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Will the real "Old Spice" please stand up

I like the Indian Old Spice just fine. I have a bottle of the P&G brand as well. They both smell pleasant to me, but the P&G not as strong smelling to me.
 
Old Spice has been reformulated at least 5 times since 1938. The current iteration is more a lamentable result of P&G's unreasonable switch to plastic bottles, one of a precious few changes in the industry that makes me outright angry. Reformulation I can get past. But putting OS in chintzy plastic with that ****-poor logo is unforgivable. Whoever came up with that asinine patch with its microscopic ship should have been fired on the spot. That P&G deemed it worthy of America's most iconic men's product is enough for me to hope some rich billionaire with a brain will buy the brand and change it back to the beautiful Grand Turk in glass that it ought to be, but I know that will never happen. It's not about dignifying the product anymore. It's mostly about penny pinching to make the hugest profit possible, and I say "mostly" because the scent itself is still pretty good; at least the abysmal plastic container houses real Old Spice.

The vintage stuff contained precious few (if any) "natural" materials. The rumor is that it had real floral extracts and even a barest-of-bare trace of real ambergris in it. The truth is not quite as enchanting. The reality is that Shulton had stumbled on a delicate feminine oriental composition that inexplicably appealed to men more than its original female customer base. As a feminine scent, Old Spice had all the synthetics in the world, including an abundance of aldehydes and sweet spices represented in 10 carbon alcohols and basic analogs of things like cloves in eugenol, and a very nice rendition of orange citrus - maybe the one note that was natural enough to swap out in subsequent formulas. But OS was and always has been a simplified (sassafras-free) Tabu, and as such, with only about six recognizable notes, it was essentially a re-marketed girls cologne.

Since the 1980s, when American Cyanamid opted to carry on with the product in a slightly altered formula, the quiet goal has been to subtly erase the sweet-creamy feminine aspect of OS, and replace it with a drier, duskier, more traditionally "masculine" formula. I think this effort has reached its apex in the current stuff by P&G, which smells like someone spent a month of sleepless nights agonizing over how to make a sweet feminine template from 1938 smell undeniably manly without changing its pyramid. The answer: dial down the aldehydes and shimmery citrus lilt (take the Chanel No. 5 out of the No. 5 for men), amp up the nutmeg and clove while keeping the sweeter cinnamon firmly in the nosebleed section, and find a way to dampen the vanilla with just enough clove and powder so as not to end up with any obvious floral reconstruction (yet somehow keep a vague and unshakable sense of carnation). And do it all for something marked at around $8 a bottle.

I think they were successful in their effort, and applaud them for caring enough to create something as legible and comfortable as the current formula is. However, I think they undermined the effort artistically, culturally, and commercially by putting it in cheap plastic with fugly amateur graphics. I used to think that the current European "Original" formula, which is in glass, was entirely different from the current "Classic" in America. It smells fresher, smoother, lighter than American OS, but somehow the same. I now think the European stuff is the same, just better smelling because it's in glass. One can only hope that someday it returns to its genius packaging design of yesterday.
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
Old Spice has been reformulated at least 5 times since 1938. The current iteration is more a lamentable result of P&G's unreasonable switch to plastic bottles, one of a precious few changes in the industry that makes me outright angry. Reformulation I can get past. But putting OS in chintzy plastic with that ****-poor logo is unforgivable. Whoever came up with that asinine patch with its microscopic ship should have been fired on the spot. That P&G deemed it worthy of America's most iconic men's product is enough for me to hope some rich billionaire with a brain will buy the brand and change it back to the beautiful Grand Turk in glass that it ought to be, but I know that will never happen. It's not about dignifying the product anymore. It's mostly about penny pinching to make the hugest profit possible, and I say "mostly" because the scent itself is still pretty good; at least the abysmal plastic container houses real Old Spice.

