Old Spice has been a fixture in shops and bathroom shelves ever since I can remember. So ubiquitous was it that I have never really bothered to sit down and sniff it properly. It was my husband’s idea for me to review this on Father’s Day, and I thought it was a great idea. I had to agree, especially since he had caught me raiding his fragrance collection because I was in a “manly” mood.
Cheap as Chips, and as common as grass, Old Spice is far more complex than I ever realised. My first visceral associations were naturally talc and toothpaste, but I realised that these were associations, rather than the notes that build it.
So complex is Old Spice that I feel that listing its range of notes explains it best: Nutmeg, Lemon, Orange, Star Anise, Aldehydes, Carnation, Jasmine, Geranium, Cinnamon, Heliotrope, Pimento, Ambergris, Benzoin, Cedar, Vanilla, Tonka Bean and Musk.
Prior to wearing it all day long today in the name of research I would have described it as “white and soapy”. After a day of wear (and top ups) I can honestly say that if they put this in a pretty bottle and sold it as a feminine fragrance, I reckon it would do very well indeed. I would certainly buy it, and you can rest assured that this is not the last time I will be wearing it. (with apologies to my husband, who’s bottle I am using).
The opening is indeed powdery like talc, but also has Carnation and Geranium notes i.e floral but spicy. The Aldehydes do indeed give it the soapy feel that you would associate with bathrooms and shower rooms, but this is more than clean talc. These three notes are also found in Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass, and sometimes, Old Spice smells a tiny bit similar, as if I’m smelling Blue Grass from ten yards away four hours after its been applied. There’s the same faint floral heat against a background of Aldehydes.
In a similar fashion to Dana’s Tabu, this has a light spice that doesn’t go too deep or resonant. It’s almost a surface Oriental, with its Star Anise and Pimiento, but with less of the “joss stick smoke” than Tabu.
The drydown is a Musky, spiced powder, with the powder having remained constant throughout. It’s like Spice through a white fluffy towel. The Spice is indeed there, but always cushioned by something softer.
All in all, this is a great cologne with its clean, soapy feel and its added prickle of spice to keep it interesting. It’s been around so long I almost didn’t see it anymore, but now I feel sure that I will be thinking outside the box when choosing my day’s fragrance, and reaching for the beautiful white glass bottle with its little stopper.
The last word on longevity goes to my husband who said: “it lasts long enough to kiss your wife in the morning but is gone by the time you reach the office.”
Having said that, Old Spice is inexpensive enough to top up regularly, usually to be found well under 10GBP.
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, and to all who may be missing one.