Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In a Lather - Men's Grooming Products

I bought this bottle of shower gel on sale, as sort of a fun Christmas stocking stuffer, just because the name sort of cracked me up and I figured it would be good for a smile.  Plus cheap shower gel for the guest bath.   Anarchy.  Unleash Chaos.

Then I opened it and unleashed something.  But it wasn't chaos.

Once, when I was a totally first time deer hunter, I opened up the bottle of Tinks, deer in estros scent and took a big whiff, to see what it smelled like.

I do believe most of my nose hair incinerated, my retinas briefly detached and there was a compression somewhere between C-11 and C-12 as I attempted not to throw up.

This was worse.

Thinking it was just me, I ran it past  Miss D. when she was over for a visit. " Wow, that's horrible" she said (and some special words she learned from Alaskan bush pilots).  Her husband Peter offered his nose for a test and then promptly offered me a bottle of mead to get it out of the room and bury it.

Maybe, when one of the red hazmat bins is empty. . .no, safer to bury it.

To the Anarchy-showered male in the advertising above  - trust me, unless you're one of those effeminate vampires from Twilight and tube top dress girl has a wooden stake and a big mallet handy, she's not going to be smiling on her drive home.

Scent is a deeply personal thing, and certain scents bring do bring back memories. 

Brut was beyond popular when I was growing up, one of the first to use a celebrity endorsement to persuade men that grooming wasn't for wimps. Famed  heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper was the original "face" of Brut, urging men to "splash it all over" long before David Beckham had his first shave.  I think there were little machines in the bathrooms in bars you could go into with a fake ID and  have something with Kahlua and the guys would go douse themselves with it or so I heard I don't know I was at choir practice. . .

I wasn't a big fan of Brut.  But I worked at the airport after school, pumping gas, driving this humongous truck with lousy brakes that was full of flammable liquid between large pointy moving objects and Samoans racing bag carts.  And Dad freaked out if I drove the VW Bug on the freeway. 

So I smelled like kerosene, which sort of cancelled out the Brut smell.  Besides, I was holding out for my grade school girl crush, Illya Kuyakin, so teenager boys in Brut didn't stand much of a chance.

Remember Hai Karate! ? My Dad had some of that and was supremely disappointed and used to tease my Mom that his bottle must have been a dud as he didn't  have to fend of any super models with karate chops like on the commercials.   I don't remember what it smelled like but I don't think he ever had to fend off Mom wearing it, though, come to think of it, once, when he put on too much, she drove a golf ball from the back yard through the back kitchen window with a Five Iron.

Dad gave that up for Old Spice which he has worn ever since. When I go home, he gives me a big hug and I can still smell it on his sweater, that "Dad" smell that's both reassurance and comfort.

Now, there's not just aftershave, there is cologne, shampoo, body washes, shampoo/body washes (and the difference is?)

Most advertise themselves to smell like "fresh glacier extinguishing a giant forest  fire full of deer in heat" or such things.

I think the perfect man natural scent would be some sort of mysterious combination of gun cleaning fluid, coffee, bacon, woodsmoke, and dark beer (with a slight undertone of 20 year old British Motor Car Wheel Bearing Grease.) 

But if one has to wear an actual store bought scent, I vote for the most subtle of sandalwood (And Demeter makes this unisex fragrance called gin and tonic that's smells really good on clean skin).

But boy, are there some bad ones out there.

Russia makes some particularly vile ones though they'd be good with a twist of lime and some ice,

And there's one I can't remember the exact name of,  from a small central European country that smelled like the bottom of the sea. The place where fish poop a lot, not the Aerial the little redheaded Mermaid happy place.

Pinaud Lilac Vegetal- can be used as a substitution for Tinks.  Seriously. You'll have a 12 point buck trying to climb your head as quick as you can say C'est vraiment de ta faute!

Masters Island Breeze - be careful you don't get any on your skin. 

Secretions Malefiques -  the Kardashians Kat in heat.

Aqua Velva Musk - if you want to be hit on by a hairy fur trapper,  go right ahead.

Clubman - Very 80's name.  Dries down to Cat box and Mrs. Butterworth syrup. 