The vintage stuff contained precious few (if any) "natural" materials. The rumor is that it had real floral extracts and even a barest-of-bare trace of real ambergris in it. The truth is not quite as enchanting. The reality is that Shulton had stumbled on a delicate feminine oriental composition that inexplicably appealed to men more than its original female customer base. As a feminine scent, Old Spice had all the synthetics in the world, including an abundance of aldehydes and sweet spices represented in 10 carbon alcohols and basic analogs of things like cloves in eugenol, and a very nice rendition of orange citrus - maybe the one note that was natural enough to swap out in subsequent formulas. But OS was and always has been a simplified (sassafras-free) Tabu, and as such, with only about six recognizable notes, it was essentially a re-marketed girls cologne.

Since the 1980s, when American Cyanamid opted to carry on with the product in a slightly altered formula, the quiet goal has been to subtly erase the sweet-creamy feminine aspect of OS, and replace it with a drier, duskier, more traditionally "masculine" formula. I think this effort has reached its apex in the current stuff by P&G, which smells like someone spent a month of sleepless nights agonizing over how to make a sweet feminine template from 1938 smell undeniably manly without changing its pyramid. The answer: dial down the aldehydes and shimmery citrus lilt (take the Chanel No. 5 out of the No. 5 for men), amp up the nutmeg and clove while keeping the sweeter cinnamon firmly in the nosebleed section, and find a way to dampen the vanilla with just enough clove and powder so as not to end up with any obvious floral reconstruction (yet somehow keep a vague and unshakable sense of carnation). And do it all for something marked at around $8 a bottle.

I think they were successful in their effort, and applaud them for caring enough to create something as legible and comfortable as the current formula is. However, I think they undermined the effort artistically, culturally, and commercially by putting it in cheap plastic with fugly amateur graphics. I used to think that the current European "Original" formula, which is in glass, was entirely different from the current "Classic" in America. It smells fresher, smoother, lighter than American OS, but somehow the same. I now think the European stuff is the same, just better smelling because it's in glass. One can only hope that someday it returns to its genius packaging design of yesterday.
Honestly, thanks for taking the time to give me such a great education on Old Spice. Funny, I hated the stuff as a kid, when it was probably at it's best. Now I really prefer the vintage Avon Spicy.

Thanks again.
 
Old Spice has been reformulated at least 5 times since 1938. The current iteration is more a lamentable result of P&G's unreasonable switch to plastic bottles, one of a precious few changes in the industry that makes me outright angry. Reformulation I can get past. But putting OS in chintzy plastic with that ****-poor logo is unforgivable. Whoever came up with that asinine patch with its microscopic ship should have been fired on the spot. That P&G deemed it worthy of America's most iconic men's product is enough for me to hope some rich billionaire with a brain will buy the brand and change it back to the beautiful Grand Turk in glass that it ought to be, but I know that will never happen. It's not about dignifying the product anymore. It's mostly about penny pinching to make the hugest profit possible, and I say "mostly" because the scent itself is still pretty good; at least the abysmal plastic container houses real Old Spice.

The vintage stuff contained precious few (if any) "natural" materials. The rumor is that it had real floral extracts and even a barest-of-bare trace of real ambergris in it. The truth is not quite as enchanting. The reality is that Shulton had stumbled on a delicate feminine oriental composition that inexplicably appealed to men more than its original female customer base. As a feminine scent, Old Spice had all the synthetics in the world, including an abundance of aldehydes and sweet spices represented in 10 carbon alcohols and basic analogs of things like cloves in eugenol, and a very nice rendition of orange citrus - maybe the one note that was natural enough to swap out in subsequent formulas. But OS was and always has been a simplified (sassafras-free) Tabu, and as such, with only about six recognizable notes, it was essentially a re-marketed girls cologne.

