :)

There is an FDA paper from 1969, updated in 1989, that states ethyl alcohol synthesized from natural gas or petroleum products can be used in the process of making vinegar. Their reasoning and theory is, that pure ethyl alcohol is chemically the same, whether produced naturally or synthetically.



As for xylenes, these are found in musks. Nitro musks were the biggest examples, and those are now severely restricted/banned globally to varying degrees, depending on where you are. Musk xylene, musk ketone, musk ambrette, etc. None of these are used in Vi-Jon. If they are, then perhaps regulatory bodies should be notified!
I can concur with this.



Is it possible the alcohol has a faint petroleum smell? Again, I don't think so. The alcohol is also a petrochemical. No relation to the smell of petroleum.
Again, are you sure? Because as I mentioned above, you said "it smells like plastic." And the scent or smell that plastic gives off my friend, is petroleum, "from which it is made." :)

As you said, YMMV and you definitely have a very astute nose. It's impressive that you can detect petroleum essences at the root of more complex organic/inorganic aroma profiles. This isn't something I've ever gotten into before, but I can now that we're talking about it!
You have a very astute nose yourself sir, you just call it plastic... :)[/QUOTE]
 
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I think we are doing the tomato / tomahto thing... :) You say, you don't smell petroleum at all. you only smell plastic. I'm saying, plastic is a petroleum product. Considering this fact, then one can ascertain, that plastic, has the scent of petroleum. Why? Because petroleum, is by which plastic is made.

So, if we don't attempt to be overly literal in our communication, we know, "aftershave that smells like plastic" Isn't made with plastic? Correct? But we also know, cheap aftershaves are produced from petroleum by products, correct? So in saying this, by you saying, "it smells like plastic" is a misnomer? Why? Because the scent that plastic gives off, is the scent of the petroleum byproduct, by which plastic is made?

So again, I am only using the correct nomenclature as you will, when I say, "Vi-Jon smells like petroleum." Plastic, also "smells like petroleum." And the reason for this is, because Vi-Jon and Plastic, are both made with petroleum byproduct?




That you are aware of, here in the U.S. and Europe? What about China? I know wikipedia says, Vi-Jon Laboratories are headquartered in St.Louis in the suburb of Overland. It also states, they operate five manufacturing and distribution centers in Missouri and Tennessee. But they seem to be inconclusive or at least are being careful, to actually say if their products are produced in China? I have researched multiple threads in multiple forums and other sites, including this one, where people say their products are made in china.




I mentioned aldehydes because you presented the debate, that I said petrochemicals will change a fragrance profile, which I didn't say at all. I only said, I can smell petroleum in the dry down.



So you don't believe in the synthetic process of aldehydes for perfumery?

Here are a few keynotes and links for you to consider?

3. Synthetic Preparation of Aldehydes and Keytones








Can be some tedious reading thru those links, But also very informative and interesting.




Are you forgetting Phthalates?

Phthalates - are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. They are often called plasticizers. Some phthalates are used as solvents (dissolving agents) for other materials.



Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon. But Benzene is also a petroleum hydrocarbon?




Did you know, the FDA doesn't require manufacturers, to note on their labels,the source for the ethyl alcohol in their vinegars and/or whether petroleum is used as a starter? :)

There is an FDA paper from 1969, updated in 1989, that states ethyl alcohol synthesized from natural gas or petroleum products can be used in the process of making vinegar. Their reasoning and theory is, that pure ethyl alcohol is chemically the same, whether produced naturally or synthetically.





I can concur with this.





Again, are you sure? Because as I mentioned above, you said "it smells like plastic." And the scent or smell that plastic gives off my friend, is petroleum, "from which it is made." :)



You have a very astute nose yourself sir, you just call it plastic... :)
[/QUOTE]

Man all I can say is, I'd like to have a beer with you!

Without getting too into the weeds on any of the aforementioned points, I absolutely believe in the synthetic production of aldehydes (this doesn't make then petrochemicals however), but the information you've linked is very interesting. These are carbonyl polar groups that occur elsewhere in nature and there are related acetals that are byproducts of aldehyde formation. Acidic catalysts, dehydration, etc. Would you say you get any petroleum-related smells from aldehydes? I tend to get cheap citrus. Maybe the "grey citrus" that people talk about trends toward other notes?