Black Magic (various grooming products) - If  you see it?   Kill it!  Kill it with Fire!

And I'd avoid Anarchy, for now.

So ladies - what are your favorite (and least) scents on a guy?

And Gentlemen - do you have a favorite or do you just agree on that whole woodsmoke and bacon thing?


  1. Given my druthers, it's Old Spice, just because it's the patented smell of old men. The Ogwife loves Drakkar. Me, I just like to not have any aroma at all when I can.

  2. Totally agree on the sandalwood, for men or women. It's a lovely smell. Cedar, too, although I haven't encountered that in a scent yet. And then there's the original Eau de Cologne:


    Other than that, you could toss every modern scent for men into the nearest garbage pit, for all I care - except that the EPA would probably go nuts!

  3. Dad was an Old Spice man back when I was a kid, so that always sticks in my mind.

    Sandalwood is ok, and I am personally partial to amber. but overall, the less perfume on a man, the better.

  4. Chief says:

    I like 'Clubman Pinaud', you can buy it at the drugstore, it reminds me of the cologne
    the barber used after shaving your neck and sideburns. Also 'Bay Rum Spice'

  5. If you don't have access to 20 year old British Motor Car Wheel Bearing Grease- would cosmolin work?

  6. Brigid, I can't stop laughing. Perhaps a "little dab will do ya", Oh wait that was hair stuff. :) :)

  7. I (and also my wife) really like the Sandalwood scent from Taylor of Old Bond Street.

    So yes, sandalwood.

  8. Chaps
    by Ralph Lauren
    A cowboy - leather kind of scent...

    p.s. they no longer make it.

  9. Add a 'touch' of Hoppes... No scent here either, you spend any time in the woods, and mosquitoes LOVE cologne...

  10. The only two my wife buys me are Stetson and Old Spice...although, she does dig it when I come home from a hunting trip, provided I have showered within at least 48 hours...much past that, and it's beyond the 'smoke scent'.

  11. Ah, when I do put something on now it's euphoria by CK.

    Usually I am covered in Break Free and Hoppes #9 but the powder blast spray can stuff is all citrus.

    There is no one here to judge the effectiveness of the CK stuff right now. It has worked well in the past but so has Motorcraft 10W-40.

    Go figure.


  12. I particularly think of colognes and perfumes every Christmas, when brands you never hear of 11 months out of the year are the subject of saturation advertising. Give the gift that says, "We're in that awkward stage of a relationship where I feel that a present should be fairly personal, but don't yet know you well enough to get it right."

    See, scents are an especially risky choice because of their highly individual interaction with body chemistry. What smells like heaven on one woman will smell like Raid on another, and price and brand recognition don't necessarily have much to do with it.

    This reminds me of a theory that we ultimately pick our mates by scent, driven by a subliminal awareness that our respective genetics, as revealed by body odor, would combine to make offspring with strong immune systems. I'm not sure what the peer review status of that idea might be, but I've heard it repeatedly.

    Of course, when it comes to subtle interactions with body chemistry, I'm talking about stuff with some aspiration to being real perfume. Not the kind I think of -- their names are legion -- as Lilac Aggression (for teenage girls just discovering perfume) and Apprentice Mack (for teenage boys just discovering girls). Axe is just the latest twist on the latter.

    Old Spice? Makes me think of Grandpa on my mother's side, with the faux-ruby cufflinks and the homemade cigarettes, getting spiffed up for a night out. I can still visualize the bottle on our bathroom shelf, where it remained for some years after he passed away. That's Old Spice Classic, of course -- I gather that they make additional products now.

    And, yes, truck stop men's rooms have cologne spritz machines: your choice of three or four scents for a quarter. It's cheaper and a lot quicker than using the shower facility, I suppose.

  13. I'm another one who had an Old Spice smelling father. I think it's Axe that has an evergreen-sort of scent that is slightly tolerable. But men should smell clean, more than "perfume-y". Otherwise - I don't want any conflicting smells with my own lilac scents.

    I will admit to not being able to resist the smell of woodsmoke, anywhere/on anything. That just reminds me of food more than anything else.