Since the 1980s, when American Cyanamid opted to carry on with the product in a slightly altered formula, the quiet goal has been to subtly erase the sweet-creamy feminine aspect of OS, and replace it with a drier, duskier, more traditionally "masculine" formula. I think this effort has reached its apex in the current stuff by P&G, which smells like someone spent a month of sleepless nights agonizing over how to make a sweet feminine template from 1938 smell undeniably manly without changing its pyramid. The answer: dial down the aldehydes and shimmery citrus lilt (take the Chanel No. 5 out of the No. 5 for men), amp up the nutmeg and clove while keeping the sweeter cinnamon firmly in the nosebleed section, and find a way to dampen the vanilla with just enough clove and powder so as not to end up with any obvious floral reconstruction (yet somehow keep a vague and unshakable sense of carnation). And do it all for something marked at around $8 a bottle.

I think they were successful in their effort, and applaud them for caring enough to create something as legible and comfortable as the current formula is. However, I think they undermined the effort artistically, culturally, and commercially by putting it in cheap plastic with fugly amateur graphics. I used to think that the current European "Original" formula, which is in glass, was entirely different from the current "Classic" in America. It smells fresher, smoother, lighter than American OS, but somehow the same. I now think the European stuff is the same, just better smelling because it's in glass. One can only hope that someday it returns to its genius packaging design of yesterday.
I agree about the plastic bottles. Yeah, they might have saved some money, but what they don't realize is that we'd be willing to pay more for the glass bottles (at least I would), and they could have maintained their profit margins.

Fortunately, I've been able to scrounge up some nice milk glass bottles to decant the moden OS into, so that it's not really much of an issue for me. My opinion on the formula changes - vintage OS is more spicy and modern OS is more powdery smelling. My preference is about a 50/50 hand mix of the two. That's just about perfect for me.
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
I agree about the plastic bottles. Yeah, they might have saved some money, but what they don't realize is that we'd be willing to pay more for the glass bottles (at least I would), and they could have maintained their profit margins.

Fortunately, I've been able to scrounge up some nice milk glass bottles to decant the moden OS into, so that it's not really much of an issue for me. My opinion on the formula changes - vintage OS is more spicy and modern OS is more powdery smelling. My preference is about a 50/50 hand mix of the two. That's just about perfect for me.
That mix sounds like I'd really like it too!
 
I agree about the plastic bottles. Yeah, they might have saved some money, but what they don't realize is that we'd be willing to pay more for the glass bottles (at least I would), and they could have maintained their profit margins.

Fortunately, I've been able to scrounge up some nice milk glass bottles to decant the moden OS into, so that it's not really much of an issue for me. My opinion on the formula changes - vintage OS is more spicy and modern OS is more powdery smelling. My preference is about a 50/50 hand mix of the two. That's just about perfect for me.
I think if P&G had upped Old Spice to $15 for the aftershave and $20 for cologne people would have bought it. Price complaint letters would have been answered with a photo of the plastic bottles and the sentence: "would you rather pay $8 for this?" And problem solved
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
I think if P&G had upped Old Spice to $15 for the aftershave and $20 for cologne people would have bought it. Price complaint letters would have been answered with a photo of the plastic bottles and the sentence: "would you rather pay $8 for this?" And problem solved
Good point. I miss glass everything. I don't care about studies, I think soda pop was better in glass, too. Plastic has to leach stuff into liquids, but I don't think glass does.
 
The vintage stuff contained precious few (if any) "natural" materials. The rumor is that it had real floral extracts and even a barest-of-bare trace of real ambergris in it.
That lines up with the lighthouse decanter of 1980's OS I just got. Definitely get a strong rose note in the top and heart of the frag.
 
Haven't splashed any Original since past winter. Tomorrow I will re-aquaint myself. Then I won't get squat done for half an hour while wanting to smell my hands constantly. One of the few olfactory luxuries devised for men. Just sI mply grand.
 
Good point. I miss glass everything. I don't care about studies, I think soda pop was better in glass, too. Plastic has to leach stuff into liquids, but I don't think glass does.
Only negative I can think of about glass containers is breakage. I had a bottle of Brut break open in my 70 Firebirds center console back during high school.

Clayton

Sent from my LM-V350 using Tapatalk
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
Only negative I can think of about glass containers is breakage. I had a bottle of Brut break open in my 70 Firebirds center console back during high school.