But to boil it down to my assertion regarding the plastic bottle, I agree with you entirely, these bottles are made of petrochemicals and are a petrochemical product. You are 100% correct. I think that alone gets to the bottom of our discussion regarding Vi-Jon specifically. And that would correlate with the plastic drydown I detect - the petroleum for you, ie, we're smelling the same thing, but just using different names for it. On that we agree. Thanks for bearing with me on that, I get long-winded.

You raised many interesting tangential questions. Just skimming through:

So regarding acetylenic esters, when I said that they are the only petrochemical-induced petroleum aromatics used commercially as fragrance formula ingredients that I'm aware of, what I mean by that is they're the only materials I know of in perfumes that are used to intentionally confer the smell of petroleum/gasoline/fossil fuel notes in a fragrance compound itself. Hence the mention of Fahrenheit, famous for that note. That's useful to consider because it isolates the possibility of a product intentionally smelling of petroleum or gasoline at any stage of its drydown. These materials are part of a perfumer's organ, or at least they used to be, circa 1990. I'm not sure what today's version of Fahrenheit uses, however, and I'm unaware of whatever substitute is now being employed to achieve that desired effect. I'm sure there's something, I just don't know what it is. Are Vi-Jon's formula compounds manufactured in China? Package labeling suggests they are not. I suppose there's really no way to know without directly contacting them. To be honest, I would doubt it. If they were, they'd likely still be in production. To my knowledge Vi-Jon is actively discontinuing their aftershaves, which suggests there is a negative cost benefit there. Maybe they should shift their operations to China to improve their margins and save the brand?

In regards to phthalates, the only phthalate used in liquid perfumes is diethylphthalate, which is odorless, relatively nontoxic, (and not restricted by the IFRA as far as I know). It is used as a fixative primarily because it has no smell. Fixatives are used in measurable amounts, thus any fixative with a smell is counterproductive and avoided by the industry in general. Aqua-Velva and English Leather are listed by the FDA as using DEP. AV uses 760 ppm., as of 2010, for example. This is still a microscopic amount, unlikely to be detectable were it compromised by an off-note, but I can't vouch for another person's olfactory sensitivities of course.

I did not know that about vinegar though. Interesting. Still, the "guild" of vinegar manufacturers apparently vetoes products with petroleum-based starter alcohols - idk how true that actually is, but it seems legit, at least as the Washington Post article put it. But then again, money is money. Nothing is stopping vinegar makers from doing what they want when it comes to the granular details of how they make their product. So you're probably right about that in regards to at least a few manufacturers.

Regarding alcohol as a petrochemical, I don't think the average person would ever get anything but the smell of alcohol from alcohol, petrochemically made or otherwise. BUT, I am not entirely sure that a person could not detect a petroleum note in alcohol, and clearly you detect it, so that is fascinating to me. This is a level of olfactory sensitivity that is achieved from careful analysis of smells in general, which people like us cultivate whenever we think about what we're smelling.

Benzene btw is, as you mentioned, an aromatic petrochemical. But benzene isn't used in perfumery formulas - different molecular derivatives of benzene class aroma chemicals are used instead. I used the example of Vanillin earlier, another arguably more commonly used derivative is 2-phenylethanol. Interestingly though you'd find that some classes of benzenes aren't properly petrochemicals, as 2-phenylethanol occurs naturally in botanicals and is often used to impart a rosy smell in a fragrance formula. The degree of separation from source petroleum increases per derivative. Pure petrochemical benzene is restricted by the IFRA to 1 ppm (that is electron-microscopic, compare to the amount of DEP in AV). It could be in something like Vi-Jon, which likely sidesteps the IFRA, but with all the actual aromatics in a common formula I can say with certainty that pure benzene would not be detectable in an IFRA regulated product. Something at 1 ppm is undetectable to even the most sensitive sniffer.

In a way it's a shame that bottles of Vi-Jon have grown scarce. Now I wonder if the various versions of it smell differently by year, formula, etc. One common misconception of cheap frags is that they rely strictly on lab-made cheapo chemicals. In many cases they actually use a surprising amount of natural oils and essences. Shulton's Old Spice did this for years prior to P&G's latest formula.
 
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