  14. Prefer no scent. Social situation, Nieva for Men.

  15. Apparently I smell rather good wearing Kouros, or so I'm told at any rate. Since my sense of taste is entirely in my mouth, I'll take her word for it. :)

  16. Scents.... hum.... must be something in the air, watching the neighboring bunnies doing their mating hop dance. Then I believe that's why the scents, to do a mating ritual.

    Used to watch it after school, err.... well... participate in it after practice. The car had a bottle of aqua velva or old spice in the glove box.

    Thought it was so cool to go cruising after practice, splash on the scent and see what was still at the soda shop.

  17. Sandalwood is a good aroma.

    In the mid-'70s there was a unisex called Havana Weed Oil - not like anything else I've ever run across. Wish I knew what happened to mine. :-(

    Not so much on the Hoppe's #9, but I am partial to the eau de Herter's Proteger, which, as best I can tell, is not unlike LPS2/3.

  18. Og - Drakker - oh that's "I just missed my curfew" in a bottle. And guns and roses.

    Peter - thanks for not vacating the premises when I brought out th "anachy".

    vic303 - amber. I'm going to have to check that out.

    Charles M. - I've only sniffed the one so I will take your word for that. Some lines have a signature great fragrence and the rest are NOT so much.

    Kurt P - I think it would. :-)

    Uncle Al - I remember that!

    Off to bed, just realized I need to get up in 5 hours. Later!

  19. My favorite for years was Old Spice Fresh Lime, in the clear green bottle; of course it got discontinued. A more expensive simulacrum called Royall Lyme (from Bermuda) has the same scent, but damn! It's $45 vice the $5 of the Old Spice. I keep a bottle of this around for special occasions.

    Lately I've discovered the Ogalalla brand aftershaves; these are all bay rum based; the plain Bay Rum version is quite good, but with my preference for lime scent I quickly gravitated to the Bay Rum, Lime & Peppercorns version. This brand isn't overly loaded with alcohol, so it goes on cool instead of stinging; I've gotten compliments on it from some of my female co-workers. It goes for around $20 a bottle.

    And I still have a fondness for Aqua Velva and Skin Bracer after all these years; I used them in my Navy years, and although they are the soda pops of the aftershave world, they evoke pleasant memories.

  20. 80s girl and the guys I liked to smell during my teen years always wore English Leather. That fragrance still takes me back to first crushes and teenage fun.
    My husband wears Gillette deodorant and I love that smell more than anything. My son (17) is an AXE aficionado and I hate going in the bathroom after his grooming ritual is finished.

  21. Hmmmm... favorite scents... a whiff of diesel exhaust from a John Deere tractor in the crisp, cold, fresh air in the morning while plowing...

    And then there's Hoppes #9...

    Dann in Ohio

  22. I don't wear a scent, generally. Dennis Miller had a SuperSoaker on one of his shows filled with Brut, for those who offended him.
    Gramp always liked Old Spice. I may revert to that as I get older.
    When I was MUCH younger, I wore British Sterling, for a time. Dated an 'older' women who asked what I was wearing,then announced, "Smells like it tarnished!"
    With regard to a woman scent, a well-washed woman is the best. I've a special fondness for Ivory Soap aroma.
    I'll stop now...


  23. Just plain clean and fragrance free is fine for men's grooming products and women's products as well. Unfortunately, many deodorant manufacturers seem to put very heavy cover fragrances in their products to distract from when the deodorant looses the battle.

    The sad thing is when unscented products cost more. Shouldn't they cost less since the manufacturers didn't have to include fragrances?

    Hopefully no one ever produces a cologne with the fragrance of burnt transmission fluid.

    Reminds me of a line from Monsters Inc.
    "Low tide or wet dog? .... Stink it up."

  24. I currently use L'Occitane "Eau des Baux".


  25. I'm laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes...
    My Dad used Hi-Karate, right up to the point where I got a cut on my leg on a camping trip and he thought it would be a great way to disinfect it. I was young, but I got rid of the bottle when he wasn't looking. Old Spice has always beena comfort smell for me, odd how that works.