Clayton

Sent from my LM-V350 using Tapatalk
But at least it smelled good!
 

FarmerTan

George Bailey Fanboy
Lol, reminds me of something that happened yesterday.

Gave me even more hope for the millennials becoming the greatest generation.

I am on vacation. I had just shaved. I drive my family nuts over "smelling my face" lol. It was Brut!

My son's girlfriend is staying in an adjoining room with my mom in law. I made her smell my face. She said "that actually smells good!"

My wife and son cringed, knowing that my swollen head will take a week to go down!
 
That lines up with the lighthouse decanter of 1980's OS I just got. Definitely get a strong rose note in the top and heart of the frag.
I recently picked up early '70s (pre-1974) cologne. I get some cinnamon (cinnamyl) and clove (eugenol) and a ton of vanilla. No rose though. Doesn't smell more natural than the current stuff but the vanilla is out of this world. It's deeper, smoother, and not as powdery as the current stuff, but on the other hand the current stuff would probably get at least 85% there if I kept it in milk glass for 50 years.
 
Because they can't replicate that exact scent with synthetic ingredients. So instead of admitting that they changed the formula when they replaced some of their natural ingredients for synthetic ones in order to make a less costly product to produce, they would rather just believe that actually swapping natural chemicals for synthetic ones is just "swapping" for an "equal" replacement instead of believing the formula has in fact changed; and saying, the "formula has changed."
This seems like the most likely scenario for why the new OS smells different. To my nose, the newer stuff has the same signature, more or less, but smells "flatter", like a natural ingredient was replaced with a synthetic. Sort of like a knockoff fragrance.

I don't think they were trying to make it less feminine, just cut costs. It could be an ingredient had gone up in price significantly.

So the new stuff is basically an Old Spice knockoff. Well done, but still a knockoff.
 
This seems like the most likely scenario for why the new OS smells different. To my nose, the newer stuff has the same signature, more or less, but smells "flatter", like a natural ingredient was replaced with a synthetic. Sort of like a knockoff fragrance.

I don't think they were trying to make it less feminine, just cut costs. It could be an ingredient had gone up in price significantly.

So the new stuff is basically an Old Spice knockoff. Well done, but still a knockoff.
I agree.
 
I recently picked up early '70s (pre-1974) cologne. I get some cinnamon (cinnamyl) and clove (eugenol) and a ton of vanilla. No rose though. Doesn't smell more natural than the current stuff but the vanilla is out of this world. It's deeper, smoother, and not as powdery as the current stuff, but on the other hand the current stuff would probably get at least 85% there if I kept it in milk glass for 50 years.
I don't recall Old Spice ever having rose. It has more spicy type floral notes, like carnations and geraniums.

I wonder if the carnations haven't just aged and become less powdery and more rounded.

Vi-Jon's Spice aftershave is also really good, perhaps even better than the real thing. Fake fragrances have come a long way.

I still like the new Old Spice, even if it isn't exactly as I remembered, it's close enough. There's still a prominent tonka base ("vanilla") underlying it that is distinctive and harkens back to a time when men and women's fragrances were largely indistinguishable in character. It's similar to Clubman or Canoe, in that respect.
 
I don't recall Old Spice ever having rose. It has more spicy type floral notes, like carnations and geraniums.

I wonder if the carnations haven't just aged and become less powdery and more rounded.

Vi-Jon's Spice aftershave is also really good, perhaps even better than the real thing. Fake fragrances have come a long way.

I still like the new Old Spice, even if it isn't exactly as I remembered, it's close enough. There's still a prominent tonka base ("vanilla") underlying it that is distinctive and harkens back to a time when men and women's fragrances were largely indistinguishable in character. It's similar to Clubman or Canoe, in that respect.
Scents and perceptions of quality are truly a YMMV thing, because, I get a cheap chemical, petroleum based note from Vi-Jon and the other dollar store brands during the dry down. I do agree with you however, that synthetics have come along way.
 
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