    I love something that mixes leather, vanilla, and something else I can't quite think of, but that works for me. Of course, women have more options, my current fragrance of choice, and it could be unisex becasue it doesn't smell "girlie" is called Bullet Proof. I liked the irony.

  26. I don't usually buy any but I have many different types (no real favorites) My experience is women will buy you what they want you to wear. I have not figured out if that means they love me or think I smell bad.

  27. Old Spice.
    I grew up with British Sterling or English Leather. But can't find those reliably, so Old Spice!

  28. Old Spice.
    I grew up with British Sterling or English Leather. But can't find those reliably, so Old Spice!

  29. I don't really use a scent on myself, I do shower everyday and my shampoo smells like apples. The wife seems to like it when I wear Lagerfeld or Drakkar which make up my birthday or christmas present if I somehow manage to break, lose or in some other way dispose of the bottle I already have.

  30. English Leather was all the rage when I was in high school. There's still a bottle on my dresser left over from that time. Too many memories to get rid of it, I guess.

  31. I'm a wood smoke and bacon kind of guy.

    Once in a while the aroma of a good Cuban cigar thrown in the mix.

    But most of the time.....nothing at all.


  32. Old Spice for regular occasions, and Drakkar for special evenings. Mostly just "showered & clean", most of the time.

  33. I don't think my dad ever wore anything but lectric-shave, unless at some point in my childhood I did the Old Spice thing, in which case I'm sure he wore it once to be nice.

    For my guys, Drakkar or any similar scent is preferred - but a dab'll do ya, seriously. I should be in pretty close proximity before I can id the smell in my opinion.

    And Irish Spring is a perfectly acceptable option. :)

  34. No scent beyond Lever soap and V05 shampoo. Too many allergies.

    The last time I went to Atlanta for Death Star Telephone scab -er- strike contingency training, I noticed that the Walgreens behind the Georgian Terrace in Midtown kept all of the deodorants under lock and key *except* the brand in the picture.

    I guess even homeless people have standards.

    Certain smells were deal killers when I was dating. I can pick up cigarette residue scent at about 2 yards and liquid foundation proteins at about half that radius.

  35. It depends on what my girls get me for Christmas or Father's day usually CK Escape or Euphoria. My Dad has worn Aramis for as long as I can remember. Mom must like it because I'm pretty sure she's the one that buys it since the only time he goes shopping is when he needs a new pair of shoes.

  36. Mine, for the last several decades, has been Dial soap and Rightguard.

  37. I was quite fond of a now-discontinued bay rum; I'm still (years later) searching for its replacement, and have even made my own a couple of times, to moderate success. Nothing I've managed to find on the market comes even close to my old favorite.

  38. When I was a teenager I worked for an older gentleman in his 80's who used Chanel #5 for his cologne. Actually worked pretty well for him. But now I associate that smell with him. Can ruin a date!!

  39. I like the scent of Royal Secret (no longer made) and Channal #5 (aka the national debt in a small bottle).

    The best luck I've ever had using scent to attract male attention came after spending several hours downwind of a bonfire and sausage immolation. The next day, the guys at the airport kept hanging around, trying to get whiffs of my jacket! Eau de Sausage et Hickory is irresistible - who knew?

  40. Old Spice is probably my go to. That and Aqua Velva Ice Blue evoke pleasant childhood memories.

    I still like Avon Wild Country and Stetson and I was recently given a bottle of Old Spice Night Spice which was discontinued but I think is great but it does have a strong hint of patchouli in it.

    If I was going out on a date with Brigid or Tam, I'd probably dab some Hoppe's. LOL.

  41. I recall Mon Triomphe from the '70's; got the same-colored bottle of Listerine mixed up once without my glasses; stuff smelled better than it tasted! Now it's Dial Soap for me, but I like Magi' Noir for my wife; another '70's scent.

  42. My favorites when growing up were Old Spice and English Leather. I still prefer them when I use after shave.

  43. Clubman Pinaud. It's been around since the 80's all right, the 1880's.

    Smells similar to Canoe, which is very 60's.

    Old Spice is my favorite. They don't make Seaforth any more, nor Avon Aures.

  44. I usually don't wear cologne or aftershave, but when I do I tend to like the some old British classics such as Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet (Churchhill wore this),
    Penhaligon's English Fern, Floris No. 89 (a favorite of Ian Fleming and allegedly mentioned in one of more of the James Bond novels), and Geo. F. Trumper Spanish Leather. I also typically like scents with sandalwood or dry lavender.

  45. Ditto Charles Mount: I like Clubman. My wife likes it, too.

  46. B - If you could manufacture two colognes for men - One in "woodsmoke" (I prefer Hickory) and, the other in "Peppered Bacon"; th3n you'd never have to worry about (much less answer it)the "Bat Phone" again...EVER!

  47. Wow - so many responses here, and so many similarities too.

    A lot of Old Spice favorites, or no fragrance.

    Drakker seems to be popular as well, now I'll have to go find some to sniff (in the store)

    Myself, ivory soap, A grapefruit body oil made in Indy from http://www.frangipanibodyproducts.com/ (it's a really delicate citrus scent that doesn't clash with anything) and on the occassion I DO wear perfume, right now it's Charlie with Chanel Coco and Opium tying for second.

    Nate MacKenzie - Demeter does fragrences of anything you can think of (including paint and dirt of all things). I bet the natural wood smoke is better than anything in a bottle.

    Alma Boykin - oh, I bet that was popular. Too bad you can't package that.

    Tracee Fisher - OK, another vote for Drakkar. I'm so going to have to find some.

    Mrs. S - "low tide or wet dog". Oh that is PERFECT!

    Kurt P - Cosmoline would work, I bet!

    RonF - we had brunch at Bohemia Crystal the other weekend, bet there was some Aqua Velva and Old Spice in that room. Great Long Island Duck by the way with dumplings.

    Roscoe - I flew with this guy once that was particularly cranky, not just that day, all days. I tried to make him cheerer by resorting to the old female compliment thing (look I had to spend my day in small space aloft, best make the best of it). I told him he smelled nice and what after shave it was. He grumped at me "I sweat a lot, it's deodorant, I rub it all over my body". OK, I could have made it through the entire day without that mental picture.

    MattB - I understand. My Mom wore it, so it feels odd if I do.

    TC - I'm glad my friends and I weren't the only ones gagged by the Axe product.

  48. Generally Old Spice or Stetson Black Suede. As noted, Hoppe's no.9 or WD-40 is good, too!

  49. I use a homemade Bay Rum experiment my wife made for me. You have Bay Laurel, dark rum, allspice, cinnamon, and orange.

  50. For the ladies Granny Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies always recommended a dab of "Pure Vanilla Extract" behind the ears (Brigid, here's where you would say "recommended Penzey's"). When I was in my teens I used Dad's Old Spice or my brothers' Mennen Aftershave when they were home on furlough. Canoe was the expensive stuff sold in the town's two department stores. I just knew that if i could only get me some Canoe, I could cut a swath through the cheerleader corps. But, alass.......
    All I have now is Gray Flannel my wife bought for me a few Christmases ago. Been toying with the idea of getting a bottle of original scent Old Spice. If it's considered to be for old men then so be it; i qualify. At least it will remind me of dad.

  51. Brigid, this had me laughing until I had tears - very good! Oh, and I like sandalwood and vetiver - everywhere.

  52. Favorite: Royal Copenhagen. It's smells delicious on my husband. :)

    Worst: 4711 Eau de Cologne from Germany. It's supposed to be unisex, but it smells like slightly unwashed old grandmothers to me (some childhood memory, no doubt). *shudder*

  53. One fragrance I like to wear myself (I forgot because I so rarely wear scents anymore; fragrance doesn't really belong in a lab, unless I park myself in a fume hood all day :D) is Neonatura Cocoon by Yves Rocher. Unfortunately it's not manufactured anymore. :( It's warm and spicy, with patchouli and vanilla.

  54. Being violently allergic to most scents (#1 cause of most of my many migraines over the years -- some woman wearing way too much scent), I don't use 'em. So I'd be more on the "woodsmoke and bacon" side of the equation. With perhaps a drop of Hoppes No. 9 for piquancy.

    Maybe Old Spice. Back when I used to shave, I used Old Spice aftershave. But since I haven't shaved in over 35 years...

  55. Gunsmoke and motor oil. Doesn't seem to be working right now, but no one is running me off with a pitchfork either, so there is that.

  56. I ordered a fragrance once that was meant to reek of gun smoke. My nose didn't find that perfume therein, alas, or it would be a frequent flier on my vanity table and in my cleavage.

    As for your Tink's adventure, thanks for sharing, because it made me giggle muchly. I think that company put the "s" on the wrong end of the name, frankly.

  57. I use bay rum after I shave; Old Spice in a pinch...

  58. My son started using Axe when he became a teenager. We eventually had to have a talk when I couldn't be in the car with him due to watering eyes and headaches. Loath that stuff.

  59. Always been something of a shower freik, so on a hot day I might be through the splash thing at 6:00a.m., then again after an afternoon gym workout, and perhaps again if I was going out somewhere requiring a suit.

    Usually I don't get past a touch of Old Spice Pure Sport in the armpits, but I've had ladies tell me I smell good when I put on a small amount of the old Polo Green. And YACK, the AXE stuff really is somewhere between camel dung and week old pizza.

  60. Oh, that body wash was horrid. I'd almost forgotten about it, but my nosehairs curled and shriveled at the very memory.

    Given most perfumes make me wheeze or sneeze (or both), I stick to soaps I can stand (see above about wheezing and sneezing.) There are some lovely subtly spicy ones, like Alpenglow's Tundra Spice soap, and some very straightforward ones like the lemongrass scent we're using right now.

    I'd love a scent that combing gun cleaning fluid, avgas, used airplane engine oil, a hint of sharp welding, undertone of deep smoky woodfire, coffee, and bacon... might even cure my want to go to the airport, for a while.

  61. For years and years, I felt strange wearing any scent. I notice the smell of a person, and making myself smell like another seemed like putting on a mask.

    But I've always liked the clean scent of Ivory soap, and over the last 20 years have sparingly used bay rum (Burt's Bees).

    My friends the Atomic Nerds have gotten me to look at some specialty scents. I kinda like the Bathtub Gin.

  62. Also, that Axe shtuff has ridiculously strong fragrance attached to the gel that they put it into. My wife got some sample of the shower gel and put it into the bathroom, thinking "Hey, free soap." I found that if you used a sample that was larger than 1/2 of a dime, squirted thin on the palm of your hand, for your entire body, and then scrubbed vigorously with hot water and a louffa afterwards, it was still pretty over-whelming for about an hour out of the tub. I genuinely believe that the idea is to mask scents, to cover the smell of the remnants of last night's cigars and booze oozing out of one's pores. (We all have worked with that sad functional alcoholic who thought that he was fooling everyone, but who always smelt faintly of metabolized booze, haven't we?)

  63. LOL on the Axe comments. My brother-in-law uses this stuff, and I swear that the last time he was over he smelled like moth balls. Maybe it wasn't the Axe, but that was what I attributed it to.

  64. Jen T - thanks for visiting and commeneting!''

    Miss D and Matt G - The bottle of Axe left this mortal coil in a red biohazard barrel. It's scent still lingers in the guest bath linen closet like some inherited "taxidermist special!" skunk.

    Hopefully, it will fade where pople actually show up with Mead and Sausage in the near future.

  65. Cartier for Men from Nordstroms

  66. Hoppe's #9 and/or Vanilla on a woman.

    I've been told by The Women In My Life that the combination of the smell of wool shirt and chainsaw smoke on a man is pretty hard to resist.

  67. Floris No.89, Brooks Bothers 1818. Old Spice. Pierre Cardin (old HS favorite). Pinaud Clubman, Florida Water. Helan Vetiver and Rum.


I started this blog for family that lives far away. Now that they are gone, it continues on to share those memories.

Comments are welcome,but if you have a fake name, no blog and only comment on the rare occasion to criticize or offer advertising for a business I've never heard of, you go straight to SPAM.